«Castalia at Delphi. From geology and hydrology to history, literature and religion»

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

Summary :

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The second reconstructs the water systems and redraws, from yet unused or unpublished archaeological traces, the two fountains and their twofold hydraulic systems, which enabled the fountains to alternate between water supply and bath mode.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An argumentative iconography, both ancient and modern, unpublished material, plans and maps, complete this interdisciplinary panorama; a way of analysing texts and objects that, due to insufficient knowledge of the site, we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.



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.

doctoral thesis on 1 June 2013                                      Marguerite Champeaux-Rousselot

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