Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

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Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Almost from the outset of the excavation of the Kasta tomb at Amphipolis, Taphoi/Andrew Chugg has held the conviction that the tomb must have been that of Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, and has ‘championed’ this cause, virtually single handed. Indeed he has now gone so far as to suggest she is the only possible candidate. I suggested on the “sphinxes” thread that now we have as much as we are going to get for a while regarding the excavation, and in the light of Taphoi’s repeated assertions that the tomb can only be that of Olympias, it might be a good time to try and examine such evidence as we have objectively, and see where that evidence actually leads us.

At the outset, in order to get Olympias to Amphipolis, Taphoi asserted that Cassander must have gone there after the fall of Pydna in the Spring of 316 BC. There is no evidence for that assertion. We are simply not told of Cassander’s immediate movements, but according to Diodorus he seems to have headed south through Boeotia to the Peloponnese [ XIX.54]. Next, Taphoi asserts that Cassander took Olympias with him to Amphipolis, but there is no evidence for that either. In fact it would appear she never left Pydna. After her conviction, just before her execution, Cassander sent messengers to her offering to provide a ship/naus to take her to Athens, which she refused.[ so she obviously was not with him, wherever he was]. Since Amphipolis is inland, on the river Strymon, and inaccessible by sea-going ships, due to bridges etc, she could not have been there. Nor could she have been taken down-river from Amphipolis by boat to a ship offshore, for the prevailing winds at that time of year [Spring] are southerly, creating the dreaded ‘Lee-shore’, against which no sensible ship’s Captain would allow himself to be trapped or wrecked ( as various Persian fleets found to their cost along these shores).

Pydna, of course, was one of Macedon’s few important harbours. In fact that is the reason Olympias ‘holed up’ there in the first place. With Macedon largely under Cassander’s control, with the aid of his powerful backers, she was expecting succour in the form of a relieving army from the sea by her allies. In the event that this did not occur, it also provided a viable evacuation point – as Cassander later tried to utilise with his offer.

Moreover, there is strong epigraphical evidence that Olympias’ tomb was at Pydna. It seems that Olympias’ family, the Aeacidae, were overthrown as rulers of Epirus toward the end of the third century BC and ended up in exile – at Pydna – for the next few centuries. For full details see C. Edson “The Tomb of Olympias”. Despite the relatively poor condition of the site of Pydna, no less than three (partial) inscriptions have turned up which relate to Olympias and her Aeacidae family. The first shows that the family of Olympias settled at Pydna. It is of a three year-old boy who died in the 1st C BC and reads:
“Aeacid is my race, Neoptolemus is my father, my name is Alkimachos, of those coming/descended from Olympias. As a child whose intelligence was equal to that of men, Fate placed me at the age of three a corpse beneath this tomb.”
The personal name Neoptolemus, of course, is taken from the son of Achilles, the legendary founder of the Molossian dynasty, and was borne by two kings of the Epirote royal house, the Aeacidae, and was a common name in the family.

The second inscription actually refers to the tomb of Olympias:
" As you pass [the memorial] of [Neop]tolemus, [stranger, stay, that] you may see the tomb [of famed] Olympia[s. Hel]enus, [bewailing] the race of impetuous A [eacides], buried [his son in the bosom of] measureless [earth -----]."
The words in italics enclosed in brackets are restoration, but note that the reference to seeing Olympias' tomb at Pydna is original.Here is evidence literally written in stone!

As Edson says:
“It would, however, be most unsound method first to restore this fragment and then to use the restoration as historical evidence. It is obvious that only the preserved portion of the text can have any evidential value. But the new, complete epigram published above creates a means of control, denied to Wilhelm[ an earlier translator], which markedly elucidates the problem of interpretation...... The salient point, of course, is that this fragmentary epitaph specifically mentions the tomb of Olympias[and being able to see it at Pydna]..... We have, therefore, epigraphic evidence for the tomb of an Olympias at or near Pydna/Makriyialos, and this evidence is in no real sense dependent on conjectural restoration. In view of the claim made in the new epigram, there can be little doubt that the tomb here mentioned is that of the great queen. “
The third inscription is too damaged to permit any reasonable restoration, but it too is clearly a funereal epigram
“..thou liest at the well walled...”
and refers to a Neoptolemos, and so is probably another Aeacidae burial.
It should be noted that the inscriptions are not just Edson’s translations/restoration, but that of others too. Edson concluded:
“The inscriptions considered above show that by the second century B.C. a family claiming descent from the Aeacidae, the royal house of Epirus, and thus from Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great, resided at the ancient site near [Pydna]Makriyialos. As we have seen, in the second epigram the tomb of Olympias is specifically mentioned. These facts create two main problems: (1) When and under what circumstances was the tomb of Olympias constructed, and (2) When and for what reason did members of the royal family of Epirus come to reside in this part of Macedonia? [ see above for (2) ]
(1) After the execution of Olympias at Pydna, Cassander, according to Diodorus and Porphyry,"... refused her body proper burial and caused it to be cast/thrown out into the open.” But there were surely those in Macedonia who would see to it that the corpse of the mother of the great king received interment, however informal. Because of the circumstances it is understandable that the initial and necessarily surreptitious burial should have been at or near Pydna. Given Cassander's notorious hatred for Olympias, it is unlikely that a formal tomb was constructed for the queen's body during his reign or even during that of his sons, that is, from 316 down to 294 B.C. The ‘terminus ante quem’ for the construction of Olympias' tomb is the years 288 to 285 B.C. during which Pyrrhus of Epirus, himself of course an Aeacid, ruled the western half of Macedonia within which Pydna was situated. Pyrrhus would surely have seen to it that the body of his famous cousin received proper burial, had such burial not already taken place during the short reign of Demetrius I (294-288 B.C.).”
This is the only actual evidence we have, other than the literary sources, of the fate of Olympias.

There is a human tendency to ignore, dismiss, ‘explain away’ or distort evidence which does not agree with a pre-conceived view. As Paralus pointed out, Taphoi “dismissed [the epigrahic archaeological evidence] as being presented by "intrepid epigraphers" indulging in "invention". That is untrue, as can be seen from the above. He also ‘explained away’ the evidence as possibly relating to another Olympias (for example, Pyrrhus named a daughter after his famous cousin). This does not really hold up when the ancestry of Olympias mother of Alexander is clearly set out [inscription1] Moreover, the lack of reference to a patronymic shows that the subject was famous enough to be identified without one. He also claims that the inscriptions don’t actually say her tomb was in Pydna. This is also incorrect. Inscription 2 specifically says that the tomb of Olympias is to be seen at Pydna. In any event the circumstantial literary evidence is pretty overwhelming – all of which makes Taphoi’s conviction that the Kasta tomb is that of Olympias untenable.

Let us now examine what Taphoi puts forward as evidence for his view;
Taphoi wrote:
Paralus wrote:...And the speculation continues apace. What might be nice here is some evidence for this continued speculation other than your opinion. Assertion without evidence amounts to little more than opinion...


Taphoi wrote:Let us recall where we are on the matter of evidence. We have the largest and most magnificent tomb ever found in Greece reasonably securely dated to the last quarter of the 4th century BC containing the bones of a 60+ woman as its principal occupant.
So far so good. As I posted on the ‘sphinxes’ thread though, the female skeleton cannot be that of Olympias judging by our sources. Cassander threw out the corpse of Olympias unburied, and her skeleton should be less intact and show damage from scavengers etc.Secondly, Olympias was executed by a mob, most probably by stoning which would have left severe skeletal damage ( or alternately hacked to death) Either of these facts alone rule out the woman in the tomb being Olympias, whose skeleton has no such damage, let alone both. The stated age also does not fit either. Most scholars, including Taphoi until after the age of the woman was announced, reckon Olympias was born between 375 and 370 BC, which would make her in her mid-fifties at the time of her death, rather than mid-sixties. However, since neither Olympias’ exact age nor the exact age of the female skeleton can be known with certainty, one should not make too much of the age discrepancy.
...It is located at Amphipolis, the city of which the surrender to Cassander led immediately to Olympias’s murder by Cassander, when she was aged about 60...
The problem here is that there is not a scintilla of evidence that Olympias was taken to Amphipolis to be tried and executed. As to age, see above....
We also have sphinxes guarding the entrance and it is known that sphinxes were used to decorate the thrones of at least two late 4th century BC Macedonian queens including that of Olympias’s mother-in-law (sphinxes were sacred to Hera and the Macedonian king and queen posed as earthly versions of Zeus and his wife Hera).
In ancient Greek culture, sphinxes were widely used as decorative elements in Greek art generally, and the first to appear in sculpture appeared in the 7th century BC. From the 6th century BCE, sphinxes appeared in stone sculpture, sometimes with raised hind quarters. These sculptures were used as votive offerings, usually perched atop tall Ionic or Doric columns and placed at sanctuary sites such as Delphi and Olympia. Sphinxes also commonly appeared atop funerary stelai and were usually brightly painted. A surviving example from Attica (around 540 BCE) displays traces of paint and would have originally had black hair, wing feathers in green, blue, black and red and breast scales in red and blue. Interestingly, when used in votive offerings the head always faced forwards whilst sphinxes on funerary stelai, often in pairs as at Kasta, always faced sideways. The fact that this common decorative element appears in other Royal tombs really tells us nothing, other than that the structure is a tomb, and probably Royal. There is no association with a particular individual, least of all Olympias.
We also have a couple of greater than life-size statues of priestesses of Dionysus guarding the entrance to its second chamber recalling the famous account in Plutarch of Olympias’s associations with these “Klodones”.
Firstly, the statues are quite clearly caryatids, not “Klodones”. The term Caryatid refers to Karyai in Laconia where women often danced balancing a basket on their heads in honour of Artemis and where Caryatids were used in Archaic architecture. Later, they were used as columns in Ionian architecture. Archaic Caryatids were usually used in the porches of Treasury buildings which were built to house offerings from specific states at religious sanctuaries. The most important treasury at Delphi was from the Siphnians (c. 525 BCE) and this and at least two other Treasuries had Caryatids. The most famous Caryatids are the six which support the roof of the false south porch of the Erechtheion on the Athenian acropolis. This building was constructed between 421 and 406 BCE as part of Pericles’ great project to rejuvenate the architecture of Athens. The Caryatids display features which would become staple elements of Classical sculpture: clothes which cling to the body (the ‘wet look’) and a bold and more dynamic positioning of the hips and legs. Although each Caryatid wears the same robe - a belted Doric peplos and short himation - each is uniquely rendered, a feature particularly noticeable in their intricate plaited hairstyles (best seen from the rear). They are frequently shown holding in their right hands 'phialai' - shallow vessels for pouring libations - whilst their left hand slightly raised their robe. The Katsas caryatids are ‘standard’, clearly modelled on the Athenian ones, and there is nothing about them that can be associated with Dionysius or Olympias .
We also have a truly stunning quality pebble mosaic depicting the abduction of Persephone where it is quite obvious that the woman is intended to symbolise the occupant of the tomb being taken into the underworld. This “Persephone” is a queen with flame coloured hair, where we know that Olympias’s family were famous for their flame coloured hair (the family name of Pyrrhus actually meaning someone with flame coloured hair). The otherwise inexplicable early smashing, looting and sedulous sealing of the emptied tomb is perfectly explained by the murder of Olympias’s grandson and daughter-in-law at Amphipolis 6 years after her death. There is no other 60+ woman who could possibly have been given such a tomb in the last quarter of the 4th century BC, so there is nobody else whose tomb this could possibly be [provided only that the carbon date of the bones is Hellenistic and not Roman]. To add to all this we have paintings in the tomb that appear to depict the Mysteries of Samothrace at which Olympias first met Philip. They are the Mysteries of Samothrace because the celebrants (a man and a woman) are depicted engaging in bull sacrifice at night (the scene has a black background and is lit by a large brazier) and the celebrants wear red belts and there are Nikes flitting about in the scene, all of which is recorded of the Mysteries of Samothrace.
It must be doubtful if the hair colour is in any way significant; red, orange-red, or red- brown is the most common hair colour in Greek art ( particularly statues). Another Royal Macedonian tomb contains a famous painting of Hades abducting Persephone - the same scene as in the Kasta tomb. The three main figures, Hades, Persephone and Demeter are all depicted red-haired. Evidence of nothing then, and no particular association with Olympias.

We do not know when the tomb was looted or vandalised, or even if they occurred concurrently. There is nothing to associate the tomb damage with "the murder of Olympias’s grandson and daughter-in-law at Amphipolis 6 years after her death."

To say “there is no other 60+ woman who could possibly have been given such a tomb....” is also obviously false, an example of the ‘positivist fallacy’ I referred to on the ‘Sphinxes’ thread ( the tendency to identify with known historical figures). In fact there are dozens of unknown Macedonian noble women and Queens – for example Cassander’s mother- that are possible candidates. We don’t know who the female skeleton is, or how, or when she came to be in the tomb. What we can say with certainty is that the undamaged skeleton cannot be Olympias ( see above). The red girdles in the painting are also not necessarily indicative of the ‘Mysteries of Samothrace’ either. Such girdles are symbolic of death for example, and are depicted on almost every Macedonian grave stela. Nor for that matter were Philip and Olympias the only people who attended the Mysteries – the positivist fallacy again.

At the end of the day, nothing about the Kasta tomb can be linked specifically with Olympias.

Paralus wrote:
I believe it was evidence that was asked for not repeated speculation based on red hair or Olympias' supposed murder at Amphipolis. She was, as the sources clearly state, captured and dealt with at Pydna. There is also the matter of the epigraphic evidence which you've airily dismissed as being presented by "intrepid epigraphers" indulging in "invention". Something you'd know a thing or two about it would seem.

Repetition of speculation does not an argument make.
I hope readers will forgive my somewhat lengthy expansion of Paralus’ succinctly expressed point of view. It only became necessary because of Taphoi’s continued assertions/speculations, which are not supported by evidence when examined in a critical and relatively objective way. To put forward an opinion, before the evidence had emerged, and then to cling to this view, dismissing solid contradictory evidence is clearly bad methodology.


Conclusion: There is absolutely no evidence that Olympias was tried and executed at Amphipolis after the fall of Pydna, or even went there. Nor is there any specific evidence that connects her with the Kasta tomb. On the contrary, such evidence as we have, both literary and archaeological , suggests she never left Pydna, and was executed and eventually interred there. The Kasta tomb cannot be that of Olympias.

attempted edit to try to corect heading typo.
Last edited by Xenophon on Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

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Scientist: Look there is an animal approaching us! I think it may be a dog for it is wagging its tail.
Sceptic: It is most unlikely that it is a dog, for there are many other creatures that wag their tails.
Scientist: But it is also barking like a dog.
Sceptic: You fool! Foxes also are known to bark. I am now quite sure that it cannot be a dog.
Scientist: Yet it is now sitting up and begging, quite like a dog in fact.
Sceptic: Tosh! Mendicants also beg. It is absolutely impossible that it should be a dog. You should maintain a healthy sense of scientific scepticism about these things. Argh!!!
Scientist: O dear I think it bit you. Or perhaps not... for there are many other things that might have given rise to your pained expression.
:)
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Very droll ! :)

A rather obscure attempted sarcasm, whose point is presumably that despite the existing evidence, you believe that it is still possible that the "dog" in question may turn out to be Olympias.
That is a type of fallacious argument known as 'Ad Ignorandium' whose premise is that something might be true, because we don't know that it isn't.

However even that false argument does not work, because in this instance we have positive archaeological evidence that Olympias was buried in Pydna, which is about as certain as anything can be in ancient history.

Dependence on such a line of argument is a tacit admission that you have no valid evidence for your expressed opinion/conviction - or to put it simply;

"This Emperor has no clothes! " :lol: :lol:
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Taphoi »

Xenophon wrote:However even that false argument does not work, because in this instance we have positive archaeological evidence that Olympias was buried in Pydna, which is about as certain as anything can be in ancient history.
You have no such evidence. What you have is a 2nd century BC inscription fragment not even actually found at Pydna, which says only "tomb Olympias" in one line fragment. Edson erroneously assumed that Diodorus 19.50-51 states that Olympias died at Pydna. It does not. Diodorus only says that Olympias surrendered to Cassander at Pydna. She died at least weeks later just after the war had been concluded with the surrender of Amphipolis to Cassander. We do not know where she was, but Amphipolis is very likely, given that Cassander used a note from Olympias to persuade Aristonous to surrender Amphipolis to him. I think Aristonous would have assumed that the note was a stratagem unless Olympias was actually there to be seen before Amphipolis's walls.

Edson used his erroneous assumption on where Olympias died as his basis to create and publish a third modern reconstruction of the inscription fragment (there were two previous completely different reconstructions already published) to make it look as though Olympias's tomb was at Pydna. Since his reconstruction is based on his assumption that she died at Pydna (he actually states this in his paper), you cannot use it as evidence to prove the correctness of his assumption. That is what is known as a circular argument and it provides no evidence of anything. It is a ridiculous irony that Edson thought he was using the established fact that Olympias died at Pydna to help him to reconstruct an inscription that was too fragmentary to reconstruct without making some such sweeping assumption, but now people are trying to argue his paper backwards.

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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Jeanne Reames »

Olga Palagia has stated, based on the inscriptional evidence (mostly quoted above) that Olympias's tomb is in Pydna. I don't intend to really hop into the dabate, but the architecture of the tomb suggests that it's later than the end of the 4th century, possibly well into the Hellenistic period. Ogla thinks it may even date down into the early Roman period. I will defer to the art historians, of which Olga is one of the better known, regarding such questions. She's done interviews and written (briefly) about the tomb already, but alas, much of it is in Greek.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

(Sigh! ) In my first post I wrote :
There is a human tendency to ignore, dismiss, ‘explain away’ or distort evidence which does not agree with a pre-conceived view. As Paralus pointed out, Taphoi “dismissed [the epigraphic archaeological evidence] as being presented by "intrepid epigraphers" indulging in "invention". That is untrue, as can be seen from the above.
Taphoi now predictably does just this, repeating what he has said previously.I quoted Edson at some length, hoping to head off incorrect criticism such as this. For those interested and who may want to look at Edson in full, it is widely available on the web, for example here:
http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/pdf/uploads/hesperia/146994.pdf

Since virtually every line of this post is incorrect, it will be necessary to deal with it in detail. My comments are in blue italics.
Taphoi wrote:
You have no such evidence.Oh yes we do ! I do hope that this is not going to descend into the Monty Pythonesque "Oh yes it is.""Oh, no it isn't" ..."That's not an argument, it's just contradiction! " style that Taphoi employs so frequently when he has little or no evidence.
What you have is a 2nd century BC inscription fragment not even actually found at Pydna, which says only "tomb Olympias" in one line fragment.
Yes, likely 2 C BC, the family went into exile there around the end of the 3 C BC - see my first post, and it was definitely found in the vicinity of Old Pydna/Makryalios [ see Edson]. Are you perhaps confusing Old and 'New' Pydna, some 5 km away at Kitros? The location of Old Pydna on the coast is readily found on Google Earth, because much of the harbour is still extant. All the inscriptions were found nearby. and you seem to have omitted part of the line which is NOT restoration, to whit:

"you may see the tomb ...... Olympia[s".{ restoration deleted]


Edson erroneously assumed that Diodorus 19.50-51 states that Olympias died at Pydna. It does not. Diodorus only says that Olympias surrendered to Cassander at Pydna.

Edson does mention that it is to be inferred from this that she died at Pydna, mentioning Diodorus XIX.50-51 in a footnote. Nowhere does he use this as evidence. His deductions are based purely on the extant inscriptions, and not Diodorus or restorations as he specifically says ( see my first post)

She died at least weeks later just after the war had been concluded with the surrender of Amphipolis to Cassander. We do not know where she was, but Amphipolis is very likely, given that Cassander used a note from Olympias to persuade Aristonous to surrender Amphipolis to him.

Agreed we are not specifically told her whereabouts, but the argument 'ex silentio' is that she didn't go anywhere, and she must have been at the harbour of Pydna just before her execution, when Cassander offered to evacuate her by ship ( as related in my first post)

I think Aristonous would have assumed that the note was a stratagem unless Olympias was actually there to be seen before Amphipolis's walls.

What you think about Aristonous' assumptions is hardly evidence! In any event, a note with Olympias' seal on it would be authority enough. Aristonous knew Olympias was in Cassander's hands and would be co-erced. What difference would producing her before the walls make ? Your argument boils down to illogical rationalisation. Why not have her taken to Pella, which also surrendered, and was the capital where a larger "Assembly of the Makedones" could be convened ? That would be more logical..... What in fact Diodorus actually say is " ..as soon as he had gained possession of the city,[Pydna] he sent men to take over Pella and Amphipolis", so Olympias went to neither. However, the inscriptions prove her tomb was at Pydna in any event.

Edson used his erroneous assumption on where Olympias died as his basis to create and publish a third modern reconstruction of the inscription fragment (there were two previous completely different reconstructions already published) to make it look as though Olympias's tomb was at Pydna.

This is a gross distortion of the facts - see my first post. Edson made no such assumption, and he does not rely on any restoration/reconstruction. There had earlier been two unsuccessfulattempts at reconstruction, by the finder Oikonomos in 1915, and later by the German Wilhelm in 1924. What both failed to appreciate was that the inscription was on a piece which had later been incorporated into a pediment, nor did they have the benefit of the other inscriptions. Edson gives a full description of all this in his paper. Edson did not "make it look as though Olympias' tomb was at Pydna." The evidence is actually carved in stone:

"As you pass ......of ....tolemus, .....you may see the tomb .......Olympia[. " [with restorations removed]]


Since his reconstruction is based on his assumption that she died at Pydna (he actually states this in his paper),

He most assuredly does NOT state that his reconstruction of the full epigraph is based on any "assumption".

...you cannot use it as evidence to prove the correctness of his assumption. That is what is known as a circular argument and it provides no evidence of anything. It is a ridiculous irony that Edson thought he was using the established fact that Olympias died at Pydna to help him to reconstruct an inscription that was too fragmentary to reconstruct without making some such sweeping assumption, but now people are trying to argue his paper backwards.

This is just untrue. There is no circular argument. The reference to Olympias' tomb being able to be seen in Pydna is clear and unambiguous. Your attempt to 'explain it away' is singularly unconvincing. Not only that, but it is 'communis opinio' among reputable scholars that the inscriptions prove that her tomb was in Pydna, and anyone reading this thread, and/or Edson's paper would almost certainly agree. You are the only person I can find who claims otherwise, but then , in the words of Mandy Rice-Davies at the infamous Profumo trial : "Well, 'e would say that wouldn't 'e..."


[edited to adjust layout]
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Jeanne Reames wrote:Olga Palagia has stated, based on the inscriptional evidence (mostly quoted above) that Olympias's tomb is in Pydna. I don't intend to really hop into the dabate, but the architecture of the tomb suggests that it's later than the end of the 4th century, possibly well into the Hellenistic period. Ogla thinks it may even date down into the early Roman period. I will defer to the art historians, of which Olga is one of the better known, regarding such questions. She's done interviews and written (briefly) about the tomb already, but alas, much of it is in Greek.
Although I don't support many of Olga Palagia's views, she is but one of many reputable scholars who accept that Olympias was executed and buried at Pydna. Dorothy King and Elizabeth Carney are but two examples also of the 'communis opinio'.

In addition, Professor Valavanis of the Katsas excavation team recently said:
We have no evidence to connect the Amphipolis tomb with Olympias and the Temenid dynasty,” Valavanis says. “Aside from the size of the tomb – which doesn’t necessarily by itself mean that it is a royal tomb, there is nothing else to connect it to the Temenid dynasty. Furthermore the attempt to link the tomb with Olympias is not supported by the facts. We had noted from the outset that Olympias was buried in Pydna, where she was killed, a fact which is confirmed by two ancient inscriptions.”
Although Taphoi's views are widely reported, particularly in Greece, in reality he is the original and sole promoter of his conviction. The former Greek government had a vested interest in promoting Olympias as the tomb occupier. But then it is well known that Greece and Israel have incredibly politicised their archaeology.

Speaking of which I'll just throw this in, in passing, though it is not news as an example of political interference:-
"
The final resting place of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great has been one of the greatest mysteries of antiquity, but it is one that may have already been solved. Archaeologist Leana Souvaltzi claims she discovered the real tomb of Alexander 20 years ago in Egypt and has been blocked by the Greek and Egyptian governments ever since.
In 1984, Ms Souvaltzi applied to the Egyptian authorities for permission to excavate the area of the Siwa Oasis, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo. In 1989, five years after the application had been submitted, permission was granted and excavations began.
After only one week of excavations, Ms Souvaltzi and the archaeological team made a spectacular discovery – they found an entranceway, guarded by lion statues, to what appeared to be a very large and important monument. Over the next several years, the excavations revealed that the monument was a magnificent 525 square meter Hellenistic royal tomb.

In addition to the lions in the entranceway, the archaeological team unearthed numerous lion heads throughout the underground structure – a reflection of the important status of the owner, as well as Greek-style decorations, Greek inscriptions, and a carved relief with the symbol of Amun Ra, all of which may point to the tomb belonging to Alexander the Great. One of the inscriptions, which Ms Souvaltzi believes was written by Ptolemy, refers to the elaborate transportation of the body to that tomb, though there is no reference to any names.

The Greek Government called a stop to the excavations through direct ‘diplomatic intervention’. The then Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, sent an advisor of the Greek Embassy to ask the Egyptian government to withdraw Ms Souvaltzi’s permission to excavate and to prevent any further excavations of the tomb.
The Egyptian government immediately informed Ms Souvaltzi about this intervention, telling her that it was the first time that something like this had happened, where they had been requested to pull the plug on the excavations of such an important monument. They told her that if she wanted to continue, she would need to resolve it with the Greek government. Ms Souvaltzi contacted Mr Pagalos, a Minister in the Greek Government, who explained to her that the discovery of Alexander’s tomb would increase nationalism in Greece, which was not desired at that time. When the new Greek government replaced the old one, she tried again to move the blockage and reinstate the excavations permit. However, every effort was blocked at the highest levels.

Twenty years after her incredible discovery, Ms Souvaltzi still fights for the permission to continue her excavations. She has devoted her life and invested her personal money into this project and expressed deep concern regarding the preservation of the monument, which would have since suffered extensive erosion.

Today, the magnificent tomb believed by some to belong to Alexander the Great sits in the Oasis of Siwa guarded by the Egyptian authorities. No one goes in and, for the time being, no one has permission to enter the final chamber, which could solve, once and for all, one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world."
Whether the tomb belongs to Alexander or perhaps more likely, one of the Ptolemies, it is another example of Greek politics meddling in archaeology.

[edited to correct a couple of typos]
Last edited by Xenophon on Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Paralus »

Taphoi wrote:Diodorus only says that Olympias surrendered to Cassander at Pydna. She died at least weeks later just after the war had been concluded with the surrender of Amphipolis to Cassander. We do not know where she was, but Amphipolis is very likely, given that Cassander used a note from Olympias to persuade Aristonous to surrender Amphipolis to him. I think Aristonous would have assumed that the note was a stratagem unless Olympias was actually there to be seen before Amphipolis's walls.
What you "think" (speculate) is not irrelevant; what Diodorus says is and this, it would seem, you are largely unfamiliar with. Diodorus states that on Olympias' surrender to him at Pydna, Cassander "sent men to take over Pella and Amphipolis" (19.50.6). Monimus duly surrendered Pella but Diodorus says that Aristonous "at first was minded to cling to his position" (50.7). Diodorus lists for us the reasons:
  • Aristonous had many soldiers
    Aristonous had just defeated Kassandros' general Cratevas
    Aristonous was ignorant of Eumenes' death
    Aristonous believed Polyperchon and Alexander would come to his aid
This being the case, Cassander has Olympias write orders to Aristonous demanding he surrender the citadel which Aristonous duly does. Nowhere does the Sicilian even imply that Aristonous had to see Olympias in person before he surrendered because he viewed this as a "stratagem". Aristonous' reasons for holding out are listed. If we need to "think" anything it might well be that Olympias' letter disabused Aristonous of any notion of help arriving.

Further, Diodorus nowhere states that Cassander betook himself anywhere near to Amphipolis. Instead he expressly states that he sent men to perform this task and then had Olympias send the letter. Nothing in Diodorus' narrative indicates that Cassander and his army had moved from Pydna. If anything it implies he remained at the port city. Polyperchon was neutralised and the Queen (and her entourage) was his prisoner. He'd no need to march his army north east to Amphipolis.

The notion of timing is not as straightforward as it seems. Diodorus is summarising and he presents events here as concurrent. This can often be as a result of summarising his source though the Sicilian is want to insert indicators such as "while these events were happening" or "at the same time as these events" for events widely seperated (Asia and Greece for example). He does not here and, at 19.51.1-2, he describes the death of Aristonous and the assembly conviction of Olympias as contemporaneous. The events were likely very close together and nothing supposes weeks for the surrender of Amphipolis. In fact, after Aristonous' immediate refusal, Cassander had Olympias write to Aristonous ordering his surrender. Not the act of one planning to march and lay siege to the city. The "assembly" will have been the army in the field (as with Philotas) as these were Cassander's men and a conviction was near guaranteed. It is far more likely that Olympias was locked away in her quarters in Pydna as this took place (she was not there to defend herself). A conviction obtained, Cassander attempts to offer Olympias a ship to Athens - a further indication she is still in the port city.
Taphoi wrote:It is a ridiculous irony that Edson thought he was using the established fact that Olympias died at Pydna to help him to reconstruct an inscription that was too fragmentary to reconstruct without making some such sweeping assumption
This has all been dealt with on the other thread. Suffice it to say that on epigaphical matters I'd defer to Edson, an actual epigrapher.
Taphoi wrote:You have no such evidence.
A note on "ridiculous irony":
Taphoi wrote:However, Cassander subsequently sought a reconciliation with her daughter, daughter-in-law, grandson and other members of the royal family. In that context an elaborate memorial for Olympias would have been sought by the royal family as part of their price.
We are yet to see any evidence for this claim.
Last edited by Paralus on Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Taphoi »

Jeanne Reames wrote:Olga Palagia has stated, based on the inscriptional evidence (mostly quoted above) that Olympias's tomb is in Pydna.
What Olga has said is entirely based on the Edson paper. There is no other reference being used on this point. I would advise you to look at the Edson paper directly and not rely on Olga's interpretation of it. There is only one inscription which may mention a tomb of Olympias in its 2nd line (but there is not enough of it left even to be sure of that). It does not say that the tomb was at Pydna. It has been reconstructed by Edson to make it read as though the inscription was erected near the site of the tomb and the inscription was found at a site that was probably within about 10 miles of ancient Pydna (although we do not actually know the exact site of Pydna). But Edson based this reconstruction on a prior stated assumption that the tomb of Olympias was at Pydna:
Edson wrote:…it was at Pydna in 316 BC that Cassander besieged Olympias, starved her forces into submission, caused her to be condemned to death by the Macedonian army assembly and executed by the relatives of those Macedonians whom she herself had so recently put to death (Diodorus, 49.50-51). From Diodorus’ account there can be no doubt whatsoever that Olympias was put to death at Pydna.
There is in fact every doubt about where Olympias died, because Olympias survived for at least several more weeks and Diodorus says nothing about where she was during that time. It is incredible that Cassander stayed at Pydna, whilst the outcome of the war was being decided at Amphipolis and no ancient source (least of all Diodorus) says that he did.

Here is the inscription, so you can see for yourself. Edson also established that we do not know where the edges of the original block lay, because the block that it was associated with had been cut down. That means that the numbers of letters between each line is indeterminate and we are essentially free to reconstruct it as we like. It would certainly be possible to reconstruct it to suggest that the tomb of Olympias lay at Amphipolis or to have a thousand other meanings. The idea that it talks about a tomb of Olympias at Pydna is a matter of faith rather than evidence. As a matter of scholarly procedure, Edson's reconstruction of the inscription cannot be used as evidence of a tomb of Olympias at Pydna, because the existence of a tomb of Olympias at Pydna was an assumption that guided him to his particular reconstruction.
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Jeanne Reames wrote:I don't intend to really hop into the dabate, but the architecture of the tomb suggests that it's later than the end of the 4th century, possibly well into the Hellenistic period. Ogla thinks it may even date down into the early Roman period. I will defer to the art historians, of which Olga is one of the better known, regarding such questions. She's done interviews and written (briefly) about the tomb already, but alas, much of it is in Greek.
There is a tomb of the same architecture at Archontiko a few miles NW of Pella which has been dated on ceramic evidence to the reign of Antigonos Gonatas in the mid-third century BC (see below). Also Oscar Broneer dated the lion and associated architectural elements to the last quarter of the fourth century BC. The rape of Persephone mosaic is a very sophisticated pebble mosaic with 3D effects. Such sophisticated pebble mosaics do not occur after the mid-third century BC. Pebble mosaics essentially cease to occur at all after the early 2nd century BC, because they were entirely superseded by the technologically superior tessara technique. A late Hellenistic or Roman date spurns any attention to actual evidence and contradicts the tomb's archaeological team without even looking at their evidence.
Best wishes,
Andrew
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by agesilaos »

As you well know there are the restrictions of poetic form on any reconstruction as I pointed out on page 18 of the Sphinxes thread.

I have to wonder just what he purpose of this thread is. It is certainly not 'an objective look at the evidence', which might have been useful given the Tolstoian dimensions of the original and the confusion over what has been found and what has intermittently appeared in the press. It is not even a complete review of Andrew's arguments, rather a selective drilling down on the weakest elements.

Looks like some lazy and inaccurate bullying to me,
This does not really hold up when the ancestry of Olympias mother of Alexander is clearly set out [inscription1] Moreover, the lack of reference to a patronymic shows that the subject was famous enough to be identified without one
Really? Do let us in on the actual wording that gives an ancestry for 'Olympias mother of Alexander.'

Overstatement heavily laden with 'argument from authority', which elsewhere you affect to despise, really does to advance any argument/discussion. I certainly do not agree with the Olympias theory, as is clear from my responses to his own posts on the main thread, to which they are entirely germane.
POLONIUS
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

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Slanders, sir. For the satirical rogue says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams—all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.
Andrew is hardly alone in clinging to a theory with which all others disagree and the fact that you specifically identify him as the only supporter certainly enhances the air of personal grievance and early in the 'Sphinxes' thread it was agreed that people would not be pilloried for their theories. :evil:

By the way it is Kasta(s)
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
I have to wonder just what he purpose of this thread is. It is certainly not 'an objective look at the evidence', which might have been useful given the Tolstoian dimensions of the original and the confusion over what has been found and what has intermittently appeared in the press. It is not even a complete review of Andrew's arguments, rather a selective drilling down on the weakest elements.
Apparently you don't read previous posts before rushing to the keyboard, or else don't understand them. I set out the reasons for revisiting this subject in the first paragraph of my first post. Although the subject of Olympias being the occupant had been visited before in the sphinxes thread [notably on page 10, and pp 18 and 19], matters had now moved on and more evidence has emerged, especially the undamaged female skeleton, which cannot be that of Olympias for reasons previously referred to. Taphoi is now alleging that Olympias "was the only possible candidate" after the announcements regarding the female skeleton, which is obviously untrue. Nor was it intended to be a "complete review" of Andrew's arguments - he has been very prolific in advocating his opinion, and it would take a long book to cover all his assertions. In case you hadn't noticed, it was a refutation of the summary of his case that Andrew himself posted recently on the "Sphinxes" thread. It is indeed an objective look at the evidence, for I referred to such in full, omitting nothing, and in fairness quoting Andrew's latest 'evidence' summary, which was duly refuted. It is a normal part of scholastic debate to quote counter-arguments, and assess their validity, and refute them where possible. You yourself put forward similar views earlier, also refuting Andrew's case.
Looks like some lazy and inaccurate bullying to me,
Your usual "name calling", I see - always a sign of a poor point of view/argument. Presumably you include Paralus in your"lazy" and "bullying" epithet?

Considering that you yourself refuted Andrew's arguments earlier ( before the recent evidence emerged) in October back on pp 18-19 of the 'Sphinxes' thread using the same or similar arguments, your offensive comments amount to hypocrisy.
This does not really hold up when the ancestry of Olympias mother of Alexander is clearly set out [inscription1] Moreover, the lack of reference to a patronymic shows that the subject was famous enough to be identified without one
Really? Do let us in on the actual wording that gives an ancestry for 'Olympias mother of Alexander.'
More failure to read? Try reading inscription1, as I suggested, which sets out the Aeacid genealogy of Olympias, and the following lines of my post.
[digression: If you are suggesting the same genealogy applied to Olympias II, daughter of Pyrrhus, the possibility of the inscription referring to her was canvassed on the sphinxes thread - she is not known to have even visited Macedon, let alone Pydna, though since our sources tell us little about her, it remains a remote possibility. As Edson says : "The salient point, of course, is that this fragmentary epitaph specifically mentions the tomb of Olympias[and being able to see it at Pydna]..... We have, therefore, epigraphic evidence for the tomb of an Olympias at or near Pydna/Makriyialos, and this evidence is in no real sense dependent on conjectural restoration. In view of the claim made in the new epigram, there can be little doubt that the tomb here mentioned is that of the great queen. "]
Overstatement heavily laden with 'argument from authority', which elsewhere you affect to despise, really does to advance any argument/discussion. I certainly do not agree with the Olympias theory, as is clear from my responses to his own posts on the main thread, to which they are entirely germane.
I do not make an 'argument from authority'. Clearly you are confused as to what this means. It refers to relying on the authority of an expert for the truth of an argument put forward, rather than original evidence. I did not do this. I made a case based on the fully expounded evidence. By the same token, it is perfectly legitimate to consider the training and experience of others when examining their assessment of a claim. That is not putting forward an 'argument from authority'. In this instance I simply pointed out 'communis opinio' of Taphoi's claim, and quoted a few examples of scholars who held it.

Andrew is hardly alone in clinging to a theory with which all others disagree and the fact that you specifically identify him as the only supporter certainly enhances the air of personal grievance and early in the 'Sphinxes' thread it was agreed that people would not be pilloried for their theories. :evil:
Not the "only supporter" of the Olympias theory. Again please accurately refer to what I said: "....he is the original and sole promoter of his conviction." See if you can work out the difference. That Andrew is the loudest and most prolific advocate of his theory should not be allowed to obscure the actual real evidence, and it is timely to remind ourselves of what was said before, and how the newer evidence affects the issue.
No-one is 'pillorying' Andrew, merely taking issue with his unevidenced and unsubstantiated speculations - among which critics you yourself are numbered, so you are hardly in a position to make such comments.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Taphoi wrote:
There is only one inscription which may mention a tomb of Olympias in its 2nd line (but there is not enough of it left even to be sure of that). It does not say that the tomb was at Pydna.
We have been over this repeatedly, the inscription is clear and unambiguous. Technically it may not actually say that the tomb was at Pydna, but it DOES say that Olympias' tomb can be seen from the tomb of [Neop]tolemus, and the inscription was found at Pydna, or it's near vicinity ( the site is yet to be fully excavated as to its extent)
It has been reconstructed by Edson to make it read as though the inscription was erected near the site of the tomb and the inscription was found at a site that was probably within about 10 miles of ancient Pydna (although we do not actually know the exact site of Pydna). But Edson based this reconstruction on a prior stated assumption that the tomb of Olympias was at Pydna:
This is just a boring repetition of a discredited statement, which has been shown ( repeatedly) to be incorrect. Constant repetition is simply the 'spin doctor's' method of trying to convince - akin to the drip, drip, drip of water torture. :roll: Edson's conclusions are not based on 'reconstruction' or 'assumption', as he specifically tells us ( see post 1)
Edson wrote:…it was at Pydna in 316 BC that Cassander besieged Olympias, starved her forces into submission, caused her to be condemned to death by the Macedonian army assembly and executed by the relatives of those Macedonians whom she herself had so recently put to death (Diodorus, 49.50-51). From Diodorus’ account there can be no doubt whatsoever that Olympias was put to death at Pydna.
There is in fact every doubt about where Olympias died, because Olympias survived for at least several more weeks and Diodorus says nothing about where she was during that time. It is incredible that Cassander stayed at Pydna, whilst the outcome of the war was being decided at Amphipolis and no ancient source (least of all Diodorus) says that he did.
Another drip, drip repetition, this time of a fallacious 'ad ignorandiam' argument - the assertion that Cassander might have gone to Amphipolis and taken Olympias with him because we are not told that he didn't. Diodorus( or any other source for that matter ) does NOT say that they went anywhere near Amphipolis. Indeed the clear inference is that neither did, and we are specifically told they were not together. It is pure unevidenced supposition. In fact, Diodorus tells us that Cassander headed south, as I previously related. [ XIX.53]"But Cassander having assembled an adequate force, set out from Macedonia desiring to drive Polyperchon's son Alexander from the Peloponnese, for of those opposing Cassander he alone was left with an army...." and he re-founded Thebes on the way, and [XIX.54] "To return to Cassander, he set out with his army for the Peloponnese....." and the clear inference of Diodorus' narrative is that Olympias remained at Pydna and was executed there ( as Edson correctly says).

The war was certainly not "decided at Amphipolis" - that is an absurd suggestion. The war was not over until Alexander son of Polyperchon, with the last enemy army, had been defeated, which Cassander went on to do. The 'decisive moment' of the campaign had been the fall of Pydna and the capture of Olympias there, and capturing Pella and Amphipolis was merely 'mopping up' the fruits of that victory, not even involving Cassander's whole army, but mere detachments.
Here is the inscription, so you can see for yourself. Edson also established that we do not know where the edges of the original block lay, because the block that it was associated with had been cut down. That means that the numbers of letters between each line is indeterminate and we are essentially free to reconstruct it as we like. It would certainly be possible to reconstruct it to suggest that the tomb of Olympias lay at Amphipolis or to have a thousand other meanings.


Incredible! Yet another repetition of a completely untrue statement. As Agesilaos says in his last post:
As you well know there are the restrictions of poetic form on any reconstruction as I pointed out on page 18 of the Sphinxes thread.
We are certainly not free to reconstruct inscriptions "as we like", and to make such an assertion contradicts the rules of epigraphy. Taphoi is either ignorant of these, or is being disingenuous.
Also,Edson did NOT rely on a reconstruction to reach his conclusions, as he plainly states [ see post 1], hence it is a red herring. Reasonable reconstruction only became possible when the true nature of the capital was realised . As Edson says:
"As so frequently,one must reconsider the phvsical nature of the stone." ( which had not been done in earlier attempts)
Jeanne Reames wrote:I don't intend to really hop into the dabate, but the architecture of the tomb suggests that it's later than the end of the 4th century, possibly well into the Hellenistic period. Ogla thinks it may even date down into the early Roman period. I will defer to the art historians, of which Olga is one of the better known, regarding such questions. She's done interviews and written (briefly) about the tomb already, but alas, much of it is in Greek.
There is a tomb of the same architecture at Archontiko a few miles NW of Pella which has been dated on ceramic evidence to the reign of Antigonos Gonatas in the mid-third century BC (see below). Also Oscar Broneer dated the lion and associated architectural elements to the last quarter of the fourth century BC. The rape of Persephone mosaic is a very sophisticated pebble mosaic with 3D effects. Such sophisticated pebble mosaics do not occur after the mid-third century BC. Pebble mosaics essentially cease to occur at all after the early 2nd century BC, because they were entirely superseded by the technologically superior tessara technique. A late Hellenistic or Roman date spurns any attention to actual evidence and contradicts the tomb's archaeological team without even looking at their evidence.
I would agree with Taphoi here. The evidence so far suggests a very late 4th century to mid 3 rd century construction of the main tomb, and probably toward the median of that period.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Jeanne Reames »

Taphoi wrote:
Jeanne Reames wrote:I don't intend to really hop into the dabate, but the architecture of the tomb suggests that it's later than the end of the 4th century, possibly well into the Hellenistic period. Ogla thinks it may even date down into the early Roman period. I will defer to the art historians, of which Olga is one of the better known, regarding such questions. She's done interviews and written (briefly) about the tomb already, but alas, much of it is in Greek.
There is a tomb of the same architecture at Archontiko a few miles NW of Pella which has been dated on ceramic evidence to the reign of Antigonos Gonatas in the mid-third century BC (see below). Also Oscar Broneer dated the lion and associated architectural elements to the last quarter of the fourth century BC. The rape of Persephone mosaic is a very sophisticated pebble mosaic with 3D effects. Such sophisticated pebble mosaics do not occur after the mid-third century BC. Pebble mosaics essentially cease to occur at all after the early 2nd century BC, because they were entirely superseded by the technologically superior tessara technique. A late Hellenistic or Roman date spurns any attention to actual evidence and contradicts the tomb's archaeological team without even looking at their evidence.
Actually, there are pebble mosaics later that the early 2nd century. They're not common, but they do persist into the early 1st century. Again, I am deferring to the art historians, as that very point was raised earlier and Olga (and a couple others) named several that are later. Also of note are the *blue* pebbles, which are not used in the late 4th/early 3rd century mosaics at Aegae or Pella. By contrast, the blue may reflect Roman influence which, in turn, reflected Egyptian influence. Also a Roman art historian friend said the folds on the peplos of the caryatids looked suspiciously Roman to her eyes (and she has no horse in this race, so she really doesn't care). All this stuff is beyond my ken (except for the blue stones), but I'm dubious of an early date. I don't think we have enough evidence yet, and archaeologists always want to attach a famous name to their digs to stir up interest (and funding). Greek archaeology (especially in Macedonia) has been problematic for quite a while due to political influences (Royal Tombs anybody?), and this tomb has been used to deflect attention to the debt crisis, don't forget. ;>

I hate to be a "Debbie Downer," but personally, I suspect that the tomb belonged to a wealthy local family under the last of the Antigonids or very early Roman occupation, and is probably nobody we've ever heard of before ... much like the spectacular tomb of Lyson and Kallikles, excavated and published by Stella Miller(-Collett)--and also a tomb with multiple burials. It's still a magnificent find, even if it's not a name or family previous known to us.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Paralus »

Taphoi wrote: It does not say that the tomb was at Pydna. It has been reconstructed by Edson to make it read as though the inscription was erected near the site of the tomb and the inscription was found at a site that was probably within about 10 miles of ancient Pydna (although we do not actually know the exact site of Pydna).
I'd be careful with the wording. That reads as though you're suggesting that Edson has rendered a reading to a purpose. Given that you've already accused the epigrapher of "guesswork" and "invention", that probably doesn't surprise. Also, the stone had been "robbed out" and re-used. As such, that it was not found within ancient Pydna is not remarkable though I can see why you'd want to see it as such. But, again, this has all been covered elsewhere and no one is likely to change your closed mind on the subject.
Xenophon wrote:Your usual "name calling", I see - always a sign of a poor point of view/argument. Presumably you include Paralus in your"lazy" and "bullying" epithet?
I fail to see what I have to do with this and would prefer to be left out of any disagreement you have with another.
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Re: Olympias and the Katsas Tomb at Amphipolis

Post by Xenophon »

Jeanne wrote:
Actually, there are pebble mosaics later that the early 2nd century. They're not common, but they do persist into the early 1st century. Again, I am deferring to the art historians, as that very point was raised earlier and Olga (and a couple others) named several that are later. Also of note are the *blue* pebbles, which are not used in the late 4th/early 3rd century mosaics at Aegae or Pella. By contrast, the blue may reflect Roman influence which, in turn, reflected Egyptian influence.
I'd agree that there are 2 C and some are 1 C pebble mosaics around, but that was well past their heyday. The Kasta tomb represents the pebble mosaic at its height in style and technical skill and dates clearly earlier than this. As to 'blue pebbles', whilst they are rare ( and probably expensive, like Royal Purple), there are 3 c examples, such as the example in the Rhodes archaeological museum of Bellerophon slaying the Chimaera, which consists of the motif in white against a background of dark blue pebbles. From its simple 'flat' style, it is likely first half of 3 c BC. see here.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... Rhodes.JPG
Also a Roman art historian friend said the folds on the peplos of the caryatids looked suspiciously Roman to her eyes (and she has no horse in this race, so she really doesn't care). All this stuff is beyond my ken (except for the blue stones), but I'm dubious of an early date. I don't think we have enough evidence yet, and archaeologists always want to attach a famous name to their digs to stir up interest (and funding). Greek archaeology (especially in Macedonia) has been problematic for quite a while due to political influences (Royal Tombs anybody?), and this tomb has been used to deflect attention to the debt crisis, don't forget. ;>
Considering that most Roman sculpture copied Greek, how can one be sure that particular folds on a peplos are uniquely Roman ? In the case of the folds on the Kasta caryatids, they look very similar to peplos folds on other Greek caryatids, especially those of the Erechtheum in Athens to my eyes.
I hate to be a "Debbie Downer," but personally, I suspect that the tomb belonged to a wealthy local family under the last of the Antigonids or very early Roman occupation, and is probably nobody we've ever heard of before ... much like the spectacular tomb of Lyson and Kallikles, excavated and published by Stella Miller(-Collett)--and also a tomb with multiple burials. It's still a magnificent find, even if it's not a name or family previous known to us.
I too suspect that the tomb, if we ever get an identity, will probably turn out to be that of someone unknown to history - remember the 'positivist fallacy' I referred to earlier. After all the vast majority of people in the past are 'unknown'......

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:
Your usual "name calling", I see - always a sign of a poor point of view/argument. Presumably you include Paralus in your"lazy" and "bullying" epithet?

I fail to see what I have to do with this and would prefer to be left out of any disagreement you have with another.


So would I ! :lol: I don't have a disagreement - it is just name calling. But since you criticise Taphoi's arguments in similar terms, then the epithet logically applies to you too...... :P
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