The Greek Island of Delos is a unique example of Aegean civilization in the 3rd century BC. In the Palaeo-Christian era the island was the seat of bishopric of Cyclades which reigned over Mykonos, Keos, Syros, Kythnos and Seriphos.

Delos you gotta go here
Delos you gotta go here

The Greek Island of Delos is a unique example of Aegean civilization in the 3rd century BC. In the Palaeo-Christian era the island was the seat of bishopric of Cyclades which reigned over Mykonos, Keos, Syros, Kythnos and Seriphos. From 7th BC onwards Delos was one of the principal Pan Hellenic Sanctuaries until the pillage by Athenodoros.

The island was the center of the Feast of Delians that was celebrated every may until 316BC. During the feast, there were gymnastics, musical competitions theatrical productions, equestrian, banquets and theatrical productions.

Surprisingly, Delos is not as large in size as it is in fame. It measures 5 kilometers from north to south and 1.3 kilometers from east to west. According to legend, it was here that son of Zeus and Leto, Apollo, was born. Just like Delphi, Delos was a major sanctuary that was dedicated to Apollo. Apollo was described the Titan god par excellence and was one of the most important Hellenic Pantheon.

History

The Naxians, Parians, and Athenians disputed over this site that was dedicated to Apollo around whom everything in the island revolved.

  • 454 BC - the treasure of the Delian Confederacy, which replaced the Amphictyonia, was moved to Athens
  • 426 BC - a second purification decree forbade being born or dying at Delos. Pregnant women and terminally ill persons were transported to the island of Rheneia. The decision, motivated by religious reasons, was not without political considerations.
  • 422 BC - in a move to strengthen Athenian domination, the Delians were deported en masse. Except for some short reprieves and truces, their exile lasted until 314, when Delos regained its independence in principle and again became the center of an island confederation that was tolerated and more or less controlled by the Lagides of Egypt and later by the Macedonians.
  • 2nd and 1st Century BC - It became a very important cosmopolitan Mediterranean port, reaching outstanding levels. The average population is estimated to have been 25,000.
  • 166 BC - the Delians were again ousted, this time by the Roman Senate, which wished to supplant trade at Rhodes by making Delos a free port. It was a landmark decision that signaled the end of a period dominated by religious and political considerations and the beginning of a phase of economic expansion as had presaged the extent of diplomatic and commercial relations reflected in the honorific decrees of the late 3rd century BC in favor of the rich foreign benefactors of the sanctuary.
  • 69BC - The great era of maritime trade ended only in 69 BC with the sacking of the island by Athenodoros, the last of a series of disastrous events.

The city was abandoned in the 6th century, captured successively by:

  • Byzantines (727)
  • Slavs (769)
  • Saracens (821)
  • Venetians
  • The Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem
  • The Ottoman Turks

Delos was turned into a quarry site. The columns of its temples were consumed by the lime kilns, the walls of its houses left in ruins.

Today, the island is one of the major tourist draws in the Greece islands. Make sure you get a chance to see the remaining ruins of the great Aegean Civilization in Delos


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