Saturday, October 3, 2015

Delos Birthplace of Artemis


Delos – Birthplace of Offspring of Zeus/Leto

According to the Greek mythology, Delos seemed to be the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, the twin offspring of Zeus by Leto. Zeus jealous wife Hera had banished Leto from the earth when she found that she was pregnant. However, it was Poseidon who had taken pity on her and had provided Delos as a place for her to give birth to her offspring in peace.

The island of Delos near Mykonos towards the centre of the Cyclades archipelago was one of the most important mythological archaeological as well as historical sites in Greece. The excavations in the island is said to be the most extensive in the Mediterranean.

The excavations under the direction of the French School at Athens with several of the artifacts discovered are put on display at the Archaeological Museum of Delos as well as the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Delos holds a position as a holy sanctuary for millennium prior to Olympian Greek mythology. The horizon portrays the two conical mounds from its Sacred Harbour which have known landscapes sacred to goddess in several other sites, one of which retains its pre-Greek name, Mount Kynthos which is crowned with a sanctuary of Zeus.

Festival Hosted in Honour of Apollo/Artemis/Leto

The Greek island of Delos was a major sacred site for the ancient Greeks, second in importance only to Delphi. The Sacred Island at its height was covered with various temples and sanctuaries which were dedicated to various gods and presently it is a captivating site placed two miles from Mykonos.

The island was considered so sacred that at one point of time, that no one was permitted to be born or to die there and those about to do so were rushed off to a nearby islet of Rinia. As described in Homeric Hymn 3, the festival, Delia had been hosted here in honour of Apollo, Artemis and Leto.

Delos by the 7th century became the political capital of the Amphictionic League and the Athenians joined the league gaining control. This led to trouble for the Delian daily till around 315 BC when the Egyptians became rulers over the Aegean Sea.

Prosperous in Late Hellenistic/Roman Times

Deloswas said to be prosperous in late Hellenistic and Roman times, when it had been declared as a free port becoming the financial as well as trading centre of the Mediterranean. Towards 100 BC, the island had a population of 30,000 including foreigners from places as far as Rome, Syria and Egypt. Each individual group had its own shrine and lived in harmony inspite of their differences.

However in 88 BC the attack of Mithridates, the king of Pontus, on the unfortified island revolted against the Roman rule. The entire population of 20,000 were killed or sold in slavery while the sanctuary treasures were burgled and the city had been razed to the ground.

The Roman had partly rebuilt the city but restoration had been prevented due to continuous pirate attacks. In 66 BC, a Roman envoy built defensive wall around the city but by then Delos was onits way out and was slowly abandoned. By the 2nd century AD, Pausanius recorded that it was occupied only by the temple guards.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.