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Published: June 22nd 2014
This is by far the most fun I have had writing a blog. The reason is…. I am sitting in a comfortable chair on the deck while our ship is moving through the beautiful Aegean Sea. It is dark, quiet and peaceful. I can hear the water and see stars and distant lights on the shore. We left Turkey yesterday evening and spent the day on Mykonos Island, which is part of Greece.
Our excursion today was to the island of Delos. It was regarded as sacred by the Greeks because it was the birthplace of Apollo and Diana, the god of the sun and the goddess of the moon. They were born in a lake on the very small island. At the time of the destruction of Delos, there were 50,000 inhabitants, a HUGE number for the time....about 30 years before Christ was born. Delos was special in another regard. Because it was the birthplace of 2 important gods, no one was allowed to be born or die on the island. If a citizen was nearing childbirth or death, they were transported to nearby Mykonos.
Delos had temples, houses, mansions, public buildings of marble,
parks, schools, everything you can imagine in a large city. There were traders living there, bankers, politicians, merchants…it was a rich and important place. When the Romans were invading Greece just before the birth of Christ, they hit the island, destroyed the buildings, killed 20,000 people living there and took the rest (about 30,000) as slaves. It is a very sad story.
After the decimation of the island, no one ever came to live there again. What was left of the great buildings was plundered. Marble was used as building materials elsewhere, and anything of real worth was looted. Because so many people lived on such a small island, the buildings were tall…many 4 stories tall!
As the years passed, those buildings collapsed upon themselves, and the rubble soon resembled hills. lt was forgotten….until the 1800’s. Since then, archaeologists from universities all over the world have been painstakingly unearthing the city. As of today, only 10% of the city is unearthed. It takes decades to excavate one building.
I love history, as you probably know. I am going to try to upload several pictures tonight. I don’t have wireless on the
ship, so I will post some pictures of the ship, Delos Island, and Mykonos from my jump drive in the ship’s I-Lounge. As soon as I can, I will post some captions.
For the time-being, use your imagination. These ruins are wonderful, and at the same time sad. I kept picturing families, just like mine, living in these houses, worshipping at the temples, trading in the huge marketplace, going to the schools (they even had music in their curriculum).
I hope you enjoy them. Tomorrow…Athens!
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