An Olympian’s sanctuary rises from Dion’s mud

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is a sanctuary to Zeus Hypsistos, the chief ancient Greek god, at the site of the Macedonian city of Dion near Pieria, Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis said yesterday. The finds include a marble statue of the god seated on a throne (headless and slightly smaller than life-size) and 14 marble eagles, symbols of the king of the Olympian gods. The finds date from the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The sanctuary was discovered by chance during work to broaden the bed of the Baphyras River, which has flooded the site twice in the past few years. As the river was drained, the walls of the sanctuary appeared on the western bank, opposite a sanctuary of Isis. «The inscriptions that were found there allow us to identify it with the sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos, the god of the summit of Olympus and Heaven. In the excavation area, among other things, we found 14 marble eagles of various sizes, which confirm that this was a site of worship,» Pantermalis told Kathimerini.