Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

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Nikas
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Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by Nikas »

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... reece.html

Well, of course they won't there, but that makes one wonder, any other candidates that may fit?
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by marcus »

Ha! I was just about to post that very link!

I'd like to see some more dating evidence before even hazarding a guess, to be honest.

I very much doubt it's Alexander. What intrigues me is that it is near Amphipolis, rather than anywhere near Aegae.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by Nikas »

marcus wrote:Ha! I was just about to post that very link!

I'd like to see some more dating evidence before even hazarding a guess, to be honest.

I very much doubt it's Alexander. What intrigues me is that it is near Amphipolis, rather than anywhere near Aegae.
I agree. It would be interesting to see how they came to the conclusion it is 4th century. Being Amphipolis, I was thinking Brasidas as the new "founder" would warrant such an impressive tomb, but if the dating holds it won't be eve close.

Edit: Of course Brasidas was buried in the agora and may possibly be found, but he is one of my favourites so here's to hoping... :)
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by Xenophon »

I'm afraid this is somewhat old news, and the excavation of the "Kasta" mound has been going on several years. See also the "So big a mystery thread" here on Pothos back in January, when System 88 posted some useful information on the subject.

It is dated to the period between Alexander's death and the end of the fourth century. Of the circumferential wall, some 497 m long, approximately 300m has been excavated. Of the vast interior, virtually nothing. From marble fragments common to both, the mound has been linked to the famous Lion of Amphipolis, which may have marked the crown of the mound originally. The structure was apparently largely demolished in Roman times.

The most common guess is that the mound covers multiple tombs.

As to possible tombs within the mound, it is anyone's guess as to who might be buried there. According to Professor Arvanitopoulos, for instance, the Lion of Amphipolis was erected by Agnon, following his friend Pericles’ advice, dedicated to the 10,000 people who were killed at the Draviskos battle, while according to another archaeologist, Lazaridis, the monument was built in honour of the general of Alexander the Great, Leosthenes of Mytilene. It has also been suggested that the monument belongs to Laomedon, general and close friend of Alexander the Great.

In 311 BC Cassander exiled and killed Alexander’s legitimate wife Roxanne and his son Alexander IV, who are also considered possibilities.

Until sufficient funds are found for a major excavation of the mound itself, all is pure speculation.
Last edited by Xenophon on Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by system1988 »

Xenophon wrote:I'm afraid this is somewhat old news, and the excavation of the "Kasta" mound has been going on several years. It is dated to the period between Alexander's death and the end of the fourth century. Of the circumferential wall, some 497 m long, approximately 300m has been excavated. Of the vast interior, virtually nothing. From marble fragments common to both, the mound has been linked to the famous Lion of Amphipolis, which may have marked the crown of the mound originally. The structure was apparently largely demolished in Roman times.

The most common guess is that the mound covers multiple tombs.

As to possible tombs within the mound, it is anyone's guess as to who might be buried there. According to Professor Arvanitopoulos, for instance, the Lion of Amphipolis was erected by Agnon, following his friend Pericles’ advice, dedicated to the 10,000 people who were killed at the Draviskos battle, while according to another archaeologist, Lazaridis, the monument was built in honour of the general of Alexander the Great, Leosthenes of Mytilene. It has also been suggested that the monument belongs to Laomedon, general and close friend of Alexander the Great.

In 311 BC Cassander exiled and killed Alexander’s legitimate wife Roxanne and his son Alexander IV, who are also considered possibilities.

Until sufficient funds are found for a major excavation of the mound itself, all is pure speculation.


Exactly.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by ruthaki »

If his body had been returned to Macedonia it would have been buried at Aigai in the Royal Tombs. And history points out it was seen in Egypt at the time of Caesar and Cleopatra so this is very unlikely. (I had a dream once his body was taken by the Romans and is somewhere in the Vatican and then someone, a historian/archaeologist actually wrote about this theory). Anyway, they were also saying a while back they had found Roxana and Iskander IV's tomb but that may be unlikely too. The tomb of the prince at Aigai is likely the tomb of Alexander IV (according to an archaeologist I spoke to at the site some time ago when I was researching my novel.)
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by marcus »

ruthaki wrote:And history points out it was seen in Egypt at the time of Caesar and Cleopatra so this is very unlikely.
And later even than that!
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by ruthaki »

One of Alexander's favored garrison commanders, Aristonous, was killed by Kassandros at Amphipolis. Aristonous had won merit on the campaigns as one of the first men up the Soghdian Rock. He was well thought-of and a supporter of the royalty. I wonder if it could belong to someone like him?
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

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ruthaki wrote:One of Alexander's favored garrison commanders, Aristonous, was killed by Kassandros at Amphipolis. Aristonous had won merit on the campaigns as one of the first men up the Soghdian Rock. He was well thought-of and a supporter of the royalty. I wonder if it could belong to someone like him?
I don't think so. Arrian (Ind. 18.5) claims he is from Eordia (and likely brought up at Pella - Arr. Anab. 6.28.4). Prior to his death Arsitonous had defeated cassander's general Crateaus near Amphipolis - taking his arms from him in the process. Once Olympias had prevailed upon him to give up the citadel of Amphipolis, Cassander arranged to have the relatives of Crateuas murder Anritonous (19.49.7; 50.1). It's most unlikely that Aristonous would then be given such a tomb at Amphipolis. If his relatives managed to get hold of his remains they likely will have buried them in Eordia.

Whilst he was a somatophylax under Alexander (there is no date for his appointment), there is no record of him being a favored garrison commander. That position he held under Olympias and Plodyperchon. I don't recall Aristonous as having been amongst those who volunteered to climb the Sogdian Rock. You might be thinking of the Malloi town where Curtius has him as one of the somatophylakes about the king (9.5.15-19). He threw in his lot with Perdiccas during the strife in Babylon and followed the Perdiccan cause after the settlement whence he commanded the strike against Ptolemy's allies on Cyrpus in 320 (Arr. Succ. 24.6). He was still attached to this group at his death (Polyperchon/Eumenes).

How's the book?
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by ruthaki »

Paralus, the book will be published in UK by August 2014. I did extensive research about Aristonous as he is an important (though minor) character in my novel and I never saw anywhere that he was not awarded that garrison post for his bravery on compaigns with Alexander or that he was not one of the first up the Soghdian wall.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

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ruthaki wrote:Paralus, the book will be published in UK by August 2014.
Glad to hear it. Hope it sells squillions (and the royalties are good).
ruthaki wrote: I did extensive research about Aristonous as he is an important (though minor) character in my novel and I never saw anywhere that he was not awarded that garrison post for his bravery on compaigns with Alexander
As I say, he was a Somatophylax under Alexander (and possibly prior) but there is nothing of him being "one of Alexander's favoured garrison commanders". There is no record of him ever being a garrison commander under Alexander that I'm aware of. Defeated in Cyprus by the "allied" forces (of Antipater, Ptolemy and Antigonus) he would seem to have been allowed to return (likely retire) to Macedon in 320. His next appearance in the second Diadoch War was when Olympias makes him general to carry on the war against Cassander as she retreats to Pydna (autumn 317) as Diodorus notes (19.35.4). She offers him this likely because he is available and a former bodyguard of her son - she needed every commander she could get. Aristonous, like Polyperchon, seems to have achieved little (aside from the defeat of Crateaus) and we next find him holding the citadel of Amphipolis on behalf of Olympias. Diodorus does indeed mention service under Alexander saying: "Aristonoüs was respected because of the preferment he had received from Alexander" (19.51.1). He only mentions this as Cassander, due to that respect, found it difficult to treacherously murder him out of hand and so had the recently embarrassed Crateaus' relatives do the hatchet job.
ruthaki wrote:...or that he was not one of the first up the Soghdian wall.
And I haven't seen an attestation of Aristonous being the first or among the first up the Sogdian Rock anywhere. These were volunteers experienced in cliff/mountain climbing. This is hardly something Alexander might agree to his his closest and most trusted advisors/bodyguards doing I'd think. I do think you might mean the town of the Malloi where Alexander was wounded - as was Aristonous himself - and for which he likely received the golden crown at Susa (Arr. 7.5.6). Decent "preferment".
Last edited by Paralus on Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by agesilaos »

I agree there is no record of Aristonous being the first to mount any of the walls scaled in Soghdia, no one is named in the taking of any of the seven cities. Arrian does not include Aristonous among the rescuers of Alexander at the Mallian town(VI 10-11) he has Peukestas, whom we may take as a given, Leonattos, whose action is specifically mentioned along with Peukestas at Susa and he adds Abreas, a double-pay man. Plutarch mentions a Limnaios (Alex 63) while it is Curtius who gives a starring role to Aristonous (IX 5 xiv-xviii); Peukestes is first up followed rapidly by Timaeus, Leonattos and finally Aristonous. Timaeus is killed (shades of a Star Trek 'away-party') Leonattos is knocked senseless and with Peukestes tiring as he sheilds Alexander the active defence falls to a wounded Aristonous, who is saved in the nick of time. It is a good bit of stirring Latin prose...but is it history? I am aware that it is thought that Aristonous was expunged by Ptolemy, whose enemy he briefly became, but if Curtius is working from Kleitarchos, we have the problem that Kleitarchos was working under a Ptolemy and had inserted Ptolemy I into the mix. It is only a notion, but suppose Curtius found the description of the fight in Kleitarchos but knew from his reading of Ptolemy that the future king was not present, might he not have substituted another name but kept the action, whose drama smacks of the supposed style of Kleitarchos? Why he chose Aristonous is not immediately clear (and I cannot think why myself) but had the name appeared in any of the main sources we might expect it to be mentioned, even if only in refutation, as Ptolemy is in Curtius and Arrian.

I am not entirely satisfied with Arrian's explanation of the Crowns at Susa, he supplies reasons for Peukestas, Niarchos, Onesikritos, and Leonattos receiving crowns but then tags on 'the rest of the Somatophylakes', clearly the Seven here yet what feats of valour, the general reason for the crowns, are we to attribute to Perdikkas, Hephaistion, Lysimachos, Ptolemy, Peithon and Aristonous? Further, were the source Ptolemy would we not expect a detailed account of the reason for his award (the 'prima spolia'?) and is three years not a long interval between action and reward? There is something more programmatic, regime affirming about the ceremony, perhaps. It is after this that we have the Mutiny which some placed at Susa but seems more properly to have been at Opis. Might it also not have a connection with the mass wedding? I cannot remember but did Greek grooms wear 'chaplets'?

In any case I think the 'preferment', 'proagoge', of Diodoros must be elevation to the rank of Somatophylax rather than the crowning at Susa.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by marcus »

Paralus wrote:And I haven't seen an attestation of Aristonous being the first or among the first up the Sogdian Rock anywhere.
I don't recall, off the top of my head, that any of the climbers are mentioned by name. They are just "300" men, of which "30" fell to their deaths.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by Nicator »

ruthaki wrote:If his body had been returned to Macedonia it would have been buried at Aigai in the Royal Tombs. And history points out it was seen in Egypt at the time of Caesar and Cleopatra so this is very unlikely. (I had a dream once his body was taken by the Romans and is somewhere in the Vatican and then someone, a historian/archaeologist actually wrote about this theory). Anyway, they were also saying a while back they had found Roxana and Iskander IV's tomb but that may be unlikely too. The tomb of the prince at Aigai is likely the tomb of Alexander IV (according to an archaeologist I spoke to at the site some time ago when I was researching my novel.)
As mysterious and secretive as the Vatican is, this makes a lot of sense to me. Particularly, in light of ATG's 'son of god' motif. Though, the age of the Vatican itself would require some dating and validating to lend itself to your theory (and dream). Dreams can be powerful portents of world events. So, I'd definitely like to hear more of it if you can remember.
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Re: Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander?

Post by Alexias »

I'd recommend you read Andrew's 'The Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great', if only for the detailed history of Alexandria which with a tidal wave, earthquake, robbery, war, riots, desertion, dereliction, rebuilding and deception, makes it seem unlikely that Alexander's corpse could have survived.

Rather than the Vactian though, you might be thinking of St Mark's in Venice. St Mark was bishop of Alexandria and was martyred in 68 AD. Andrew's suggestion is that the body venerated as St Mark's might actually be Alexander's because St Mark's remains only appeared in historical records at the end of the 4th century AD shortly after Alexander's remains had disappeared. The church in which his remains were venerated in Alexandria was close to the last known location of Alexander's tomb. The remains were stolen from Alexandria in the early 9th century by Venetian merchants, and it is unlikely that the Catholic Church would grant permission for them to be forensically examined because of the damage it would do to the faith of those who have venerated the relic.
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