Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Delos, birthplace of Artemis and Apollo

This afternoon we visited the island of Delos, which is where the Greek myths tell you that the twin children of Zeus, Apollo the Sun God and Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, were born.  The island is in the middle of the Cyclades and held a sacred connotation ever since about 3000 BC.  It's interesting that at that time it was pre-Abraham (I think Abraham lived around 2000 BC or so, although that's hard to know for sure).  But now, after successive civilizations occupied Delos and built upon earlier ruins, the entire island is an archaeological museum.  Very, very interesting, and the ruins there tell of times when cultures mixed.  There are artifacts and inspirations from India.  There was a cache of coins found from over 150 different ancient places.  It was a hub of trade, culture and worship.  So here are some famous remains in Delos--first, the lions given as a gift from the island of Naxos in the Cyclades, and second a floor mosaic in the house of a rich person.  Lions in those days lived in the ancient near East--not in the land now called Greece or in the islands.  We have references to lions in the OT--Samson wrestled with and killed one over a cache of honey (Book of Judges).  Jesus is sometimes called the Lion of Judah.  This is more evidence of the cultural crossroads that was Delos.

Now, about this mosaic.  See the spiral pattern that encircles doubly the center designs?  That's called a double spiral.  It's a symbol of everlasting life for the Greeks--you can keep on tracing that spiral, and the pattern never ends.  It's very similar to the spirals you see today in the art that often expresses spirituality.  Some things never change.

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