Apollo of the Omphalus with Artemis & Hermes & Silene & Nymph.
GREEK RED-FIGURE Anonymous
4th c BCE Greek Attic red-figure Ceramics
(active c. 530 BCE - c. 250 BCE)
c. 360 BCE-340 BCE
4th c BCE
Berlin. Pergamon Museum.
In this 4th century BCE vase painting we see the god Apollo in power at Delphi. Here he sits, flanked by his sister Artemis and Hermes on one side with a satyr and maenad on the other. Apollo is seated upon a stone known as the OMPHALOS which was considered to be the navel of the world. This ancient stone was carefully guarded at the sanctuary of Delphi.
The legendary origins of the omphalos take us back into the primeval myths of Greece. GAEA, the primal goddess of the Earth gave birth out of herself to Uranus, who mated with her to produce the early races of Giants, Titans and various monsters. When Uranus was horrified at some of them and locked them away, their mother incited her remaining children against their father. One son, Chronos, punished his father by emasculating him, thus symbolically replacing him. He then married his sister, Rhea, but when he was told that one of his sons could in turn replace him, he ate all his children as Rhea gave birth to them. Rhea soon tired of this, and when ZEUS was born she substituted a rock for the child, which Chronos swallowed as she spirited the child away. In time, Zeus rose against his father and caused Chronos to vomit up the children he had swallowed, along with the stone.
As you know, the stone became a sacred object. The other children became the gods and goddesses : Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Hades and Poseidon. APOLLO and ARTEMIS were children of Zeus through his liaison with Leto. HERMES, who had conducted souls to Hades, to death, took on the role of messenger in the Greek pantheon. The satyr and maenad were followers of the wine god Dionysus, who sailed over the sea to join the gods of Olympus.
GREEK RED-FIGURED | Apollo of the Omphalus with Artemis & Hermes & Silene & Nymph. | Mid 4 BCE | Greek | Greek red-figure