The statue was found in a town square in Philippi and adorned a building that may have been a public fountain in the Byzantine period.
by Elaine Velie
A team of professors and students found the statue in the ancient city of Philippi. (all images via Greek Ministry of Sports and Culture)
A team of three professors and 24 students
have unearthed a second-century statue of Hercules in the Ancient Greek city of
Philippi. The “larger-than-life” work depicts the bare body of the youthful
Roman god and once included a lion, a club, and a wreath, according to the
Greek Ministry of Sports and Culture, which announced the discovery in
Professor Natalia Poulos of the Aristotle University in Philippi
led the excavation with help from fellow professors Anastasios Tantsis and
Aristotle Menzos and a group of undergraduate students, post-graduate students,
and doctoral candidates.
Per a statement from the Greek Ministry of
Sports and Culture, the statue was found in a town square and adorned a building
that may have been a public fountain.
That building, however, was constructed at
least 700 years after the Hercules statue was created, in the eighth or ninth
centuries CE during the Byzantine period. The Ministry reported that the
practice of including Classical sculptures in Byzantine architecture has been
seen in Constantinople.
Philippi — a UNESCO World Heritage Site since
2016 — was founded in 356 BCE by King Philip II (the father of Alexander the
Great). It was a thriving Ancient Greek city before being taken by the Ancient
Romans in 42 BCE, but continued to thrive for centuries, becoming a cultural
center during the emergence of Christianity in the region. The archaeological
site features a Roman-era forum as well as examples of early Christian
This summer, archaeologists found a fragment of another enormous
Hercules statue — a gargantuan marble head — in the famed 60 BCE Antikythera
shipwreck off the Greek Mediterranean coast. The head likely belonged to a
decapitated Hercules statue at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.