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 Location: Cyclades Islands, Greece.  Grid Reference: 37 23' 36" N, 25 16' 16" E.

 

      Delos: (Oracle Centre - The 'Floating Island')).

One of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. Indeed, its location at the centre of the Cyclades gives rise to the theory that the name of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean sea comes from the word, circle or 'kyklos' that form around the island of Delos.

The island is famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis.

As well as being an important archaeological site, Delos is connected geometrically with other important Greek sites and is a part of the 'oracle octave' as proposed by Livvio Stecchini.

 

(Click here for Map with location of Delos)

(Click here for map of Archaeological sites on Delos)

 

 

   Delos: (Δήλος, 'Dilos')

Delos, along with many of the Greek islands was first occupied sometime during the 3rd millennium BCE (5). The importance of the island is made clear in Greek mythology, where it is said to be the birthplace of Apollo, although it functioned as a religious location and sanctuary long before the Greeks decreed it the birthplace of two of their most important gods. A number of "purifications" were executed by the city-state of Athens in an attempt to render the island fit for the proper worship of the Gods. The first took place in the 6th century BC, and was directed by Pisistratus, who ordered that all graves within sight of the temple be dug up and the bodies moved to another nearby island.

Such was the importance of the island that In the 5th century, during the 6th year of the Peloponnesian war and under instruction from the Delphic Oracle, the entire island was purged of all dead bodies and it was decreed that no one should be allowed to either die or give birth on the island due to its sacred importance and to preserve its neutrality in commerce, since no one could then claim ownership through inheritance. Immediately after this purification, the first festival of the Delian games were celebrated there. (Ref: Thucydides, III,104.)

Delos was held in such reverence by most nations, that even the Persians, after having laid waste the other islands, and every where destroyed the temples of the gods, spared Delos; and Datis, the Persian admiral, forbade anchor in the harbour

The Delos oracle was second only to that of Delphi.

 

Chronol0gy of Delos:

Evidence of the first inhabitants of the island is thought to have occurred around 2,800-2,500 B.C. Excavations have discovered the ruins of this pre-historic settlement on the top of the low hill of Mount Kynthos.

The Ionians arrived in the 10th-9th centuries and established Delos as a sanctuary to worship Apollo.

The island reached its climax in the archaic (7th-8th century B.C.) and classical (5th -4th centuries B.C.) period after Hellenes from all over the ancient Greek world gathered there to worship the twin god and goddess Apollo and Artemis, completing the prophesy by Leto.

For much of its history, the island was a thriving commercial port with population estimates onward to a staggering 30,000 people. Under the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C. as many as 10,000 slaves were said to be sold there on some days.

The prosperity of Delos reached an end, following the attack by Mithridates of Pontus, a monarch from Asia Minor, who went to war with Rome and conquered the island in 88 B.C., slaughtered its 20,000 inhabitants, and sailed away with ships loaded with the treasures of the island. (3)

A census of the island in 2001 counted the population at 14 people.

 

Delos in Greek Mythology:

According to mythology, Leto, pursued by the incensed and jealous goddess Hera, wandered from place to place seeking some corner of the earth in which to give birth to her children, the fruit of her union with Zeus, father of the Gods. But all the Islands and cities refused to receive her, afraid of the vengeance of Zeus' deceived consort, whom only a bare rock in the middle of the tempestuous sea dared to defy.

Prior to this event, the island had floated aimlessly in the Aegean, but became anchored in its position by Poseidon who made four granite columns rise out of the sea to anchor it firmly in its present place for the divine birth. This is why the island came to be called Delos, which means 'visible', before which it was a floating, nomadic rock called Ortygia or Adelos (the invisible). 

It is said that it was on Delos that Leto finally bore the twins, Apollo and Artemis under a palm. In return for the sanctuary of the island, she promised that the god she was about to give birth to would turn this dry and barren island into a place of great pilgrimage and bring prosperity to its land.

Her prophesy was fulfilled during the middle of the 1st millennium B.C.

Leto giving birth to the twin gods on Delos: 'The Floating Island'.

It is interesting that Herodoyus made mention of a 'floating island' named Khemmis, at Buto in Egypt (2.156) where Isis is said to have given birth to Horus. On this island there is a Temple of Leto (Wadjet), and also a temple to Apollo, but Herodotus dismissed the claim that it floated as merely the legend of Delos brought to Egypt from Greek tradition. The Romans called Leto "Latona". Note too that the Osireion at Abydoss, contained an artificial floating 'island', associated with Isis through Osiris.

 

The Structures

As well as the thriving slave market and busy harbour port, the island supported a large residential quarters and extensive temples, shrines and centres of purification. In addition, the island's profile was maintained through the Delian Festivals and Games which were held there every 4 years (with a 6,000 - seat amphitheatre still present). It is indeed remarkable that the island was capable of sustaining such prosperity in light of the fact that it has never had any productive capacity for food, timber, and limited natural water sources. What water was naturally available, such as rain water was exploited with an fantastic extensive cistern and aqueduct system, wells, and sanitary drains. (water tanks are still present with capacities of 27,000 litres)

The Pool of the Minoan Fountain is still fed by a spring. A flight of steps with a 5th - 6th century porticoed entrance descends to the pool to a depth of 4m, so that water could be drawn even when the level was low.

The 'Lion terrace', composed of at least nine lions on their haunches which guard the approach along the 'sacred way' in a similar fashion as the sphinxes of Egypt.  (There is a Greek sphinx in the Delos museum)

 

The shrine of Dionysus (Right) is easily recognisable through its several pillars surmounted with large erect phallus.

 

The Oracle of Apollo:

The oracle of Apollo on Delos was only consulted when Apollo made Delos his 'summer residence', for his winter abode was said to be at Patara, a city of Lycia.

The temple of Apollo, was, according to Strabo, (lib. x.) begun by Erysiapthus, the son of Cecrops, who is said to have possessed this island 1558 years B. C.; but it was afterwards much enlarged and embellished at the general charge of all the Grecian states. But Plutarch says, that is was one of the most stately buildings in the universe, and describes its altar, as deserving a place among the seven wonders of the world.

The inscription in this temple, as Aristotle informs us, (Ethic. I. i. c. 9.) was as follows: "Of all things the most beautiful is justice; the most useful is health; and the most agreeable is the possession of the beloved object."

 

 

 

   Delos and the Oracle Octave:

It has been suggested by several authors, Stecchini, Manias, Guichard et.al. that the most sacred Greek and Egyptian temples and oracle centres were located on the basis of geodesy, which included an awareness of longitude and latitude.  This same sacred knowledge-base is also associated to the Eleusian mysteries of ancient Greece.

Livvio Stecchini suggested that the most sacred Oracle centres were each separated by intervals of approximately one degree of latitude, (based on a division of 360) (1). This idea gains weight when one looks at the position of the most important Greek oracles centres, as below:

Dodona (39 32' N. 20 47' E)

Delphi (38 29' N, 22 30' E)

Delos (37 24 N, 25 15 E)

 

The same Eleusian lineage was explored in extent by Frenchman, Xavier Guichard, who discovered a network of 'Eleusian' sites all orientated to pass through a common site called Alaise. He concluded in his great treatise 'Eleusis Alaise', that the name 'Alaise' had Neolithic roots. At the same time Alfred Watkins was beginning his theory of 'Ley-lines', based on the observation of numerous English place names with 'ley' in them. One of Watkins primary 'markers' for ley-lines were megalithic monuments such as Stone-circles, standing stones and churches, many of which are well-known for being built over existing 'pagan' monuments.

 

Eleusis - (38 00 N, 18 00 E)    Alaise - (47 00' N. 5 58' E)

A separation between sites of 9 Latitude and (almost exactly) 6 Longitude.

 

(More about Xavier Guichard)     (View full copy of 'Eleusis Alaise')     (More about the Eleusian Mysteries)

 

This same network of Oracle sites was said to extend to Egypt, both to Behdet, said to be the pre-dynastic capital of Northern Egypt, and more noticeably, to Karnak (Thebes), where Herodotus tells us that oracles were originally sent out to Greece. from which different rules can be seen to apply with the geometric placement of sacred centres showing separations of exact degrees or according to simple geometric constants.

(More about Egyptian Geodesy)

 

Travelling to Delphi in the late 1950s, Jean Richer, professor of literature with a special interest in symbolism, wondered about the connection between Delphi, site of Apollo's main sanctuary and oracle, and Delos, the god's traditional birthplace, as well as Delphi's relationship with Athena, so prominently represented at the sanctuary. While in Athens, insight came in a dream: a figure of Apollo, facing directly away from him, turned slowly through 180 degrees to face him. Awaking, he found a map and drew a straight line joining Delphi, Athens, and Delos, revealing a spatial relationship among these sacred sites.

Over several years Richer continued finding alignments by drawing lines on the map which formed geometric figures, many of which obviously represented projections or correspondences on earth of celestial objects and directions. In fact, "it quickly became clear that the Greeks, like the ancient Mesopotamians and the Egyptians, had wanted to make their country a living image of the heavens." He soon became convinced that Greece had been divided into twelve sectors corresponding to the twelve signs of the zodiac, with Delphi as the centre or omphalos, the "navel" of the Greek mainland. Examining art and artefacts from cities and temples in the pie-shaped sectors, Richer found that, far from containing arbitrary decorations, the images predominantly related to the seasons, solstices, cardinal points, and zodiacal signs corresponding to their particular sector of the Delphic "zodiac."

(Ref: Sacred Geography of the Ancient Greeks: Astrological Symbolism in Art, Architecture, and Landscape by Jean Richer, translated from the French by Christine Rhone, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994, isbn 0-7914-2024-8, paper,

Further investigation revealed a second zodiacal wheel centred on Delos, which furnished the Aegean islands with sacred celestial directions and correspondences; and a third, older wheel also centred on Sardis, capital of Lydia (in present-day Turkey), a city on the same latitude as Delphi. Finally, he found a still more ancient system centred on Ammoneion in the Libyan desert, home of the oracle of Ammon. It shared the north-south axis or 'meridian' with Delos and included such objects as the Sphinx at Giza in its sectors. (4)

The Greek researcher K. Manias, also discovered several clear geometric links between sacred Greek locations.

  (Other Prehistoric Geometric alignments)

(More about Egyptian Geodesy)    (More about English Geodesy)

(Geodesy Homepage)

 

(Ancient Greece Homepage)

 

References:

1). Livio Catullo Stecchini, "Notes on the Relation of Ancient Measures to the Great Pyramid" in Appendix of Peter Tompkins, Secrets of the Great Pyramid (New York: Harper & Row Publishers Perennial Library, 1978)
2). http://www.in2greece.com/blog/2008/05/delos.html
3). http://www.frommers.com/destinations/delos/1653010001.html
4). http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/world/med/me-sbd2.htm
5). http://archaeology.about.com/od/dterms/g/delos.htm

 

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