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, 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)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Another effigy of Hephaistion?

Pictures of Hephaistion are terribly rare and when finally a new one is being discovered at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, we dare not believe it truly represents Alexander’s faithful friend and possible lover!

This time we see a lovely relief representing a man with his horse, probably just dismounted, who is met and welcomed by a woman. The piece was unearthed in Pella, the old Macedonian capital, and carries the intriguing inscription ΔΙΟΓΕΝHΣ ΗΦΑΙΣΤΙΩΝΙ ΗΡΩΙ, meaning “Diogenes to the hero Hephaistion”. Based on its style, is has been dated to the last quarter of the 4th century BC.


The so welcome effigy, however, raises many questions. First of all, Hephaistion died in 324 BC at Ecbatana and was cremated in great pump in Babylon far away from Pella. Secondly, history tells us that after his death and with the approval of the Egyptian oracle, Hephaistion was promoted to the status of a hero which in fact equals that of a semi-god. The composition itself is a rather standard representation of a soldier and his horse being met by one of his relatives and it could be anyone by the name of Hephaistion.

The Museum of Thessaloniki is rather careful and attributes the relief to a veteran of Alexander’s eastern campaign, which is, of course, a plausible explanation. After the death of Hephaistion and Alexander many more wars have been fought in and around the Macedonian homeland, Illyria or Thracia, meaning that some soldier by the name of Hephaistion could be honoured in Pella


This all sounds very credible were it not that the very name of Hephaistion is pretty rare. For a great admirer of Hephaistion, it would however not be too difficult to find a serious resemblance between the man shown in this relief and, for instance, the Hephaistion from Alexandria that is now at the Archaeological Museum of Athens.

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