Online Encyclopedia

DELOS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 971 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DELOS (mod. Mikra Dili, or Little Delos, to distinguish it from Megali Dili, or Great Delos), an island in the Aegean, the smallest but most famous of the Cyclades, and, according to the ancient be- lief, the spot round which the group arranged itself in a nearly circular form. It is a rugged mass of granite, about 3 M. long and 1 m. to z m. broad, about z m. E. of Megali Dili or Rheneia, and 2 M. W. of Myconus. Towards the centre it rises to its greatest height of 350 ft. in the steep and rocky peak of Mount Cynthus, which, though overtopped by several eminences in the neighbouring islands, is very conspicuous from the surrounding sea. It is now completely destitute of trees, but it abounds with brushwood of lentisk and cistus, and here and there affords a patch of corn-land to the occasional sower from Myconus. I. Archaeology.—Excavations have been made by the French School at Athens upon the island of Delos since 1877, chiefly by Th. Homolle. They have proceeded slowly but systematic-ally, and the method adopted, though scientific and economical, left the site in some apparent confusion, but the debris have more recently been cleared away to a considerable extent. The complete plan of the sacred precinct of Apollo has been recovered, as well as those of a considerable portion of the commerical quarter of Hellenistic and Roman times, of the theatre, of the temples of the foreign gods, of the temples on the top of Mount Cynthus, and of several very interesting private houses. Numerous works of sculpture of all periods have been found, and also a very extensive series of inscriptions, some of them throwing much light upon the subject of temple administration in Greece. The most convenient place for landing is protected by an ancient971 mole; it faces the channel between Delos and Rheneia, and is about opposite the most northerly of the two little islands now called `Peu,uari4pe. From this side the sacred precinct of Apollo is approached by an avenue flanked by porticoes, that upon the seaside bearing the name of Philip V. of Macedon, who dedicated it about 200 B.C. This avenue must have formed the usual approach for sacred embassies and processions; but it is probable that the space to the south was not convenient for marshalling them, since Nicias, on the occasion of his famous embassy, built a bridge from the island of Hecate (the Greater Rhevmatiari) to Delos, in order that the imposing Athenian procession might not miss its full effect. Facing the avenue were the propylaea Walker & ockerell that formed the chief entrance of the precinct.of Apollo. They consisted of a gate faced on the outside with a projecting portico of four columns, on the inside with two columns in antis. Through this one entered a large open space, filled with votive offerings and containing a large exedra. The sacred road continued its course to the north-east corner of this open space, with the precinct of Artemis on its west side, and, on its east side, a terrace on which stood three temples. The southernmost of these was the temple of Apollo, but only its back was visible from this side. Though there is no evidence to show to whom the other two were dedicated, the fact that they faced west seems to imply that they were either dedicated to heroes or minor deities, or that they were treasuries. Beyond them a road branches to the right, sweeping round in a broad curve to the space in front of the temple of Apollo. The outer side of this curve is bounded by a row of treasuries, similar to those found at Delphi and Olympia, and serving to house the more costly offerings of various islands or cities. The space to the east and south of the temple of Apollo could also be approached directly from the propylaea of entrance, by turning to the right through a passage-like building with a porch at either end. Just to the north of this may be seen the basis of the colossal statue of Apollo dedicated by the Naxians, with its well-known archaic inscription; two large fragments of the statue itself may still be seen a little farther to the north. The temple of Apollo forms the centre of the whole precinct, IDELOS
End of Article: DELOS
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MARION DELORME (c. 1613-165o)
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