The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

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Zebedee
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Zebedee »

Taphoi wrote: That's excellent. It makes it quite clear that the tomb faced the Acropolis of ancient Amphipolis.
Just a random thought really, but doesn't the Treasury of Atreus do the same? Next to a major road, facing back to the acropolis, built in a location which requires some landscaping after a period of building/fortification work at the city. Is the theory on possible occupant for that tomb still whichever chap was responsible for a significant phase of construction? Guesswork of course as to who the occupant was there. And hugely different times goes without saying. Just mentioning it.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by gepd »

Just one more photo

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Zebedee »

amyntoros wrote:

I'm going to throw something else out there now, so some gentlemen of this thread sit back and get ready to groan. Am not sure about our new member Zebedee, whom we never officially welcomed :shock: but I'm fairly sure of the response of a couple or so. Now y'all know I try to be as objective as possible, and I believe no one sees me as a romanticist, but lately I have been wondering if this tomb could be Hephaistion's. Please finish groaning and then consider:

It's been said by Dorothy King and others that this could be a Heroon rather than just a tomb, and given the magnificence of the findings to date (and the weathering of the exterior) I think it plausible. Now, who of the period would be considered a hero? Yep, there's our guy, a hero according to Alexander and Siwah. Plus there is something that is rarely discussed, that a Hero "officially" gives protection only to the city in which he is buried. So when Alexander's plans for Hephaistion's tomb/temple were refused, if the bones were then interred in Babylon Hephaistion would have become the protector of that eastern city. Tell me now, do you consider it impossible that one of the generals from Amphipolis decided to take/send Hephaistion's bones to Amphipolis and have them interred there in a grand manner, thus bringing new prestige and protection (and in an abstract way, Alexander's presence also) to the city? Yes I know there is a dedication to Hephaistion found elsewhere, but temples to a hero could be set up in many places where personal requests and dedications could be placed. However, it's where the bones lie that is most important, hence the stealing of a hero's remains which occurred more than once in ancient times. So, is it not inconceivable that someone valued Alexander's views enough to build this tomb for Hephaistion? I know H is disliked by more than one member on the forum, but I cannot believe that every single member of Alexander's entourage was an enemy to him also.

All of the above just my thoughts. Am not claiming it IS Hephaistion's Heroon, just throwing out the possibility while we wait impatiently for full disclosure. :)

Best regards,
Just quoting from almost a year ago now.

No groans at the time, though the absence of votives at Amphipolis did seem curious. However... if one can find some sort of cult affinity between the Heros Equitans and Hephaistion then that problem goes away too doesn't it?
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Taphoi »

Here is an image of one of the alleged Hephaistion monograms:
Image
It will be interesting to hear what the epigraphy experts have to say.
Let us especially remember at this time that these are not the only graffiti found on the blocks of the Amphipolis tomb. Here is one group of others that have long been known:
DizasAlkou.png
DizasAlkou.png (10.68 KiB) Viewed 3618 times
Very similar letter forms but nothing that could be mistaken for Hephaistion. There are a number of others too.
And is it really sensible that ANT should indicate that the tomb was built by Antigonus Monophthalmus, who never ruled in Macedon and whose lands were separated from Amphipolis by the satrapy/kingdom of Lysimachus? And why was Antigonus (or any other general) so devoted to Hephaistion as to spend thousands of talents on such a monument, when the army at Babylon had voted down Alexander's own plans for such expenditure?
Many more questions than answers at this point as is normal now following these announcements.
Best wishes,
Andrew
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Zebedee »

Depends what precisely is going on, no? I'd like to know more about why they reject the later option for some of the work.

But what they've said about the wall/ceiling decorations found inside pretty much confirms this is all intended for a man, the chariot is especially interesting - Persia or Homer or games?, and almost certainly one who had crossed that curious boundary into some form of godhood. That much was most evident all the way through without that though. Still leaves the curious question of the remains inside. Look forward to full publication with detailed reasoning.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by DrRoach »

Taphoi wrote:And is it really sensible that ANT should indicate that the tomb was built by Antigonus Monophthalmus, who never ruled in Macedon and whose lands were separated from Amphipolis by the satrapy/kingdom of Lysimachus? And why was Antigonus (or any other general) so devoted to Hephaistion as to spend thousands of talents on such a monument, when the army at Babylon had voted down Alexander's own plans for such expenditure?
Many more questions than answers at this point as is normal now following these announcements.
Well, the first question is, is the tomb really a thousand plus talent expenditure? I mean, yes, it is more grandiose than preceding Macedonian tombs, but an extra chamber isn't going to add that much cost, nor would the raw earth moving (slaves, soldiers or conscripted peasants with buckets and spades... fairly cheap). The outer wall and artistic embellishments would add somewhat to the price but they're unlikely to be ridiculously expensive.
If we assume the accounts of Alex's rather nutty plans were true (and firmly decided upon, not just a once off flight of fancy he quickly abandoned), and were voted down, that doesn't rule out the possibility of the generals and/or army approving something a more modest for Hephaistion.

If (see below) ANT does refer to the one-eyed, why'd he invest in a temple/tomb/shrine outside his core territories? Besides the possibility of being genuinely devout the obvious answer is to show off his wealth, and thereby attract Macedonians and Greeks to his cause.

Of cause, that leaves the question of why Hephaistion and not reworking an established temple...

Of cause, depending on where the ANT monograms were found it's possible that they could be linked with later refurbishment or expansion of the complex. From what the media reports have been saying it's been linked to the One-Eyed rather than Gonatas on the grounds that Macedon much after 300BC was too poor to afford to build the tomb complex from scratch. I'm not sure I entirely buy that argument... yes, Macedon had rather hard times between 300 and 270ish BC, but then enjoyed a few decades of relative stability under Antigonus Gonatas, giving it a fair chance to recover.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Sandra »

Just a question. If we recall all the key figures at the moment of Alexander's death- who would take the long way to bring bones of Hepahestion to Amphipolis? And why? To fulfill wish of Alexander? Not sure that Alexander would wish that. And then- why Amphipolis? Why not Babylon, even Egypt?
I can't think of any.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Alexias »

Sandra wrote:Just a question. If we recall all the key figures at the moment of Alexander's death- who would take the long way to bring bones of Hepahestion to Amphipolis? And why? To fulfill wish of Alexander? Not sure that Alexander would wish that. And then- why Amphipolis? Why not Babylon, even Egypt?
I can't think of any.
The archaeologists are only suggesting it is a possibility that Hephaestion is buried here.
Mr. Lefantzis ended with the question whether the burial took place in one of these two war memorials in Alexandria or elsewhere ...?
What they are saying is that it is a temple dedicated to the worship of Hephaestion as a divine hero. The later burials therefore are like burials of wealthy dignitaries inside Christian churches and not necessarily connected with Hephaestion.

However, this doesn't take account of the evidence for earlier burials. Maybe I am being cynical but I think it is possible the archaeologists may be trying to put a commercially viable name to the complex to secure funds when the picture is a lot more complicated.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Zebedee »

Alexias wrote: However, this doesn't take account of the evidence for earlier burials. Maybe I am being cynical but I think it is possible the archaeologists may be trying to put a commercially viable name to the complex to secure funds when the picture is a lot more complicated.
There were hints just under a year ago that there was epigraphic evidence, but an absolute refusal to confirm it. I think a certain level of cynicism about the politics and funding involved is more than warranted really. The cynic in me wonders whether only sufficient rope was presented for certain critics to hang themselves by...

Personally, I'm very dubious over their stated interpretation of ANT. Would fit much better with a later refurbishment at a city we know had some big Antigonid cults going on (especially the Egyptian ones). Equally, I'd like to know more about the horseman put in association with the hero. To anyone who has read of cults at Amphipolis, that shouts Heros Equitans (with the consensus being that is conflated with Rhesos). Wish Manuela Mari's paper on this, published late last year, was in English not Italian so I could read it! Hephaestion just seems too neat an answer - the possibility of the Athenian/Macedonian blend, port and Admiral, Alexander's favorite and a major centre for returning Macedonian veterans which Alexander had earmarked as a site for a cult closely associate with the army, even the cultic elements of founder horseman and command of the cavalry.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Sandra »

Alexias wrote:
However, this doesn't take account of the evidence for earlier burials. Maybe I am being cynical but I think it is possible the archaeologists may be trying to put a commercially viable name to the complex to secure funds when the picture is a lot more complicated.

Quite agree on that!
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Efstathios »

So, it seems to be Hephaestion. Now it remains to be seen if he was buried there too.
And why was Antigonus (or any other general) so devoted to Hephaistion as to spend thousands of talents on such a monument, when the army at Babylon had voted down Alexander's own plans for such expenditure?
I did say many posts ago that several of Alexander's plans seem to have been honored, such as the reconstrucion of the temple of Artemis in Amphipolis.
There is also the rebuilding of the Temple of Artemis tavropolos in Amphipolis which was included in Alexander's wishes, and it was rebuild as we can see from that inscription of Antipatros from Thessaloniki, probably by Deinocrates too.
And yes, as Zebedee also noted, Amphipolis was an important city for Macedonia, the starting point of both Alexander's campaigns and the fleet, and later on home to many Athenians. And there could be a link between Hephaestion and Athens, thus the Karyatids that refer to the 5th century B.C. kores.
"Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks."
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Alexias »

Zebedee wrote: Hephaestion just seems too neat an answer - the possibility of the Athenian/Macedonian blend, port and Admiral, Alexander's favorite and a major centre for returning Macedonian veterans which Alexander had earmarked as a site for a cult closely associate with the army, even the cultic elements of founder horseman and command of the cavalry.
That it has taken a year to announce this seems to suggest that they are not 100% convinced of their interpretation and have perhaps taken this long to come to a consensus amongst themselves.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by Alexias »

Image

Ok, I may be being dense, but all I see is an 'H'. How do we know this relates to Hephaestion? Do we have any prior evidence that this monogram relates to Hephaestion? Why is it not just a mason's mark? Or just graffiti?
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by system1988 »

Alexias wrote: Ok, I may be being dense, but all I see is an 'H'. How do we know this relates to Hephaestion? Do we have any prior evidence that this monogram relates to Hephaestion? Why is it not just a mason's mark? Or just graffiti?
There are 2 letters there, it's a combination of "H" and "Φ". The second is attached to the left side of "H". The certainty comes from the other inscription that was found. It reads "I RECEIVED (THE PLACE OF WORSHIP) OF HEPHAESTION. ANT(IGONOS)"

In archaeology we always pray and hope that the excavation will unravel some sort of nscription which is a rare finding in its own right. That happens because at the time everyone knew whose tomb that was. In this case we are extremely lucky to find these inscriptions. The monument was built in order to pay tribute to Hephaestion, the Empire's second in command. What happened after that in the flow of the centuries, how and why the tomb was desecrated, who are the deceased that it houses (perhaps Hephaestion's mother?), why were they placed there, what was the monument's fate during the Roman era, all that will be solved through study and research.

I repeat, we are lucky to have any inscriptions at all.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

Post by amyntoros »

Zebedee wrote:
There were hints just under a year ago that there was epigraphic evidence, but an absolute refusal to confirm it. I think a certain level of cynicism about the politics and funding involved is more than warranted really. The cynic in me wonders whether only sufficient rope was presented for certain critics to hang themselves by...
Quite agree with the last sentence and partially agree that cynicism is warranted because of the politics and funding involved. Thing is, politics and funding will inevitably cast a shadow over such a large and publicized discovery. However, I wonder if the archaeologists themselves were more responsible for the "rope". Having dealt for months with those who publicly claimed to know all the answers about the tomb - even when it was only partially excavated - perhaps they finally realized it was better for their own futures to withhold further information until they were ready to publish. Early on the general public were kept interested by the gradual release of information, but it seems to me that there were academics and others who had never seen the inside of the tomb who were using the tomb mostly for self publicity.

This is the major Greek find to be promoted during the advanced internet age. Mistakes were bound to made regarding the release of information as long as the excavation was incomplete. In the "old days" when they discovered something important they dug it out, assessed the resulting evidence, and then published their conclusions. If their earlier hypotheses were not confirmed by later uncovered evidence, no one in the public arena knew about it. I'm hoping that they don't return to that method with future discoveries given the various earlier attempts which have been made to discredit those involved with this dig. And, please note, I'm not calling out those on the forum who have questioned the findings and the statements released. We exist to discuss and debate and express our opinions and, anonymous as most of us are, I doubt we caused any offense. However, there are those who stood in front of a camera or the press and said something akin to "I am an authority on (insert qualitications) and the archaeologists are wrong". Not a good idea in the long run, although I wouldn't be surprised if some of them are not finished yet ... ... ...

Best Regards,
Amyntoros

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