[Branchidai; now Didim.]
Ancient Greek oracular sanctuary on the west coast of Asia Minor (now Turkey), which flourished from the 7th century bc to the 2nd century ad (see fig.). The site is on an exposed peninsula 75 m above sea level, c. 20 km south of Miletos.
Didyma was originally a spring sanctuary of the indigenous Carians (Herodotus: I.clvii.3), antedating the Ionian colonization of the coast in the 11th–10th century bc (Pausanius: VII.ii.6). The mythological founder of the oracle was the shepherd Branchos, who received the gift of prophecy from Apollo (Konon: xxxiii; Strabo: IX.iii.9). Dedications were made by the Egyptian pharaoh Necho II in 608 bc (Herodotus: II.clix.3) and by the Lydian king Croesus in the earlier 6th century bc (Herodotus: I.xcii.2); during the 6th century bc, under the ‘Branchidai’ dynasty of priests, Didyma became the most important oracular sanctuary in East Greece, and was linked to Miletos by a Sacred Way 6 m wide and ...