A Friend for Hercules

Digs & Discoveries July/August 2024

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While digging at the crossroads of the two main streets in the ancient city of Philippi in northern Greece, archaeologists discovered a finely carved head depicting Apollo, god of the sun, music, and poetry. While the sculpture was carved in the second or third century A.D., the team believes it was reused to decorate a fountain that dates to the medieval period. A sculpture of Hercules dating to the same time as the Apollo head was found in 2022 and was likely also part of the fountain. (See “A Young Hercules”) “It’s very early to determine the connotations of both figures in a medieval urban context,” says archaeologist Anastasios Tantsis of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. “But it’s safe to assume that they were seen primarily as works of ancient, and certainly great, art attesting to historical and cultural continuity in the city.”

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