18 April 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

The impressive Statue of young Hercules unearthed in Philippi, Northern Greece

A larger-than-life youthful Hercules statue dating to the 2nd century A.D. have been found in the ancient city of Philippi in northern Greece.

The Statue of Hercules, unearthed by archaeologists from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, may have adorned a public fountain.

The statue depicts a youthful Hercules, the Roman equivalent of the Greek Heracles. The statue of Hercules dates to the 2nd century A.D. and is in unusually good condition despite suffering some damage. The club and the right arm are fragmented, and the right leg below the thigh is missing, but the head is intact, as are the torso and the tell-tale skin of the Nemean Lion. On top of his abundant mane of curls is a wreath of vine leaves tied around his head by a band that dangles down his neck and shoulders.

Alongside the statue, a richly decorated structure, potentially a fountain, was also found.

A lion's pelt hangs from the statue's left arm, attesting to its identity as the ancient hero Hercules.Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports
A lion’s pelt hangs from the statue’s left arm, attesting to its identity as the ancient hero Hercules.Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

According to the research team, based on the excavation findings, the statue adorned a much later building from the 8th or 9th century. According to contemporary sources, Classical and Roman-era statues were used to decorate buildings and public spaces until the Late Byzantine period.

The discovery at Philippi confirms that pre-Christian statues were used to decorate public spaces in important Byzantine empire cities.

According to the announcement from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, excavations were carried out in Philippi by the Aristotle University team, which included Professor Natalia Poulos, the excavation’s director, and collaborators Assistant Professor Anastasios Tantsis and Emeritus Professor Aristotle Menzos. The excavation involved a total of twenty-four AUTH students. Aristotle University and the AUTH Research Committee funded the study.

The archaeologists believe the statue adorned a public fountain. Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

The excavation is set to continue next year.

The ancient city of Philippi was first built in 360 BC. It was founded as  Crenides by colonists from the island of Thassos. The town was conquered by Philip II, King of Macedon, and refounded as Philippi in 356 BC. It rose to prominence as a result of its proximity to gold mines and strategic location on the royal route through Macedonia. Little remains of the Greek city today. It is famed as the site of the final battle between the armies of Caesar’s partisans Octavian and Mark Antony and those of his assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 B.C. Philippi prospered under the Roman Empire, continuing through the fall of the Western Empire and, centuries later, the fall of the Byzantine Empire. It was abandoned only after the Ottoman conquest of the 14th century.

Cover Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Related Articles

The 6,000-year-old settlement found in island of Corsica

2 May 2023

2 May 2023

Archaeologists in a French municipality recently excavated the slopes of Punta Campana (island of Corsica) in preparation for a construction...

Earliest glass workshop north of the Alps unearthed in Němčice

25 July 2023

25 July 2023

Archaeologists excavated the famous Iron Age site Němčice and uncovered the earliest glass workshop north of the Alps. Numerous beautiful...

Mysterious Handprints Found in the Ancient Mayan Cave

1 May 2021

1 May 2021

In Mexico, home to ancient civilizations such as the Maya, Aztec, and Inca, archaeologist Sergio Grosjean found dozens of mysterious...

Rare Langsax fighting blade with Viking origins discovered in Poland

20 August 2021

20 August 2021

Archaeologists working in the Wdecki Landscape Park in Poland’s Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship have discovered a rare langsax long knife with potential...

Archaeologists have unearthed part of Hadrian’s Aqueduct, one of the Largest Hydraulic Works of the 2nd century AD, and Extremely Rare Greek Coins

11 January 2024

11 January 2024

Archaeologists have unearthed part of Hadrian’s aqueduct, one of the largest hydraulic works of the 2nd century AD, and a...

Archaeologists Unearth Cisterns at Izmir’s Ancient “City of Mother Goddess”

2 June 2021

2 June 2021

In the ancient city of Metropolis, in western Turkey, in the province of Izmir, something that played an important role...

The latest discovery at the villa Civita Giuliana, north of Pompeii, the remains of a slave room

7 November 2021

7 November 2021

Ella IDE Pompeii archaeologists announced Saturday the discovery of the remnants of a “slave room” in an exceedingly unusual find...

İnscriptions in Turkey is Showing How Romans Tackled İnflation

21 March 2021

21 March 2021

The largest marble city in the world, located in western Turkey in the province of Muğla, draws attention with large...

Digs at Turkey’s Seyitömer mound reveals thousands of artworks

20 March 2022

20 March 2022

Approximately 14,500 artifacts have been unearthed during rescue excavations carried out over 33 years at Seyitömer Mound in Turkey’s western...

A new study reveals more than one person was buried in a tomb where the famous Nestor’s Cup was found

6 October 2021

6 October 2021

The Tomb of Nestor’s Cup, a burial that contained one of the oldest known Greek inscriptions, was more crowded than...

New discoveries have been made at a 9,000-year-old Amida mound in Turkey

1 January 2022

1 January 2022

The most recent archeological investigations at the 9,000-year-old Amida Mound in southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakir province have uncovered fresh finds that...

Excavations Near Stonehenge Uncover Bronze Age Barrow Cemetery

4 June 2023

4 June 2023

The Cotswold Archeology team excavating at the site of a planned housing development near Salisbury, England, has unearthed a giant...

Arrowhead from the Biblical Battle Discovered in the Hometown of the Giant Goliath’s

30 May 2021

30 May 2021

A bone arrowhead discovered in the ancient Philistine city of Gath might have been used fired off by the city’s...

Negev desert archaeological site offers important clues about modern human origin

22 June 2021

22 June 2021

The archaeological excavation site at Boker Tachtit in Israel’s central Negev desert offers evidence to one of human history’s most...

Unsolvable Megalithic Mystery of ancient Greek “Dragon Houses”

4 July 2022

4 July 2022

The Dragon Houses of Euboea, which probably dates to the Preclassical period of ancient Greece, are one of the historical...