Looking north

The northern boundary of the precinct is marked by the 120m long Portico of Antigonos Gonatas erected in the second half of the 3rd century bc (clearly visible on your right if you go a few metres to the north). The portico, with a frieze of triglyphs also decorated with bulls’ heads, has two longitudinal galleries with a salient wing at either end: in the east wing a statue of the early 1st century bc Roman general, Caius Billienus, has been replaced on its base. In front of the portico are two parallel lines of pedestals on which stood some twenty statues of the ancestors, real and mythical, of Antigonos Gonatas; the idea may have been inspired by the Monument of the Eponymous Heroes in the Agora of Athens.

A couple of important Archaic sites can be seen abutting the portico to north and south. In the northeast corner just outside of the back wall of the portico is the Fountain of Minoa—a stepped, rectangular cistern or well which still contains water year-round—built in the mid 6th century bc and originally covered by a roof. In front of the portico in the centre is a small roughly circular burial area, identified as the ‘Theke (Tomb) of Arge and Opis’ (see below: Apollo and the Hyperboreans). This is in effect a Mycenaean ossuary, comprising small chamber tombs reached by a dromos, in which were found skeletons and both Mycenaean and pre-Mycenaean vases. Arge and Opis were two of the Hyperborean maidens mentioned by Herodotus (Hist. IV, 35), who came to Delos at the time of the birth of Apollo and Artemis: he adds that some very particular sacrificial rites were performed at their place of burial by the women of the island.

Delos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.

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