The occupant of Tomb III

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Cyia
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The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Cyia »

Greetings, everyone. I've been a lurker off and on here for years, and I'm researching Tomb III at Vergina, namely the remains that may have belonged to Alexander IV. Forensic facial reconstruction was done on the remains found in Tomb II, now confirmed to be that of Philip II, but we don't hear much talk of the remains from Tomb III. Are scientists going to do a forensic reconstruction of those remains? If not, is it because they are too damaged for such a reconstruction? And has there been any testing done to see if these two individuals share the same yDNA? Thank you for any information you can provide. This is such a great website! :D
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by agesilaos »

Cremains rarely have viable DNA, as the high temperatures of the pyre destroy it; I think, but am not certain that the degree of destruction to both the female in Tomb II and the remains in Tomb III preclude reconstruction, although given the advances in virtual technology that no longer be true. I would not be sure that the question of identity has been settled; see the lameness of Philip thread. The facial reconstruction has been criticised on a number of grounds, doubt even being cast on whether that orbit is damaged, other than by the cremation.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Jeanne Reames »

Cyia wrote:Forensic facial reconstruction was done on the remains found in Tomb II, now confirmed to be that of Philip II...
Just a quick correction. There is no confirmation that Tomb II belonged to Philip II. That's been a contested assignment almost since Andronikos announced it, and in recent years, fewer and fewer historians/archaeologists believe Tomb II belonged to Philip II. More likely Philip III Arrhidaios and Hadea Eurydike. In fact, a recent announcement about the remains in Tomb I make an argument THAT (Tomb I) is Philip II, based on the bones. (Up till now, most arguments about occupants have revolved around who it could be in Tomb II, so the recent arguments based on bones from Tomb I represents a change in the nature of the debate).

In any case, the occupant of Tomb III is almost certainly Alexander IV. That's really not been much contested. A few wanted to assign it to a son of Cassander (I think? running on memory here), but I'd say 90-95% of Macedonian specialists assume Tomb III is Alexander IV.

As for reconstructing the bones, much depends on what's been preserved. Both Tomb II and Tomb III are cremated remains, and cremated remains present certain problems. My late cousin was a forensic pathologist who worked with the Atlanta police department, and Brenda was never much impressed by reconstructions of the bones from Tomb II. She didn't find them all that convincing, and keep in mind, she had no horse in the race. I just asked her based on her expertise as a pathologist.

Anyway, hope that helps.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Xenophon »

Cyia wrote:Greetings, everyone. I've been a lurker off and on here for years, and I'm researching Tomb III at Vergina, namely the remains that may have belonged to Alexander IV. Forensic facial reconstruction was done on the remains found in Tomb II, now confirmed to be that of Philip II, but we don't hear much talk of the remains from Tomb III. Are scientists going to do a forensic reconstruction of those remains? If not, is it because they are too damaged for such a reconstruction? And has there been any testing done to see if these two individuals share the same yDNA? Thank you for any information you can provide. This is such a great website! :D
To answer the original question, although the remains have been widely accepted as likely to be those of Alexander IV, the osteological evidence is rather slender:
"As Xirotiris and Langenschiedt ( the original examiners of the remains in the tombs) note, the Tomb
III remains are so fragmentary that no bones could be completely reconstructed, making a
determination of age difficult but achievable and a determination of sex impossible. Age at
death was estimated using the five teeth preserved with the remains, a portion of the pelvis,
and part of the forearm, all of which showed incomplete growth. The five surviving teeth
were estimated as being at an adolescent stage of eruption, with some permanent teeth or
roots evident, but some parts of the teeth not yet mature. Epiphyseal fusion was determined
to be incomplete for the acetabulum and the proximal end of the radius, limiting this
individual to the ages of approximately 13-17 years of age at time of death. In addition to
these features, Musgrave ( the second examiner of the remains) adds incomplete epiphyseal fusion for the upper border of the
scapula, distal end of the humerus, and the proximal end of the ulna, supporting the age
estimation. Determining sex for this individual was deemed impossible by Xirotiris and
Langenscheidt, who cited the incomplete nature of the remains as being inadequate to
establish sex based on accepted measurements such as the pubic symphyses and tooth
dimensions (the teeth were too poorly preserved to rely on the metric analysis). However,
Musgrave's later examination asserted that the sciatic notch
from the right hip bone was narrow and male, and the diameter of one of the femoral head
epiphyses (it was not possible to side it) indicate that this was likely a male. No other
analyses have been conducted on this individual, and no article focusing on the osteological
evidence has been published. Without more data, it is difficult to determine any information
beyond the youth of this individual based on the limited evidence available."


So there is the answer as to why no reconstructions have been attempted - insufficient remains......
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Xenophon »

Jeanne Reames wrote:
Jeanne Reames wrote:
Cyia wrote:Forensic facial reconstruction was done on the remains found in Tomb II, now confirmed to be that of Philip II...
Just a quick correction. There is no confirmation that Tomb II belonged to Philip II. That's been a contested assignment almost since Andronikos announced it, and in recent years, fewer and fewer historians/archaeologists believe Tomb II belonged to Philip II. More likely Philip III Arrhidaios and Hadea Eurydike. In fact, a recent announcement about the remains in Tomb I make an argument THAT (Tomb I) is Philip II, based on the bones. (Up till now, most arguments about occupants have revolved around who it could be in Tomb II, so the recent arguments based on bones from Tomb I represents a change in the nature of the debate).

In any case, the occupant of Tomb III is almost certainly Alexander IV. That's really not been much contested. A few wanted to assign it to a son of Cassander (I think? running on memory here), but I'd say 90-95% of Macedonian specialists assume Tomb III is Alexander IV.

As for reconstructing the bones, much depends on what's been preserved. Both Tomb II and Tomb III are cremated remains, and cremated remains present certain problems. My late cousin was a forensic pathologist who worked with the Atlanta police department, and Brenda was never much impressed by reconstructions of the bones from Tomb II. She didn't find them all that convincing, and keep in mind, she had no horse in the race. I just asked her based on her expertise as a pathologist.

Anyway, hope that helps.
Your cousin Brenda was right. I am not a forensic pathologist, but as a retired lawyer have read many forensic reports and cross-examined many pathologists, and therefore have some grasp of what forensic pathology can and can't prove. The original examiners [Xirotoris and Langenschiedt] were very conservative about the remains in Tomb II, saying no more than that the male remains were 'consistent with' Philip II - translation, it was possible that they were his remains. Later, the second examiner, Musgrave [1980], was convinced, as the discoverer Andronikos had been, that the circumstantial evidence was overwhelmingly in favour of Philip II ( and this remains the case) and so tended to interpret the osteological evidence with that assumption in mind. Later still, Bartsiokis [2000] reached different conclusions - because he had an agenda that the remains were those of Philip Arrhidaeus, and sought osteological 'proof' of this.( which was an impossibility, as he knew, or ought to have known)
Much hinged on argument as to whether the bones had been cremated "wet" [i.e. fleshed], as Philip II would have been, or "dry" [i.e. as a skeleton], as Philip Arrhidaeus is presumed to have been ( though this cannot be considered entirely 100% certain, for we do not know exactly what happened to his remains after his murder by Olympias and before his funeral later by Kassander). It is a fact that forensic osteological examination alone can never determine identity conclusively [ e.g. Tutankhamon's remains were identified as a result of inscriptions and named objects in his tomb, and Richard III's remains were recently confirmed by DNA comparison with his known descendants.) What forensic pathology can do is rule out remains as belonging to someone where the osteological evidence is inconsistent with other evidence e.g. The Kasta female skeleton being the remains of Olympias.

The present position following rebuttal by Musgrave et al [2010] and examination by Antikas [2014] means that the male remains were definitely cremated "wet" - thus seemingly ruling out Philip Arrhidaeus - and the age of the female remains has been re-assessed as 30-35, ruling out both Kleopatra ( last and young wife of Philip II) and Adaea-Eurydike, wife of Philip Arrhidaeus.[ and that's before trying to explain the missing Kynnane, mother of Adaea-Eurydike)

So, as the astute reader will have realised, forensic osteological pathology cannot conclusively show whose remains were in tomb II, and there is no other conclusive evidence (e.g. inscriptions) to show that the tomb is that of Philip II, but by process of elimination and also circumstantial evidence, he is far and away the most likely candidate, whilst Arrhidaeus and his wife Adaea-Eurydike can be pretty well ruled out.

[P.S. : For reasons I'll refer to in another post in the appropriate thead, Bartsiokas seeking to bolster his identification of the tomb II occupant as Philip Arrhidaeus by claiming the occupant of Tomb I as Philip II is highly unlikely, as many have commented including Antikas, the most recent and thorough examiner of the remains}
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Cyia »

Thank you for the replies. I was aware of the difficulty in obtaining DNA from cremains, but I was wondering if scientists had managed to obtain even trace strands, possibly from teeth, especially with all the advances being made in technology. Ancient cremation likely didn't reach the extreme temperatures modern cremation does. Hopefully, someone will make a breakthrough that will result in successful DNA extraction on both cremains.

And I had recently read that Tomb II's occupant had been declared as Philip II because of confirmation of a wet cremation, but maybe the writer of that article had an agenda. I hope we can have a definitive answer someday. I'm much obliged for the info.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

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Indeed, Musgrave did have an agenda, to such an extent that he tripped over his own argument, which was basically hat Philip III was also a wet cremation, it takes anything up to twelve years for a corpse to reduce to a skeleton. The paper can be found here

http://www.medsci.org/v07p00s1.htm

So you can draw your own conclusions as to the internal logic. One always has to beware of agenda, take Xenophon's claim above that pathology can rule out the possibility of Olympias being the skeleton at Kastas. This is not completely untrue, were the age range impossible it could, (yet it is possible that she could fall within the age range so cannot be ruled out on that ground); were the sex wrong that would be a clincher that even Taphoi could not dispute, but we are told the skeleton is female; so what this assertion comes down to is Xenophon's own interpretation of the manner of her death, which one can certainly get from the written sources but which does not exclude other interpretations and thus is no test either. Even attested injuries in the written sources may not be diagnostic since there is a tendency for them to shift location with each author.

Xenophon is right that the contribution of pathology is generally negative but it generally leaves identification open. With regard to Tomb II the Philippists tend to adopt their view as an orthodoxy which has to be disproved and thus when they demonstrate that the Arrhidaists have not established their point (Vaulted roofs, for instance, or hunting scenes) they mistake this for supporting their own view. In fact all that means is that the evidence remains inconclusive. One near proof was provided by some salt cellars of a type previously restricted to the 320's, but there appear to have been earlier models returning us to the undecided verdict ; that some plump for one side or another, should not surprise nor alarm us we only have to be aware of their bias and that is what source analysis is frequently about and it can be applied just as much to modern authors as ancient.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

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Agesilaos wrote :
Indeed, Musgrave did have an agenda, to such an extent that he tripped over his own argument, which was basically hat Philip III was also a wet cremation,
.....it would seem your own prejudices are showing ! :lol: ......In what way does Musgrave "trip over his own argument"? His point was simple enough. In order to rule out Philip II, Bartsiokas argued that the male in tomb II had been cremated dry ( though curiously omitting arguing the same in respect of the female). Musgrave showed that even if this male was Philip III, he was most likely cremated "wet" [ as Craterus and Eumenes had been before delayed funerals, and also Alexander IV later] and even if not then would still have been fleshed/partially fleshed when later given the delayed funeral by Kassander - so Bartsiokas' argument ruling out Philip II was wrong. He then went on to demonstrate why the male was almost certainly not Philip III largely through circumstantial evidence ( e.g. that the male had been cremated onsite in an enclosed 'crematorium', . [digression: whilst the female had not -this is one of the pointers, along with the subsequent construction of the ante-chamber, that the female had been cremated and buried later and not with the male - hence not Philip III and Eurydike, and that is only the tip of the iceberg in respect of the circumstantial evidence ].

I won't re-open debate about the Katsas female skeleton here since it is the subject of its own thread, but our literary sources agree Olympias suffered a very violent death at the hands of a group/multiple assassins. That this could have occurred whilst leaving no apparent skeletal damage whatever on the surviving parts beggars belief, as even Paralus whilst trying valiantly to leave Taphoi's argument open, acknowledges. In addition according to our sources, her body was thrown out unburied by Kassander, and her skeleton would show numerous damage from scavengers - peck marks from crows, gnaw marks from dogs etc. That is not my "interpretation", but the actual evidence. The osteological evidence of the Kastas skeleton is completely inconsistent with the literary ( and also the iconographical/epigraphical) evidence, and thus it rules out Olympias as a possible candidate just as much as if it had been the wrong age ( which it is! One must stretch such other evidence as to age as we have) or a male skeleton.......

As you point out, to accept the Katsas skeleton as Olympias, one would have to completely reject the sources accounts of her death and subsequent fate.

All authorities agree that the evidence, osteological, literary and iconograpic ( especially taken together) rule out the skeleton as that of Olympias - as I believe you also acknowledge.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by agesilaos »

Ok let me explain again,

Prof B says that skeleton P2/3 cannot be P2 as it displays signs of ‘dry’ cremation which could not be the case for P2 who must have been ‘wet’.
In rebuttal Prof M. denies that the skeleton demonstrates the alleged signs of ‘dry’ burning and that further P3 would not have been cremated ‘dry’ but ‘wet’ and concludes that as both P2 and P3 would present as ‘wet’ cremations, P3 can be excluded!

Can you spot the fallacy? ‘Circumstantial evidence’ does not ‘demonstrate’, at most it may ‘suggest’, and the conclusions reached are quite debateable. Why would Philip II, a nice fresh corpse be burned in an ‘enclosed crematorium’? This seems to be an innovation, indeed a unique occurrence, something that might suit the cremation of a kings remains rather than a solid corpse, as far as we can tell the other bodies burned without the ‘crematorium’ would be analogous to that pf Philip II rather than Philip III’s unique rotting corpse.

Above you claimed
What forensic pathology can do is rule out remains as belonging to someone where the osteological evidence is inconsistent with other evidence e.g. The Kasta female skeleton being the remains of Olympias.
Now this becomes
literary sources agree Olympias suffered a very violent death at the hands of a group/multiple assassins. That this could have occurred whilst leaving no apparent skeletal damage whatever on the surviving parts beggars belief, as even Paralus whilst trying valiantly to leave Taphoi's argument open, acknowledges. In addition according to our sources, her body was thrown out unburied by Kassander, and her skeleton would show numerous damage from scavengers - peck marks from crows, gnaw marks from dogs etc. That is not my "interpretation", but the actual evidence. The osteological evidence of the Kastas skeleton is completely inconsistent with the literary ( and also the iconographical/epigraphical) evidence, and thus it rules out Olympias as a possible candidate just as much as if it had been the wrong age ( which it is! One must stretch such other evidence as to age as we have) or a male skeleton.......
I fear that expanding a scenario that has no basis in the sources means that it is your ‘interpretation’, quote the source for the ‘very violent death’ or the extensive scavenging, had Justin written this you might describe it as fictionalised.
The osteological evidence is poor inthat much of the skeleton is missing and the manner of Olympias’ death is not known; nor does continually stating that ‘stoning’ is the most commonly described method wash, there is actually no attested stoning which does not have an alternative description, Philotas is stoned by |Curtius and shot by javelins by Arrian following his main sources, the Pages are stoned by arrian’s minor sources but tortured to death in Curtius and Olympias is stabbed in Justin and stoned in Pausanias.

Nor is stabbing unknown, indeed it is de rigueur in revenge killing as exemplified by Pausanias’ stabbing of Philip, with a weapon Diodoros terms a ‘macheira’ just demonstrating how fatuous arguments about nomenclature can be, the Greeks were just terminally imprecise.

For those who wish to trust the Greek Archaeological Council here is exactly how those ‘articulated legs’ were found. Ok picture too large but check out fig.7

http://theses.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/110 ... jolene.pdf

One needs to read this with a view to the osteology, there are several historical howlers (though none that affect the argument).
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Now does the heroon attach to Tomb I or II or even III? Assuming it is a Heroon, of course. :P

edited to, hopefully, make picture visible!!
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

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Agesilaos wrote:
Ok let me explain again,

Prof B says that skeleton P2/3 cannot be P2 as it displays signs of ‘dry’ cremation which could not be the case for P2 who must have been ‘wet’.
In rebuttal Prof M. denies that the skeleton demonstrates the alleged signs of ‘dry’ burning and that further P3 would not have been cremated ‘dry’ but ‘wet’ and concludes that as both P2 and P3 would present as ‘wet’ cremations, P3 can be excluded!

Can you spot the fallacy? ‘Circumstantial evidence’ does not ‘demonstrate’, at most it may ‘suggest’, and the conclusions reached are quite debateable.
Yes! I can spot your fallacy! :wink: Prof M. Does NOT conclude that P3 can be excluded on the grounds that the cremation was ‘wet’ ( now confirmed by the latest analysis of Theodore Antikas et al). He excludes P3 on other grounds entirely.Have another look at the report.
Above you claimed:
What forensic pathology can do is rule out remains as belonging to someone where the osteological evidence is inconsistent with other evidence e.g. The Kasta female skeleton being the remains of Olympias.

Now this becomes:
literary sources agree Olympias suffered a very violent death at the hands of a group/multiple assassins. That this could have occurred whilst leaving no apparent skeletal damage whatever on the surviving parts beggars belief, as even Paralus whilst trying valiantly to leave Taphoi's argument open, acknowledges. In addition according to our sources, her body was thrown out unburied by Kassander, and her skeleton would show numerous damage from scavengers - peck marks from crows, gnaw marks from dogs etc. That is not my "interpretation", but the actual evidence. The osteological evidence of the Kastas skeleton is completely inconsistent with the literary ( and also the iconographical/epigraphical) evidence, and thus it rules out Olympias as a possible candidate just as much as if it had been the wrong age ( which it is! One must stretch such other evidence as to age as we have) or a male skeleton.......

I fear that expanding a scenario that has no basis in the sources means that it is your ‘interpretation’, quote the source for the ‘very violent death’ or the extensive scavenging, had Justin written this you might describe it as fictionalised.
Let us remind ourselves of the descriptions of her death:
Diodorus 19.51.2-5
They did as he had ordered; and, although Olympias was not present and had none to speak in her defence, the Macedonians condemned her to death. Cassander, however, sent some of his friends to Olympias advising her to escape secretly, promising to provide a ship for her and to carry her to Athens. He acted thus, not for the purpose of securing her safety, but in order that she, condemning herself to exile and meeting death on the voyage, might seem to have met a punishment that was deserved; for he was acting with caution both because of her rank and because of the fickleness of the Macedonians. As Olympias, however, refused to flee but on the contrary was ready to be judged before all the Macedonians, Cassander, fearing that the crowd might change its mind if it heard the queen defend herself and was reminded of all the benefits conferred on the entire nation by Alexander and Philip, sent to her two hundred soldiers who were best fitted for such a task, ordering them to slay her as soon as possible. They, accordingly, broke into the royal house, but when they beheld Olympias, overawed by her exalted rank, they withdrew with their task unfulfilled. But the relatives of her victims, wishing to curry favour with Cassander as well as to avenge their dead, murdered the queen, who uttered no ignoble or womanish plea.

Justin 14.6.6-12
But Cassander, on summoning the people to an assembly, to inquire "what they would wish to be done with Olympias," induced the parents of those whom she had killed to put on mourning apparel, and expose her cruelties; when the Macedonians, exasperated by their statements, decreed, without regard to her former majesty, that she should be put to death ; utterly unmindful that, by the labours of her son and her husband, they had not only lived in security among their neighbours, but had attained to vast power, and even to the conquest of the world. Olympias, seeing armed men advancing towards her, bent upon her destruction, went voluntarily to meet them, dressed in her regal apparel, and leaning on two of her maids. The executioners, on beholding her, struck with the recollection of her former royal dignity, and with the names of so many of their kings, that occurred to their memory in connection with her, stood still, until others were sent by Cassander to despatch her; she, at the same time, not shrinking from the sword or the blow, or crying out like a woman, but submitting to death like the bravest of men, and suitably to the glory of her ancient race, so that you might have perceived the soul of Alexander in his dying mother. As she was expiring, too, she is said to have settled her hair, and to have covered her feet with her robe, that nothing unseemly might appear about her.

Pausanias IX.7 says that she was stoned to death. All sources agree she was killed by a group/mob, either with swords or stoned to death [with Diodorus abstaining on means, but the inference of “violently” is clear]. It is hard to see how an angry mob, bent on revenge,, or else a formal execution squad with swords, could not kill someone violently. No head wounds? No defence wounds? No wounds to limbs? Diodorus XVII.118 tells us that her corpse was “cast out without burial”. That the corpse somehow miraculously escaped scavenging is unlikely in the extreme in such circumstances.
The osteological evidence is poor in that much of the skeleton is missing and the manner of Olympias’ death is not known; nor does continually stating that ‘stoning’ is the most commonly described method wash, there is actually no attested stoning which does not have an alternative description, Philotas is stoned by |Curtius and shot by javelins by Arrian following his main sources, the Pages are stoned by arrian’s minor sources but tortured to death in Curtius and Olympias is stabbed in Justin and stoned in Pausanias.
Sufficient of the skeleton survives ( see p.3 Olympias and Kastas tomb thread, my post July 1 which shows the extant skeleton, and deals with this subject at length) to see that there is no significant skeletal damage, as Paralus too suggests. As to stoning, as I have said elsewhere, there are a dozen or so Macedonian executions referred to in our sources, and in the majority the means is not specified, but where it is, stoning is always mentioned ( even if alternatives, such as Agesilaos mentions, are sometimes also referred to in alternate sources).
Nor is stabbing unknown, indeed it is de rigueur in revenge killing as exemplified by Pausanias’ stabbing of Philip, with a weapon Diodoros terms a ‘macheira’ just demonstrating how fatuous arguments about nomenclature can be, the Greeks were just terminally imprecise.
Stabbing may be ‘de rigeur’ in assassinations, but is never mentioned in connection with Macedonian executions – save the odd one out, Justin’s reference to Olympias’ execution, which is a good reason for thinking it an embellishment.

And let us not forget that it is not just the osteological evidence, but also epigraphical evidence that her tomb is in Pydna that allows the elimination of Olympias as the occupant of the Kastas tomb.....as the excavation team also conclude.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

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Xenophon wrote:
Nor is stabbing unknown, indeed it is de rigueur in revenge killing as exemplified by Pausanias’ stabbing of Philip, with a weapon Diodoros terms a ‘macheira’ just demonstrating how fatuous arguments about nomenclature can be, the Greeks were just terminally imprecise.
Stabbing may be ‘de rigeur’ in assassinations, but is never mentioned in connection with Macedonian executions – save the odd one out, Justin’s reference to Olympias’ execution, which is a good reason for thinking it an embellishment.
That is, of course, to assume that the killing of Olympias was a ‘formal’ Macedonian execution (and that such executions were by stoning). It was hardly that as both Diodorus and Justin relate. As I’ve related on the other thread, both these writers are severely compressing their sources – sometimes to near incomprehensibility. There is no information on the campaign of Kassandros during which he nicked Polyperchon’s elephants as just one example. The same compression by Diodorus here has resulted in much discussion over the ‘judicial’ nature of this ‘trial’ and what it says of the ‘state apparatus’. Either way, this is no trial convened by a king a la that of Philotas; this is brought by a ‘private person’ no matter the position Kassandros might claim. It is germane to look again at Diodorus (19.51.1-4):
He also urged the relatives of those whom Olympias had slain to accuse the aforesaid woman in the general assembly of the Macedonians. They did as he had ordered; and, although Olympias was not present and had none to speak in her defence, the Macedonians condemned her to death. Cassander, however, sent some of his friends to Olympias advising her to escape secretly, promising to provide a ship for her and to carry her to Athens. He acted thus, not for the purpose of securing her safety, but in order that she, condemning herself to exile and meeting death on the voyage, might seem to have met a punishment that was deserved; for he was acting with caution both because of her rank and because of the fickleness of the Macedonians. As Olympias, however, refused to flee but on the contrary was ready to be judged before all the Macedonians, Cassander, fearing that the crowd might change its mind if it heard the queen defend herself…
Now, even Alexander’s trial of Philotas, contrived for a result, clearly allowed him to speak in his defence. We note that Diodorus describes a ‘conviction’ “although Olympias was not present” and that there was no defence allowed. Diodorus clearly states that Olympias wished to have herself judged before “all the Macedonians”. Whatever that means it was not what had just transpired. Diodorus’ account indicates two proceedings and that Kassandros – having resorted to relatives in mourning clothes (another detail not preserved in Diodorus) – was not about to allow the second. Kassandros, fearful of the Macedonians changing their mind for well discussed reasons, attempts to organise Olympias’ death at sea. He then has soldiers sent to kill her. All of this is hardly a regular Macedonian ‘trial’ or execution and as such the execution will have been carried out post haste.

Diodorus’ (and Trogus’) source will obviously have described these events in far more detail. What has been almost entirely lost in Diodorus’ summary are the details around the trial without defence for that source certainly discussed such (hence the “although Olympias was not present…”) and just what it was that Olympias demanded as a forum for her defence. What is clear is that Kassandros would not have a bar of it and arranged the murder of the Queen. And murder is what the sources refer to it as. Both Diodorus and Trogus/Justin record Antigonos’ charges against Kassandros (Diod. 19.61.1; Just. 15.1.3) and first among them is the murder of Olympias. Now this is, of course, part of Antigonos’ great “freedom of the Greeks” propaganda assault. Even so, were Olympias’ death the straightforward result of a regular and properly constituted Macedonian trial, such a charge was absolutely ineffective. That it wasn’t and that Olympias’ murder was perceived by enough Macedonians as contrived is indicated by the fact that it can be numbered first amongst Antigonus’ charges.

Interestingly, both Trogus/Justin and Diodorus have both had recourse to the same source again here. Reading Diodorus 19.57 – 61.3 and comparing Justin 15.1 indicates just what Justin night have done to Trogus’ original in selecting his “little flowers”.
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Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Xenophon
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Xenophon »

Paralus wrote:
That is, of course, to assume that the killing of Olympias was a ‘formal’ Macedonian execution (and that such executions were by stoning).
That, I think, is to make an artificial distinction. Hardly any Macedonian executions could be described as 'judicial' or 'formal'. Regardless of what procedure was adopted, the result was invariably a foregone conclusion. Indeed one might go further and describe most as 'judicial murder'. Nor does there seem to have been any recognised procedure for 'trials' in place.
Either way, this is no trial convened by a king a la that of Philotas; this is brought by a ‘private person’ no matter the position Kassandros might claim.
At this time Kassander is 'de facto' Head of State in Macedon, with no challenger for the title. His word is, literally, law.
Both Diodorus and Trogus/Justin record Antigonos’ charges against Kassandros (Diod. 19.61.1; Just. 15.1.3) and first among them is the murder of Olympias. Now this is, of course, part of Antigonos’ great “freedom of the Greeks” propaganda assault. Even so, were Olympias’ death the straightforward result of a regular and properly constituted Macedonian trial, such a charge was absolutely ineffective. That it wasn’t and that Olympias’ murder was perceived by enough Macedonians as contrived is indicated by the fact that it can be numbered first amongst Antigonus’ charges.
To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies ( of Profumo trial fame): "Well 'e would say that wouldn't he?" As you say, it was no more than propaganda by Kassander's enemies. As stated above, at this time in Macedonian history there is no such thing as a ' regular and properly constituted Macedonian trial' - all was at the whim of the Kingdom's absolute monarch, in this case by 'de facto' Kassander. Let it not be forgotten that Kassander clearly had the majority of Macedonian support, even if not universal, and that majority sympathised with him and his losses to Olympias' savagery, and who will have thought she got her 'just desserts'. Antigonus' charges produced no tangible result - they were no more than water off a duck's back, and it must be doubted if Antigonus would have expected anything else.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

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I think we need to start a new thread on the Macedonian legal system or lack thereof; I will just observe that the fact that Kassandros went through the show trial and that it took the relatives' performance to sway the Assembly gives the lie to any notion that

'At this time Kassander is 'de facto' Head of State in Macedon, with no challenger for the title. His word is, literally, law.'

Once he was in power he did not bother with such niceties, both Alexander IV and Rhoxane were simply disposed of without a murmur from the People when it became apparent.
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Xenophon »

agesilaos wrote:I think we need to start a new thread on the Macedonian legal system or lack thereof; I will just observe that the fact that Kassandros went through the show trial and that it took the relatives' performance to sway the Assembly gives the lie to any notion that

'At this time Kassander is 'de facto' Head of State in Macedon, with no challenger for the title. His word is, literally, law.'

Once he was in power he did not bother with such niceties, both Alexander IV and Rhoxane were simply disposed of without a murmur from the People when it became apparent.
There might be a number of reasons for putting on the 'show trial' - the need to allow the relatives their 'five minutes of fame' and need to feel that 'justice' was being done, for example, or the need to publicly vilify his enemy. Let us not forget these relatives (and the victims) were all friends and supporters of Kassander. Given that the assembly must have consisted solely of Kassander's men, I don't think the relatives performance swayed a verdict one iota.

He was 'in power', though newly so, at the time of Olympias' trial. Alexander and Roxane were different. Kassander was more secure in his power by then, they were never so 'high profile' as Olympias, they had been 'out of sight, out of mind' for years, and there were no subsidiary reasons to hold a 'show trial' as in the case of Olympias.

Their almost casual disposal - the last 'legitimate' King be it remembered - illustrates Kassander's absolute power only too well.
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Re: The occupant of Tomb III

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:There might be a number of reasons for putting on the 'show trial' - the need to allow the relatives their 'five minutes of fame' and need to feel that 'justice' was being done, for example, or the need to publicly vilify his enemy. Let us not forget these relatives (and the victims) were all friends and supporters of Kassander. Given that the assembly must have consisted solely of Kassander's men, I don't think the relatives performance swayed a verdict one iota.
Hardly. The trial was conducted so as to provide legitimacy for the murder to follow. That is plain from what remains of the original source's description of events. Diodorus plainly states that Kassandros had to urge these relatives to come forward and lay charges. It is related in conjunction with the same method being used to get rid of Aristonous because he simply could not be disposed of. Elsewhere you've argued that Olympias "could not hope for acquittal, even before a general assembly" as her guilt was manifest and conviction near enough to certain. Such a certain case could clearly have been brought by Kassandros himself especially if the assembly "must have consisted solely" of Kassandros' men. Instead Kassandros felt the need to have these relatives, in mourning garb, lay the charges while refusing Olympias any defence whatsoever.
Xenophon wrote: Alexander and Roxane were different. Kassander was more secure in his power by then, they were never so 'high profile' as Olympias, they had been 'out of sight, out of mind' for years, and there were no subsidiary reasons to hold a 'show trial' as in the case of Olympias.

Their almost casual disposal - the last 'legitimate' King be it remembered - illustrates Kassander's absolute power only too well.
Seven years after the events described (or six if one is accepts the 'low'). Hardly a realistic or germane comparison. Kassandros was nowhere near as certain in his position at the time of Olympias' murder as you would claim and the sources demonstrate this.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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