The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

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agesilaos
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Oops! Quite right my Eye commited a common scribal error and jumped a line, Doh! As for the main occupant of Tomb I being the Queen rather than, probably Amyntas III, maybe Macedon was a crypto-gynocracy but I very much doubt it.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Callisto »

agesilaos wrote: Which changes things somewhat as does his interpretation of a standard funerary topos, if this Persephone symbolises a female burial then so ought the one in Tomb I at Verghina, but we know that was a man's tomb so the logic...well there is none, and as a Sogdian it is unlikely that Roxane had red-hair and fair skin!
Taphoi wrote: Pardon me, but we do not know that. The bones found in that tomb were those of a man, a woman and a newborn infant, so there is no reason whatsoever why Persephone in its mural should not be a portrait of the woman.
Let me give more infos about this tomb. According to a recent DNA analysis of the tomb's bones, they belong to 7 persons, not 3 as it was previously believed. They identified the occupants as a man, a woman, 4 children and an infant. Some (or all) the children bones are said to be placed inside in a later phase. Some Greek archaeologist claimed the man's bones more likely is from a grave robber (sorry cant find this article now). However Kottaridi believes this tomb is a female's tomb and she claims Nikesipolis of Pherae is likely to be the female occupant. This claim is due to a pot found inside, which they dated between 352-350 BC.

Couldnt find anything in English. Only a relevant article in Greek.
https://translate.google.se/translate?s ... edit-text=

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Alexias »

Roxane's colouring was discussed here http://www.kavehfarrokh.com/news/analys ... ised-2011/ by Dr Kaveh Farrokh who says:
The term Roxanna is derived from Old Iranian “Rokh-shwan” or “face (Ruksh) – fair skinned-shiny (shwan)”. Roxanna was related to a North Iranian tribe known later as the Sarmatians, the remnants who survive in the Caucasus and Russia as the Ossetians (ancient Alans or Ard-Alans).

Image

North Iranian girl from Rasht. Photograph taken in 1971 by Ali Massoudi of a girl from Rasht in Gilan province, Northern Iran (Source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971, p.116). Note that Roxanna is derived from Old Iranian “Rokh-shwan” or “face (Ruksh) – fair skinned-shiny (shwan)”.

Roman sources such as Pliny repeatedly describe ancient North Iranian peoples such as the Alans and Seres as “…flaxen (blonde) haired blue eyed nomads…” (see Wilcox, p.19). Rosario Dawson does not fit the description of an ancient Iranian woman, especially from Northern Iranian stock. The Ossetians of today, descendants of ancient Northern Iranians, predominantly resemble northern Iranians and Europeans and speak an archaic Iranian language (like the Avesta of the Zoroastrians). Blondism is very common among these descendants of ancient North Iranians in cities such as Beslan and Vladikafkaz. It can be argued that Roxanna was a brunette, however, she was of Northern Iranian stock, which would still make her very different from actress Rosario Dawson.
Also, surely the symbolism of the abduction of Persephone is wrong for the grave of Olympias? The symbolism of this scene is of a helpless young maiden carried off by death before her time. Olympias was none of these things. Surely the depiction of her as the Queen of the underworld such as on Eurydike's throne would be more appropriate for a woman of her age and position?
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Taphoi
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

Alexias wrote:Roxane's colouring was discussed here http://www.kavehfarrokh.com/news/analys ... ised-2011/ by Dr Kaveh Farrokh who says:
The term Roxanna is derived from Old Iranian “Rokh-shwan” or “face (Ruksh) – fair skinned-shiny (shwan)”. Roxanna was related to a North Iranian tribe known later as the Sarmatians, the remnants who survive in the Caucasus and Russia as the Ossetians (ancient Alans or Ard-Alans).

Image

North Iranian girl from Rasht. Photograph taken in 1971 by Ali Massoudi of a girl from Rasht in Gilan province, Northern Iran (Source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971, p.116). Note that Roxanna is derived from Old Iranian “Rokh-shwan” or “face (Ruksh) – fair skinned-shiny (shwan)”.

Roman sources such as Pliny repeatedly describe ancient North Iranian peoples such as the Alans and Seres as “…flaxen (blonde) haired blue eyed nomads…” (see Wilcox, p.19). Rosario Dawson does not fit the description of an ancient Iranian woman, especially from Northern Iranian stock. The Ossetians of today, descendants of ancient Northern Iranians, predominantly resemble northern Iranians and Europeans and speak an archaic Iranian language (like the Avesta of the Zoroastrians). Blondism is very common among these descendants of ancient North Iranians in cities such as Beslan and Vladikafkaz. It can be argued that Roxanna was a brunette, however, she was of Northern Iranian stock, which would still make her very different from actress Rosario Dawson.
Also, surely the symbolism of the abduction of Persephone is wrong for the grave of Olympias? The symbolism of this scene is of a helpless young maiden carried off by death before her time. Olympias was none of these things. Surely the depiction of her as the Queen of the underworld such as on Eurydike's throne would be more appropriate for a woman of her age and position?
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There are lots of suggestions about the derivation of Roxane's name. "Little Star" has been most popular.

It is not impossible to find blonds and redheads almost anywhere in the world, but they are much rarer in some places. That includes Northern Afghanistan, which is where Roxane actually came from (there's a good Wikipedia article on redhead distribution). To say Northern Iran, almost a thousand miles away, suggests that the person writing the article did not have a very tight grasp of the history or the geography.

Olympias had been violently murdered, so the Rape of Persephone would seem a reasonable metaphor. It was her relatives (the King, the King's mother, the King's aunt, the half-sister of the King's father...) who would have built the tomb rather than the regent Cassander. Indeed, it could be suspected that it was Cassander who mutilated the sphinxes and shut up the tomb after he had the King and the King's mother murdered.

I have suggested that the artist makes the Mosaic double as a family portrait with Olympias as Persephone, Philip II as Hades and Alexander as Hermes. For this to work, they had to be portrayed at their ages at Philip's death in 336BC. That was the last time they could all have been seen together and Philip could not be portrayed any older than he was when he died. So Olympias is in her mid-thirties (not too old for Persephone), Philip is 47 and Alexander is 20.

Best wishes,

Andrew
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

I would not put much faith in Farrokh, he is the only Iranologist I know who has never heard of Pierre Briant! The Sarmatians lived on the Danube a long way from Northern Iran and the Alans were a steppe tribe, there is little to be gained with comparisons to modern populations, there have been too many movements of peoples and intermingling of bloods. This Irano-centric racial theory is just as nonsensical as the ones that make the semitic Hannibal and Severus, and the Greek Kleopatra VII, negro. 'Roxane' is usually rendered as 'Little Star' from the Persian Roshanak (Livius.org gives this, Wikipedia, 'Radiant Beauty'). Unless it is mentioned by the sources, as Alexander's reddish complexion is by Plutarch, one cannot really argue against or for anything being possible, but Farrokh ought to be aware that the Seres are the Chinese, that famous race of blue-eyed blondes, the Romans were odd with colours, Virgil can call a swan 'Purple', when all he means is that it is bright, something of the sort is probably going on with Pliny's description of the Chinese.

The piece is certainly a diatribe against Lane-Fox and almost certainly misplaced, directorial and casting decision were Stone's, for my own part I should think he was reflecting the casting of a similarly tanned neo-Roxane in 'The Man Who would be King', his concerns being cinematic rather than anthropological. Nor are Farrokh's concerns about the Persian military correct, he ought to be aware that the Babylonian source has Dareios deserted by his army almost without a fight, no Hellenocentricity there. As for Lucy Liu playing Queen Victoria, sounds great, hell, if she can play Dr Watson why not?
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agesilaos
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Won't work, Andrew, Kassandros had Alexander deprived of all regal trappings and kept confined with his mother in Amphipolis they were not going to be ordering any massive building works for a thoroughly hated regicide, nor was Thessalokike going to act independently of Kassandros, strategos of Europe rather than epimeletes. In fact Diodoros goes on to say that following the demise of Olympias he acted increasingly like a King. Alexander IV was king purely for dating purposes, a position tacitly confirmed by the other Diadochs in 311 with the Peace of the Dynasts.

Quite right about Farrokh's geography, he seems to believe in the purity of the Iranian race, always a dangerous and never a scientific position.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by amyntoros »

Does anyone mind a little change of direction here? It looks like it will be a while before the next chamber is excavated and a press conference forthcoming. Now, I'm not saying the Amphipolis tomb isn't a royal tomb - as has been pointed out, the very expense of it seems to lead to that conclusion. I find it a little off-putting, however, every time a comparison is used. For instance: there are rosettes here (in Amphipolis tomb) and in the royal tombs at Vergina. Therefore this must be a royal tomb. There's a similarity between a simple mosaic here and one at Pella. Must be a royal tomb. There is a mosaic of the rape of Persephone here as well as other renditions in two tombs (in one instance presumed, only presumed) to belong to females at Vergina. Must be a tomb for a female. There are two males and a female in the mosaic and two males and a female in Alexander's family (let's disregard any other relatives) so the mosaic must be a portrait. And so forth ...

First problem is, we have very little with which we can compare. Statistically speaking, three or four tombs does not make anything a certainty.

Anyway ... here's something to have fun with ... and to prove my point. I know the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari was mentioned either here or on Dorothy King's blog when the caryatids were being discussed. The figures at Sveshtari also have baskets on their heads which is why they were mentioned. They are, however, very unusual:

Image

One history blog has this to say about the Hellenistic Thracian tomb:
Another tomb from the Sveshtari complex has garnered fame and a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its one-of-a-kind decoration: a chorus line of ten caryatids that are half human and half plant. Though clearly inspired by the caryatids who supported some of the most famous temples in the Hellenist tradition, these ladies with their inverted palmette chitons were a new Thracian design and entirely unique.
Hmm, not quite 'entirely unique', nor a new design. I rediscovered Elizabeth Carney's website on Aegae today because it's one of the best on the Royal tombs. It also has photographs of the Vergina palace including an interesting and mostly abstract mosaic. And there is a detail of one of the four corners of the mosaic:

Image

So, what do you think? Of course it must be a member of the Macedonian royal family buried at Sveshtari. Or not ... :lol:

Best Regards,
Amyntoros

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Well, the tomb has been associated with Dromichaetes the Getic King who seems to have made an alliance with his quondam attacker, Lysimachos, who may well have held court at Pella as well as Lysimacheia, so maybe the Gete was impressed and inspired by that mosaic, don't think palms grow in Bulgaria. It is clear from the crude execution that we are not talking the loan of artists here but local craft. Of course the main reason to associate this with Dromicaetes is simply that he is a name from about the right period, though it is not certain that this is even his realm. But it seems a basic drive to allocate a name to any grave, as one can see at Vergina and Amphipolis, but one really ought to assemble all the evidence before making serious suggestions, otherwise one ends up with the self-fulfilling prophecy based on selective review and interpretation of comparanda, which you highlight. It is still a fun game but that has to be remembered, it is a game. I am beginning to think that the archaeologists may have lost sight of that slightly with their mentions of Deinokrates et al. Let's hope the fourth chamber, and the floor of the third provide better evidence and the dating material is finally made public.

I get the feeling that I have lost some sort of parlour game and am now it, after two days of no one posting :shock:
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by gepd »

Here is one more thing that could be a bit interesting. I was looking for press releases from 2013 (when they were less selective with releasing information), and there is an article e.g. here:

http://www.archaiologia.gr/blog/2013/04 ... %B5%CE%B9/

There, they summarize how the linked the lion of Amphipolis with the Kastas hill and also include some historical facts, saying that parts of the marbles found together with the lion (which we now know they belong to the circular wall of the tumulus) were also located in the old Kerkinitida lake (which is now dry). The location of that lake is near a village called Pethelinos, which is 30-40 km north-west from Kastas, along the Strymon river. That is rather far and may indicate that the tomb ended up becoming resource of building material, being transported somewhere along the river.

Regarding other views of the walls (in case you want to look for monograms :) ) there is also this 2013 video in youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwPK5uhePno

At about 1:30 in the video, Peristeri says "...from the wall structure and these other things, we can date this consructuon to the last quarter of the 4th century..."
I am sure that the journalist could not have predicted how important "...these other things..." are, when he was editing that video...
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Are not, 'these other things' the mythical association of the circular form and the 1584 measurement with Deinokrates? My Greek is not so good as to follow the video :(
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by gepd »

No, the video above is from 2013, and you could see in other press releases that during that time they were specific in saying that they had no clue who the architect could have been. The "1584 Deinokratis" speech is from this year's visit of the PM to the site (other video).

Apparently, they came up with the Deinokrates link sometime in 2014, when the excavations restarted around March. One of the most popular rumors circulating in forums and blogs from Amphipolis locals is that Deinocrates name was found on an inscription during the perimeter excavations. Let's say that is the longest lasting rumor. The only reason I start to belive that is that the arcaeologists sound so sure that Deinocrates is the architect...
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Thanks, that clears that up. I am not sure about the inscription story though, it has been repeatedly denied, I think the certainty is a symptom of some wishful thinking, but the truth will hopefuly emerge by Christmas.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by system1988 »

Third chamber. Found the head of a sphinx among other finds.
Last edited by system1988 on Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

So we have the head of the sphinx on the right-hand side over the entrance :D Best sculpture so far!
And very large parts of the smashed doors, looking like the conventional design as expected. (Double bands of "nailheads" are horizontal, not vertical as in the previous reconstruction from the Ministry.)
The most significant point is that this sphinx has the same hairstyle as the sphinxes from the Serapeum in Saqqara (i.e. possible first tomb of Alexander).
It is looking as though these fragments were found embedded in the tomb fill. This suggests that the mutilation of the sculptures, the smashing of the doors and the sand filling & walling up activities were simultaneous. This might support a working hypothesis that Cassander wrecked and closed up Olympias's tomb, after he murdered Alexander IV and Roxane in 310BC.
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Head of right-hand sphinx
Head of right-hand sphinx
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Tomb door fragment
Tomb door fragment
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by lio »

Here one Greek site with good information about the Sphinxes in Amphipolis and also the Sphinx in Thieves.Generally about Sphienxes http://www.thetombofamphipolis.com
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