An omphalos is an ancient religious stone artifact, or baetylus. 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 used to denote this point were erected in several areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea; the most famous of those was at the oracle in Delphi.
In geology, Omphalos refers to a Bible-based scientific theory of a young age for the Earth, proposed by English writer Philip Gosse in the 1850s, and disregarded by most people almost immediately after it came out.
Omphalos in After the Downfall
In 1893 Herr Doktor Professor Maximilian Eugen von Heydekampf took the Omphalos stone from Zeus' temple in Delphi and brought it back to the Old Museum in Berlin. Two years later, during an 1895 imperial reception at the museum, Professor von Heydekampf disappeared - an event which was never satisfactorily explained.
Fifty years later, in April 1945, Wehrmacht Captain Hasso Pemsel - holed up in this museum and ready to make a last stand against the invading Red Army - read the inscription. Having nothing to lose, he sat on the Omphalos and was transported to another, magical world.
- After the Downfall, chapter 1.