Yasmeen El Khoudary ياسمين الخضري

Yasmeen El Khoudary ياسمين الخضري

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ancient Gods of Gaza: Apollo and Zeus in statue

Ever since an ancient (at least 2000 years old) and extremely rare metal statue of Apollo was found in Gaza last summer, Gaza came under an unfamiliar media spotlight (albeit for scattered stories about its history). The statue, of which the discovery details remain disputed, is extremely rare, since very few statues of the time were made in metal/bronze. It is also beautifully impeccable, judging only from the few photos that were shared with the world: the statue remains 'hidden' somewhere in the Strip of Gaza.

This historic discovery was not the first in Gaza, but due to a long que of news about alleged 'terrorism' and the likes, little has been said about the city's impressive history. I will be posting a list of sources that talk about the history of Gaza from the earliest antiquity, but for now, there is one story that I would like to allude to:

In 1879, Palestinians living in Tell Ajjul (تل العجول) about 20 km south of Gaza stumbled upon a 4x1x.7 meters yellow sandstone structure, which turned out to be the largest known statue of Zeus in the world (since the destruction of "Zeus of Olympia" in 5th Century AD). The statue was seized by the Ottoman authorities that were ruling Gaza at the time and sent to Istanbul. Ever since, the statue has been displayed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum as "Zeus of Gaza." Zeus's left arm has probably drowned in the deep sands of Gaza. We can now at least be assured that when our descendants find it, Gaza will make it to the news in positive light again.

Zeus of Gaza. Source

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