“The soul, being eternal, after death is like a caged bird that has been released. If it has been a long time in the body, and has become tame by many affairs and long habit, the soul will immediately take another body and once again become involved in the troubles of the world. The worst thing about old age is that the soul’s memory of the other world grows dim, while at the same time its attachment to things of this world becomes so strong that the soul tends to retain the form that it had in the body. But that soul which remains only a short time within a body, until liberated by the higher powers, quickly recovers its fire and goes on to higher things.”
~ Plutarch (The Consolation, Moralia)
Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town which lies approximately eighty kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region known as Boeotia. He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, and was initiated into the mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. However, his duties as the senior of the two priests of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi (where he was responsible for interpreting the auguries of the Pythia) apparently occupied little of his time. He led an active social and civic life while producing an extensive body of writing, much of which is still extant.
Plutarch spent the last thirty years of his life serving as priest in Delphi. He thus connected part of his work with the sanctuary of Apollo, the processes of oracle giving and the personalities which lived or traveled there. One of his most important works is the “Why Pythia does not give oracles in verse”