Saturday, 22 January 2022

The mysterious fate of “The Apollo of Gaza”

An extremely rare bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo resurfaced in the Gaza Strip in 2014, only to be seized and vanish. A fisherman says he scooped the 500-kg statue from the sea bed, and carried it home on a donkey cart.
Police from the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory, swiftly seized it. Archaeologists have not been able to get their hands on the Apollo since – to their great frustration. From what they can tell, it was cast sometime between the 5th and the 1st century BC. The discolored green-brown figure shows the youthful, athletic god standing upright on muscular legs; he has one arm outstretched, with the palm of his hand held up. He has compact, curly hair, and gazes out seriously at the world, one of his eyes apparently inlaid with a blue stone iris, the other just a vacant black slit.

The statue is unique and most experts say priceless. It's current whereabouts remains unknown.
The finder said he cut off one of the fingers to take to a metals expert, thinking it might have been made of gold. Unbeknownst to him, one of his brothers severed another finger for his own checks. This was then melted down by a jeweller. It is very rare to find a statue which is not in marble or in stone, but in metal. 5,000 years of history lie beneath the sands of the Gaza Strip, which was ruled at various times by ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and crusaders. Alexander the Great besieged the city and the Roman emperor Hadrian visited.