The sacred island of Delos

I spent a few hours on soil that has seen millennia of fascinating human history. It’s well worth reflecting on it

by Massimo Pigliucci


The story goes that one day Zeus seduced and impregnated yet another mortal woman, Leto. Hera, Zeus wife, was royally pissed off. As usual. So Hera banished Leto from earth. Zeus then implored his brother, Poseidon, to raise from the underwater world an island in the middle of the Aegean, changing it from invisible (Adelos) to visible (Delos), and allowing Leto to give birth there to the twins Apollo (the Sun) and Artemis (the Moon).

At the least, such is the legend. The history of Delos, which I was lucky to visit a few weeks ago, is just as fascinating. And it tells us much more about the human condition than yet another tale about the philandering Zeus.

Delos is located near the center of the archipelago of the Cyclades, a half-hour boat ride from the nearby party island of Mykonos. The Cyclades have been populated for a long, long time, and sure enough archeologists have discovered stone huts on Delos that date back to the third millennium BCE. … (continue at Medium)

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