Saturday, June 15 2024

Rheneia, the other Delos


Rheneia, a small island next to Delos, associated with the history of the births and deaths of its famous neighbouring island, but which also served as a place of quarantine up to the 19th and early 20th centuries, is the focus of the five-year fieldwork program of the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities, which began in 2019.


Rheneia (or “Megales Deles”/“Great Deles” as it is called by the people of Mykonos, a name indicating the timeless link between the two islands) is nowadays divided into “lots,” ie into rural areas which the Municipality of Mykonos leases to Mykonians for agricultural and livestock use.

In antiquity Rheneia had been a place with a strange history. Also known as Ortygia, according to legend it was the birthplace of Apollo’s twin sister Artemis. The southern part, (“Kato Deles”) belonged to the territory of ancient Delos and functioned as its inhabitants’ place of birth and death.

In the same part, the sanctuary of Delios Apollo owned agricultural land that was leased to private individuals, making large profits, according to Delian inscriptions. It also had a sanctuary dedicated to Artemis. In the northern part of Rheneia (today’s “Epano Deles”), was the city of Rheneia, with its cemeteries, farmhouses, numerous sources of wealth and its sanctuaries.

Read more: Archaeology News Network