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Greece, Delos - Temple of Issis
The Cycladic island of Delos was revered in antiquity as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. During the early Classical era it was a sacred religious precinct dedicated to the worship of these gods. In the late fifth century BC, at the peak of its role as a religious sanctuary, neither birth nor death was permitted to occur on the island. However, commercial imperatives were soon to over ride this religious taboo. Delos occupied a central position with respect to the trade routes of the Mediterranean, so that by the late 3rd century BC commercial activity overtook its role as a religious sanctuary. The sacred character of the island dissipated, displaced by a cosmopolitan trading centre. By the 2nd century BC it had evolved to become the centre of the Mediterranean slave trade. Strabo recorded that up to 10,000 people per day were trafficked through its slave market. This role continued into the early Roman era, until in 88 BC Mithradates VI, King of Pontus, decimated the population in an attack on the island. In 69 BC the pirates of Athenodoros destroyed what remained of the commercial centre of Delos and it fell into decline, to be effectively abandoned by the 6th century AD.
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