2,000-year-old statue of 'barren' Hercules found in northern Greece

The Greek Ministry of Sports and Culture announced the discovery of a statue of the Roman god Hercules, created during

2nd century AD.The statue represents a curly-haired youth dressed in the skin of the Nemean lion. "The statue, which is larger than a life-size man, depicts a barren Hercules with a young body," the agency said in a statement. The identity of the hero was determined by the club found nearby and the skin of a mythical creature.

Statue of Hercules from Philippi. Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

The find was made by archaeologists from the UniversityAristotle in Thessaloniki during excavations in the ancient city of Philippi, which was located north of the modern city of Kavala. Scholars believe that Roman sculpture was used to decorate a building built much later.

For buildings of the late Byzantine periodtypical use of Roman statues, scientists say. The city of Philippi was named when King Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, conquered the region in 356 BC. The city was later part of the Byzantine Empire, but is believed to have been abandoned after the Ottoman conquest.

Excavations at Philippi. Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Hercules or Heracles in Greek mythology is the sonthe supreme god (Zeus or Jupiter) and an earthly woman. He is famous for his twelve labors. One of which is the killing of a Nemean lion. It is an animal of monstrous size with an incredibly hard hide that no weapon could take. Hercules was able to defeat him by strangling him with his bare hands.

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On the cover: Excavations at Philippi. Photo: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports