The Tomb (of Someone Related to Alexander) at Amphipolis

Image: Hades carries Persephone to the Underworld, from the tomb at Amphipolis.

The article linked immediately above proposes that the tomb belonged to a Greek General named Laomedon. This is very compelling in that Laomedon spoke Persian, was the fifth member of the Pella Five, and also owned a prominent estate in Amphipolis. (See Peter Green, "Alexander the Great", pp 39, 101) The estate was forfeited when the Pella Five were exiled over the Pixodarus Affair, but later restored to Laomedon.

My recently published research (see links below) concluded that Laomedon of Mytilene was a local epithet/alias of Cassander, who was the very one that ordered the execution of Olympias. He also later ordered the executions of Roxane and Alexander's son Alexander IV. Within this context, the tomb mosaic symbolizes Cassander's role perfectly!

According the Greek myth of Persephone (depicted in the stunning tomb mosaic, above), this goddess did not die but was saved by order of the higher power Zeus. Consistent with this, Olympias did not literally die at the hands of Cassander either. Olympias eclipsed her older sister Troas of Epirus (Atossa of Persia) as the dominant queen. Her representation as a female-headed Sphinx (as well as Medusa) was a highly appropriate considering her status. Her daughter Barsine/Roxane was also poised to succeed her as Great Queen by virtue of having produced all of the royal males of the new generation.

It was NOT the decision of Cassander/Laomedon, but that of Olympias and Roxane to abandon their primary identities in Macedon in pursuit of global priorities. Cassander was only cooperating with what these royal superiors were directing, and the tomb mosaic captures his faithfulness beautifully.

Therefore, the figures in the mosaic on either side of the "ghost of Philip" would have represented Olympias and the "forever young" Alexander the Great. They would have similarly mirrored that of Roxane and the teenaged prince Alexander IV. Olympias and Roxane are being exalted in this tomb even though it is evidently not the tomb or cenotaph of either woman. Olympias, like Persephone, was symbolically dead (half in the Underworld) and also genuinely still living and ruling! Her son Alexander the Great was himself both figuratively dead and literally alive, as well! Alexander, like Hermes, was now considered a "spirit" and had swiftly gone before Olympias in his symbolic death.

The role of Zeus would have been played by another ghostly specter, that of the lion-king Artaxerxes III "Ochus" (the former Macedonian King Perdiccas and predecessor of Philip II). By the time this tomb was built, Seleucus had become Great King (at least in name) in the West. However, the sphinx and other goddess iconography in the tomb indicates that Olympias was the real power behind the throne.

Image: Broken head of a sphinx from the Tomb of Amphipolis.

A press release for the new Alexander book is posted here:

A summary of the new Alexander book is posted here: