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Sanctuary of Apollo at Delos

Archaeological Development

In 1929-30 the remains of the three temples of Apollo were exhaustively examined.

The ruins of three temples to Apollo make up the sanctuary. The most northern is the Porinos Naos, built by the Athenians in the third quarter of the 6th century possibly replacing an earlier structure erected by the Naxians. It takes its name from the poros which its built from. Only the foundations remain a rectangle divided into two parts. Has a vestibule on its west side within the entrance, and six ionic columns and a sekos. The adjacent temple, also built by the Athenians following the purification of 425 BC was of Pentelic marble and was dedicated on the occasion of the Quinquennial Theoria in 417 BC by Nicias. The amphiprostyle temple in the Doric style measured 17 x 11m. On the two narrow ends 6 columns rested in a high raised base with four steps, and it had a prodomos with four square pillars between the antae. A wall separated the sekos from the prodomos; on either side of the entrance were two windows. Within the sekos was a semicircular base of blue-grey Eleusinian marble on which stood seven statues, one of which must have been that of Apollo; this temple was known as The Oikos of the Seven.

The third and largest temple, known as the temple of the Delians is that which dominated the sanctuary. Its contruction began on the founding of the Athenian League of 478 BC. It is the only peripteral temple on Delos, having six Doric columns on the narrow ends and thirteen on the long sides. The entrance is on the west side; internally there was a pronaos, a single chamber sekos and an opisthodomos with two columns in antis. Building came to a halt when the Leagues’ treasury was transferred to Athens in the middle of the fifth century, with the result that the Delians only completed its construction at the end of the fourth century BC, though they did not put the finishing touches to the decoration of the architectural members.


The Athenian hero Ion was said to have founded the colony of Delos according to Athenian sources.

Ritual Activity

Some of the sculptured decoration from the acroteria survives, now in the Museum. The best known piece is from the eastern pediment of the Oikos of the Seven. Boreas abducting Oreithyia. A second, more fragmentary piece, again from an acroterion of the west pediment also survives, depicting Eos abducting Cephalos.

Historical Significance

The Athenian hero Ion was said to have founded the colony of Delos according to Athenian sources. Delos was very important to the Athenians as the site of the treasury of the Delian League, the centre of the Athenian Empire. This is shown through the fact that the Temple of the Delians was delayed when the treasury was moved to Athens and the linking mythical stories Athenian sources say they shared with Delos.

Who used the site, and where did they come from? 

As a major port (and later a free port under the Romans) the island was visited by many people from different areas this is shown through the diverse number of temples to foreign gods on Delos.

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Delos is an island situated of the coast of Mykonos.

Site Plan

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