10.28.2014

The Ancestral Tholos at Aegae

The Argeads came from Argos, hence the name of the dynasty. As such they were descended from Heracles. That's why this inscription claiming so was found in the old tholos of the palace at Aegae (I am aware that Greek transcribes badly to Blogger, so I've included a photo).


The tholos in the palace is strange, slightly crude in shape rather than a perfect circle, and clearly pre-dates the palace - yet it was important enough to leave as a heroon to Heracles and the Argead ancestors, and was probably used as their throne room.



This plan and the images from Google Earth show where it stood.




Although Archelaus moved the palace from Aegae (Vergina) to Pella, Philip II rebuilt the old palace and considered the round room important enough to keep.

Philip II also built a tholos at Olympia with statues of his immediate family inside. The statues are long lost, but the building survives and is round, in keeping with ancestral cult buildings or the Argeads.

This is a very old photograph of the Philippeion from when it was first excavated by Curtius.


Round building. Ancestral cult. Anyone seeing a pattern here?

Then we get to Amphipolis: round building, possible family mausoleum ... same pattern.