For the British novelist Lawrence Durrell, the “pure atmosphere” of Delphi, high up on the southern slopes of Mount Parnassus, shimmered with oracular mysteries. Revered by the ancient Greeks as the omphalos (navel) of the world, Delphi was home to the shrine of Apollo, where priestess-soothsayers issued prognostications inspired by the god of light and learning. Many buildings—including the fourth-century B.C. Doric temple shown at left—were erected near the shrine to serve the needs of the supplicants, who came to Delphi from all over Greece.