The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

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

Post by Efstathios »

This might support a working hypothesis that Cassander wrecked and closed up Olympias's tomb
Which tomb, this one or the one at Pydna? You are already making it a fact that it's Olympias' tomb. It could be, but you are presenting it as a hard fact without any evidence.

By the way, the head of the sphinx may be around 180 kg, not that easy to move around. It was found in the third chamber, if the other is there too, is it possible this was part of a ritual during the burial of the dead? Also, if Kassandros had destroyed the tomb then why would anyone seal it with not one but 2 and possibly more walls?
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

Efstathios wrote:
This might support a working hypothesis that Cassander wrecked and closed up Olympias's tomb
Which tomb, this one or the one at Pydna? You are already making it a fact that it's Olympias' tomb. It could be, but you are presenting it as a hard fact without any evidence.

By the way, the head of the sphinx may be around 180 kg, not that easy to move around. It was found in the third chamber, if the other is there too, is it possible this was part of a ritual during the burial of the dead? Also, if Kassandros had destroyed the tomb then why would anyone seal it with not one but 2 and possibly more walls?
Not at all. My use of the word hypothesis indicates that I don't yet regard it as fact. I am just showing how everything might fit together. I am saying that Cassander (potentially) both mutilated the statues and sealed the tomb up. This is good news. It means the occupant is probably still in there. He would have done it out of hate for the occupant and also to stop the occupant's supporters using the place as a shrine to foment opposition to his rule. With all due respect, it is most unlikely that anybody would carves statues of this quality in marble with the intention of smashing them up.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Paralus »

Efstathios wrote:
This might support a working hypothesis that Cassander wrecked and closed up Olympias's tomb
Which tomb, this one or the one at Pydna? You are already making it a fact that it's Olympias' tomb. It could be, but you are presenting it as a hard fact without any evidence.
I'd agree with you Stathi:
Taphoi wrote:Not at all. My use of the word hypothesis indicates that I don't yet regard it as fact. I am just showing how everything might fit together. I am saying that Cassander (potentially) both mutilated the statues and sealed the tomb up.
"Wrecked and closed up Olympias's tomb". So, the assumed fact is that this is the tomb Olympias. The 'hypothesis' is that it was Cassander who destroyed the sphinxes and sealed the tomb.The evidence is that he did so out of hate for the occupant. Olympias was Casander's intractable enemy. Thus Cassander hated Olympias. Ergo, this is the tomb of Olympias thus the hypothesis that Cassander mutilated the statues and sealed up the tomb, the occupant of which must be Olympias.

An orbital proposition it would seem.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Xenophon »

Just to reinforce the truth of the situation, which is:

There is NO evidence of who may have been buried in the Amphipolis tomb ( though it is pretty certain now that it IS a tomb) and the occupant(s) may never be known, unless some pretty accurate dating or other evidence emerges. That may be unlikely considering the tomb was apparently smashed up in the past, which also implies a very good chance it was looted.

There is NO evidence that Olympias is connected to the Amphipolis structure in any way.

There is NO evidence that Cassander was responsible for the damage to the Amphipolis structure.

We have reasonable evidence ( both circumstantial and epigraphic) that the tomb of Olympias was at Pydna.

Taphoi's assertions are mere fantasy/fiction, which he is stuck with because early on he foolishly asserted publicly to the media that the tomb was connected to Olympias. Let us hear no more of it, at least until there is some real evidence for this extremely unlikely 'hypothesis', which as Stathi and Paralus point out, is now being asserted as fact.

No-one here seems to share Taphoi's view, or is convinced by it. Repeated repetition changes nothing.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

It is certainly an odd hypothesis that has Kassandros fund a massive monument for someone Diodoros XVII 118 ii says he left 'unburied', then destroy it in a fit of pique six years later, not least as if the extent of the monument continues to expand much of this time will have had to be spent in its construction.

It might be my eyesight but that head definitely does not look likely to fit under the present arch, and the capital atop her head looks flat to me, not suitable for a situation beneath an arch. Which would point to a remodelled entrance and thus an attept to preserve access to the monument, a response to seismic damage rather than preparatory to vandalism one might conclude.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by ΙΑΠΕΤΟΣ »

Hello to everyone,

just a quick respone to agesilaos regarding the actual dimentions/size of the found sphinx head and if it would fit the space between body & arch:

Just using the dig's ruler we get an estimate of roughly 60cm left till the arche's underside.
Image
From the PR, the size of the head is stated as being 0,60m, not clarifying if this is an average, longest or shortest measurment.

Regardless, based on the length of the head's base (the portion that comes into contact wt the body) we get something like this:
Image

To me this looked a bit small for the size of the body, so I increased the size of the head by 10% and ended up wt this:
Image

This, IMO, looks better in proportion wt the sphinx's body and if we consider that we are dealing wt less than 5cm difference in length btwn the 2 heads, it could still fit the space provided. (The Mariette sphinx also has a head that looks a bit small in comparison the actual body)

Regarding the polos, I personally would not expect it to follow the arches curvature. Just because the sphinxes are set in an arch, they don't have to keep a set minimum distance form the surface of the underside at all times. The wings will follow the curvature, as they are bend backwards..
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by ΙΑΠΕΤΟΣ »

...and on another subject...

I think that "poloi" are now becoming extremely important, as they are carried by both sets of statues, both the "imaginery" and the "real"...

I am not a follower of the Olympias solution, as I think it suffers a lot as a theory...

The monument bears a lion on top, a warrior/battle symbol...
Image
from the current exhibition in the Pella Museum
Image
...detail...

The Dionysus religion is at its strongest in Macedonia at the time (I am not going to use the "cult" term, as in Macedonia I think it was the official religion of the State).

We now know that PhII also served as the Ierofante of the Macedonian state, a position surely to be occupied by Macedonian Kings to follow.

The polos was carried by a very limited number of deities and it was as all of them, a sacred item (and symbol).

For it to be present at every "stage" of the monument/tomb surely signifies the very strong relation between the deceased and religion in its highest level.

At the last quarter of the 4th century, not too many Macedonias fell in that category...
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Welcome to the bear-pit, Iapetos; I think you have misunderstood your reconstruction, however. In order to fit the head ought to sit below your yellow arc and not only do neither do this but any head that did would leave us with two pin-headed sphinxes. The poloi are unusual for sphinxes which are normally depicted bare headed, like the supporters on the arms of the throne in the tomb of Eurydike, it would be fair to suggest that these poloi therefore are functional in the same way as those of the karyatids and that presupposes that they originally bore a flat lintel.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by ΙΑΠΕΤΟΣ »

Thnx for the welcome Agesilae.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by ΙΑΠΕΤΟΣ »

(Due to a Nokia Xpress/Symbian glitch I can only reply a couple of lines/reply - sorry)

(Moderator's note: I copied and pasted each individual post. They are all here, as submitted, but all in this one post.)

1) The Serapeion sphynxes are also pin headed - to my surprise... Body size disproportional to size of head - at least to my standards.

2) For my reconstruction I must use as little data as the Ministry releases..

My yellow arc is drawn based on where the outer portion of the shoulder would be, based on the sphynx's base.

You should also take into account perspective and the fact that the head is both rotated on the vertical and slightly tilted.

3) For this Monument forget wt you know... This is the new era of Macedonia... Its spreading its wings and baldly goes where no Greek has been before!

Macedonia has stopped being heterophotus and started being autophotus... Its standing on its own legs and its shapping the World as She sees fit...

4) These poloi do not have a structural role. They are there to demonstrate the power of the Monument (see my previous post)

Their topline is parallel to their bottom line & they are reversely concave, as they should be. Everything is in place!

5) This IS the right sphynx's head. Its baseline fits exactly wt the bady's base (even wt my rediculous copy/paste!!!)

6) Thnx for the help Andrew but I don't think that at this instance the structure has suffered much. At this point it "only" had a couple of meters of dirt on top and the constructors knew wt they were doing...
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

Two thousand three hundred years have passed since the sphinxes' heads were in place. Arches are not rigid on such timescales, especially when they carry a huge overburden, there are signs of subsidence (cracks and slight misalignment of blocks) and there have been earthquakes. This arch should be semicircular, but it is about 10% flatter than that, probably due to subsidence. So there was plenty of room for the heads and wings (originally).
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Dream on.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Efstathios »

According to rumors, the second head has been found in the same room and will be presented tomorrow.

Now, these heads should have been supporting something, but the entrance is an arch, and so far there is no evidence of a flat surface just below the arch. So, if these are the heads of the sphinxes why do they have poloi on top as the Karyatids do? Another interesting point is that the head is classic age style, so the sculptor could have been Lysippos or someone with classic influences. So we have Deinocrates and possibly someone like Lysippos involved in the project, all personal favorites of Alexander.

Edit: There could have been a linten, as Agesilaos pointed out, and fell off during an earthquake or some sort of Vandalism, along with the heads of the sphinxes.
Last edited by Efstathios on Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Zebedee »

Lots of sphinxes have a polos, some have palmette designs emerging from them, some don't. It may help the specialists to start narrowing down likely influences, but for meaning I think we have to look towards the boring explanation of it being a crown and reflecting the divine origins of what is being portrayed.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Efstathios »

Signs of Photoshop at bottom right.

Image

This was highlighted in a greek forum.
"Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks."
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