Omphalos

From Academic Kids

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Omphallos.jpg
The Omphalos in Delphi

An omphalos is a religious stone artifact in the ancient world. In Greek, the word omphalos means "navel".

According to the ancient Greeks, Zeus sent out two eagles to fly across the world to meet at its center, the "navel" of the world. Omphalos stones to denote this point were erected in several areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, the most famous of those at the oracle in Delphi. Omphalos stones were said to allow direct communication with the gods.


Omphalos is also a place in Crete on the borders of the river Triton sacred to Zeus. It was named for the umbilical chord of Zeus, which fell to earth there.


Omphalos is also a book written by Philip Gosse in 1857 (two years before Darwin's On the Origin of Species) in which he argues that the fossil record is not evidence of evolution, but rather that it is the act of a creator who made the world so that it would appear to be older than it is. The book was very controversial at the time, and it has had few supporters (though it has been repopularized somewhat in recent years).

See: Omphalos hypothesis


Omphalos was a sculpture erected in (and subsequently removed from) a nature reserve in southern Sweden, named after the omphalos in Delphi. See Ladonia (micronation).

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