The Royal Tombs of Vergina

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There are 3 vast plains in Greece.  Thessaly is one of them.  After Julius Caesar was assassinated, Brutus and Cassius, 2 of his murderers, battled Mark Antony and Octavius, Caesar’s grand-nephew and adopted son, on these plains west of the city of Philippi.  Philippi was named for Philip II of Macedon (Macedonia).   During the summer of 353 BCE Philip, also spelled Phillip in many accounts, invaded Thessaly and eventually became its ruler. Three years later he changed the name of the town of Crenides to Philippi, had a son he named Alexander, and celebrated his race horse winning at the Olympic games.

Philip was 5 feet 2 inches tall, one-eyed, and he had a bad leg.  But he was a natural, unstoppable leader who married 7 times.  As ruler of the Balkans and elected leader of all the Greeks, he settled into palace life in Aigai, which became Vergina, The Royal Capital of Macedonia.  The palace was the largest building in Greece at the time and had a theater beside it.  At age 46 in 336 BCE, Philip was assassinated in that theater when a bodyguard jumped on him during the wedding of Philip’s daughter Cleopatra to Alexander, King of Epirus.

His son Alexander, who became Alexander the Great, buried his father and went off to conquer most of the known world and name 72 towns after himself.  Philip’s tomb disappeared for about 23 centuries.  A Greek archaeologist, Manolis Andronicos, started looking for the ancient capital of Aigai near the modern city of Veria.  By 1977 he had moved 40,000 tons of earth and found the ruins of a building.  He soon discovered two looted tombs and, the same year, the unlooted tomb of Philip.  The treasures in it were transferred to the Greek city of Thessaloniki.  A 4th unlooted tomb was also found.  The body inside was that of a 15-year-old boy.  Scientists are about 98% sure that it’s Alexander The Great’s son.

In 1993 a museum opened to show the tombs and treasures.  Very dark inside but outrageously 5 Compass, this museum showcases almost all of the stuff found with Philip and the female next to him.  Bone examinations showed that the woman was not his last wife or his most high-profile one, Olympias, but one of his barbarian warrior wives.  What I gazed at included gold wreaths of oak leaves like the one above, jewels, wood arrows with silver heads, horse bones, ivory shards, Philip’s elaborate shield, armor, helmet and hefty ceremonial sword, etc.   The most remarkable thing found was some gold and purple cloth that is among the oldest surviving material in the world.   This discovery, in my opinion, is as important as the finding of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, but it has not received the attention that discovery generated.

Hank

 

 

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About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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