I know it's ancient... Why not start today?

at Delphi
Joannes Richter

Of the Word Ei Engraven Over the Gate of Apollo’s Temple At Delphi1

Today is a fine day to investigate some unsolved enigmas about the Delphinian temple. This would definitely prepare us for strange ideas. It's an essay discussing dolphins, eternally prolonged vowels, knowing thyself - but not too much, avoiding pledges, the symbolic character E, monotheism, corrupting purified colors, pronouns and other ingredients – all mixed up in a lukewarm philosophical soup. I know the ancients are dead for a quite some time... I know we should not try to know ourselves – too much.... But I cant' help it. It must be done someday.

1Of the Word Ei Engraven Over the Gate of Apollo’s Temple At Delphi. - from Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the
Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878). Source: Book V-27. On the EI at Delphi (Περί τού Εί τού έν Δελφοίς - De E apud Delphos)

as well as the Pythian Games and the famous prehistoric oracle. but is the key to the whole. .Dolphins Speaking of Delphi . then one has reduced the meaning of life to dogma. 141 . This third statement is the most complicated. and Εγγύα πάρα δ'ατη (engýa pára d'atē = "make a pledge and mischief is nigh"3). ? First of all we should consider Delphi as a derivative from dolphin. recounting the legend of how Apollo first came to Delphi in the shape of a dolphin. the chaste huntress Artemis. and the Earth Goddess at the site. This location started as a fertility cult's centre .-ῖνος) in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo 2.g. Coins and amulets Plutarch's description is not the only evidence of the E-inscription. once one asserts that they have achieved perfect self-knowledge and proportionality. Delphi became the site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo. Plutarch’s explanations are too simple. which in contrast to the temporary utterances have been made to be preserved for eternity. an enigma. The epithet is connected with dolphins (Greek δελφίς. depict the “E” at the entrance in the center between 6 columns of Apollo's temple at Delphi. and has a twin sister. but the “E” is a sacred symbol. which is waiting to be deciphered. but sometimes also to be hidden by the priests.the wife of Antoninus Pius. . Supposedly carved into the temple were three phrases and a singular vowel of gold. . The “E” had been existing form the very beginning as a wooden symbol. 4 died A. Today and to me the most interesting enigmas of Delphi's oracle have been documented in the temple's inscriptions. The name Delphoi comes from the same root as δελφύς delphys. Old coins (e. carrying Cretan priests on his back.. "the Delphinian". The Homeric name of the oracle is Pytho (Πυθώ). Apollo is connected with the site by his epithet Δελφίνιος Delphinios. as well as "make a pledge and you will be ruined" may still be accepted as standard philosophies. Grandmother Earth. with Faustina Senior4). brass or wood: • • • • γνωθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = "know thyself") and μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess"). In all religions vowels have been sacred and secret elements. hundreds of votive statues remained.. We will need some more ideas to find the solution. and then you'll meet misfortune" as explained by Geoffrey Owen Miller. Even in Roman times. as well as a large letter E. gifts from the ancient wise men. 2 line 400 3 "Pledge. Essentially. described by Pliny the Younger and seen by Pausanias.D. Apollo's inscriptions Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. The first three statements "Know thyself" and "nothing in excess"... "womb" and may indicate archaic veneration of Gaia.

which is the wooden one. nor connection. vowels form the nucleus or peak of syllables. but now Plutarch is explained the concept as monotheism like this: Thus ought those who worship to salute and invocate this Eternal Being. Then after pages of discussing other alternatives Plutarch summarizes: I am of opinion. or else indeed. attributing to him the true. order. Know thyself. which does not meet the standards for long religious evolutions. as agreeing to him alone. as not being of any one.. O. filled with all diversities. but the first and oldest of all. I. There is a conflict between the phonetic definition of "vowel" (a sound produced with no constriction in the vocal tract) and the phonological definition (a sound that forms the peak of a syllable). but the common dedication of them all. that's better. say to him El. unfeigned. The approximants [j] and [w] illustrate this conflict: both are produced without much of a constriction in the vocal tract (so phonetically they seem to be vowel-like). Vowels contrast with consonants. the letters A. In all languages.. in which the female partner represents 2 and the male one 3. and sometimes Y are all used to represent vowels. And we again. In writing systems based on the Latin alphabet. 5 58 BC-AD 29 6 See the notes to Epsilon in the Appendix . with this expression Εἶ ἕν. One of the more successful explanations of the enigma is the definition of the number 5.. as one must have a being. U. answering the God. Therefore Pythagoras.Vowels At Delphi a golden character E has been spent by empress Livia5. with this salutation. which brings the speaker to the conception of the power of the God at the very moment of uttering it. E. that this syllable “E” signifies neither number. the wife of Augustus Caesar.. as some of the ancients have done. such as English sh! [ʃː]. may have suggested that five is the marriage of the first male (3) and the first female number (2). being a confused heap. where there is a constriction or closure at some point along the vocal tract. For the Divinity is not many. which is nothing inferior to All hail. Explaining the Epsilon at Delphi Now Plutarch starts explaining the Epsilon6 in several alternative ways: as just another way to say “if” in a conditional sentence. as every one of us is made of ten thousand differences in affections. The brazen character E has been spent by the Athenians. Thou art one. A vowel can be endless – divine. represented by the Epsilon as a matrimonial state. they call the ei of the Sages. but they occur on the edge of syllables. For the God in a manner calls upon every one of us who comes hither. nor any other of the deficient parts. such as at the beginning of the English words "yes" and "wet" (which suggests that phonologically they are consonants). thou art. But that which is must be one. Monotheism Ok. whereas consonants form the onset and (in languages that have them) coda. and sole appellation of being. The “if”-concept is a trivial concept. but is a self-perfect appellation and salutation of the God. through a certain resemblance.

Thou art one. as being only one. And the Greeks and Romans applied a great number of purple garments. For pollution is by the mixture of one thing with another. and call the mixture itself corruption. whose name included the symbolic image (iau) of the first human being. where it is usually translated as "I will be" -. It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Now that which is one is sincere and pure. but I doubt purple should always be considered as pure." The word Ehyeh is used a total of 43 places in the Hebrew Bible. and dyers say of mixed colors that they are corrupted. therefore I am who I am. Thou art one may be compared to I Am that I Am7 a common English translation of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for His name (Exodus 3:14). though it can also be translated as "I-shall-be that I-shall-be. This statement of avoiding the mixture of pure colors indeed has been observed at the colors of the Greek temples. in Genesis 26:3—or "I shall be. speaking of a piece of ivory dyed red. and Phoebus was the name given by the ancients to every thing that is pure and chaste. Εἶ ἕν.. that they purify themselves (φοιβονομεῖσθαι). blue. blue and purple in a common concept.. white and black. Some scholars[who?] state the Tetragrammaton itself derives from the same verbal root.Εἶ ἕν. the uncreated Creator who does not depend on anything or anyone. blue and purple in a concept These ideas may have been correct if we are able to integrate and share both red.as is the case for its first occurrence. Hayah means "existed" or "was" in Hebrew. say of their priests. As a religious symbol it may have been woven by intermixing red & blue threads in the towels and garments. The symbolic image (“IAU”) consisted of a leading character “I” symbolizing the male and a trailing character “U” symbolizing the female half. which reunited the male and female halves. if I am not mistaken.the dye must be considered as a pure dye. when on vacant days they abstain from the temples and keep themselves retired. as the Thessalians even to this day. as denying plurality and rejecting multitude. as Homer. Now PIE-religion applied a standard name Diaus for their creator god. For he is called Apollo. Ehyeh asher ehyeh is generally interpreted to mean I am that I am. 7 Source: I Am that I Am . At the central position a vowel “A” had been installed to symbolize the divine joint. Pure is the unmixed color. It is therefore always requisite for that which is incorruptible and pure to be one and unmixed. but others counter that it may simply sound similar as intended by God. Purple however may also be mixed from red and blue. It stems from the Hebrew conception of monotheism that God exists by himself." as is the case for its final occurrence in Zechariah 8:8. Mixed colors = Corruption Yes. and Ieïos. which always have been painted in genuine red. "ehyeh" is the first person singular imperfect form. If extracted from the snails – yes . said it was “polluted” by the dye. and now Plutarch is repeating:. Sharing red.

The singular vowel may ad lib be chosen to be an “A”. they were generally not anthropomorphic. Any of these may comfortably fit into the monotheistic scheme. Although the early Roman gods were in some senses personal. which has been identified as the imperial dye. divine symbol.Originally the central character had been restricted to “A”. which easily may be identified as the “E”vowel at Apollo's temple. OK. The letters that do this in Hebrew are ‫ א‬aleph. unmixed and pure color. IHVH By applying the Matres Lectionis we may interpret IHVH as a vowel combination IU. In this concept the central vowel may be considered to symbolize unity. In analogy to IU-piter Dyeus itself contains a male I-root and a female Uroot for the divine name. ‫ ה‬he. These omissions veiled the symbolism in the divine names and the original unifying force of a common PIE-religion and -language. whose name shares the Indo-European root *Iou (→ dyeu) with the Greek Zeus (dyeus) and the Sanskrit dyaus (“the sky”). whereas in Italian (Dio) and Spanish (Dios) languages a central character “O” has been chosen Iuppiter (Jupiter) The supreme Roman god was Iuppiter (Jupiter). . The Greek Zeus (dyeus) The Greek Zeus (dyeus) applied a central vowel “E”. Some of the PIE-peoples considered the central vowel as sacred and did not allow to speak or write down the central character. red or scarlet element the vowel U as a female. an “O” or an “E”. but the concept does support Plutarch's monotheistic concept. “E” and “O”. represented by one singular vowel A. The mixed color scheme for the male red I and female blue U results in purple. resulting in a male I-root and a female Uroot for the divine name. At a central position Zeus however preserves the “E”-character as a singular and neutral. In the spelling of Hebrew and some other Semitic languages. The Romans however probably considered purple dye as a genuine. The central character “E” is still available in Provencal and French (in the divine name Dieu). The yod and waw in particular are more often vowels than they are consonants. The elements are: • • • the vowel I as a male. ‫ ו‬waw (or vav) and ‫ י‬yod (or yud). the matres lectionis refer to the use of certain consonants to indicate a vowel. Iuppiter originated as a vocative compound of the Old Latin vocative *Iou and pater ("father") and came to replace the Old Latin nominative case *Ious. unifying the male and the female elements I and U as a joint. O or E. Others refused to document any of the equally sacred vowels. which allowed the divine names to interchange the central characters “A”. this is no proof. blue element the vowel E as an androgynous or neutral joint between the I and U. U and A as the fundamental alphabetic characters (page VI). 8 Das Runen Wörterbuch by Udo Waldemar Dieterich – (1844) who describes I. but in later eras the vowels “E” and “O” have been added8. Joining the male and female in a matrimonial unity definitely may be considered as a monotheistic concept. Originally the Roman deity Iuppiter applied a central character “O”. symbolizing IU. In IU-piter the Romans eliminated the central O-vowel.

In the myth. who was the Egyptian Iu. however. and only named El in later Hebrew. “ 9 Source: El (deity) 10 English and Globish . Mexican Ao.134). When this myth formed it was not known that one part of the planet was in night and one in day. in the ruins of the royal archive of the Ebla civilization. are often explained as following. 26. Dyak Iaouh. day. Chaldean Iao-Heptaktis. Toda Au. 4 see the details and the image in : E . Sun and Moon Also in Northwest Semitic the typical belief and thought for El is that he controls the Moon and the Sun. In the Divina commedia. not the race. Greek Ia. Cornish Iau. Manx Iee. that will account for the Jews who emigrated to the ends of the earth. Dante contradicts this by saying that God was called I in the language of Adam. Welsh Iau (greater and lesser). night. Hungarian Iao.Optimized Linguistic Designs 11 From: Ancient Egypt – The Light of the World (Vol. 1-page 501) by Gerald Massey 12 This probably correlates to the word EI and the letter E at Apollo's temple as described by Plutarch in Of the word EI engraven over the gate of apollo's temple at delphi. Hebrew IaoSabaoth. When it is night. in the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh in Syria dated to 2300 BC. Dante assumed that Adam could only have made an exclamation of joy. According to church fathers of early Christianity. Egypto-gnostic Ieou (greater and lesser).The Morals. Chinese Iaou. night. Latin Jupiter and Jove. The results. while he controls them they often fight for a place as his favorite.El9 The word El was found at the top of a list of gods as the Ancient of gods or the Father of all gods. and for the names of the Jewish god. and IE12. Nicobar Islands Eewu. the Sun has beaten the Moon. which at the same time was addressing his Creator. . Massey's simplified Explanation10 But why so difficult if Massey explains IE as another coding name for IAU11: “It is the religious community. day. Assyrian Iau. El was the first Hebrew name of God. When it is day. Phoenician Iao. Hebrew Iah. vol.of the E-symbol Engraven Over the Gate of Apollos Temple at Delphi . Polynesian Iho-Iho. the Moon has beaten the sun. Is Epsilon a symbol for the divine name El? Dante Alighieri Dante Alighieri in his De vulgari eloquentia suggests that the name El was the first sound emitted by Adam: While the first utterance of humans after birth is a cry of pain. but before the confusion of tongues (Paradiso.

The vowel has been explained as a monotheistic concept Thou art one. 1-page 501) by Gerald Massey 14 This probably correlates to the word EI and the letter E at Apollo's temple as described by Plutarch in Of the word EI engraven over the gate of apollo's temple at delphi. inscribed above the entrance portal. not the race. and for the names of the Jewish god. “ This response seems to be the valid answer to the enigma of the E-inscription. vol. which tended later to be attributed to particular sages. But why so difficult if Massey explains IE as another coding name for IAU13: “It is the religious community. The shortest of all aphorisms is the E-vowel. and IE14. Chinese Iaou.The Morals. Cornish Iau. Chaldean Iao-Heptaktis.of the E-symbol Engraven Over the Gate of Apollos Temple at Delphi 15 See: The Hermetic Codex . Polynesian Iho-Iho. resembling the biblical response I Am that I Am to Moses. . that will account for the Jews who emigrated to the ends of the earth. when he asked for God's name (Exodus 3:14). Manx Iee. Hungarian Iao. Nicobar Islands Eewu. Egypto-gnostic Ieou (greater and lesser). Welsh Iau (greater and lesser). Simultaneously the E-concept may also be the valid answer to the enigma of the ieu-pronouns and the Dieu-names in Provencal language15. Assyrian Iau. Hebrew IaoSabaoth. who was the Egyptian Iu. Hebrew Iah. we must consider the aphorisms as serious concepts. Dyak Iaouh. 13 From: Ancient Egypt – The Light of the World (Vol. Latin Jupiter and Jove. Toda Au.Conclusion Even if the three maxims set up on the Delphian temple were popular proverbs. Mexican Ao. Greek Ia. Phoenician Iao. 4 see the details and the image in : E .

Among other things epsilon signifies the number 5. In archaic Greek writing. In ancient times.Appendix: The Epsilon and He The letter Ε16 was taken over from the Phonician letter He ( ) when Greeks first adopted alphabetic writing. "The actual authorship of the three maxims set up on the Delphian temple may be left uncertain. In the classical era. the horizontal bars always faced in the direction of writing. Most likely they were popular proverbs." 16 Source: Epsilon . Archaic writing often preserves the Phoenician form with a vertical stem extending slightly below the lowest horizontal bar. the origin of these phrases was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece. through the influence of more cursive writing styles. Like other Greek letters. though ancient as well as modern scholars have doubted the legitimacy of such ascriptions. the shape was simplified to the current E glyph. its shape is often still identical to the Phoenician letter. According to one pair of scholars. but just like in Phoenician. it could face either leftwards or rightwards ( ). depending on the current writing direction. Plutarch's essay on the meaning of the "E at Delphi" is the only literary source for the inscription. which tended later to be attributed to particular sages.

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