January 29 - February 4, 2017: Issue 298


Looking across former residential area to landing stage and old commercial harbour (now silted up)..


by George Repin
Although only a small rocky island of about 3 square Kilometres (5 Kms. long and 1,300m. wide) Delos is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece.  It lies near the centre of the Cyclades Archipelago in the Aegean Sea just south of Mykanos.  It is devoid of vegetation and its highest elevation (Kynthos) is 112m.

Plan of Ancient Sites

Ancient stone huts found on the island indicate that it was inhabited in the 3rd millennium BCE. However it was not until the 8th century BCE that the site began to take on a religious significance in the wider Greek world and by the time Odyssey was written (c.700 BCE) it had taken its place in Olympian Greek mythology as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis (although it is sometimes maintained that Artemis was born on Ortygia).

View towards landing stage from near the Temple of Isis

The theatre which seated 5000 people. (N.B. Group of tourists for scale).

The House of Hermes . (N.B. figures in the foreground for scale).

In an attempt to make Delos suitable for the proper worship of the gods a number of purifications were undertaken by the Athenian state – the first in the 6th century BCE when all graves within sight of the Temple of Apollo were dug up and moved to another island - and again in the 5th century BCE when the island was completely cleared of dead bodies.  It was decreed that no one should be allowed to give birth or to die on the island – a prohibition which continues to this day. Visitors may not stay on the island overnight and must leave by the late afternoon.

Delos was first excavated by a team of French archaeologists (Ècole francaise d’Athènes) from 1873 CE when the extent of the religious site became apparent.  Their excavations continue to this day, progressively disclosing a diverse complex of buildings. Delos is one of the best excavated sites in Greece, on a par with Delphi and Olympia, but possibly more extensive.

Stoa of Antigonas Gonetas (3rd Cent. BCE). Rooms for housing representatives sent to the annual festivals.

In 166 BCE, when the Romans made Delos a free port, it assumed a great commercial significance and became the centre of the slave trade with the largest slave market in the region.

In 1990 UNESCO included Delos on the World Heritage List citing it as an “exceptionally extensive and rich” archaeological site which “conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port”.

Of the nine marble lions dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos in the 7th century BCE only five, badly weatherworn, survive.  The originals were moved to the Delos Museum in 1999 and replaced by replicas which now stand on the Terrace of the Lions of Delos, where they had created a monumental avenue. 

The Lions of Delos (replicas). The original marble lions moved to Delos Museum as they were badly eroded.

Photographs by George Repin in 2001.  
House of the Dolphins.
Mosaic in the House of the Dolphins.
Mosaic in the House of the Trident.

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses Cape Sounion 

Copyright George Repin 2017. All Rights Reserved.