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Permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi

Omphalos of Delphi

The omphalos (navel-stone) was the symbol of Delphi. According to an ancient myth, Zeus sent out two eagles in opposite directions from Mount Olympus, and these two instruments of augury met over Delphi, which was regarded thereafter as the Earth's navel. This marble representation of an omphalos is a Hellenistic or Roman copy of the Archaic omphalos, which was kept in the temple's adyton (inner sanctum). It was surmounted by two gilded eagles. The relief decoration imitates the weave of the agrenon, the thick woolen cloth that covered the original sacred omphalos inside the adyton. Many more copies of the omphalos, in various materials, existed in Delphi. This example may have been the one witnessed by the travel writer Pausanias in the 2th century AD.

Exhibit Features
Date: Hellenistic period
Place of discovery: Delphi, nearby at the Apollon sanctuary
Dimensions: height: 1,23 m, diameter: 0,92 m
Material: marble
Inventory number: 8194
Copyright: Hellenic Ministry of Culture