Delos (dēˈlôs) [key], island, c.1 sq mi (2.6 sq km), SE Greece, in the Aegean Sea, smallest of the Cyclades. In Greek mythology, Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis on Delos; and the island was particularly sacred to Apollo. Delos was of great commercial and political importance in antiquity. The temple of Apollo there was the seat of the treasury of the Delian League until it was removed (454 B.C.) to Athens. In the 2d cent. B.C. Delos had a flourishing slave market which continued to thrive even after a slave rebellion c.130 B.C. In 88 B.C. the island was sacked by Mithradates VI of Pontus; it never recovered and Delos was abandoned toward the end of the 1st cent. B.C. It is virtually uninhabited, but attracts many tourists. Excavations conducted since the 1870s by the French School (Athens) have revealed remains of temples, commercial buildings, theaters, private houses, and numerous inscriptions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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