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, December 20, 2017

The story of a Thracian Chariot

Speaking of chariots, our thoughts automatically go to Egyptian, Assyrian, Scythian, Greek and Roman examples but hardly any Thracian. The picture of one such Thracian chariot including the skeleton of two horses was a recent top hit on Reddit.

Thracia was Macedonia’s northern neighbor and roughly covers today’s Bulgaria, Eastern Greece and western (European) Turkey. The Thracians were fierce fighters and it took King Philip, Alexander’s father, several battles to finally subdue them. When Alexander crossed the Hellespont into Asia, a contingent from Thracia was among his troops.

In today’s Bulgaria, a tomb of a Thracian nobleman was discovered in 2009. His brick tomb also contained a chariot and the man in armor was buried with precious gifts of gold rings and coins, together with a silver cup depicting a Greek inspired Eros. Typically, this kind of burial was popular 2,500 years ago and continued far into Roman times. To the Thracians, chariots meant prestige, power and authority and they evidently wanted to carry these values with them into the afterlife.

The splendid chariot and its horses seen on the photograph were discovered in 2008. The wooden chariot was covered in bronze but unfortunately the decoration scenes from Thracian mythology are difficult to make out. It is estimated to be 1,800 years old.

The dead horses were not part of the animal sacrifices that accompanied such a burial but pigs, sheep and deer were. It is assumed that the horses pulled the chariot into place and were killed on the spot before being buried together will their owner and all the rich burial goods.

Such tombs are very much sought after by looters who get good prices for the precious sacrificial gifts on the black market. In our present case, luckily, the tomb was excavated before the looters got there and the finds will go to the museum for all to enjoy.

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