October 8 - 14, 2017: Issue 332


Overview of the temple site.


By George Repin

Located on the coast of Ionia in Aydin Province of what is now modern Turkey Didyma was, after Delphi, the most renowned oracle of the Hellenic world. Mentioned in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo it was established before literacy.  It was the largest and most significant sanctuary in the area of the great city of Miletus.  It contained a temple and oracle of Apollo, the Didymaion.

Plan of the Temple of Apollo.

Visitors to Didyma followed a Sacred Way, about 17Kms. in length, beside which were ritual waystations and statues of male and female figures dating back to the 6th Cent. BCE, some of which are now in the British Museum having been taken away in the 19th Cent. by a British archaeologist.

Entrance staircase. Note seated figures to recognise the scale.

The Branchidae family, who claimed descent from Branchos a youth beloved of Apollo, administered the sanctuary until the destruction of the Temple of Apollo by Darius’ Persians in 493 BCE.  Utterances by a priestess sitting above the sacred spring were interpreted by the Branchidae. With the destruction of the Temple the spring dried up and the oracle was silenced.

The adyton of the temple with the sacred spring at the far end.

Stone-carved Medusa heads.

Figure of a man to demonstrate the size of the stone-carved Medusa head.

Some restoration of the Temple started in 334 BCE.  It was reported that the spring started to flow again after Alexandra the Great in that year passed through the area, reconsecrated the oracle and placed administration of the site in the hands of the city of Miletus.  Reconstruction began in earnest in 300 BCE. It is known that three different contractors worked on the project but it was never completed.

Recent interpretation of inscriptions found on stones on the site have provided an insight into the costs involved in the reconstruction. 
For example:
  • One column would require one mason working alone 20,000 hours to complete
  • The daily income of a stonemason was 2 drachmas (equivalent to approx. 8.6 grams of silver
  • Accordingly, the bare craftsmanship cost of one column would have been 20,000 workdays x 8.6 grams of silver = 172 kilograms (379 lbs of silver).

Massive columns.

Stone-carved bull's head.

Part of a fallen decorative frieze.

(Photographs by George Repin in 1997)

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   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots   Bonifacio, Corsica  Autumn in New England USA  The Great Ocean Road  Pompeii 

Copyright George Repin 2017. All Rights Reserved.