VERGINA TOMB (Grèce): Scientists claim that tomb was that of Alexander's half-brother


Paper questions claim that Vergina tomb was that of Alexander's half-brother

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    (ANA-MPA) -- A scientific paper published in the "International Journal of Medical Science" by prominent researchers of Bristol, Manchester and Oxford universities has questioned claims that an ancient tomb found in Vergina in northern Greece contains the remains of Philip III Arrhidaios, half-brother of Alexander the Great.

    According to the paper published on Sept. 8, the skull of the male body in the tomb bears marks of injuries consistent with those known to have occured to Alexander's father, Phillip II. (ANA-MPA)

    According to Dr. Jonathan Musgrave of Bristol University's Centre for Clinical and Comparative Anatomy, the findings in Tomb II at Vergina, discovered in 1977, are not consistent with historical accounts of Arrhidaios' death and burial in a number of ways.

    According to these, Arrhidaios was buried with his wife Eurydice and her mother Kynna whereas the Vergina tomb contains only two individuals, a man and a woman. The remains of the woman show that she was between 20 and 30, whereas Eurydice is believed to have been just 19 years old when she died.

    The male skull appears to have a healed fracture on the right cheekbone and a marked asymmetry in the wall of the right maxillary sinus. History records that Philip II lost his right eye at the siege of Methone in 355-4 BC -- an injury which would be consistent with this damage to the skeleton.

    The claim that the 4th century B.C. tomb was that of Arrhidaios is also weakened by evidence that the bones were cremated with flesh still around them.

    Arrhidaios was murdered in the autumn of 317 B.C. and his remains were subsequently exhumed and reburied between four and 17 months later. There is also evidence of a funeral pyre near the tomb indicating that the bodies were cremated at Vergina. Musgrave considers that the beliefs of ancient Greeks would not have allow contact with a decomposing corpse and that Arrhidaios would not have been exhumed, moved and then cremated with the flesh still around the bones.

    The paper lends greater support to the view that Tomb II was that of Philip and his wife Cleopatra, one shared by Prof. Manolis Andronikos who made the discovery in Vergina.

    Dr. Musgrave notes, however, that the aim of his paper is not to press the claims for Philip II and Cleopatra but to point out flaws in those for Philip III Arrhidaios and Eurydice.

    "We do not believe that the condition of the bones and the circumstances of their interment are consistent with descriptions of the funeral of Arrhidaios, his wife and his mother-in-law," he said. (ANA-MPA)