Didyma – the ancient world

South of Miletus, the foundation of ancient Didyma, in the 9th century BC, began with the establishment of the first Ionians. But it never had the characteristics of a city, its fame came from the Temple of Apollo.

Apollon is the son of Zeus and the Titans daughter Leto. He is the deity of truth and prophecy. It is believed that Didim got its name from the Greek “Didymi” (Gemini), which is supposed to be related to the twin sister of Apollo, to Artemis. The second guess is that the name comes from the Karisch, ie before the Greek time.

The oldest records found in Didyma date back to the 6th century BC. be dated. During this time, the Temple of Apollo was led by the Branchides, who were also founders and namesake of the temple. The clan of Branchos, in the Greek mythology is based on the love between Apollon and Branchos. Apollo is said to have fallen in love with the shepherd Branchos. In turn, he built the Temple for Apollo, as a token of his love, and sacrificed it to Him. For his part, Apollo gave Branchos the gift of seeing truths. So the Branchides, who are said to have come from Delphi and also led the temple, became known for their fortune-telling.

As Croesus (the last king of Lydia) in the 6th century BC. When he set his mind on attacking Persia, he wanted to first predict his future from an oracle site. To know how confidential the oracles were, he launched a trial. Various messengers were sent to the most important oracle sites, among them the oracle of the Temple of Apollo. The seers of the various oracles should say what the king is doing at this moment. The king cooked a turtle with a lamb in a bronze cauldron during this time. The only answer was the oracle of the Apollon Temple in Delphi. The Apollon Temple of Didyma was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, Croesus was kind to the Brankhid and always made rich sacrifices to the Temple of Apollo.

The seers of the Apollon Temple in Didyma always made their fortune-telling in hard-to-understand statements. King Croesus also said that he would destroy a great empire with his attack on the Persian Empire. So it happened, only that it was his own kingdom that was destroyed.

With the destruction of the Apollon temple in Didyma by the Persians, the early period in Didyma ends. In this the Brankhiden were guilty. They had passed on all the riches and offerings to the Persians, hoping to spare them. You yourself were also drawn into the interior of the Persian Empire in order to be spared from your unfaithfulness to the gods. When Alexander the Great arrived in Didyma about 150 years later, he asked the Miletians in his army what was to happen to the remains. So everything was razed to the ground. The sons were punished for the debts of their fathers.

After the Persian annihilation and arrival of Alexander the Great, the oracle lived up again. The construction of the temple started again. As 278 BC. The Gauls (Celts, Lat. = Galli) invaded the temple was again severely damaged. In the following peaceful 2 nd century, the Miletars rebuilt the temple as far as possible and until the 3 rd of jubilee also experienced a realm of empire by well-disposed Roman emperors. When in the third century the Goths dragged along the west coast and robbed everything they encountered, the Miletians prompted Didyma to turn into a castle and protect the whole people in it. The temple was never completely destroyed during this period, but the construction of the temple did not really progress.

The fall of Miletus and the Miletarians began with the spread of Christianity. Since in Christianity the oracles were sources of polytheism (Grich. = Polytheism), they were attacked. The most disparaging for the Apollon sanctuary was that in the sacred area of ​​the temple also a church was built.

The oracle

The functioning of the oracle of the Apollon Temple in Didyma is mentioned in many historical writings. Thus, in almost all scriptures, it is a woman who holds the scepter that she has received from a deity or dips the tip of her dress into the sacred water, or inhales the mist of the sacred water. In this way, she prepares for the Divine Gifts. The one who turns to the oracle does not get to see the seer. But, depending on the importance of the subject, he must first pay the oracle a prize and then bring his animal sacrifice on the round stone in the entrance area. This animal was almost always a goat. So they prepared themselves for Apollon. The seer first had to determine if the deity was present in the temple. Sometimes, when the deity was not there, the visitor could not know his truth. In the presence of the deity, his first sentence was the first spokesman mittgeteil, the first speaker was always the highest-ranking official in Milet, who holds the same sentence in writing. The second speaker tells the contents of the fortune telling in the anteroom of the temple, the between Naos (Greek: sanctuary sanctuary) and Pronaos (Greek: before the Naos), waiting in the designated room visitors. This room also retains all previous writings. Unfortunately, the scriptures on the fortune-telling of the oracle, which have been preserved to this day, are not half a dozen.

Photos of the Apollon Temple

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