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Pythia was a title given to any woman who served in the role at a given period, and the position was widely regarded as sacrosanct throughout Greece. Throughout the first millennium BCE, her counsel had enormous sociopolitical influence because of the faith the highly religious Greeks placed upon her connection with Apollo. She was commonly selected among the villagers in the region, such as those living at the Chora of Delphi. [来源请求]
According to the story of the legendary hero Perseus, his grandfather, king Akrisios of Argos, visited the Pythia and was told that he would be slain by his grandson. Due to trying to avoid his fate, Akrisios brought it upon himself.
In the late 7th century BCE, the Theran Battus I visited the Pythia to seek advice, including one on his home which had been plagued with a severe drought with no rain for 7 years. The Pythia prophesied that Battus should travel to Libya and establish there a city on advice from Apollo. Accepting her advice, Battus I led a group of Therans to Libya, founding the city of Cyrene and the colony of Cyrenaica.
At least since the Greco-Persian Wars, the Pythia had been corrupted by the Cult of Kosmos, who manipulated them into giving false prophecies to individuals who sought their wisdom. Using an Isu artifact in the Sanctuary of Kosmos, the Pythia were given glimpses of the future, which the Cult used for their own benefits and goals. In 480 BCE, King Leonidas I of Sparta sought out the Pythia for advice into going to war with King Xerxes I of Persia, who began a second invasion of Greece. The Cult were present alongside the Pythia, who attempted to dissuade Leonidas from warring, stating that his efforts would be fruitless. However, Leonidas defied the Pythia and Cult and led his men to meet Xerxes' army at the Hot Gates of Thermopylai.
Similarly, when Myrrine's youngest child Alexios was born, he was taken to see the Pythia, whose role was played by Praxithea at the time. Under the orders of the Cult to relay false prophecies according to their designs, Praxithea proclaimed that Myrrine's youngest child had to die to prevent the downfall of Sparta. Nevertheless, the plan failed as both Alexios and Kassandra, who tried to stop and was dropped by Nikolaos, ultimately survived.
By the time of the Peloponnesian War, Praxithea had stepped down as the Pythia and was succeeded by another oracle. The guilt from her giving the false prophecies eventually led her to confess to her grandchildren Lykaon and Agave, both of whom wanted to take matters into their own hands and bring her to justice.