From Ancient Greece to Rome
Mircea Eliade, a renowned expert for religious history, claims that,
e.g., the Palladion of Troy, the
Artemis of Ephesos, as well as the Cone of Elagabalus in Emesa were actually meteorites, stones
that had fallen from the sky - objects from heaven, believed to contain supernatural powers.
Many of these ancient bethyls have been depicted on contemporary coins, such as on the one
shown to the right. The front of the coin, minted at Emesa, shows a laureate bust of Emperor
Antoninus Pius, who ruled 138-161 AD, and the reverse shows an eagle standing on the famous
Black Stone of Emesa, the original Cone of Elagabalus.
In his book "Rocks from Space", Richard O. Norton mentions the sacred stone in the
temple of Apollon at Delphi, Greece, a rock that was said having been thrown to Earth by the
Supreme Being, Kronos, marking the "omphalos", the navel of the world. And the Roman
historian Titus Livius recalls the story of the meteorite of Pessinunt, Phrygia, a conical
object also known as "The Needle of Cybele", the Phrygian Godess of fertility. After
the Romans had conquered Phrygia the meteorite was conveyed in a gigantic procession to Rome,
where it was worshiped for at least another 500 years.
Unfortunately, none of these ancient bethyls have been preserved up to this day, making it hard
to prove that they were actually meteorites - with one remarkable exception, the Black Stone of
Paphos, Cyprus, a rock that has been venerated as the aniconical representation of Godess
Aphrodite since at least 1,300 BC. This stone, depicted on many classical coins, such as Traian,
Vespasian, Drusus, and Caracalla, was recovered during excavations at the temple site more than
one-hundred years ago.
The huge stone that was locked away in the cellar of the National museum of Nikosia for more
than a century, is now on exhibition at the small local museum of Kouklia, Cyprus, the
historic Palaeo-Paphos, and the original site of the famous Sanctuary of Godess Aphrodite. I
visited Cyprus and the Black Stone in early 2006, just to find out that it is no
real meteorite but a large terrestrial andesitic rock (see my detailed report in
IMCA Insights for more information). What seemed to be fusion crust on first sight proved
to be the sticky remnants of centuries of libations with honey, and all kinds of love fluids.
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The Black Stone of Paphos, Cyprus