Since this is Meteorite Times twentieth anniversary, I am including this bonus article. Congratulations Paul and Jim on twenty wonderful years!
A small ancient coin with a big wonderful story! On one side of the coin is Apollo seated on the sacred Omphalos stone. Omphalos is a religious stone artifact or Baetylus. In Hebrew, meteorites were called “Betyls” the equivalent to “Baitylia” in Greek meaning “The residence of God.”
Zeus wishing to discover the center of the earth sent two eagles across the world in opposite directions to meet at its center – the “navel” of the world. Also, Zeus floating in the sky threw a stone to see where it would fall. The stone fell at the center of the world, Dephi, Greece. That sacred stone was the Omphalos – “navel of the earth.” An Omphalos stone marked the earth’s center or “navel.” “Earth’s navel” was applied to several sacred locations (centers of civilations), such as Delphi (Greece), Thebes and Karnak (Egypt) and Jerusalem, from the ancient world. The oldest known Omphalos is on view in the Sofia museum in Bulgaria. Another Omphalos is at the museum in Delphi, Greece. An Omphalos was an object of religious symbolism believed to allow direct communication with the gods.
The story is Greek mythology, so the sacred Omphalos stone can be anything, even a meteorite, since the story is fiction. However, nowhere in the story does it say or imply it is a meteorite – only a sacred stone. If you really want the Omphalos stone to be a meteorite, just think of the Omphalos sacred stone as a meteorite when reading this story. Throughout the ages and worldwide, meteorites were thought to be sacred stones.
Greek Kronos or Cronus (Romans called him Saturn) was the leader, and youngest of the first generation of Titans – divine descendants of Gaia, the Earth, and Uranus, the sky. Kronos envied the power of his father, Uranus, ruler of the universe. Gaia tried to persuade her children to castrate Uranus with a sickle Gaia created. Only Kronos was willing to do the unthinkable deed. Kronos waited in ambush when Uranus met Gaia. Kronos used the sickle to castrate Uranus and cast his testicles into the sea. The testicles produced a white foam from which the goddess Aphrodite emerged. Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons Titans or “Straining ones” for daring to commit such an act.
After dispatching of Uranus, Kronos and his sister, Rhea, took the throne of the world to rule as king and queen during the Golden Age, a time without the need for laws because everyone did the right thing. The Golden Age was a time of plenty and peace.
Kronos learned from Gaia, his mother, and Uranus, his father, that Kronus was destined to be overthrown by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, he sired the gods: Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta (Roman names) (Greek names: Demter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon ) by Rhea and devoured them all as soon as they were born, to prevent the prophecy from coming true. When the youngest sixth child, Zeus, was born, Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Kronus for his acts against his father and children.
Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, and handed Kronus a stone, also known as the Omphalos stone, wrapped in baby clothes which Kronus promptly swallowed, thinking it was his son. Rhea kept Zeus hidden until he was an adult. Once Zeus grew up, he forced his father, Kronos to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order, first the Omphlos stone, then his two brothers and three sisters.
Afterward, in a ten year war, called the Titanomachy, Zeus and his siblings, the Olympians, overthrew Kronos and the Titans. There are several variations to this entertaining story.
Apollo was the son of Zeus and Titaness, Leto. Apollo was one of the most important deities of both Greek and Roman religions, and was the god of prophecy, archery and music. A fight with the gigantic earth serpent Python (Gaia’s daughter) at Delphi gave Apollo the seat of his famous oracle – the sacred Omphalos stone at Delphi.
Paul and Jim, thank you for your dedication and bringing joy to the meteorite family through twenty wonderful years of Meteorite Times!