The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

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The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

Taphoi wrote on the “Sphinxes thread”:
This tomb is from long after the Macedonian conquest and Amphipolis was an Athenian colony anyway. The Persephone mosaic is purely Greek in its inspiration. Ditto the lion, the Nikes on ships' prows, sphinxes, Klodones, the egg & dart decorations, the architecture... so why do you want to look to the wilds of Thrace for an occupant?”


That question does not have a simple answer, but I am going to attempt one.I have much more material on this subject, but in the interests of keeping this post to a reasonable length, I shall not post it for now....
I am placing it in a new thread because it has nothing to do with “Sphinxes” or any of the other voluminous material on that thread, and I should like to have a separate discussion which does not involve spurious and unlikely “Alexander” connections, encouraged by various politicians in Greece for both external political reasons with FYROM, and internal politics leading up to a major election. Katerina Peristeri, the chief if somewhat eccentric archaeologist encouraged this also, no doubt with funding in mind, postulating a connection with Hephaestion whilst Taphoi here and elsewhere championed the cause of Olympias, which resulted in publicity in some sections of the Greek media who supported political factions and their machinations. Needless to say, after the election, in March 2015, funding for the Kasta project dried up completely.

In reality, there is no real evidence for connections to Hephaistion or Olympias, or any other “Alexandrian” character – these are all just speculative examples of the illogical positivist fallacy ( the assumption that archaeological remains are associated with known historical events), which I referred to on the “Sphinxes” thread.

BACKGOUND HISTORY OF AMPHIPOLIS
We should start with some background history to Amphipolis and the nearby Kasta hill. The lower Strymon valley, because of its concentrated natural wealth and strategic value as the pathway between Greece and Asia minor, had been well populated early on from the Neolithic through the Bronze age. By the dawn of recorded history, there was a settlement on the nearby hill 133 of Thracians known as the ‘Eidones’, called ‘nine ways’/Ennea-Hodoi for its strategic location, and opposite this was the Kasta hill, a mostly natural hill which had been turned into a ‘tumulus’ mound perhaps as early as Neolithic or Bronze age times, and had been sacred and used as a cemetery for hundreds of years after– ‘since time immemorial’.

Throughout the 5th century BC, from the defeat of Xerxes invasion, Athens sought to consolidate its control over Thrace, which was strategically important because of its primary materials (the gold and silver of the Pangaion hills and the dense forests essential for naval construction together with rich agricultural produce), and the sea routes vital for Athens' supply of grain from the Black sea. After a first unsuccessful attempt at colonisation in 497 BC by the Milesian Tyrant Histiaeus, the Athenians founded a first colony at Ennea-Hodoi (‘Nine Ways’) in 465, but these first ten thousand colonists were massacred by the Thracians. A second attempt took place in 437 BC on the same site under the guidance of Hagnon, son of Nicias, which was successful.

This was largely because the bones of the legendary local hero and demi-God Rhesus were brought back from Troy, and secretly re-interred by the Athenians, in response to an oracle. A play called “Rhesus” was commissioned, possibly written by Euripides, to commemorate the event and the successful founding of the new city of Amphipolis on a spur of Mt Pangaion, around which a loop of the river Strymon flowed. The city and its first walls date from this time. Thereafter, the original Thracian settlement on Hill 133 was abandoned and use of the adjacent Kasta cemetery declined and petered out. In the first half of the fourth century, Athenian diplomats did everything they could to get back their colony, but their chances became smaller and smaller, not least because Amphipolis grew larger and larger, and could muster more and more soldiers. In 365, however, an opportunity offered itself. In Macedonia, the young king Perdiccas III needed Athenian help and was forced to co-operate with the Athenian commander Timotheus to reconquer Amphipolis. Once Amphipolis had been captured, however, the Macedonian king kept it for himself and broke off the collaboration. Few Athenians will have wept when Perdiccas was defeated and killed by the Illyrians in 360.




MACEDONIAN RULE

The city itself kept its independence until the reign of king Philip II (r. 359–336 BC) despite several Athenian attacks. In 357 BC, Philip succeeded where the Athenians had failed and conquered the independent city, thereby removing the obstacle which Amphipolis presented to Macedonian control over Thrace. According to the historian Theopompus, this conquest came to be the object of a secret accord between Athens and Philip II, who would return the city in exchange for the fortified town of Pydna, but the Macedonian king betrayed the accord, refusing to cede Amphipolis and laying siege to Pydna as well .The city was not immediately incorporated into the Macedonian kingdom, and for some time preserved its institutions and a certain degree of autonomy. The border of Macedonia was not moved further east; however, Philip sent a number of Macedonian governors to Amphipolis, and in some respects the city was effectively "Macedonianized". The currency, the gold stater, created by Philip to capitalise on the gold reserves of the Pangaion hills, replaced the Amphipolitan drachma and a Macedonian mint was established.

Throughout Macedonian sovereignty, Amphipolis was a strong fortress of great strategic and economic importance, as shown by inscriptions. Amphipolis became one of the main stops on the Macedonian royal road (as testified by a border stone found between Philippi and Amphipolis giving the distance to the latter), and later on the 'Via Egnatia', the principal Roman road which crossed the southern Balkans.

The city at the end of the fourth century, then, was neither ‘Macedonian’ nor ‘Athenian’, contrary to Taphoi’s assertions, but rather predominantly Thracian, with a veneer of Athenian and other Greek colonists, and an even thinner veneer of Macedonian officials and colonists, who had been there less than 50 years. Having established that the city was predominantly THRACIAN, and in many respects semi-autonomous during the 4-3rd centuries, and knowing that the Kasta hill had been sacred ground and used as a cemetery by them for centuries, perhaps we should take a look at customs for the burial of noble and Royal Thracians, and contemporary Thracian tomb practices. The reader should bear in mind that I am here generalising, and in fact each monumental tomb Thracian or Macedonian, is unique.

THRACIAN TOMB PRACTICES

Unsurprisingly, as elsewhere, Thracian burial practices were closely linked to religious beliefs, and Thracian religion was vastly different to the Olympian beliefs of Greece and Macedon. They were complex and varied from one tribal area to another. One feature strongly affected their tomb practices, that of believing that deceased noble ancestors became Gods or 'anthropodaimones'/divine ancestors and were worshipped as such, as well as worship as Heroes. Thracian monumental tombs were thus not immediately sealed after burial but often left open for decades or longer, and sacrifices and rituals carried out inside the tombs, or sometimes in front where worshipers could see into the tomb. Thus they had large ante-chambers to accommodate worshipers, and where the sacrifices and rituals were carried out. Some even had additional chambers for this purpose, and were 3 or 4 chambered tombs. The tomb served as a sort of temple. They were also approached by a ‘dromos’/corridor or a flight of steps giving access to the tomb. Eventually the tomb would be sealed and a tumulus enclosed them.

MACEDONIAN TOMB PRACTICES

In contrast, Macedonian barrel vaulted monumental tombs generally consisted of either a single burial chamber, or with a small ante-chamber added, which did not serve as a place of worship. They were sealed more or less immediately. The deceased was generally cremated and interred in a ‘larnax’/container, and Macedonian tombs also invariably had facades resembling temple fronts, at this time decorated and painted though later examples dispensed with exterior decoration, which need not concern us. They were not accessible by either a ‘dromos’ or stairs ( there are of course, exceptions e.g. a Macedonian tomb at Pydna has a dromos, and the Great mound at Vergina MAY have a ‘heroon’ on it, though the purpose of the small building is not really known.... )

One further point should be made and that is, just because of the excavation of barrel vaulted tombs first in Macedon, some classified all barrel-vaulted tombs as ‘Macedonian’, which is quite wrong since we now know barrel-vaulted Thracian tombs also exist, as well as barrel-vaulted tombs around the Black sea. ( c.f. the so-called ‘Illyrian’ Greek helmet which actually originated in southern Greece, and was far more popular in Macedon than Illyria. Misnomers easily arise.) However, many consider that the barrel vaulted tomb originated in Macedon, in which case one could speak of ‘Macedonian-type’ tombs.

Let us now consider the Kasta tomb in the light of the above. Is the deceased buried in a ‘Larnax’? No. Does the tomb have a facade? No. Does the Kasta tomb have only a small ante-chamber? No.
But there are similarities, notably the barrel vault and the tomb’s Greek-style decoration. However, this not surprising, because during this era monumental tombs were built in Macedon, Thrace, Scythia, all around the Black sea etc and were very likely built and decorated by Ionian Greeks.

Now let us consider a comparison with Thracian characteristics. Tomb not immediately sealed? Yes, the excavators think it was sealed sometime in the 2nd century BC. Taphoi has pointed out that if this date was derived from Carbon 14 dating, then because of anomalies around this time, such a date may not be correct. Large ante-chamber to accommodate worshippers and carry out rituals? Yes. More than 1 or 2 chambers? Yes(3 chambers in total). Access to tomb? Yes, by stairs. (which is consistent with the tomb not being immediately sealed).

We may say then, that the Kasta tomb has more in common with Thracian monumental tomb burial practices than Macedonian. As a pure speculation, could it be that with new wealth pouring in after Alexander’s conquests, the Amphipolitans decided to provide a lavish resting place for their ultimate anthropodaimon,Rhesus, and thereafter carried out rituals in the tomb/temple in the Thracian style for generations afterward?

Below: compare and contrast the Kasta tomb and its features with that of the typical Macedonian tomb, in this case Philip II.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

As a postscript to my post, see if you think the Kasta tomb entrance is of "Macedonian" type.......
(BTW There are one or more actual Macedonian tombs at Amphipolis from around this time. A Macedonian would presumably be laid to rest in this type....)

One of these is not like the other ones.......
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Last edited by Xenophon on Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

And some more Macedonian tomb facades......and there are plenty more.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Zebedee »

Playing devil's advocate. ;)

Are we sure that the form of the tomb now is the form of the 'original' tomb? We know that this tomb had phases of development/decoration after the late 4th century marble construction work. What about before? eg As many have noted, the entrance stairs are curiously cramped. Is that a choice of form (ritually descending into the underworld) or function (a result of later work building up the entrance above the former ground level entrance)?

Understand you're making general points, which I agree with in their general terms, but it is worth poking into the odd ones. 'Heuzey's tomb' (near Pydna) is dated to last third of 4th century. That's the one which I'd look to for comparison with Amphipolis.
Zebedee wrote: Image
(image from Belinda D'Angelo's The Evolution of the Macedonian Tomb)
The absence of a facade as such is curious indeed. But it's not unknown, if we're willing to look a little later in date. (Macedonian) Tomb II at Amphipolis has no facade but does have a dromos, although it's dated to late third century. So an argument on general terms does bump into evidence which points towards idiosyncratic construction and design. There is sufficient evidence to suggest transmission of funerary styles between, say, Odrysia and Greece (eg Greek artists are believed to be behind some of the decorative paintings in monumental Thracian tombs, or at the very least a conscious reproduction of Greek style - and there are of course even broader influences seen in attested cultic ideas). So it shouldn't be a surprise if we see evidence of synthesis in parts either, even if delving into the evidence for that tends to involve having to trudge through a lot of politically slanted interpretation. But on its own, is it enough to say 'Thracian' or 'Macedonian'? Especially at a site where almost everything is a little curious? I'm not sure it is.

Certainly agree that aspects point in a certain direction, but those aspects could be more general than specific to a particular 'hero' or 'god'. Amphipolis is a real melting pot - from the Spartan and Athenian founder cults, to the cult of Philip II, to the Trojan war mythology associated with the area, to Apollo, to Artemis, to the Egyptian trinities etc etc. So some blending of elements is to be expected without it pointing to anything in particular I suspect. We don't say 'female sculpture therefore female occupant' because years of digging in Athenian graves have demonstrated that not to be the association the ancients were making. Likewise with this monumental tomb, it could be (and playing devil's advocate against an idea I too have proposed) that the 'Homeric' undertones are shared without it necessarily being a hero from Homer, and what Thracian elements may be thought to be seen in the tomb may just reflect the general milieu of Amphipolis rather than the person buried within.

Stepping aside from devil's advocate, I think it just needs more evidence clearly linking the tomb or its cultic activity with Rhesos (or indeed anyone in particular). The strong elements pointing towards Rhesos are that we know Amphipolis hosted cults to him, his father and his mother. The tomb contains elements which seem almost to tick boxes from Euripides' Rhesus (and if one wants to really hammer home that curious parallel, there is an argument that the Euripides' Rhesus may well link to Amphipolis from the time of Philip II or shortly after). But still it's very tentative, and has the obvious issue of the multiple bodies.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

By all means play 'devil's advocate ! :) After all, the point of posting a hypothesis is to have it tested by other members!
Zebedee wrote:Playing devil's advocate. ;)

Are we sure that the form of the tomb now is the form of the 'original' tomb? We know that this tomb had phases of development/decoration after the late 4th century marble construction work. What about before? eg As many have noted, the entrance stairs are curiously cramped. Is that a choice of form (ritually descending into the underworld) or function (a result of later work building up the entrance above the former ground level entrance)?
I very much doubt that the entrance was expanded outward, nor, clearly was the burial chamber extended deeper into the mound/hillside (or there would be traces of the 'old' grave under the middle chamber). As can be seen from the image of my original post, the slope is such that the tomb had to be excavated below ground level, or it would have protruded out of the side of mound/hillside. Hence the need for stairs for access, which do not seem to be particularly steep or 'cramped'. Certainly I think the 'original' tomb contained all three chambers now present.
Understand you're making general points, which I agree with in their general terms, but it is worth poking into the odd ones. 'Heuzey's tomb' (near Pydna) is dated to last third of 4th century. That's the one which I'd look to for comparison with Amphipolis.
The absence of a facade as such is curious indeed. But it's not unknown, if we're willing to look a little later in date. (Macedonian) Tomb II at Amphipolis has no facade but does have a dromos, although it's dated to late third century. So an argument on general terms does bump into evidence which points towards idiosyncratic construction and design. There is sufficient evidence to suggest transmission of funerary styles between, say, Odrysia and Greece (eg Greek artists are believed to be behind some of the decorative paintings in monumental Thracian tombs, or at the very least a conscious reproduction of Greek style - and there are of course even broader influences seen in attested cultic ideas). So it shouldn't be a surprise if we see evidence of synthesis in parts either, even if delving into the evidence for that tends to involve having to trudge through a lot of politically slanted interpretation. But on its own, is it enough to say 'Thracian' or 'Macedonian'? Especially at a site where almost everything is a little curious? I'm not sure it is.
Heuzey's tomb ( which I referred to in my original post), of course, does have a facade ( see below) There are something like 60- 100 monumental tombs of 'Macedonian type', and almost all have facades, and a dromos/corridor is present in very, very, few. Normally a dromos precludes a facade, because it is in effect a 'tunnel' into the tomb. Heuzey's tomb architects placed a 'foyer' in the tomb, which the dromos leads into, in order to allow the facade to be seen ( see the plan you posted).....Certainly all 'Macedonian' tombs contemporary with Amphipolis have facades - and the Kasta tomb does not .
Certainly agree that aspects point in a certain direction, but those aspects could be more general than specific to a particular 'hero' or 'god'. Amphipolis is a real melting pot - from the Spartan and Athenian founder cults, to the cult of Philip II, to the Trojan war mythology associated with the area, to Apollo, to Artemis, to the Egyptian trinities etc etc. So some blending of elements is to be expected without it pointing to anything in particular I suspect. We don't say 'female sculpture therefore female occupant' because years of digging in Athenian graves have demonstrated that not to be the association the ancients were making. Likewise with this monumental tomb, it could be (and playing devil's advocate against an idea I too have proposed) that the 'Homeric' undertones are shared without it necessarily being a hero from Homer, and what Thracian elements may be thought to be seen in the tomb may just reflect the general milieu of Amphipolis rather than the person buried within.
I agree Amphipolis was a 'melting pot', which is why a related something of its history. Culturally too as a nine ways crossroad it was bound to share many cross-fertilized ideas, hence we agree that one can't be certain that the tomb is black or white ( 'Thracian' or 'Macedonian' ) but as I said it has many 'Thracian' features and few 'Macedonian' ones ( which are mainly in the decoration e.g. Persephone). Nevertheless it is undeniable that the tomb fits Thracian religious rituals as I described, and not Macedonian ones. And yes, I remember that fairly early on you proposed Rhesus as a possible occupant, and I happen to agree that he is far more plausible a candidate for such a lavish tomb than any Macedonian, whom one would expect to be buried in Macedonian style. And your last comment is quite correct - we must be wary of the 'positivist fallacy'.
Stepping aside from devil's advocate, I think it just needs more evidence clearly linking the tomb or its cultic activity with Rhesos (or indeed anyone in particular). The strong elements pointing towards Rhesos are that we know Amphipolis hosted cults to him, his father and his mother. The tomb contains elements which seem almost to tick boxes from Euripides' Rhesus (and if one wants to really hammer home that curious parallel, there is an argument that the Euripides' Rhesus may well link to Amphipolis from the time of Philip II or shortly after). But still it's very tentative, and has the obvious issue of the multiple bodies.
Hence my saying that Rhesus was no more than speculation - albeit plausible speculation ( unlike 'Olympias' or 'Hephaistion' postulations). There are several possible explanations for the multiple remains - it was not uncommon for tombs to be re-used .
As Katerina Peristeri herself said:
“We need to focus on the monument, not the bones, which for me are not that important. You cannot receive accurate dating from a skeleton. For me the skeletons are meaningless. They are misleading our research,” said Katerina Peristeri, head of the archaeological excavation team in Amphipolis.
Furthermore, she noted that when they opened the tomb, the space was so messy that the archaeologists could not come to any conclusions. “The tomb looters had ravaged everything. You see, they were looking for the great treasures in the burial chamber, causing enormous damage.”
Regarding the skeletons that were found, the Greek archaeologist notes that several hypothesis have been made. “The skeleton may be sacrificial remnants, or even looters. Besides, we found skeletal material in more than one place.”
Referring to the tomb owner Peristeri noted that they found skeletal material belonging to the person who was first buried in the tomb, very close to the floor. The body belonged to a short man who stood at 1.60 meters in height, whose bones had been shuffled by looters. However, Peristeri believes that if the original tomb owner was a very important person, then his bones may have been stolen."
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Zebedee »

The pic I posted of Heuzey's tomb also clearly shows a facade. :) But it does also indicate that multiple chambers aren't unknown in Macedonia at the time period. Absolutely, as we both know, the absence of a facade is quite odd - but only within a specific time period. The first tomb without a facade happened when? So we really need to be able to nail down the chronology of the site at Amphipolis as it developed. My personal suspicion is that this is not a Macedonian tomb too. But dotting i's needed.

Just one reason why I'd like to be sure about just the entrance to the tomb. As you go down those stairs, you enter a chamber and bump immediately into a statue (even if not a giant bronze horse as Corso imagines). That seems clumsy? Look at Sveshtari (and, yes, lighting etc is modern but still).

Image

Aren't the doors on the final chamber a later addition too? Or did I imagine Lefantzis suggesting that? Which would make the snake up a tree the feature seen from the entrance initially?

And that extends elsewhere into the tomb, especially if one hangs a lot on one particular architectural feature. Just that basic insight into what happened and when.

Just on rites and ritual. We still have (bits of) a horse at Amphipolis? That's helpful for Thracian burial rites. But what evidence do we have of ritual so far at Amphipolis? I know there are some, even if one may or may not be persuaded by the hole in the mosaic. Yet I don't recall detail being made public yet.

Sure you'll have researched this already, but for others I originally linked to Nikola Theodossiev's suggestions: http://books.openedition.org/pulg/792?lang=en#ftn11

One idea he touches on is that inhumation and cremations placed together in Thracian monumental tombs is fairly rare but may suggest continuous cult activity over centuries and related to heroic ancestor worship. So that may offer an explanation, although I'm very unconvinced by Corso's attempts to shoehorn in every mythical figure he can think of.

These are just things I personally would critique my own ideas over. Not being a Macedonian tomb doesn't jump to Thracian tomb - there's sufficient common elements anyway and I doubt the influences run only in one direction. There could be other explanations for a cult over a grave not fitting into Macedonian upper class norms. Philip's heroon is supposed to be an entirely separate building after all.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Efstathios »

According to the latest news, Mihalis Lefantzis announced that the limestone bricks that were used behind the marble ones at the tomb came from the Amphipolis wall, and the total length that was removed from the wall is equivalent to that for the construction of the tomb. Based on coins that were found there, they were removed during 325-300 BC. Also, the marble frieze at the base of the lion depicted a Macedonian high ranking figure, with soldiers following.

Image

The pieces of the frieze have been found all around the area, and they fit each other like puzzle pieces.

Also, we are talking about one of the biggest tombs/monuments ever found, so it is doubtful that it would be for Rhesos, it's construction requied tons of money. Again, all the evidence clearly shows Macedonian, and for a prominent figure that had a cult. I don't really know why you are still debating this.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

Zebedee wrote:The pic I posted of Heuzey's tomb also clearly shows a facade. :) But it does also indicate that multiple chambers aren't unknown in Macedonia at the time period. Absolutely, as we both know, the absence of a facade is quite odd - but only within a specific time period. The first tomb without a facade happened when? So we really need to be able to nail down the chronology of the site at Amphipolis as it developed. My personal suspicion is that this is not a Macedonian tomb too. But dotting i's needed.
Well, I'm not aware of ANY monumental Macedonian tombs between roughly 350 and 150 BC that don't have a facade of some sort, and Belinda D'Angelo doesn't mention any without facades in her "THE EVOLUTION OF THE MACEDONIAN TOMB" ( available online in several places including here:)

http://www.kalamus.com.mk/.../005%2004% ... %2003%20ok...

As to multiple chambers, I would regard the Heuzey tomb as a two chamber tomb, because the foyer in front of the facade is really outside the Tomb. There is a genuine example of a multiple chamber tomb from Pella. It has the usual facade, ante-chamber and main chamber, but there are two small side chambers to left and right of of the ante-chamber, both also barrel vaulted. ( see photo below of antechamber, the two small vaults to left and right can just be seen). This of course bears no relation to Kasta with its 3 main chambers, and no ante-chamber.


Just one reason why I'd like to be sure about just the entrance to the tomb. As you go down those stairs, you enter a chamber and bump immediately into a statue (even if not a giant bronze horse as Corso imagines). That seems clumsy? Look at Sveshtari (and, yes, lighting etc is modern but still).Aren't the doors on the final chamber a later addition too? Or did I imagine Lefantzis suggesting that? Which would make the snake up a tree the feature seen from the entrance initially?
Well, there is at least one precedent for a 'blocking' feature - see below. This a 5-4 C Thracian tomb from Shoushmanets, near Shipka.


Just on rites and ritual. We still have (bits of) a horse at Amphipolis? That's helpful for Thracian burial rites. But what evidence do we have of ritual so far at Amphipolis? I know there are some, even if one may or may not be persuaded by the hole in the mosaic. Yet I don't recall detail being made public yet.
We must be patient await final reports etc
Sure you'll have researched this already, but for others I originally linked to Nikola Theodossiev's suggestions: http://books.openedition.org/pulg/792?lang=en#ftn11

One idea he touches on is that inhumation and cremations placed together in Thracian monumental tombs is fairly rare but may suggest continuous cult activity over centuries and related to heroic ancestor worship. So that may offer an explanation, although I'm very unconvinced by Corso's attempts to shoehorn in every mythical figure he can think of.

These are just things I personally would critique my own ideas over. Not being a Macedonian tomb doesn't jump to Thracian tomb - there's sufficient common elements anyway and I doubt the influences run only in one direction. There could be other explanations for a cult over a grave not fitting into Macedonian upper class norms. Philip's heroon is supposed to be an entirely separate building after all.
Incidently, Theodossiev suggested in that work, written back in 2000 before the Kasta tomb was found and excavated, that Rhesos' tomb was in the Kasta mound.
Like you, I'm afraid I'm extremely skeptical of anything Corso says.
I didn't suggest that that Macedonian/Thracian was an either/or situation. As you say there are several common elements, and the 'Persephone' decoration would seem to be a purely Macedonian tomb feature (c.f. tomb 1 in the Great mound at Vergina). That the Kasta tomb should be a 'hybrid' is no surprise in a multi-cultural place like Amphipolis, but nevertheless the basic architecture is not Macedonian, and fits Thracian tomb structure and purpose better...
Philip's supposed Heroon is not conclusively a heroon, just probably so, for all we have are the foundations of a small building. We know that Philip sought deification, perhaps an idea he borrowed from neighbouring Thracian culture, that of the 'anthropodaimon' ?
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

Efstathios wrote:According to the latest news, Mihalis Lefantzis announced that the limestone bricks that were used behind the marble ones at the tomb came from the Amphipolis wall, and the total length that was removed from the wall is equivalent to that for the construction of the tomb. Based on coins that were found there, they were removed during 325-300 BC.
That's interesting, though I am skeptical of some of Peristeri and her partner Laefantzis pronouncements. However this one is easily checked, hence should be reliable.
Also, the marble frieze at the base of the lion depicted a Macedonian high ranking figure, with soldiers following.

The pieces of the frieze have been found all around the area, and they fit each other like puzzle pieces.
"According to Corso, the warrior’s representation can be identified with Alexander the Great (due to his hairstyle and posture) bearing the oversized armour of his friend and fellow fighter Hephaistion, the deceased hero.

Corso’s suggestions, as well as some of the views expressed by Peristeri and her fellow researchers were not, however, accepted by all archaeologists and academics present at the conference."

and with good reason ! It is doubtful if the frieze is associated with the Lion's base, and it almost certainly dates from after the Gallic invasion of 279 BC, for the shield carried by the cavalryman is the spined Celtic type. Moreover, it cannot possibly be a depiction of Alexander, for the Macedonian cavalry of his day did not use shields on horseback - see any depiction, such as the Pompeii mosaic, the Kinch's tomb painting, statuettes of Alexander etc. So much for Corso's theories !

Also, we are talking about one of the biggest tombs/monuments ever found, so it is doubtful that it would be for Rhesos, it's construction required tons of money. Again, all the evidence clearly shows Macedonian, and for a prominent figure that had a cult. I don't really know why you are still debating this.
Neither Zebedee nor myself regard the possibility of the Kasta tomb being that of Rhesos as more than a plausible speculation. And what is this "evidence" that you refer to ? Please produce it rather than making bald statements. The tomb itself, as we have been discussing, is not of Macedonian type - though there are Macedonian tombs at Amphipolis - and there is no evidence I am aware of that suggests the original occupant was Macedonian, let alone a 'prominent' figure the subject of a cult.

The Kasta hill had been a cemetery for the Thracian Eidones 'since time immemorial', and it is difficult to see why a rich high-ranking Macedonian, especially if he had a 'cult following' back in Macedon would wish to build a lavish tomb in a barbarian cemetery, far from the sight of his relatives and fellow Makedones. The tomb almost certainly must have some sort of local connection.


Who would spend "tons of money" in Amphipolis, if not Amphipolians? And in the new era of wealth from the East following Alexander's conquests, it would hardly be surprising if they chose to honour their ultimate Hero-founder and anthropodaimon with a large and lavish tomb......
Last edited by Xenophon on Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Zebedee
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Zebedee »

Xenophon wrote: Well, I'm not aware of ANY monumental Macedonian tombs between roughly 350 and 150 BC that don't have a facade of some sort, and Belinda D'Angelo doesn't mention any without facades in her "THE EVOLUTION OF THE MACEDONIAN TOMB" ( available online in several places including here:)

http://www.kalamus.com.mk/.../005%2004% ... %2003%20ok...
I'm very familiar with that short overview, having cited it numerous times including in this thread. :D And as I've repeated again in this thread, tombs without facades are found, only they are later than the date of this particular tomb at Amphipolis. eg the late third century Amphipolis II as D'Angelo recognises too (final paragraph of page 63).
As to multiple chambers, I would regard the Heuzey tomb as a two chamber tomb, because the foyer in front of the facade is really outside the Tomb. There is a genuine example of a multiple chamber tomb from Pella. It has the usual facade, ante-chamber and main chamber, but there are two small side chambers to left and right of of the ante-chamber, both also barrel vaulted. ( see photo below of antechamber, the two small vaults to left and right can just be seen). This of course bears no relation to Kasta with its 3 main chambers, and no ante-chamber.
It's very relevant because it indicates there is no copy/paste template to tombs.
Well, there is at least one precedent for a 'blocking' feature - see below. This a 5-4 C Thracian tomb from Shoushmanets, near Shipka.
Oh that's super. Is it original to the tomb or a buttress for the arch? Is there evidence for regular ritual activity beyond it?

We must be patient await final reports etc
Aye. It's an old sad song, hopefully something more at some point...

Incidently, Theodossiev suggested in that work, written back in 2000 before the Kasta tomb was found and excavated, that Rhesos' tomb was in the Kasta mound.
Aye. I came across it back when researching my own Rhesos idea. Was curious to see it. But politics and Macedonia and Thrace and all that fun. ;)
Like you, I'm afraid I'm extremely skeptical of anything Corso says.
I didn't suggest that that Macedonian/Thracian was an either/or situation. As you say there are several common elements, and the 'Persephone' decoration would seem to be a purely Macedonian tomb feature (c.f. tomb 1 in the Great mound at Vergina). That the Kasta tomb should be a 'hybrid' is no surprise in a multi-cultural place like Amphipolis, but nevertheless the basic architecture is not Macedonian, and fits Thracian tomb structure and purpose better...
Philip's supposed Heroon is not conclusively a heroon, just probably so, for all we have are the foundations of a small building. We know that Philip sought deification, perhaps an idea he borrowed from neighbouring Thracian culture, that of the 'anthropodaimon' ?
Oh absolutely, we're on a similar page and I'm just listing my own personal checks on the idea. The idea of a Thracian tomb structure though, that's heading back into the mire of politics and interpretation. I'm happy just saying there's a transmission of ideas which goes in multiple directions rather than to even seem to suggest it being Thracian specific. I'd consider also the happy blend of 'Homeric' ideas of monumental tombs as well. A useful comparison would be the tomb of Hector at Thebes. Only we don't know where that was, so... :D
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

Zebedee wrote:
I'm very familiar with that short overview, having cited it numerous times including in this thread. :D And as I've repeated again in this thread, tombs without facades are found, only they are later than the date of this particular tomb at Amphipolis. eg the late third century Amphipolis II as D'Angelo recognises too (final paragraph of page 63).
According to D'Angelo, only one tomb ( out of 60-100 Macedonian monumental tombs ) has a dromos/corridor, but no facade. Significantly, it is in Amphipolis, where we know there were 'hybridised' influences. I don't have any further information on this particular tomb, but it does not appear to be pure 'Macedonian'. And as you point out, it occurs very late in the period, when Macedonian tomb building was in decline.
It's very relevant because it indicates there is no copy/paste template to tombs.
Yes, I noted myself that each tomb is unique in my opening post. But 'Macedonian' tombs have very distinctive architectural features, which are completely absent from Kasta ( see my previous posts ante)
The idea of a Thracian tomb structure though, that's heading back into the mire of politics and interpretation. I'm happy just saying there's a transmission of ideas which goes in multiple directions rather than to even seem to suggest it being Thracian specific.
There's a saying "form follows function" and in this case the architecture,layout and the large chambers are appropriate to Thracian religious beliefs and ritual. Macedonian tombs were not built as a sort of temple where cult rituals could be observed for decades or longer ( see my earlier posts)
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by sikander »

Greetings,

Just want to say, I am thoroughly enjoying the recent discussions. This is the value and joy of Pothos- in-depth discussions regarding historical evidence, possibilities and civil disagreements/debates. Also appreciate the links to sources.
Much appreciated...
Regards, and looking forward to the on-going discoveries and ensuing theories.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Zebedee »

Xenophon wrote: According to D'Angelo, only one tomb ( out of 60-100 Macedonian monumental tombs ) has a dromos/corridor, but no facade. Significantly, it is in Amphipolis, where we know there were 'hybridised' influences. I don't have any further information on this particular tomb, but it does not appear to be pure 'Macedonian'. And as you point out, it occurs very late in the period, when Macedonian tomb building was in decline.
If we're looking solely for a facade, we also run into things like the Tomb of Lysson and Kallikles (Lefkadia) which is pretty much the door and its lintel isn't it? I'm just illustrating that idiosyncratic designs will have curious features. My personal view is that this is that little bit more curious than that too. But we need that development from grave to monumental tomb mapped out properly first. There are several indications that the monumental could be later. And the monumental is not fitting in with a tomb per se - as a tomb would be closed off (by the facade heh).
Yes, I noted myself that each tomb is unique in my opening post. But 'Macedonian' tombs have very distinctive architectural features, which are completely absent from Kasta ( see my previous posts ante)
We're possibly talking past each other, but, again, idiosyncratic will mean that any preconceived checklist based on architectural elements may not be useful whatsoever for identifying 'Macedonian' or not - especially in terms of the occupant/s. There are elements at this tomb which point to Ionia and Athens too. That cultural mixing we've both mentioned.

There's a saying "form follows function" and in this case the architecture,layout and the large chambers are appropriate to Thracian religious beliefs and ritual. Macedonian tombs were not built as a sort of temple where cult rituals could be observed for decades or longer ( see my earlier posts)
It could fit any number of things without needing to touch on Thrace. That's why many of us wondered about it being a heroon long before any human remains were uncovered. :)
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Zebedee »

Efstathios wrote:According to the latest news, Mihalis Lefantzis announced that the limestone bricks that were used behind the marble ones at the tomb came from the Amphipolis wall, and the total length that was removed from the wall is equivalent to that for the construction of the tomb. Based on coins that were found there, they were removed during 325-300 BC. Also, the marble frieze at the base of the lion depicted a Macedonian high ranking figure, with soldiers following.
Did he say which coins and where? Is Lefantzis referencing the work done on the Amphipolis wall which was previously considered to have been done by Philip II?
The pieces of the frieze have been found all around the area, and they fit each other like puzzle pieces.
So far I've not seen the jigsaw puzzle. Just the bit you've posted and talk of a horse's hoof found. A frieze beneath the lion would certainly help to date the lion, as the bricks do the marble.
Also, we are talking about one of the biggest tombs/monuments ever found, so it is doubtful that it would be for Rhesos, it's construction requied tons of money. Again, all the evidence clearly shows Macedonian, and for a prominent figure that had a cult. I don't really know why you are still debating this.
As Xenephon says, it doesn't follow that it's for a Macedonian. Any more than Thebes building a tomb for Hector meant that Hector was a Theban.
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Re: The Kasta tomb Amphipolis - not a "Macedonian" tomb?

Post by Xenophon »

Zebedee wrote:
If we're looking solely for a facade, we also run into things like the Tomb of Lysson and Kallikles (Lefkadia) which is pretty much the door and its lintel isn't it? I'm just illustrating that idiosyncratic designs will have curious features. My personal view is that this is that little bit more curious than that too. But we need that development from grave to monumental tomb mapped out properly first. There are several indications that the monumental could be later. And the monumental is not fitting in with a tomb per se - as a tomb would be closed off (by the facade heh).
The tomb of Lyson and Kallikles is one of a group of four Macedonian monumental tombs near the road from Mieza to Pella in Lefkadia, and is relatively small. It has a number of unique features ( surprise! ). It is possibly the latest tomb, being built c.200 BC and then used for some 4 generations by the family of Aristophanes. It is a two chamber family tomb, and around the walls are 22 niches for funeral urns of family members at two levels around the north, east and west walls, 17 of which are used and named.The burial chamber was entered from the south through a double door. The ante-chamber has a flat ceiling and its walls have painted representations of a sprinkler and an altar. Over the door leading into the burial chamber are the names of the first two deceased, Lyson and Kallikles sons of Aristophanes. It does have an architectural facade, which is plain and undecorated ( which may be why I can't find an image of it).

Cist graves in Northern Greece go back to neolithic times, but became quite large, or monumental in the archaic period, and then the barrel vaulted variety appeared circa 350 BC, though cist graves continued, lasting into the second century BC until Macedon's demise in 168 BC. We can see this evolution in the Great tumulus tombs at Vergina. Tomb I ( the so-called tomb of Persephone) is a cist grave (flat top roof of slabs), while tomb II ( the tomb of Philip II ) is barrel vaulted as is Tomb III ( the Tomb of the Prince - probably Alexander IV)

To Sikander:

Many thanks for taking the trouble to post an appreciation. Praise is a rare thing on forums, and therefore to be relished !! :D
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