Their great wealth enabled them during their exile to enhance their reputation and secure the favour of the Delphian Apollo by rebuilding the temple after its destruction by fire in J48.
They were the chief priests of the state, and had to perform certain sacrifices and to maintain communication with the Delphian sanctuary, which always exercised great authority in Spartan politics.
This cult probably originated in Crete, whence the god in the form of a dolphin led his Cretan worshippers to the Delphian shore, where he bade them erect an altar in his honour.
There is a tradition that the Delphian oracle was consulted as early as the period of the kings during the reign of Tarquinius Superbus, and in 4 3 o a temple was dedicated to Apollo on the occasion of a pestilence, and during the Second Punic War (in 212) the Ludi Apollinares were instituted in his honour.
But when it was discovered that he had bribed the Delphian priestess to substantiate his charge he was himself obliged to flee; he went first to Thessaly and then to Arcadia, where he attempted to foment an anti-Spartan rising.
The Delphian poetess Boeo attributed to him the introducion of the cult of Apollo and the invention of the epic metre.