Friday, October 12, 2012

Delos Island

 One of the many floor mosaic's seen on the island.  This is the House of Dionysus' it is a luxurious 2nd century private house named for the floor mosaic of Dionysus riding a panther.
The Terrace of Lions dedicated to Apollo by the people on Naxos Island shortly before 600 BC, had originally nine to twelve squatting, snarling marble guardian lions along the Sacred Way, today only seven of the original lions remain.

They generally had their water wells built under the beautifully decorated floor mosaic's.

This house was just amazing, 3 floors still standing and in the past it had a 4th.

Cleopatra House, not sure why it is called that, but when I was there a guide told me that they had these outside of the houses and would interchange the head depending on who lived in the house, kind of like a prehistoric way of having house numbers and street names, pretty cool if you ask me.

Delos is one of the most important historical, mythological, and archaeological sites in Greece, just a quick boat ride from Mykonos and part of the Cyclades, no one has lived there since 100 AD.  Remains of a settlement found on top of Mt. Kinthos show that Delos was inhabited since the 3rd millenium BC, that is 5,000 years ago! 

According to Greek mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, the twin offspring of Zeus by Leto. When Leto was discovered to be pregnant, Zeus' jealous wife Hera banished her from the earth, but Poseidon took pity on her and provided Delos (a floating island at the time) as a place for her to give birth in peace.

In order to make the Island fit for worshiping gods and goddesses they would not allow anyone to be born or die on the island, everyone about to do either was shipped off to the closest island, (maybe people didn't have heart attacks back then).

Delos became more prosperous in 166 BC, when it was declared a free port and became the financial and trading center of the Mediterranean. They had a very large slave trade as well as a central banking system on Delos with a variety of foreigners living on the island.

In 88 B.C. it was attacked and the population of 20,000 was either killed or placed in slavery.

Although it has been looted a number of times it is still full of archaeological finds that you can see either while walking around or at the museum, for those of you interested I believe the museum holds one of the largest collection of marble phallus's around.

I found this site more interesting and in better condition than Delphi, it is also worth the extra money to have a guide, they will find you on the boat.

Some more information can be found here

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