During this period the Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle among the Greeks, and she was without doubt the most powerful woman of the classical world.
The oracle is one of the best-documented religious institutions of the classical Greeks.
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Later myths stated that Phoebe or Themis had "given" the site to Apollo, rationalizing its seizure by priests of the new god, but presumably, having to retain the priestesses of the original oracle because of the long tradition.
Apparently Poseidon was mollified by the gift of a new site in Troizen.
Authors who mention the oracle include Aeschylus, Aristotle, Clement of Alexandria, Diodorus, Diogenes, Euripides, Herodotus, Julian, Justin, Livy, Lucan, Nepos, Ovid, Pausanias, Pindar, Plato, Plutarch, Sophocles, Strabo, Thucydides and Xenophon.
Nevertheless, details of how the Pythia operated are missing as authors from the classical period (6th to 4th centuries BC) treat the process as common knowledge with no need to explain.
Robin Lane Fox notes that Cretan bronzes are found at Delphi from the eighth century onwards, and Cretan sculptures are dedicated as late as ca 620–600 BC: ""Dedications at the site cannot establish the identity of its priesthood," he observes, "but for once we have an explicit text to set beside the archaeological evidence." An early visitor to these "dells of Parnassus", at the end of the eighth century, was Hesiod, who was shown the omphalos.
There are also many later stories of the origins of the Delphic Oracle.
One late explanation, which is first related by the 1st century BC writer, Diodorus Siculus, tells of a goat herder named Coretas, who noticed one day that one of his goats, who fell into a crack in the earth, was behaving strangely.
On entering the chasm, he found himself filled with a divine presence and could see outside of the present into the past and the future.
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