Dolphin is a common name of aquatic mammals within the order Cetacea, arbitrarily excluding whales and porpoises. The term dolphin refers to the extant families Delphinidae, Platanistidae and Pontoporiidae, the extinct Lipotidae. There are 40 extant species named as dolphins. Dolphins range in size from the 1.7 m long and 50 kg Maui's dolphin to the 9.5 m and 10 t killer whale. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism, they have two limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not quite as flexible as seals, some dolphins can travel at 55.5 km/h. Dolphins use their conical shaped teeth to capture fast moving prey, they have well-developed hearing, adapted for both air and water and is so well developed that some can survive if they are blind. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths, they have a layer of blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water. Although dolphins are widespread, most species prefer the warmer waters of the tropic zones, but some, like the right whale dolphin, prefer colder climates.
Dolphins feed on fish and squid, but a few, like the killer whale, feed on large mammals, like seals. Male dolphins mate with multiple females every year, but females only mate every two to three years. Calves are born in the spring and summer months and females bear all the responsibility for raising them. Mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for a long period of time. Dolphins produce a variety of vocalizations in the form of clicks and whistles. Dolphins are sometimes hunted in places such as Japan, in an activity known as dolphin drive hunting. Besides drive hunting, they face threats from bycatch, habitat loss, marine pollution. Dolphins have been depicted in various cultures worldwide. Dolphins feature in literature and film, as in the film series Free Willy. Dolphins are sometimes trained to perform tricks; the most common dolphin species in captivity is the bottlenose dolphin, while there are around 60 captive killer whales. The name is from Greek δελφίς, "dolphin", related to the Greek δελφύς, "womb".
The animal's name can therefore be interpreted as meaning "a'fish' with a womb". The name was transmitted via the Latin delphinus, which in Medieval Latin became dolfinus and in Old French daulphin, which reintroduced the ph into the word; the term mereswine has historically been used. The term'dolphin' can be used to refer to, under the parvorder Odontoceti, all the species in the family Delphinidae and the river dolphin families Iniidae, Pontoporiidae and Platanistidae; this term has been misused in the US in the fishing industry, where all small cetaceans are considered porpoises, while the fish dorado is called dolphin fish. In common usage the term'whale' is used only for the larger cetacean species, while the smaller ones with a beaked or longer nose are considered'dolphins'; the name'dolphin' is used casually as a synonym for bottlenose dolphin, the most common and familiar species of dolphin. There are six species of dolphins thought of as whales, collectively known as blackfish: the killer whale, the melon-headed whale, the pygmy killer whale, the false killer whale, the two species of pilot whales, all of which are classified under the family Delphinidae and qualify as dolphins.
Though the terms'dolphin' and'porpoise' are sometimes used interchangeably, porpoises are not considered dolphins and have different physical features such as a shorter beak and spade-shaped teeth. Porpoises share a common ancestry with the Delphinidae. A group of dolphins is called a "school" or a "pod". Male dolphins are called "bulls", females "cows" and young dolphins are called "calves". Parvorder Odontoceti, toothed whales Family Platanistidae Ganges and Indus river dolphin, Platanista gangetica with two subspecies Ganges river dolphin, Platanista gangetica gangetica Indus river dolphin, Platanista gangetica minor Family Iniidae Amazon river dolphin, Inia geoffrensis Orinoco river dolphin, Inia geoffrensis humboldtiana Araguaian river dolphin, Inia Araguaiaensis Bolivian river dolphin, Inia boliviensis Family Lipotidae Baiji, Lipotes vexillifer Family Pontoporiidae La Plata dolphin, Pontoporia blainvillei Family Delphinidae, oceanic dolphins Genus Delphinus Long-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus capensis Short-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis Genus Tursiops Common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops aduncus Burrunan dolphin, Tursiops australis, a newly discovered species from the sea around Melbourne in September 2011.
Genus Lissodelphis Northern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis Southern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis peronii Genus Sotalia Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis Costero, Sotalia guianensis Genus Sousa Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis Chinese white dolphin, Sousa chinensis chinensis Atlantic humpback dolphin, Sousa teuszii Genus Stenella Atlantic spotted dolphin, Stenella frontalis Clymene dolphin, Stenella clymene Pantropical
Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which includes about 200 species of solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, feathers adapted for silent flight. Exceptions include the gregarious burrowing owl. Owls hunt small mammals and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish, they are found in all regions of the Earth except some remote islands. Owls are divided into two families: the true owl family and the barn-owl family, Tytonidae. Owls possess large, forward-facing eyes and ear-holes, a hawk-like beak, a flat face, a conspicuous circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye; the feathers making up this disc can be adjusted to focus sounds from varying distances onto the owls' asymmetrically placed ear cavities. Most birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their heads, but the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary for low-light hunting.
Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets—as are those of most other birds—so they must turn their entire heads to change views. As owls are farsighted, they are unable to see anything within a few centimeters of their eyes. Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of filoplumes—hairlike feathers on the beak and feet that act as "feelers", their far vision in low light, is exceptionally good. Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as 270°. Owls have 14 neck vertebrae compared to seven in humans, they have adaptations to their circulatory systems, permitting rotation without cutting off blood to the brain: the foramina in their vertebrae through which the vertebral arteries pass are about 10 times the diameter of the artery, instead of about the same size as the artery as in humans. Other anastomoses between the carotid and vertebral arteries support this effect; the smallest owl—weighing as little as 31 g and measuring some 13.5 cm —is the elf owl.
Around the same diminutive length, although heavier, are the lesser known long-whiskered owlet and Tamaulipas pygmy owl. The largest owls are two sized eagle owls; the largest females of these species are 71 cm long, have 54 cm long wings, weigh 4.2 kg. Different species of owls produce different sounds; as noted above, their facial discs help owls to funnel the sound of prey to their ears. In many species, these discs are placed asymmetrically, for better directional location. Owl plumage is cryptic, although several species have facial and head markings, including face masks, ear tufts, brightly coloured irises; these markings are more common in species inhabiting open habitats, are thought to be used in signaling with other owls in low-light conditions. Sexual dimorphism is a physical difference between females of a species. Reverse sexual dimorphism, when females are larger than males, has been observed across multiple owl species; the degree of size dimorphism varies across multiple populations and species, is measured through various traits, such as wing span and body mass.
Overall, female owls tend to be larger than males. The exact explanation for this development in owls is unknown. However, several theories explain the development of sexual dimorphism in owls. One theory suggests that selection has led males to be smaller because it allows them to be efficient foragers; the ability to obtain more food is advantageous during breeding season. In some species, female owls stay at their nest with their eggs while it is the responsibility of the male to bring back food to the nest. However, if food is scarce, the male first feeds himself before feeding the female. Small birds, which are agile, are an important source of food for owls. Male burrowing owls have been observed to have longer wing chords than females, despite being smaller than females. Furthermore, owls have been observed to be the same size as their prey; this has been observed in other predatory birds, which suggests that owls with smaller bodies and long wing chords have been selected for because of the increased agility and speed that allows them to catch their prey.
Another popular theory suggests that females have not been selected to be smaller like male owls because of their sexual roles. In many species, female owls may not leave the nest. Therefore, females may have a larger mass to allow them to go for a longer period of time without starving. For example, one hypothesized sexual role is that larger females are more capable of dismembering prey and feeding it to their young, hence female owls are larger than their male counterparts. A different theory suggests that the size difference between male and females is due to sexual selection: since large females can choose their mate and may violently reject a male's sexual advances, smaller male owls that have the ability to escape unreceptive females are more to have been selected. All owls are carnivorous bi
A meander or meandros is a decorative border constructed from a continuous line, shaped into a repeated motif. Such a design is called the Greek fret or Greek key design, although these are modern designations. On the one hand, the name "meander" recalls the twisting and turning path of the Maeander River in Asia Minor, on the other hand, as Karl Kerenyi pointed out, "the meander is the figure of a labyrinth in linear form". Among some Italians, these patterns are known as Greek Lines; the term is used for motifs with straight lines and right angles. Meanders are common decorative elements in Roman art. In ancient Greece they appear in many architectural friezes, in bands on the pottery of ancient Greece from the Geometric Period onwards; the design is common to the present-day in classicizing architecture. The meander is a fundamental design motif in regions far from a Hellenic orbit: labyrinthine meanders appear in bands and as infill on Shang bronzes, many traditional buildings in and around China still bear geometric designs identical to meanders.
They were among the most important symbols in ancient Greece. Greek vases during their Geometric Period, were the main reason for the widespread use of meanders; the shield of Philip II of Macedon, conserved in the museum of Vergina, is decorated with multiple symbols of the meander. Meanders are prevalent on the pavement mosaics found in Roman villas throughout the Roman empire. A good example is at the Chedworth Roman Villa in England, leading many historians to believe that the pattern was part of the original inspiration for the Latin "G" character. Meanders and their generalizations are used with increasing frequency in various domains of contemporary art; the painter Yang Liu, for example, has incorporated smooth versions of the traditional Greek Key in many of her paintings. In Modern Greece, a black and red meander is the symbol of the far-right political party Golden Dawn. Swastika Vitruvian scroll Mezine Illustrated Architecture Dictionary: Fret
In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and decomposes before being born again. There are different traditions concerning the lifespan of the phoenix, but by most accounts the phoenix lived for 500 years before rebirth. Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, Pope Clement I, Lactantius and Isidore of Seville are among those who have contributed to the retelling and transmission of the phoenix motif. In ancient Greece and Rome, the phoenix was associated with Phoenicia, a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells. In the historical record, the phoenix "could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, the Empire, consecration, life in the heavenly Paradise, Mary, the exceptional man, certain aspects of Christian life".
The modern English noun phoenix derives from Middle English phenix, itself from Old English fēnix. A once-common typological variant is phœnix. Old English fēnix was borrowed from Medieval Latin phenix, derived from Classical Latin phoenīx; the Classical Latin phoenīx represents Greek φοῖνιξ phoinīx.. In ancient Greece and Rome, the phoenix was sometimes associated with the similar-sounding Phoenicia, a civilization famous for its production of purple dye from conch shells. A late antique etymology offered by the 6th- and 7th-century CE archbishop Isidore of Seville accordingly derives the name of the phoenix from its purple-red hue; because the costly purple dye was associated with the upper classes in antiquity and with royalty, in the medieval period the phoenix was considered "the royal bird". In spite of these folk etymologies, with the deciphering of the Linear B script in the 20th century, the original Greek φοῖνιξ was decisively shown to be derived from Mycenaean Greek po-ni-ke, itself open to a variety of interpretations.
Classical discourse on the subject of the phoenix points to a potential origin of the phoenix in Ancient Egypt. In the 19th century scholastic suspicions appeared to be confirmed by the discovery that Egyptians in Heliopolis had venerated the Bennu, a solar bird observed in some respects to be similar to the Greek phoenix. However, the Egyptian sources regarding the bennu are problematic and open to a variety of interpretations; some of these sources may have been influenced by Greek notions of the phoenix, rather than the other way around. Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BC, gives a somewhat skeptical account of the phoenix: have another sacred bird called the phoenix which I myself have never seen, except in pictures. Indeed it is a great rarity in Egypt, only coming there once in five hundred years, when the old phoenix dies, its size and appearance, if it is like the pictures, are as follow:– The plumage is red golden, while the general make and size are exactly that of the eagle. They tell a story of what this bird does, which does not seem to me to be credible: that he comes all the way from Arabia, brings the parent bird, all plastered over with myrrh, to the temple of the Sun, there buries the body.
In order to bring him, they say, he first forms a ball of myrrh as big as he finds that he can carry. Such is the story; the phoenix is sometimes pictured in ancient and medieval literature and medieval art as endowed with a halo, which emphasizes the bird's connection with the Sun. In the oldest images of phoenixes on record these nimbuses have seven rays, like Helios. Pliny the Elder describes the bird as having a crest of feathers on its head, Ezekiel the Dramatist compared it to a rooster. Although the phoenix was believed to be colorful and vibrant, sources provide no clear consensus about its coloration. Tacitus says; some said that the bird had peacock-like coloring, Herodotus's claim of the Phoenix being red and yellow is popular in many versions of the story on record. Ezekiel the Dramatist declared that the phoenix had red legs and striking yellow eyes, but Lactantius said that its eyes were blue like sapphires and that its legs were covered in yellow-gold scales with rose-colored talons.
Herodotus, Pliny and Philostratus describe the phoenix as similar in size to an eagle, but Lactantius and Ezekiel the Dramatist both claim that the phoenix was larger, with Lactantius declaring that it was larger than an ostrich. The Old English Exeter Book contains an anonymous 677-line 9th-century alliterative poem consisting of a paraphrase and abbreviation of Lactantius, followed by an explication of the Phoenix as an allegory for the resurrection of Christ. Dante refers to the phoenix in Inferno Canto XXIV: In the play Henry VIII by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, the King says in Act V Scene v, in flattering reference to his young daughter Elizabeth: Scholars have observed analogues to the phoenix in a variety of cultures; these analogues include the Hindu garuda and gandaberunda, the Russian firebir
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in northeastern Greece and an important centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. It is governed as an autonomous polity within the Greek Republic. Mount Athos is home to 20 monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Mount Athos is referred to in Greek as the "Holy Mountain" and the entity as the "Athonite State". Other languages of Orthodox tradition use names translating to "Holy Mountain", including Bulgarian and Serbian Света гора, Sveta gora. In the classical era, while the mountain was called Athos, the peninsula was known as Acté or Akté. Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its nearly 1,800-year continuous Christian presence and its long historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 A. D. and the Byzantine era. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, including Eastern Orthodox countries such as Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world.
The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, artworks of immense historical value, Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage site since 1988. Although Mount Athos is part of the European Union like the rest of Greece, the Monastic State of the Holy Mountain and the Athonite institutions have a special jurisdiction, reaffirmed during the admission of Greece to the European Community; this empowers the Monastic State's authorities to regulate the free movement of people and goods in its territory. The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula in central Macedonia, protrudes 50 kilometres into the Aegean Sea at a width of between 7 and 12 kilometres and covers an area of 335.6 square kilometres. The actual Mount Athos has steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 metres; the surrounding seas at the end of the peninsula, can be dangerous. In ancient Greek history two fleet disasters in the area are recorded: In 492 BC Darius, the king of Persia, lost 300 ships under general Mardonius.
In 411 BC the Spartans lost a fleet of 50 ships under admiral Epicleas. Though land-linked, Mount Athos is accessible only by ferry; the Agios Panteleimon and Axion Estin travel daily between Ouranoupolis and Dafni, with stops at some monasteries on the western coast. There is a smaller speed boat, the Agia Anna, which travels the same route, but with no intermediate stops, it is possible to travel by ferry to and from Ierissos for direct access to monasteries along the eastern coast. The number of daily visitors to Mount Athos is restricted, all are required to obtain a special entrance permit valid for a limited period. Only men are permitted to visit the territory, called the "Garden of Virgin Mary" by the monks, with Orthodox Christians taking precedence in permit issuance procedures. Residents on the peninsula must be men aged 18 and over who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church and either monks or workers. Athos in Greek mythology is the name of one of the Gigantes that challenged the Greek gods during the Gigantomachia.
Athos threw a massive rock against Poseidon which became Mount Athos. According to another version of the story, Poseidon used the mountain to bury the defeated giant. Homer mentions the mountain Athos in the Iliad. Herodotus writes that, during the Persian invasion of Thrace in 492 BC, the fleet of the Persian commander Mardonius was wrecked with losses of 300 ships and 20,000 men, by a strong North wind while attempting to round the coast near Mount Athos. Herodotus mentions the peninsula called Acte, telling us that Pelasgians from the island of Lemnos populated it and naming five cities thereon, Cleonae, Thyssos and Acrothoï. Strabo mentions the cities of Dion and Acrothoï. Eretria established colonies on Acte. At least one other city was established in the Classical period: Acanthus; some of these cities minted their own coins. The peninsula was on the invasion route of Xerxes I, who spent three years excavating the Xerxes Canal across the isthmus to allow the passage of his invasion fleet in 483 BC.
After the death of Alexander the Great, the architect Dinocrates proposed carving the entire mountain into a statue of Alexander. The history of the peninsula during latter ages is shrouded by the lack of historical accounts. Archaeologists have not been able to determine the exact location of the cities reported by Strabo, it is believed that they must have been deserted when Athos' new inhabitants, the monks, started arriving some time before the ninth century AD. According to the Athonite tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary was sailing accompanied by St John the Evangelist from Joppa to Cyprus to visit Lazarus; when the ship was blown off course to then-pagan Athos, it was forced to anchor near the port of Klement, close to the present monastery of Iviron. The Virgin walked ashore and, overwhelmed by the wonderful and wild natural beauty of the mountain, she blessed it and asked her Son for it to be her garden. A voice was heard saying "Ἔστω ὁ τόπος οὖτος κλῆρος σὸς καὶ περιβόλαιον σὸν καὶ παράδεισος, ἔτι δὲ καὶ λιμὴν σωτήριος τῶν θελόντων σωθῆναι"
Laurus nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glabrous leaves, in the flowering plant family Lauraceae. It is used as bay leaf for seasoning in cooking, its common names include bay tree, bay laurel, sweet bay, true laurel, Grecian laurel, or laurel. Laurus nobilis figures prominently in classical Greco-Roman culture. Worldwide, many other kinds of plants in diverse families are called "bay" or "laurel" due to similarity of foliage or aroma to Laurus nobilis, the full name is used for the California bay laurel in the family Lauraceae; the Laurel is an evergreen small tree, variable in size and sometimes reaching 7 -- 18 m tall. The genus Laurus includes four accepted species, whose diagnostic key characters overlap; the Bay Laurel is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. Each flower is pale yellow-green, about 1 cm diameter, they are borne in pairs beside a leaf; the leaves are 6 -- 12 cm long and 2 -- 4 cm broad, with an entire margin. On some leaves the margin undulates.
The fruit is a shiny black berry-like drupe about 1 cm long that contains one seed. A recent study found considerable genetic diversity within L. nobilis, that L. azorica is not genetically or morphologically distinct. Laurus nobilis is a widespread relic of the laurel forests that covered much of the Mediterranean Basin when the climate of the region was more humid. With the drying of the Mediterranean during the Pliocene era, the laurel forests retreated, were replaced by the more drought-tolerant sclerophyll plant communities familiar today. Most of the last remaining laurel forests around the Mediterranean are believed to have disappeared ten thousand years ago, although some remnants still persist in the mountains of southern Turkey, northern Syria, southern Spain, north-central Portugal, northern Morocco, the Canary Islands and in Madeira; the plant is the source of several popular herbs and one spice used in a wide variety of recipes among Mediterranean cuisines. Most the aromatic leaves are added whole to Italian pasta sauces.
They are removed from dishes before serving, unless used as a simple garnish. Whole bay leaves have a long shelf life of about one year, under normal humidity. Whole bay leaves are used exclusively as flavor agents during the food preparation stage. Ground bay leaves, can be ingested safely and are used in soups and stocks, as well as being a common addition to a Bloody Mary. Dried laurel berries and pressed leaf oil can both be used as robust spices, the wood can be burnt for strong smoke flavoring. Laurus nobilis is cultivated as an ornamental plant in regions with Mediterranean or oceanic climates, as a house plant or greenhouse plant in colder regions, it is used in topiary to create single erect stems with box-shaped or twisted crowns. However it may take several years to reach the desired height. Together with a gold form, L. nobilis'Aurea' and a willow-leaved form L. nobilis f. angustifolia it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. In herbal medicine, aqueous extracts of bay laurel have been used as an astringent and salve for open wounds.
It is used in massage therapy and aromatherapy. A traditional folk remedy for rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, stinging nettle is a poultice soaked in boiled bay leaves; the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder listed a variety of conditions which laurel oil was supposed to treat: paralysis, sciatica, headaches, ear infections, rheumatism. Laurel oil is a main ingredient, the distinguishing characteristic of Aleppo soap. In Ancient Greece, the plant was called daphne, after the mythic mountain nymph of the same name. In the myth of Apollo and Daphne, the god Apollo fell in love with Daphne, a priestess of Gaia, when he tried to seduce her she pled for help to Gaia, who transported her to Crete. In Daphne's place Gaia left a laurel tree. Other versions of the myth, including that of the Roman poet Ovid, state that Daphne was transformed directly into a laurel tree. Bay laurel was used to fashion a symbol of highest status. A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games because the games were in honor of Apollo, the laurel was one of his symbols.
According to the poet Lucian, the priestess of Apollo known as the Pythia reputedly chewed laurel leaves from a sacred tree growing inside the temple to induce the enthusiasmos from which she uttered the oracular prophecies which she was famous for. Some accounts starting in the fourth century BC describe her as shaking a laurel branch while delivering her prophecies; those who received promising omens from the Pythia were crowned with laurel wreaths as a symbol of Apollo's favor. The symbolism carried over to Roman culture, it was associated with immortality, with ritual purification and health. It is the source of the words baccalaureate and poet laureate, as well as the expressions "assume the laurel" and "resting on one's laurels". Pliny the Elder stated that the Laurel was not permitted for "profane" uses - lighting it on fire at altars "for the propitiation of divinities" was forbidden, because "...it is evident that the laurel protests against such usage by crackling as it does in the fire, thus, in a manner, giving expression
The island of Delos, near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological and archaeological sites in Greece. The excavations in the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean. Delos had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. From its Sacred Harbour, the horizon shows the three conical mounds that have identified landscapes sacred to a goddess in other sites: one, retaining its Pre-Greek name Mount Kynthos, is crowned with a sanctuary of Zeus. Established as a cult center, Delos had an importance that its natural resources could never have offered. In this vein Leto, searching for a birthing-place for Artemis and Apollo, addressed the island: Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple –, but if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, incessant savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers.
Investigation of ancient stone huts found on the island indicate that it has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BCE. Thucydides identifies the original inhabitants as piratical Carians who were expelled by King Minos of Crete. By the time of the Odyssey the island was famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. Indeed, between 900 BCE and 100 CE, sacred Delos was a major cult centre, where Dionysus is in evidence as well as the Titaness Leto, mother of the above-mentioned twin deities. Acquiring Panhellenic religious significance, Delos was a religious pilgrimage for the Ionians. A number of "purifications" were executed by the city-state of Athens in an attempt to render the island fit for the proper worship of the gods; the first took place in the 6th century BCE, directed by the tyrant Pisistratus who ordered that all graves within sight of the temple be dug up and the bodies moved to another nearby island. In the 5th century BCE, during the 6th year of the Peloponnesian war and under instruction from the Delphic Oracle, the entire island was purged of all dead bodies.
It was ordered that no one should be allowed to either die or give birth on the island due to its sacred importance and to preserve its neutrality in commerce, since no one could claim ownership through inheritance. After this purification, the first quinquennial festival of the Delian games were celebrated there. Four years all inhabitants of the island were removed to Atramyttium in Asia as a further purification. After the Persian Wars the island became the natural meeting-ground for the Delian League, founded in 478 BCE, the congresses being held in the temple; the League's common treasury was kept here as well until 454 BCE. The island had no productive capacity for fiber, or timber, with such being imported. Limited water was exploited with an extensive cistern and aqueduct system and sanitary drains. Various regions operated agoras. Strabo states that in 166 BCE the Romans converted Delos into a free port, motivated by seeking to damage the trade of Rhodes, at the time the target of Roman hostility.
In 167 or 166 BCE, after the Roman victory in the Third Macedonian War, the Roman Republic ceded the island of Delos to the Athenians, who expelled most of the original inhabitants. Roman traders came to purchase tens of thousands of slaves captured by the Cilician pirates or captured in the wars following the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire, it became the center of the slave trade, with the largest slave market in the larger region being maintained here. The Roman destruction of Corinth in 146 BCE allowed Delos to at least assume Corinth's role as the premier trading center of Greece. However, Delos' commercial prosperity, construction activity, population waned after the island was assaulted by the forces of Mithridates VI of Pontus in 88 and 69 BCE, during the Mithridatic Wars with Rome. Before the end of the 1st century BCE, trade routes had changed. Due to the inadequate natural sources of food and water, the above history, unlike other Greek islands, Delos did not have an indigenous, self-supporting community of its own.
As a result, in times it was uninhabited. Since 1872 the École française d'Athènes has been excavating the island, the complex of buildings of which compares with those of Delphi and Olympia. In 1990, UNESCO inscribed Delos on the World Heritage List, citing it as the "exceptionally extensive and rich" archaeological site which "conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port"; the small Sacred Lake in its circular bowl, now intentionally left dry by the island's caretakers to suppress disease-spreading bacteria, is a topographical feature that determined the placement of features. The Minoan Fountain was a rectangular public we