The Magic Sphere of Helios at the Acropolis Museum

Magic Sphere
Acropolis Museum
2-3 century AD

What is this magic sphere and why does it have The Statue of Liberty on it? The human figure on the sphere is ascribed the identity of the god Helios by the curators of the Acropolis Museum, but I'm not convinced. It looks like a like it could be a female to me, which could mean it's Persephone or Athena or another goddess. Or - even more intriguingly - could it be a revealing but rare esoteric relief of the Sacred Hermaphrodite? Although Athena is sometimes given both male and female characteristics, this image seems to embody a harder more gender-encompassing aspect than does the Goddess of Wisdom. While the figure holds what very much appears to be a chalice in its left hand, it holds what might be some sort of rod in its right - could these be symbols of sexual dichotomy? Its lower regions are cloaked, which might be hiding something, while its body is thick and muscular.

More striking still is the the dragon-lizard at the person's feet.  Dragons' most esoteric significance is their embodiment of the "As Above, So Below" maxim. The Mesoamerican serpent-bird-god Quetzalcoatl is the clearest example of this: It has birds' wings which fly above, and a snake's body which slithers below.

Beyond the more obvious iconography of The Magic Sphere, the globe is riddled with sacred geometry, taking its most noticeable form in a worded triangle contained in a circle on what may be the base of the thing. There is also a serpent with Greek writing appearing to run the length of its coils.

On another side of the sphere are featured five hoops reminiscent of the Olympic games logo, which are above a downward pointing trident, and beneath what seem to be sport measurement icons of some kind. 

Finally there is a lion standing at the base of some sort of projection with circle-cross measuring points linking a club-shape to the lion's neck, and words written on its front legs.

Click on the following images to enlarge them.

From the Acropolis Museum placard:

On the sphere are presented the god Helios, a lion, a dragon and magical symbols. It was found buried near the Theater of Dionysus, which hosted duels an other similar contests when (sic) the sphere was created. It has been suggested that the sphere was used in magic rituals to achieve victory in these contests. 2-3 century AD