The Temple of Dionysos – Mikonos, Greece - Atlas Obscura

The Temple of Dionysos

Giant marble phalluses on the sacred island of antiquity. 


Delos, for the ancient Greeks, was a sacred island. The birthplace of the gods Apollo and Artemis, it was a place where all could gather in peace to worship the gods.

According to Thucydides, so seriously was its holiness taken that no one was permitted to give birth – or even to die! – upon the island, for fear of offending the gods.

At the heart of this sacred island lies the sanctuary of Dionysus, god of wine and transformation. And at the heart of this sanctuary sit several gigantic marble phalluses, each several meters high. While they have suffered somewhat from the ravages of time and tourists – and are all in various stages of disrepair – they still loom over the ancient site, surprising those visitors who thought that ancient Greece was either pure or simple.

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July 12, 2013

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