1.1.5.1 Macedonians (808-148 BCE)

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Stag Hunt Mosaic
Funerary stele
Macedonian soldiers fresco
Tomb of Judgement
Hades and Persephone fresco
Lion of Amphipolis
Bust of Phillip II
Tomb of Phillip II
Pella curse tablet

Banquet scene from tomb
Golden Lamax
Alexander Mosaic at Pompeii
Bust of Alexander
Dionysius riding a cheetah
Babylonian astronomical diary
Alexander fighting lion

Macedonians were essentially an Ancient Greek people and used an Ancient Doric dialect. They originated on the alluvial plain formed by the rivers Axios and Haliacmon to the north-east of Greece. They worshipped the Greek pantheon and their wealth derived from herding horses and cattle.

The Kingdom of Macedonia emerged in the 8th c BCE, it was founded by the Argead clan by Perdiccas I. Macedonia took its name from the mythical Makedon. Philip II originated a number of military innovations that allowed them to expand their territory.

Alexander the Great’s route plotted by the US Military Academy

His son, Alexander the Great was able to build extensively from that secure base to build an impressive empire. After his death his satraps ruled large regional territories, for example Ptolemy and his family ruled Egypt for three centuries.

The Macedonian Empire was conquered by the Roman Republic.

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Image source: Wikimedia commons
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The ‘Stag Hunt’ floor mosaic is dated to c300 BCE) is a mosaic from a wealthy home in Pella, the capital of the Macedonian Kingdom. The two figures are surmised to be Hephaestion on the left and Alexander the Great on the right. The mosaic has the signature of the artist Gnosis, of whom little is known. It was fabricated from pebbles collected from beaches and rivers each set into a cement.

The house clearly had other claims to fame, it is known as the ‘House of the Abduction of Helen’. It is on show at the Archaeological Museum of Pella, Central Macedonia, Greece.
This ancient Macedonian funerary stele, has an epigram written at the top. It was found at Vergina, Macedonia, Greece and is dated to mid 4th c BCE.
Image source: khanacademy.org
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Image source: Wikimedia commons
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Two small 4th c BCE tombs were discovered at Agios (or Hagios) Athanassios, a town in NE Greece.
The top image is a fresco of a Macedonian soldier, wielding a spear and wearing a cap.
The bottom two images shows a montage of Macedonian soldiers.
Fresco from the Tomb of Judgement (aka Great Tomb of Lefkadia) in ancient Mieza Greece (modern-day Lefkadia). The 4th c BCE’s tomb frescoes depicted religious imagery of the afterlife.
The second image shows the right side of the facade of the tomb, it depicts Aeacus and Rhadamanthys; two of three Hades demi-god ministers and judges of the dead. Sons of Zeus, they were granted their status in death for their establishment of law and order on earth.



Image source: Wikimedia commons
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The tomb of Queen Eurydice I of Macedonia (393-369 BCE was discovered at Vergina Greece. She was wife to king Amyntas III and had three children that became kings – Alexander II, Perdiccas III and Philip II. She would therefore be maternal grandmother to Alexander the Great. Eurydice was also very active in the cult activities.
The tomb contains this fresco showing Hades and Persephone riding in a chariot. Man and wife these gods ruled the underworld. Her tomb is one part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The lower image shows her tomb, with her throne on the right.
The Lion of Amphipolis is a 4th c BCE tomb sculpture in Amphipolis, Macedonia. It was to homour Laomedon of Mytilene, an important general of Alexander the Great.
The lion is 4m high, with its plinth it is 8m. There is no agreement among experts as to when it was erected as there is no mention in ancient sources, but the sculpting suggests late 5ht/early 4th c BCE.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
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Image source: khanacademy.org
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Bust of Philip II, who reigned as king of Macedonia from 359-336 BCE. He inherited a weak kingdom with an undisciplined army. He developed them into a military force that was able to annexe most of Greece. It was his secure base that allowed Alexander to create an empire.
It was only in 2020 that the Tomb of Philip II was discovered at Vergenia.
The first image shows the facade of the tomb.
The second image shows the golden box with an embossed sixteen point star in which Phillip’s bones had been stored, under a golden wreath.



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Image source: Wikimedia commons
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The Pella curse tablet is a text written in a distinct Doric Greek idiom, found in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia. Ιt contains a curse or magic spell inscribed on a lead scroll. The spell was written by a woman, perhaps named Dagina, it was intended to cause her former lover to marry her.
It is dated to c375–350 BCE. It is one of only four known texts that used a local dialectal form of ancient Greek in Macedonia.
A late 4th c BCE fresco of a Banquet was discovered in a Macedonian tomb (beneath a tumulus) in Agios Athanasios, Thessaloniki Greece. The wreathed banquet participants lie on anaklintra (couches) and are enjoying dishes while being entertained by guitar and diaulos (wind instrument) music performed by young women.
Image source: Wikimedia commons
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This mosaic of Alexander the Great in battle was created for the owner of the House of the Faun in Pompeii c100 BCE. It is on show at the National Archaeological Museum, Naples.
The lower image is a detail showing Alexander Alexander as he fights with Darius III.

Image source: khanacademy.org

Image source: Wikimedia commons
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Image source: Wikimedia commons
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This Bust of Alexander is a Roman copy of the 330 BCE sculpture by Lysippos. According to Diodorus of Sicily (Greek historian), the Alexander sculptures by Lysippos were faithful to the reality. Lysippos, with Scopas and Praxiteles, are considered the three greatest sculptors of the Classical Greek era.

This 4th c BCE floor mosaic from Pella is made of pebbles, terracotta and lead.
Dionysos, the god of wine, vegetation, pleasure, festivity, madness and wild frenzy, is deicited riding a cheetah.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
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Image source: khanacademy.org
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This clay tablet is a fragment of a Babylonian astronomical diary. It records the astronomical and meteorological phenomena forg the year 323-322 BCE. For month two it mentions the death of Alexander the Great, referred to as ‘the king’. It is on show at the British Museum.
In this late 4th c mosaic, Alexander is wearing a kausia (flat cap to protect from the sun) and fighting a lion with his friend Craterus. This was a sub-species of Asiatic lion.
Image source: greecehighdefinition.com

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