Idea #280 – Exploring the royal tumulus of Vergina in Greece
The antique city of Vergina, situated on the north foothills of the massif of Piérie, was identified with certainty as being the capital of the Low Macedonia, Aigai. According to the tradition, it was founded by Perdiccas Ier when the Macedonian of Argolide moved northward in the plain of Ematheia. This region was already occupied to the first Bronze Age, to the IIIth millennium BC. Vergina offers an exceptional heritage, of a significant stage of the western history of civilization, the passage of the city-state of classical period to the imperial organization of the Hellenistic and Roman world. The most important monument is the monumental palace, situated immediately below the Acropolis.
The theater, of the second half of the IVth century, is integral part of the palatial complex. Very close by, in the North, is the sanctuary of the goddess Eukléia, with small temples of the IVth and IIIth centuries which contain bases of statues registered bearing the names of the members of the Macedonian royal family. The part the best known for the site is its necropolis, which extends over more than 3 km, and the center of which is formed by the Cemetery of the Tumuli (mounds), with more 300 mounds among which some dated from the XIth century BC. An important group of graves of the VIth and 5th centuries BC belonging to the members of the Macedonian dynasty or their court, is in the northwest of the antique city. One of the graves, dated towards 340 BC, which contained an impressive marble throne, is identified as that of Eurudikê, the mother of Philippe II.
The most impressive funerary monument is the Big Tumulus, the artificial hill of 110 m of diameter and 13 m of height, under which were discovered four exceptional royal graves. One of them contains murals which represent the kidnapping of Persephone, of which we think that they are the work of the famous painter Nikomachos. Two of the graves had remained intact since the Antiquit, and contained magnificent funeral offerings. In the grave II, the body was found in a rich golden box, weighing approximately 11 kg; these rests were identified as those of Philippe II, the father of Alexander the Great, who strengthened the Macedonian power.
Where is it ?