“Castalia at Delphi. Unveiling of a site and anthropological developments”, PhD thesis by Marguerite Champeaux-Rousselot, Paris, 2013

Summary : “Castalia at Delphi. Unveiling of a site and anthropological developments”

The site of Castalia at Delphi is associated with a fountain, but was never the object of a complete study and therefore remains relatively unknown. The PhD Thesis: “Castalia at Delphi. Unveiling of a site and anthropological developments” explores its different aspects.

The first chapter explains the regional geological and hydrological substratum.

The second reconstructs the water systems and redraws, from yet unused or unpublished archaeological traces, the two fountains and their twofold hydraulic systems, which enabled the fountains to alternate between water supply and bath mode.

The third chapter is based on various testimonies since 1676 in order to ensure the antique aspect of the site.

So we discover ( 4th chapter) that both Greeks and Latins, more accurately translated, describe the site and its previous life : through metaphors, myths, events, facilities and artifacts, Castalia is revealed to have had a fluctuating position, much discussed, near the temple of Apollo, between attraction and repulsion, and having suffered a lot by the Antiochian Castalia.

Devoted to two mental representations, the fifth chapter shows how a single place, even if confined, can greatly influence the culture : the omphalos would have probably not existed at Delphi without the canyon of Castalia, and this case study prompts us to (re)consider certain aspects of waters with a less roman and less romantic eye, probably a more “greek” one.

An argumentative iconography, both ancient and modern, unpublished material, plans and maps, complete this interdisciplinary panorama; a way of analysing texts and objects that, due to insufficient knowledge of the site, we had not made use of it to its full archaeological potential.


Keywords :    Antiquity, History, Anthropology, Religion, geomorphology, myths, travellers, hydraulic, architecture, geosciences, Castalia, Delphi, cult, spring, fountain, hydrology, metaphor, omphalos, Phocis, Kastri, aqueducts, canals, valve, sluice gate.

Thèse pour obtenir le grade de docteur de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études,

soutenue le 1er juin 2013 à Paris

Discipline : Histoire des religions et anthropologie  religieuse

Mention : Religions et systèmes de pensée


Sous la direction de M. le Professeur François de Polignac (EPHE)

Membres du Jury :

M. le Professeur Éric Fouache (Université Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi)

Mme le Professeur Stella Georgoudi (EPHE)

Mme le Professeur Anne Jacquemin (Université de Strasbourg)

M. le Professeur Jean-Marc Luce (Université de Toulouse II–Le Mirail)

M. le Professeur François de Polignac (EPHE)

M. le Professeur Denis Rousset (EPHE)

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