Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria Ariana (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in the Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Roxane’s tomb linked to the Lion of Amphipolis?

Much sooner than I expected, there is a sequel to my short article “Has the tomb of Roxane and young Alexander been located?” In spite of financial shortcuts, it seems archaeological work on this site has not been halted.

We all known that it was Cassander who, as king of Macedonia, sent  Queen Roxane and her son by Alexander the Great to Amphipolis, to murder them both shortly afterwards. Under these circumstances it sounds very strange to hear that this tomb was erected by Dinocrates, builder of Alexandria in Egypt and favorite architect of Alexander the Great. Alexander had a soft spot for Amphipolis from where his fleet sailed east with him in 334 BC and the city he intended to honor with a magnificent temple – a plan that never materialized due to the king’s untimely death. 

Since my story appeared in October 2012, about three quarters of the total perimeter of the so-called Kasta Tumulus  has been exposed, making this tomb almost as large the one in Vergina. The wall of the monument is built of limestone blocks covered with marble slabs from Thassos. It is clear that part of the stones have disappeared or have been removed for use elsewhere over time. It is surprising however that archaeologists have been able to establish that the blocks of marble used in the reconstruction of the nearby Lion of Amphipolis are actually pertaining to this very tomb. It is obvious to whoever visited this lion monument, that a great number of lose blocks and columns are lying around. One of the architects working on the present excavations, M Lefantzis, went so far as to assume that the tomb itself once was covered with soil and topped with a lion, the one that has been reassembled further uphill and known as the Lion of Amphipolis.

During the second century AD, the tomb was deliberately and thoroughly destroyed by the Romans, dragging most of the blocks, including the lion into the Strymon River. Why this happened and why in such a violent way, I don’t know. At the times of the Balkan wars (1912-1913), Greek soldiers dug out a great deal of blocks from the Strymon riverbed, which led to reassembling the lion monument at the spot where we see it today. A great many pieces could not find a reasonable place in the reassembling works and they were left behind at the foot of the monument.

Today’s archaeologists are once again collecting and categorizing the numerous marble blocks from the river bed as well as from around the Lion of Amphipolis and because they have not found a penis, have come to the conclusion that we are looking at a lioness instead. While a lion-statue may be used to honor a male hero or king, a lioness traditionally crowns a female tomb. Because of the large size of the Roxane tumulus, it is automatically linked with a female of royal blood, and who else would be important enough here in Amphipolis at the end of the fourth century BC but Roxane?

The inside of the tumulus still remains a secret and it is quite an exciting thought that it might be the burial site of two persons so dear to Alexander, even if he has never seen his son and heir by Roxane.


  1. 400 blocks from around the Lion, belong to the peribolos (perimeter 500m) of the tomb. The blocks were orthostates, stepsis blocks and geisons for a very long circular wall and exactly the same blocks were found in situ at the peribolos. More than 30 from the rest 100 blocks around the Lion, belong to the basement of the statue, containing blocks with semicolumns semicapitals and...shields. This is the biggest macedonian tumulus ever found and the Lion (not Lionaise) is surely on the top of the tumulus, because all the 430 blocks of the perivolos and the statue basement have the same type and marble elaboration, the same architectural aspects and an entire system of geometrical analogies and an exceptional modulus (the height of the Statue). This same modulus is used also for the construction of the peribolos architecture and the main geometrical form of the tumulus in full analogy with the Lion and its basement. There are no clues about Roxane, the Lion and the marble Shields indicate a Man, propably a heroic warrior(s) of great importance. We cant surely talk about Roxane and Alexander D, as everybody talks so easily at the media all this time. Michaelis Lefantzis,The architect of the excavation

  2. Dear Mr Lefantzis,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to pull my story straight. The Amphipolis Lion being a lion and not a lioness makes the story about Roxane much less plausible, of course.
    Well, it was wonderful to dream away for a moment ...
    Due to the size of the tumulus, the burial must be for a very important and/or influential person. I hope it was not built for Cassander though ;-)