Mykonos Sights & Monuments - The small rocky islet of Delos is part of the Cyclades and located a few miles south-west of Mykonos, Greece. Explore the secrets of Delos, where according to mythology, the archaeological site of Delos is the birthplace of Apollo, god of music, truth, and light, and his twin sister Artemis, goddess of hunting. The child's mother was Leto, who was seduced by Zeus, as many goddesses, nymphs, and mortals were. When Hera, Zeus wife, learned about Leto's pregnancy, she banned her from all the places on earth so she couldn't give birth. The only place for Leto to give birth was the little island of Delos, then called Ortygia (Quail Island), which wasn't considered part of the earth and which was revealed by Poseidon, who came to help his brother and his brother's lover. This gave the island its name, for Delos means revealed. Because the islands around Delos were lined up in the shape of a circle, the whole group of islands was called the Cyclades. Leto managed to give birth to her twins, Apollo and Artemis, and the island was, from then on, dedicated to the beautiful god. This is the reason why Delos was considered the most important Pan-Hellenic sanctuary during ancient times and that the ancient Greeks built a lot of amazing temples, sanctuaries, and statues on this island called the Sacred Island.
The first inhabitants of the island were the Cares or Phoenicians (3rd millennium BC). In 1100 BC, Delos was inhabited by the Ionians, and it was they who introduced the worship of the god Apollo. The Ionians also managed to develop the island into a powerful commercial and spiritual center (7th century BC). During the 5th century BC, the Athenians organized what they called a purification of the island, forbidding the burials of the dead on it. A new purification followed in the 4th century BC, and this time the Athenians forbade all the births and deaths on the island of Delos, transferring all the dead to the neighboring island of Rhenia, which became a necropolis. After this last purification, a great religious ceremony in favor of Apollo was organized every five years. Then, Delos came under the protection of the Ptolemies of Egypt, successors of Alexander the Great.

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