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 in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, 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 OR 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)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Another Macedonian tomb open to the public in Pella

Another Macedonian tomb is being revealed, this time in ancient Pella. Sadly it opens to the public only until November 2015. Macedonia, as I found out over the decennia, is extremely rich in tombs and very well preserved ones for that matter. Yet since the financial crises started in 2011 most of them are closed to the public, so maybe you should rush out to see at least this new one while it is accessible?

This new tomb definitely stands out as it is the largest rock-hewn tomb in all of Greece and counts as many as eight chambers, whereas usually there are only one or two chambers. It has been determined that this was a family tomb used without interruption from the 4th century BC till the second century BC.

It seems to be a very moving place to visit as the lighting inside gives the visitor the impression that he is descending into Hades. The entrance leads into a central rectangular chamber surrounded by openings in the walls where the dead could be laid to rest. These walls are plastered and painted in bands of black, blue, red and white, whereas the ceiling is in white.

It is not surprising that this tomb has been looted several times in the past, but it is not entirely stripped. Archeologists recovered for instance three inscribed stelae, several clay vessels and figures, jewelry, as well as bits of a gold-plated wreath; copper coins, the usual fare of the dead to the underworld, were also found.

Archaeologists even deciphered the name of “Antigone, daughter of Aeneas” on a relief in the hallway. The additive ΗΡΩΙΣΣΗ after the name of the deceased indicates that we are dealing with a hero, a very common qualification in Hellenistic times. The relief shows Antigone with her maid holding a jewelry box and has been dated to the first quarter of the third century BC, although the inscription seems to have been added at a later date, probably in the first half of the 2nd century BC.

More information about the occupants has been discovered as in the western wall, where an altar stone reveals the name of Nikostratos from Boeotia, daughter of Pythonos. This means that people from other regions had settled in Pella. The top of another marble stele carries the name of Kleonikis, daughter of Nikomachou. Some of the small figures that were unearthed here seem to indicate that one or more children were buried here. It can be concluded that the tomb belonged to a wealthy family, although the bone remains are too scant and in a too bad state of conservation to confirm their relationship.

Towards the end of thee third century BC Macedonia was economically on its decline, a tendency that is clearly reflected in this tomb.

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