Saturday, March 30, 2013

Roxanne Tomb, Amphipolis - more details

More details in this Kathimerini article:

kathimerini.gr - Το Λιοντάρι της Αμφίπολης αγναντεύει την αρχική του θέση

Firstly, I should be clear that the speculation is that it is the tomb of Roxanna, the widow of Alexander, but there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt ... I was rather skeptical when I first hear, but since I've been following the digs at Amphipolis for a couple of years, I've become increasingly less skeptical, and have taken to calling that too. She is a likely candidate, but we have to wait until the tomb chamber is excavated, and, since the tomb was deliberately destroyed in the Roman period, there might not be much left there.

Mike Manahan asked a very good question in the comments:
About the present issue, a question remains: if Roxane and Alexander IV were supposed to be discreetly 'vanished' why to build a tomb for her and the worse, with royal signs ?
That answer is complex, but not as mystifying as who in the Roman period put so much effort into destroying it. The ancient Macedonian used to quite often murder royal heirs, and the victims were still buried with great honors. The prime example is Philip II - and yes, for a long list of reasons I believe he is the mostly likely person to be buried in Tomb II at Vergina, and one of the reasons is that the interred was the subject of an extensive votive cult. His murderer was not the one in charge of the burial, but some of those in his family who arranged it may well have been complicit in his death.

His son Phillip III Arrhidaeus, another popular suggestion for the remains in Tomb II at Vergina, was also murdered under the orders of Olympias along side his niece-wife Adae Eurydice II (technically she was forced to commit suicide, but ...). But when Cassander took power, he too arranged for them to be honorably buried.

After they had arranged for the murder of Arsinoe IV, Anthony and Cleopatra arranged for a tomb for her at Ephesus. So the short version is - you could murder, but if you didn't bury your royal victim honorably, then a successor probably would.

Arrhidaeus and Eurydice died at Amphipolis and were buried by Cassander at Aegae. Cassander was responsible for the deaths of Roxanna and Alexander IV at Amphipolis, but it is not clear where they we buried, or if they were buried immediately. Olympias also seems to have died at Amphipolis, so was an early candidate for the Lion Tomb.


I should clarify one mistake I made in the earlier post - it was a bit hurried, and ... apologies: there is a building inscription, but it does not mention Dinocrates. The link to Dinocrates is that it is a very early example of the theories he developed, namely the creation of perfect circle of the retaining wall.


I try to be very careful not to give away too much about excavations friends and colleagues tell me about, but Michaelis Lefantzis and his colleagues have said I can. The lion seems to be a lioness - many more pieces of her have been found, but still no penis. Interestingly she does not seem to have a tongue. They've also found the base that the Lion stood on, confirming that it crowned the giant 497 m diameter mound that topped the tomb.

The excavations at Amphipolis - not just at the Lion Tomb - have been making some remarkable finds in the last few years.

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