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 of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 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)


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A wonderful analysis of Amphipolis by Andrew Chugg

Andrew Chugg is well known for his two books The Quest for the Tomb of Alexander the Great and The Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great, besides several books in which he painstakingly tries to reconstruct the lost biography which Cleitarchus wrote about Alexander the Great, e.g. The Death of Alexander the Great. A Reconstruction of Cleitarchus.

It makes me happy to learn that he published his analysis about Amphipolis in yesterday’s Mediterraneo Antigua under the title: Is the mother of Alexander the Great in the Tomb of Amphipolis?

It is definitely worth reading the entire article through the above link. As always with Andrew Chugg, he takes a fresh look at the elements we have so far, consulting the antique writers, previously published articles and old photographs. He has a thorough knowledge of Alexander’s history and all what comes with it.

I would do him wrong by trying to summarize this article, it is too well written for that but I’ll give it a try anyway. He starts by analyzing what the sphinxes stand for and compares them to other examples  like those found in the tomb attributed to Euridice I, the mother of King Philip II, and in another royal tomb nearby that belongs to the royal cemetery of Vergina, known as the “Queen’s Cluster”. It therefore seems to indicate that sphinxes were used by Macedonian queens as a symbol in the late fourth century BC and consequently the sphinxes of Amphipolis may suggest that the occupant of the tomb was a prominent queen.

Because of the time-frame, i.e. the last quarter of the 4th century BC, two queens come to mind: Olympias, Alexander’s mother, and Roxane, Alexander’s wife. Roxane was killed in Amphipolis by Cassander in 310 BC (together with her 13-year old son Alexander IV who is buried in Aegae). Olympias surrendered to the same ambitious Cassander while in Pydna in 316 BC. Cassander needed her army and demanded the surrender of her faithful troops at Pella and at Amphipolis. Pella didn’t resist, it seems, but Amphipolis is a different story and Andrew Chugg thinks that it is not unreasonable to think that Cassander rode to Amphipolis and took Olympias with him rather than leaving her behind to be rescued by her supporters. If such were the case, Olympias died at Amphipolis as well.

This being said, Andrew Chugg makes comparisons and finds architectural parallels between the tombs of Amphipolis and Vergina, including pictures to support his theory. He even finds great similarities between the façade of Amphipolis as reconstructed in 1939 and that of the tomb of Philip and the tomb of Alexander IV in Aegae – with pictures. He has even scrutinized the marble floor that matches the threshold of the Palace at Aegae – see pictures too.

For Andrew Chugg, Olympias is the great favourite for this tomb at Amphipolis as her cause to defend and preserve the homeland of her son was generally seen as identical to that of Alexander himself, meaning that by giving Olympias such a spectacular tomb was equal to honouring Alexander. Cassander allowed the tomb for Alexander IV to be build at Aegae, so why would he have refused the burial of Olympias here at Amphipolis?

Last but not least, the author draws a line of similarity with another pair of monumental sphinxes from the same time-period which stood at the Serapeum in Memphis to guard the first tomb of Alexander the Great before he was transferred to Alexandria. The pictures say it all.

[Pictures from Mediterraneo Antigua]


  1. Andrew Chugg's analyses are always very insightful and nice to read, but I think in this case he bypasses too easily at least one important, possibly direct archaeological finding about Olympias being entombed at Pydna:

    That said, it doesn't mean that evidence for Olympias may not be found in the tomb, but i doubt this whole structure was initially made for her. One may always be creative and construct scenarios that Olympias was moved in there after Cassander died. Who knows.

    But maybe the question about to who does the tomb belong to has to be split in two:
    -For whom do you think the tomb was made for?
    -Do you think anyone else ended up inside?

    I still find the scenario by the Rogueclassicist the one that fits best the available (limited) evidence released by the press.

    1. It is said that Olympiada was hated so much that when she was executed she was not buried and was left exposed, the ultimate degredation in that culture.

    2. That is correct. We can only guess as to what happened afterwards. Were the Macedonian people brave enough to organize a decent funeral for their queen in spite of Cassander's wrath, who knows. The problem with history is that we only have those stories that came to us over the centuries as so many more have been lost over time. Shifting truth from fiction, legends from hear-say is extremely difficult after 2,500 years.
      I honestly wouldn't bet on any of the options, would you?

  2. Thank you, Planet, for this link to Charles Edson findings in and around Pydna related to Olympias.
    I was not aware of this author, so I'm happy to have found something new.
    I agree that I too was under the impression that Olympias was murdered in Pydna, but I suppose one has to analyze the original ancient writings (which I can't) to shed more light on this. But, all in all, Chugg's theory is as plausible as many others we have heard over the past weeks.
    Now the tomb at Amphipolis may fit Olympias very well. She was a powerful figure and still stood for the values that made Macedonians proud of their country and kings (Philip and Alexander). Roxane on the other hand was not "one on them" and I doubt they would have granted her such a grand burial site. But again, everything is possible.
    Considering that Alexander's son is buried in Aegae (if we accept that it is him), it is not impossible that Olympias sooner or later received all the honors in Amphipolis. Cassander has the murder of both on his conscience but funeral rites were sacred, so ....
    And, yes, I agree with you that based on what we know so far the scenario presented by Rogueclassicist seems most probable.

    The news happens day after day. I think I have read that are unusual inscriptions on the Macedonian tombs. We'll see if clarifies something about the occupant of the burial chamber (if there is or was someone)

  4. That info was not confirmed. There are really many rumours floating out there, this will go on

    1. Ok, thanks. if it is not told by the ministry, there seems to be careful with what you read. Disinformation for what? or is it just bad journalistic practice

    2. Lots of rumours comes from news websites from the local region around Amphipolis. Those websites and their journalists get a much larger number of visitors and visibility compared to earlier times, and I assume they do not manage to handle well their enthusiasm that comes with all this, and publish anything that they think it has even a tiny possibility to be true.

  5. Yeap! There we go again! If they go on like this nobody will believe what will be disclosed, neither by the journalists, nor by the Ministry of Culture.
    It saddens me deeply....

  6. "The Greek authorities have enhanced the security measures around the tomb in Amphipolis, adding members of the special units of the Greek police to the existing security. It is significant that the measures are starting at a distance of 800 metres around the tomb."

    Special units? Is it usual to deploy special forces in this occasion?

    "According to the Greek media that refer to representatives of the local government bodies, and they, in turn, to participants in the excavations, the team have discovered two slabs with inscriptions that may provide information about the person(s) laid in the tomb".

    And further:

    "Meanwhile, the online edition of "Ethnos" newspaper reports that archaeologists found today three architraves with preserved colours. According to the text, they have been transferred to the museum in Amphipolis for restoration. "

    - See more at:

  7. Attention, this information is to be taken with pairs of tweezers : I got a Greek friend on the phone who owes me that convincing elements could indicate that the grave " would have been initially built for Alexander and that Roxanne and Alexander IV would have been buried there". He also speaks about a "grave of big dimension" which would confirm the tomography of the Kasta-Hill. So....

  8. Maybe a part of the broken Shinxes reused as building material by Christians havingplundered the grave to strengthen the wall of their church?

    "M. Charles Picard a retrouvé cet été au inusée de Budapest un document archéologique qu'on croyait perdu. Il s'agit d'un bas-relief d'Amphipolis (Macédoine), représentant une sphynge tricéphale - dite sphynge ponthée - qui était demeuré longtemps enclavé dans le mur d'une église. Ce document avait été signalé au début du XIXe siècle par un de nos consuls de Salonique. M. Cousinéry, qui en avait laissé un croquis fort inexact. Il avait disparu depuis et on ne gardait de ce monstre du IIe siècle de notre ère que ce mauvais dessin."

    Le Monde. 1957


    1. I am quite interested by the inscriptions they now have transferred to the Museum of Amphipolis...

    2. That is just unfounded rumours. That is what was discussed in the link that Boro provided (in Greek).

  10. “They buried them in the morning and in the evening they will steal of them. Where there was gold they opened a hole and took it. Some say that the Romans trained monkeys … and monkeys did the job, the picking and then took the takings to a hole. The holes were not made randomly the nine … out of ten in Amphipolis did this job and many died from the fumes. ”

  11. This is the link where Bannister got this text from:
    Nothing new under the sun ...

  12. Critical announcements on Amphipolis tomb expected on Thursday and Friday

  13. Magnificent!!!!!!!

    1. Yes isn't it? We are slowly creeping forward!