Marble Head of Apollo Discovered in Greece

Marble Head of Apollo Has Been Discovered by Greek Archaeologists During Excavations in Philippi, northwest Greece.

Apr 9, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Marble Head of Apollo
Marble head of the Greek god Apollo found in Philippi. Photo: Greek Ministry of Culture.


Marble head of Apollo has been discovered by Greek archaeologists. The excavations took place in Philippi, northwest Greece. The head, which dates back to the second or third century C.E., depicts a handsome young man with curls and his typical laurel crown. Archaeologists say these distinctive features identify him as the Greek deity of music and archery.


Marble Head of Apollo Celebrated City’s Cultural Heritage

Marble Head of Apollo
Aerial photograph of the site under excavation in Philippi. Photo: Greek Ministry of Culture.


A group of fifteen students led by Natalia Poulos, a professor of Byzantine Archaeology, discovered it in late 2023. This team continues University of Thessaloniki work, ongoing at Philippi since the 1960s. The Apollo statue’s intended purpose upon carving would have been devotional. But researchers think that given its current location, it was likely converted during the Middle Ages.


Also, that it stood as one of the many decorations in a fountain in the town square. Based on the finding of a coin featuring Emperor Leo VI, scholars propose that the area had been occupied from the eighth or ninth century. Apollo did not hold any lasting symbolic significance in Christian Philippi, in contrast to other Greek gods.


Marble Head of Apollo
The head of the Greek god in Philippi. Photo: Greek Ministry of Culture.


It appears that statues from the Greek and Roman eras seemed used to decorate public areas and structures as late as the Byzantine era (approximately the 13th to 15th century). Also, the statue’s existence probably denotes an appreciation of the city’s ongoing cultural heritage as well as of superb artistry. The head this god came to light east of the Philippi’s major southern road, where it meets the northern axis of the city.

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Same Location for Discovered Hercules Statue

The statue of Hercules uncovered in Greece
The statue of Hercules uncovered in Greece. COURTESY GREEK MINISTRY OF SPORT AND CULTURE


Recent excavation efforts progressively exposed a square full of elaborately decorated houses. At the location last year, researchers found a statue of Hercules that they think also belonged to the fountain. The statue, which was mostly undamaged, showed a young, robust Hercules holding a lion and a club in his hands.


Alexander the Great‘s father, King Philip II of Macedonia, established Philippi in 356 BCE. Because of its location on the Via Egnatia, a route that connected Europe and Asia, it increased in riches and notoriety. Its significance persisted throughout the Roman era, when it hosted the pivotal conflict between Brutus and Cassius’ and Mark Antony’s and Octavian’s armies.


Ancient statue of Hercules uncovered


It became an important early Christian site following the visit of Apostle Paul in the 1st century C.E. Archaeological work began in Philippi in the first decades of the 20th century. The University of Thessaloniki excavations are set to continue later this year.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.