Delphi The Bellybutton of the Ancient World

Look beyond simply the famed oracular priestess breathing in hallucinogenic gases and you find a place whose past speaks directly to the 21st century. That is the argument of Cambridge University’s Dr Michael Scott who is researching how and why Delphi, a small Greek town and religious sanctuary perched on a difficult to reach mountainside, was for 1,000 years the proclaimed ‘omphalos’, the ‘bellybutton’, the very centre of the ancient world. Famed for its oracle at the Temple of Apollo, he is also examining the evidence of Delphi’s many other gods, athletic and musical games and the monuments to unity – as well as civil war – that crowded its religious sanctuaries.