Amphipolis, travelling to myth

Picture by Ministry of Culture and Sports

In 437 B.C. the Athenians found a colony in the area of Strymonas river, near Serres, under the name of Amphipolis, in order to control and exploit the goldmines of Pagaion mountain nearby, where they mined valuable gold. In 424 B.C, during the Peloponnesian War, the Spartans and their general, Vrasidas, arrived in the area to reinforce their presence in Chalkidiki. Vrasidas managed in 422 B.C to occupy the important and wealthy city of Amphipolis. During the Battle of Amphipolis, Vrasidas and six more Spartans were killed, but Athenians, under the commands of general Kleon, lost the battle and 600 soldiers. This battle rendered to the completion of the first part of the Peloponnesian War and the contract of Nikiios Peace Treaty, in 421 B.C. Amphipolis was later occupied by the Macedonian king Philip the Second and became a center of high importance in the Macedonian Empire. There, in 311 B.C, Kassandros incarcerated and murdered Roxane and her son Alexander the Forth. Nowadays, Amphipolis became known due to the revelation of a very important tomb. Kasta Tomb (that's the modern name of the tumulus hill) was first excavated by archaeologist Dimitrios Lazarides in the 50's. He discovered near the surface of the hill a number of graves that date back to the Iron Age, as well as the marble base of the famous statue: "Lion of Amphipolis" . Parts of this huge statue were found by soldiers in 1913 and 1916, while the rest of the lion was discovered in 1937 during constructive works in the area. This statue is considered to be sculpted in the 4th century B.C. and it is believed that its original position was on the top of the newly discovered Amphipolis Tomb. The excavations in this position of the hill continued in 2012 by archaeologist E. Peristeri and focused on the surrounding wall of the tomb. The excavations extended and brought to light the entrance and the interior of the tomb. The tomb was found to consist of three arched, marble chambers. Above the entrance portal two Sphinxes were discovered, while before the portal of the second chamber stood two exceptional Caryatids.

Picture by Ministry of Culture and Sports

The floor of the second chamber was covered with an astonishing pictorial mosaic that depicts "The abduction of Persephone".

Picture by Ministry of Culture and Sports

The floor of the third chamber, now, was made of stones that covered a vault where a huge, marble coffin was discovered and the skeletal remains of the dead were located. According to the archaeologists, the tomb is dated between 325 and 300 B.C and might be work of Dinocrates, the architect of Artemis Temple in Ephesus and the designer of Alexandria. Whatever this amazing tomb unravels in the near future, the historical importance of the findings is high and will shed some light on the intense years of Alexander the Great.

 Article by www.museummasters.gr/en/ 

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