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Welcome to Delphi's Guide to Athens!
The storytelling, history and philosophy website for children.

Nine-year-old girls in ancient Athens aren’t really allowed to be out of the house.
 
But that’s never stopped her before…

Start your adventure

Delphi at the Acropolis

Delphi stood at the centre of the Acropolis, surrounded by mighty temples and towering statues, and cleared her throat.  She wouldn’t have long.


“Are you there, gods?  It’s me, Delphi!”


There was a distant boom of thunder.  An owl hooted and flew overhead.  A priest started shouting in her direction.


Delphi looked up, narrowed her eyes, and smiled.  


“I want to ask you some questions!”


Most people can speak to the gods.  What makes Delphi different is that sometimes they speak back.

Explore Athens with Delphi and become a philosopher!

Follow Delphi's story, choose-your-own adventure style!  You choose where to go and who to speak to.

Explore famous landmarks, speak to gods, learn about famous philosophers, find Delphi's friends and ask some irritatingly big questions!

Each page will have its own story, pictures, photos, information and a big question to get you thinking.  Think of your own answers and have fun!

Meet the gods

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Follow Delphi as she speaks to each of the Greek gods.
Discover their powers and hear their stories - but look out for thunderbolts!

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Aphrodite
Demeter
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Artemis
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Explore Athens

As you follow Delphi, you will visit many famous buildings and landmarks around the city.  For each one, you’ll discover:

  • What happened when Delphi got there

  • Drawings of what it would have looked like

  • Photographs of what it looks like now

  • The best facts about each place

  • Information about the culture, beliefs and people of Ancient Greece

  • A big question, inspired by the place, to get you thinking!

Click on the map to choose where to visit first!

Keep an eye out for blue links to find your way around.

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Research Ancient Greece

Investigate anything you want to know about the ancient Greeks!
Click on the links below to go straight to what you need.

Site Index

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We are adding more content all the time, so keep checking back for updates!

Who is Delphi?

Watch the video to find out!

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(taken from Delphi the Philosopher – Prologue)

Delphi was, in many ways, a typical girl of Athens.  Like all girls, she didn’t go to school or have a job but spent her time at home, learning how to clean, sew, cook and generally look after her father’s house.  At least, that’s what she was supposed to be doing.  In fact, what Delphi really did was get out of the house at every possible opportunity and ask questions.


Oh, the questions.  Delphi had a fearsome reputation for asking questions.  Most children, as they are growing up, go through a stage where they like to ask a lot of questions, and the favourite one is usually: why?  Why do I have to eat mushrooms, Daddy?  Why is your hair going away, Daddy? Why is that dog doing a wee on your foot, Daddy?  Delphi’s daddy was a patient man, but he was happy to turn a blind eye to Delphi’s wanderings outside the house if it only got her away from him, so he could think straight for a minute. Delphi had never got past the age of asking questions, and never seemed to be satisfied with the answers she got either.

Discover the story of how Delphi became a philosopher!

As you explore Athens you will find videos telling you the story of Delphi the Philosopher - the philosophy adventure for children!

Watch this video to get to know Delphi and her best friend Plato.

There are lots of secrets to discover around the city.

Can you find them all?

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  • Talk to all the Olympian gods!

  • Find Delphi’s house.

  • Take Zeno, Delphi’s pet tortoise, for a walk.

  • Visit Delphi’s dad at work.

  • Watch a wedding procession.

  • Take in a great view of the sea.

  • Talk to Delphi’s best friend, Plato.

  • Eat a honey cake!

  • Take a glimpse at the statue to Athena.

  • Explore the countryside.

  • Visit the prison where Socrates was locked up.

  • Discover Delphi's most embarrassing memory ever!

Where does the information come from?

The stories in Delphi’s Guide to Athens were originally written in the locations they describe, during my visit to Athens in April 2019.  Much of the information comes from information available to the public at these locations and museums.  These include:

  • Athens historical sites (The Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Olympieion, Hadrian’s Library, Roman Agora, Lyceum)

  • Acropolis Museum

  • National Archaeological Museum

  • Plato’s Academy site and Museum

  • Kerameikos site and Museum

  • Panathenaic Stadium site and Museum

  • Museum of Cycladic Art

In putting together this guide, I have also referred to several invaluable texts and guidebooks:

  • The World of Athens (Cambridge University Press, 2008). 

  • The Hemlock Cup by Bettany Hughes (Vintage, 2011).

  • Ancient Greece: Everyday Life in the Birthplace of Western Civilization by Robert Garland (Sterling, 2013)

  • Athens (Ekdotike Athenon, 2000)

  • Pocket Athens (Lonely Planet, 2016)

The details and stories from Greek mythology were drawn from the established canon.  These include seminal texts from the time such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Hesiod's Works and Days and Theogony, as well as other classical works such as by Pindar, Apollonius of Rhodes, Apuleius, Lucian, Apollodorus and Pausanius.  Greek playwrights also took up the stories, particularly by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes.  Roman writers also expanded on many of these myths, particularly Ovid and Virgil.  The versions of these stories in this guide were put together with reference to these sources and other modern texts, including:

  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton (Back Bay Books, 1942)

  • The Greek Myths by Robert Graves (Penguin, 1955)

  • Mythos, Heroes and Troy by Stephen Fry (Penguin Random House, from 2017)

  • A Thousand Ships and Pandora's Jar by Natalie Haynes (Picador, 2020)

Other information was drawn from common online sources such as Wikipedia.  Any errors are my own.

All text and photographs © David Whitney except where specified.

All drawings © Rosie Coulson.