Inside the Temple of Apollo

We were allowed to enter the columned outer area of the temple. We crossed through perfumed, smoking braziers, and were offered a drink of wine. Many other families sat on the floor, playing games, waiting to be heard or to receive an Oracle.

At the back of this roofed area was a large house. We walked toward it. Two large doors carved with the image of Apollo graced the front. The bottom of the doors was three feet off the floor, called the cremographian. There weren’t stairs to get up to it. We weren’t allowed in. This was for the priestess to come out to stand above us to hear our request.

We sat near the doors to wait. Pages offered us bread and cheese and grapes twice a day. We ate, we played, we waited. The sun rose over this magnificent place, and set many times before the echo of the lock broke the quiet hum of those waiting and chatting. The doors swung open and the people crowded around.

Each door slammed into place against the walls and then the priestess walked solemnly forward, rising in gold.

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