the Delphi omphalos

The Centre of the World, according to the ancient Greek myth....

Zeus, king of the gods, despatched two eagles from opposite ends of the earth. Wherever they met, this would be designated the centre of the world. They met at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. An omphalos (literally 'navel, belly button', Latin 'umbilicus') was sculpted and placed in the Temple of Apollo to mark the spot, and two bronze eagles were placed on top of it. The omphalos became the symbol of Apollo, of his sacred oracle, and of the region of Delphi in Boeotia.

The oval stone was carved in marble. It is decorated with a mesh pattern, which, according to Pausanias in the 2nd century AD, might reflect the mesh of wool cloth, which would have covered the original omphalos. 

Before Apollo claimed Delphi as his own, it is thought to have belonged to Gaia, the Earth goddess, and guarded by her child the Python, a vast serpent. Apollo killed the python and, according to one version of the story, buried its remains under the omphalos. The priestess at the oracle of Apollo was named the Pythia.

the Delphi omphalos

SKU: WB-59
  • Height including base: 11cm . Dimensions of base: 8.5x8.5x2.5cm . Weight: 0.4kg
  • Made in Greece. The material is keramin, a durable plaster polymer compound with a light ochre finish applied by hand. There may, therefore, be a slight variation in colour from piece to piece. The piece is mounted on a polished stone composite base.