I visited Delos in 2017 and can say without reserve that it requires a minimum of 2 full days to see. 1 day to see, the 2nd day to absorb what you see. I filmed what I could with my cell phone, but felt like filming was taking away from my experience; as such I don’t have as much footage as is necessary to really show off the history of Delos.
The video below starts off with the House of the Lake which dates to the 3rd or 2nd century BCE. It was originally a 2-story home, with columns designed in the Ionic order of architecture. It has a beautiful floor mosaic with geometric motif surrounding a central rosette. It was near a sacred lake (drained in 1926), where Apollo’s sacred swans & geese waded. The home also had a spectacular view of the sea.
Next is the House of Hermes; an affluent home built on 4 graduated levels along the hill slope. It was one of several prominent affluent homes on Delos, each having intricate floor mosaics and, from what I saw, Ionic-style columns.
After that is footage of the Pool of the Minoans, also called the Minoan Fountain. It dates back to the 6th century BCE, when it was covered by a hipped roof supported by granite walls on 3 sides. The south side was a monumental façade which gave access to the fountain through a portico lined with small Doric columns. Nine steps led down to the level of the water, which you’ll see me take in the video. The column you see in the video on the 3rd lowest step to my right, added further support to the hipped roof. I don’t know what the ancients called this enshrined pool of water, but I guarantee it wasn’t “Fountain of the Minoans” or any similar translation thereof.
Next is the cistern of Inopos. Inopos was a Delian river god of a stream given his name. The spring-fed stream was believed to connect underground to the Nile in Egypt. As such, it’s waters were used exclusively for ceremonies at the Egyptian sanctuaries on Delos.
Following footage is of the Temple of Isis. Isis is the Hellenized name of her original name, Ist. All Egyptian goddesses’ names ended in “t”. This temple was built in the 2nd century BCE (early Roman period). The Romans venerated Isis along with Serapis, and Anubis. Serapis was invented by Ptolemy I Soter for political reasons, but ended up being a big hit in the pre-Christian Roman world.
Next is the Koinon of the Poseidoniasts. Under the Romans, Delos briefly became a major commercial center. Merchants from Beirut (one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the world), built a central peristyle court surrounded by temples dedicated to Herakles, Rome, and Baal, as well as various rooms used for business an leisure. Baal was a primary god from Canaan, and closely associated with Poseidon. In the ancient world (unlike today), gods from other “religions” (in actuality there was no word for “religion” in ancient Greece) were respected by all. If your chief god is Zeus, but you’re in Egypt, then it behooved you to pay respect to the local primary Egyptian god or gods rather than faraway Zeus who wasn’t the chief god in your current locale. Merchants from Beirut believed Baal/Poseidon would protect their shipping interests; hence the construction of the guild at this site.
Next is a montage of footage I took while walking down various streets between homes and other structures.
Following this is footage of the Terrace of the Lions; built by Naxians, and dedicated to Apollo, who they believed was born on Delos. These are not the original lions. The lions I filmed inside the museum following this footage are the original marble lions, though some of the original 9 (or 12. or some say 16) are missing or destroyed; one of the original lions now sits in front of the Arsenal in Venice. It was taken from Delos by Francesco Morosini in the mid 1690s CE.
Next is a statue of Artemis with a deer. The statue was originally located in the Theater District where the most affluent homes were located.
Next are the two columns with phalluses; the symbol of the Dionysiac cult. These stood in front of the Stoivadeion, also called the Exedra of Dionysus, or simply, the Temple of Dionysus.
Then is footage of Mount Cynthus, where the ancients believed Apollo was born.
Next are some walls with painted plaster still on them. This gives us an idea of how beautiful the homes must have looked in their heyday.
After this I walked down a path to the extreme northern edge of the archeological site to what I think was another rather affluent home. It appears to have a packed gravel courtyard with a well. Two columns remain standing, so I imagine it was once covered, or partially covered.
Next is some footage from the Agora of the Competaliasts which is the first thing you see when arriving on Delos. It’s directly adjacent the Sacred Harbor. The round marble monument I walk around near the center of the market square was dedicated to Hermes; the god of trade, merchants, commerce, etc. Hermes’ caduceus is often ironically used as the symbol of medicine today (rather than the rod of Asclepius). I say ironic, because in this country, medicine is more about money than health… in my humble opinion.
The video ends overlooking the House of Inopos. There is so much more on Delos, but I simply stopped recording at one point.. Trying to capture everything on my cell phone was starting to take away from the experience of being there.. again, this site requires 2 full days to see.