|At Ancient Delos|
|Carvings at base of pillar|
|Ram carvings at base of pillar|
|Seeking shade in the heat|
|Partially restored house|
|Temple of Apollo at Ancient Delos. Note statue remains in center.|
|A window in time|
|Aaron at top of mountain|
|Zach at top of mountain|
Although Delos was colonized by the Ionians in the 10th century B.C., its status as a center of worship arose only in the 8th century B.C. After it emerged untouched from the Persian Wars, Delos became the focal point of the Delian Legue. During these years, the Athenians ordered at least 2 'purifications' of the island in Apollo's honor. The second 'purification' in 426 B.C. decreed that no one should give birth or die on its grounds -- an order that worshipers took retroactively. They exhumed graves and moved bodies to a 'purification pit' on nearby Rheneia island. After Sparta defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian War, Delos enjoyed independence and wealth. This prosperity soured, however, during the Roman occupation in the 2nd century B.C., when Delos became the slave-trading center of Greece. By the end of the 2nd century A.D., after successive sackings, the island was left nearly deserted. Today its only residents are thousands of lizards and a few members of the French School of Archaeology, which has been excavating here since 1873
|Mosaic tiles on floor in Trident house|
We were impressed with the remains of the Dexamene, an extremely deep and large cistern beside the amphitheater. The cistern had 9 huge arched compartments visible down in a valley-like indention in the mountainside. There was a lot of water in the cistern on the day of our visit, even though there had been no rain here for months. At the time the island was inhabited there was a large lake for a fresh water supply. This lake was drained in the early 1900s in efforts to prevent mosquitoes carrying malaria. When Aaron and Zachary hiked to the top of the mountain, they saw a very, very deep cistern with a lone huge tree growing in the middle of it. There was no mention of this in our guide pamphlets.
All in all, a pretty darn impressive ancient archaeological site with very interesting history. But one day was enough for us.
|Pasta display on streetside|
|All shapes & colors of fresh pasta|
|Mosaic tiles on floor|
|Sitting in amphitheater|
And most especially impressed with the mosaic tiles on some of the floors and walls of the 'mansions' and temples. Colors were still visible on the mosaic tiles -- laid up to 3500 years ago.
|Note 3500 yr-old wall plasters & floor mosaic tiles|
|Mosaic floor tiles|
|Mosaic floor tiles exposed to full sun and still in place after 3000 years.|