The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

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

Post by Taphoi »

For what it's worth, in Greece "reliable sources" are suggesting that the evidence so far indicates that the Amphipolis lion tomb has not been robbed:
http://argolida-net.blogspot.co.uk/2014 ... t_333.html
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Xenophon »

Considering that the 'reliable sources' are stating this "on the evidence so far", and considering the archaeologists are yet to open the entrance, that is no more than wishful thinking, and the Ministry of Culture will neither confirm or deny the report - in other words, nothing is really known.It appears that reports of a micro-camera being inserted are now being formally denied by the Ministry of Culture (!!!) :roll: ( see other thread)

It is obviously going to be some considerable time before anything beyond rumour will emerge.

Of some interest is the fact in that report that another large tumulus tomb lies nearby, which if the crude translation program is right, was not completed......
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by gepd »

I also doubt that this is a trustworthy reference. The only relevant info that appeared in more credible sites is that if the tomb has been looted, access was not through the main entrance.

As for the second tumulus, that is just overinterpretation of Google Earth images. Not sure how Google translates this article, but the author states that the excavation site is actually revealed from these satellite images. I really cannot see that. The roundish shape may just be a coincidence. If not, that would be interesting...

The latest article in the Greek media about the Sphinxes regards their presence on Amphipolis coins. Such coins stopped being produced around 360 BC, but the person interviewed suggests that they were an important symbol for the city, and the presence of sphinxes in the tomb may be relevant. The article is here in Greek::

http://www.imerisia.gr/article.asp?cati ... =113328411

One question I have is about the potential architect of the tomb (Dinocrates):

I can't find much about him. He is apparently responsible for developing the plan of Alexandria, Hephaestion's pyre (although in that case he appears with the name Stasikrates) among others. But I don't really understand if he was responsible for the development of Alexandria also during Ptolemy's period. Overall, I can't find anything regarding his whereabouts after Alexander's death. Even though Cassander made an alliance with Ptolemy, I don't see how easy it was for Dinocrates to be responsible architectural projects both in Alexandria and Macedonia.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

The coin illustrated is clearly from Chios, which is visible reading down the lefthand side of the reverse. Chios was not alone in using the sphynx on its coins, but Amphipolis never did, winged gorgon heads, Dionysus, Artemis, Tyche and many others butno sphynxes; this is just more disinformation.

The Deinokrates references seem to be a red-herring too, initially reported as appearing in an inscription (though the errror here may have been one of D.King's memory) it now transpires that it is based on the supposed introduction into archtecture by Deinokrates of this circular form with a retaining wall; I can find no reference to this in Vitruvius or Pliny the Elder, who both mention him, so this too seems part of enthusiasm for an Alexander connection. Most of this is down to the Greek Press rather than the archaeologists, I think; Dorothy King does seem to be mistaken about something major though; she finds it significant that no member has been found for the monumental lion and concludes that the occupant is female. Perhaps it is my eyes but I cannot find any be-tackled Greek statuary lions, nor vase paintings or pottery either, further the Lion Of Chaironeia seems similarly bereft of manhood yet clearly sat above the grave of 246 men; perhaps someone has a better photograph which demonstrates that the Chaironeia Lion is male?
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by gepd »

Thanks Agesilaos,

I don't think in the article it is claimed that the pictured coins are from Amphipolis. It is just an example of how coins with a Sphinx looks like.

For the rest I cannot really comment. The person interviewed actually states that the association of coins that have sphinxes with Amphipolis is partly disputed, but he seems certain that this connection exists. The webpage of this person is here: http://www.rareandbeautifulcoins.com/intro.php
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by system1988 »

agesilaos wrote:The coin illustrated is clearly from Chios, which is visible reading down the lefthand side of the reverse. Chios was not alone in using the sphynx on its coins, but Amphipolis never did, winged gorgon heads, Dionysus, Artemis, Tyche and many others butno sphynxes; this is just more disinformation.

The Deinokrates references seem to be a red-herring too, initially reported as appearing in an inscription (though the errror here may have been one of D.King's memory) it now transpires that it is based on the supposed introduction into archtecture by Deinokrates of this circular form with a retaining wall; I can find no reference to this in Vitruvius or Pliny the Elder, who both mention him, so this too seems part of enthusiasm for an Alexander connection. Most of this is down to the Greek Press rather than the archaeologists, I think; Dorothy King does seem to be mistaken about something major though; she finds it significant that no member has been found for the monumental lion and concludes that the occupant is female. Perhaps it is my eyes but I cannot find any be-tackled Greek statuary lions, nor vase paintings or pottery either, further the Lion Of Chaironeia seems similarly bereft of manhood yet clearly sat above the grave of 246 men; perhaps someone has a better photograph which demonstrates that the Chaironeia Lion is male?
The female lion usualy had no MANE. ( exeption the limestone lioness and the bull from Akropolis -Athens) Sometimes the sculptors were confused regarding the genitals, mostly the testicles ie we have lionesses with testicles.Another carateristic of the leonesses were the nipples . But as i said the main carateristic of the male was the mane.

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

And the Amphipolis Lion has a mane, so not Roxane but a male occupant, not a general either but royal just because of the scale. Or, perhaps a mass burial of war dead, that might be more useful than the Royal tomb, still mystified as to why the Romans might destroy it, maybe the Lion was targeted as a symbol of Commodus? Perhaps the destruction was second century BC after the fall of Perseus?
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by system1988 »

agesilaos wrote:And the Amphipolis Lion has a mane, so not Roxane but a male occupant, not a general either but royal just because of the scale. Or, perhaps a mass burial of war dead, that might be more useful than the Royal tomb, still mystified as to why the Romans might destroy it, maybe the Lion was targeted as a symbol of Commodus? Perhaps the destruction was second century BC after the fall of Perseus?
Other destroyers: The Thracians in the 1century BC and possible the Slaves in the 8 or 9 century AD.
The scale pf the tumulus is enormus , my guess is for royal relatives , but all these are speculations plus the one about a possible removal of the bones of Alexander. We wait.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

We call the 9th century AD people Slavs, rather than slaves (douloi), I know you won't take the correction the wrong way; yes, and there are the Ostrogoths in the fifth century and the Bulgars, They were probably not as destructive as the so-called civilised peoples make out, though, the Vandals were certainly capable of high art, the Visigothic sack of Rome was more of an organised tithe, and the Empire was saved by Stilicho, a Vandal, and continued with more tolerance by Odoacer , a Rugian and particularly Theodoric the Ostrogoth (though he did murder Odoacer in a church during a truce prompting some of my favourite dying words, 'Ubi Deus?' - 'Where is God!?') The problem is this supposed 2nd Century date, I can see it being a reporting error of AD for BC, the press seem to be guilty of much distortion and the archaeologists not forthcoming; which is probably best until there is some real evidence. Maybe we should have a poll beforehand, I think Taphoi will have to set it as he started the thread, it will have to cover quite a broad range though, maybe if we ask Marcus or Amyntoros nicely they can mergethe two threads and start a poll :wink: I will give my list of options if anyone can think of others post and I feel sure those who look on high can accomodate NB this is for the occupant(s) not the desecrators:

1] empty tomb intended for Perdikkas' burial of Alexander
2] Roxane
3] Niarchos
4] Polyperchon
5] Kassandros
6] Olympias
7] Leonnatos
8] Antipatros
9] Herakles
10] Alexander IV
11] Alexander V
!2] Sostratos
13] Lysimachos
14] Polysperchon
15] The Antigonid Dynasty

That's it from me but there are plenty more ... don't forget if it ain't on the list you won't be able to vote for it :shock:
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

Interesting list, but I would certainly add Aristonous. As well as being a somatophylax, he was the much-loved lord of Amphipolis and the (initially) victorious commander of Olympias's army in the great civil war with Cassander. He only surrendered to Cassander (and got murdered for his pains) upon receiving Olympias's strict instruction to that effect. Not sure that this can be settled by polling though. I initially thought it ought to be Aristonous at Amphipolis, but the sphinxes thing is slightly hinting at Olympias and the scale of the place does look rather royal. Olympias was believed to have been implicated in Philip's assassination by the Romans, which could just possibly explain the destruction of her tomb by a phil-hellene emperor touring Greece (supposing that the second century AD date is accurate). Against the idea that it was a cenotaph intended for Alexander: the sources say his tomb was intended to be at Aegae and Andronikos found an empty tumulus under the centre of the great mound at Aegae, which Hammond considered to be a cenotaph for Alexander.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Yes, Aristonous should be on the list, which is not exhaustive, a poll would just be a way of nailing something to a putative mast and seeing if the cat licks it. As System 1988 has pointed out to me it is unklikely any burials will be named in any case so there will still be wiggle room. As I remember none of the sources actually say that Perdikkas was sending the body to Aigai, Diodoros says first that he is being sent to Ammon, XVIII 3 v, which could mean Dodona as easily as Siwa and when the wagon sets off at 26 i, despite the Loeb's 'bringing home' the Greek only say 'to the shore for export', I think this is a modern assumption (though a perfectly reasonable one). Nor would I associate sphinxes with Olympias, they are not designators of female burials, Alexander had them at the Serapeion, nor are they an Argaead badge. Olympias died rather less popular than Jimmy Saville, Kassandros was certainly not going to bury her in grand style, she had desecrated Iolaus tomb and murdered many of his supporters, besides I think her tomb site has been identified from epigraphic evidence, have to check that.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

Indeed the link to Charles Edson's paper is here http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/pdf/uploads/hesperia/146994.pdf her tomb seems to have been at Pydna where she died.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by marcus »

agesilaos wrote:Yes, Aristonous should be on the list, which is not exhaustive, a poll would just be a way of nailing something to a putative mast and seeing if the cat licks it.
Sounds like a good idea, Agesilaos. I shall have to find out how to set up a poll! :D Leave it with me, and I'll see what I can do.

(See - I might not have much time to contribute to the threads at the moment, but I *do* read them ... :( )

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Paralus »

I cannot see this as a tomb for Olympias. Kassandros was clearly responsible for her murder if not the clear 'urger' for that murder. Olga Palagia has pointed up the similarities with the mausoleum of Octavian and the fact that Roman armies were encamped near abouts prior to Philipi. She muses might this not be Roman? Just how certain is any dating??

Either way, I do not see it as anything to do with Alexander or his relatives.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by agesilaos »

I toyed with the idea it was Gaius, Augustus' nephew who died in the East, but apparently he was buried in Augustus' Mausoleum. roll on the end of the month and some hard news
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