Silver amphora,ΙΙ ,with figure of Alexander

Discuss the culture of Alexander's world and his image in art

Moderator: pothos moderators

Post Reply
system1988
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 616
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:20 am
Location: Athens, Greece

Silver amphora,ΙΙ ,with figure of Alexander

Post by system1988 »

Πάντες άνθρωποι του ειδέναι ορέγονται φύσει
Alexias
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:16 am

Re: Silver amphora,ΙΙ ,with figure of Alexander

Post by Alexias »

Thanks for this Pauline. So we have:

- in 2008, a cylindrical copper chest containing a gold pyxis which in turned contained the cremated bones of a youth aged 15-18 wrapped in a gold-woven cloth together with a gold wreath of oak leaves was excavated in the agora of Aegae. Dated to the last quarter of the 4th century (early Hellenistic) the similarity of the items to those found in the tombs II and III in the Great Tumulus have led to the identification of the remains as those of Heracles, Alexander's son by Barsine.

- in 2009, in the same area and dated to the same period, a silver hydria and a silver amphora (from which the drawing was taken) were excavated. They appear to have been buried together. The hydria contained the cremated remains of an adult and a few offerings. The silver amphora contained the cremated remains of a child aged 3-7, together with gold, silver and ivory objects including two nike and a gold olive wreath.

- the burials were found in a large, subterranean construction (8x8.5 m) in the court of a Hellenistic peristyle building in the agora of Aegae. The building was inside the city walls and adjacent to a cemetery. The location of the burials and without any grave markers, would seem to indicate that they were not meant to be public.

- the author of the paper identifies figure A with Alexander. Shaking hands appears to be a gesture in art representing a farewell, so Alexander would appear to be saying goodbye to the deceased, but this is not possible as the remains are those of a child. It is possible that the amphora was reused from its original purpose though.

- the drawing appears to be the work of Giorgos Miltsakakis .
Alexias
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:16 am

Re: Silver amphora,ΙΙ ,with figure of Alexander

Post by Alexias »

I have been trying to think who this child could be and all I can come up with is a bastard child of Philip Arrhidaeus that we know nothing of.

It is tempting to see the adult buried in the silver hydria alongside the child's burial as being its mother. Clearly the child was of a higher status than the adult, which might accord with a bastard child. The mother would not be the daughter of anyone important, and her importance would rest solely in her child so she was given the respect of a silver vessel but little more. The child's burial though has derived its status from the importance of its possibly royal father. If this is Arrhidaeus' child, Olympias would be the most likely suspect for putting this child and possibly its mother, out of the way.
Alexias
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:16 am

Re: Silver amphora,ΙΙ ,with figure of Alexander

Post by Alexias »

I am also puzzled about this 'subterranean structure'. There are no dates given but it may be possible that the Hellenistic peristyle building is late and has encroached on the cemetery. The subterranean structure could be the remains of a tomb that was levelled to make way for the building and the burials it contained were re-buried in the floor of the tomb. It was then backfilled to make the court of the peristyle building. There would then be no question of the burials being secret or hidden. Presumably the archaeologists considered this possibility.

Also, if you murder someone, even royalty, do you really waste gold and silver on interring them? Were they that religious (or rich)?
Post Reply