For those of you that follow along in the Pagan Blogosphere, you might already be aware that Star Foster has started blogging about the Delphic Maxims, and other people are following/posting along, in what has seemingly become an impromptu blogging party*. While several other bloggers are joining in, I will not be one of them–at least not for all 147+. Its not for lack of appreciation for their erudite message, but rather for a lack of faith in my ability to ever finish writing about all 147+ of them. I will likely be writing about a few favorites however, but I’m going to try to do it in order with everyone else.
If you aren’t familiar with the Delphic Maxims, they are inscriptions associated with the Temple to Apollo at Delphi**, at which Apollo was said to have arrived to in dolphin form, as Apollo Delphinios, and founded. I’m not a devotee of Apollo, but anyone that friendly with dolphins is fine in my book (and it gives me an excuse to use this pic, which I’ve been hoarding the link of for a while)! Delphi, of course, is home to the Pythia, otherwise known as the Oracle of Delphi, whose oracular visions may have been influenced by the geological features of the area. Oh, and I’ll bet you do know at least one Delphic Maxim…you might be familiar with the phrase “Know Thyself”? Yeah, its a Delphic Maxim!
The maxims themselves are also known as “The Commandments of the Seven”, and are said to have been written by seven sages of Ancient Greek at Delphi, where they were supposedly inscribed. The seven sages are (maybe) Solon of Athens, Chilon of Sparta, Thales of Miletus, Bias of Priene, Cleobulus of Lindos, Pittacus of Mitylene and Periander of Corinth and the maxims were perhaps composed in the 6th century B.C. Much like the Lord’s Prayer in the hornbook readers of colonial America, these maxims seem to have been used as a sort of primer in the ancient Greek and Byzantine world. It wasn’t until a recent archaeological discovery in the 1960’s though, that there was some verification as to the origins of the maxims, when a Hellenic stele was discovered in Afghanistan that claimed to be a faithful copy from Delphi. (source)
Either way…there’s some good stuff there! Seriously, check the list and and give it a browse. They are less “commandments” as their title claims (at least in comparison with the 10 commandments) than they are really strong reccomentation and great advice (at least most of them). So far, the first four have been covered (Follow God (Επου θεω), Obey the law (Νομω πειθου), Worship the Gods (Θεους σεβου), and Respect your parents (Γονεις αιδου)). The maxim next up is “Be overcome by justice” (Ηττω υπο δικαιου). I am planning to talk about that one, because I’m about to start blogging about the seven Unitarian Universalist principles, which relates to the second principle. I’ll probably also backtrack and talk about Following God and Worshiping the Gods (and why I think they are the same thing), but that likely will come a bit later (my blogging proliferation seems to occur like the tides…and right now I think I’m about to embark on a low tide episode).
**Speaking of blogging parties, does anyone know if the Pagan Values Blogging Month is going on again this year? Because that’s due to start in just 2 weeks if so. UPDATE: IT IS!!
**I totally recommend clicking this link and listening to the BBC show, it is incredibly interesting.