The Macedonian Tomb

Chalkidona, Greece

The Tomb of Agios Athanasios is located under an enormous tumulus in the area of Thessaloniki, yet only 15 kilometers away from Pella. It has been looted but the small single chamber offers a unique example of richly decorated walls in surprisingly fresh colors. It dates from the last quarter of the fourth century BC, the Alexander-era. Reason enough to stop here for a moment.

As customary, the front of the tomb was entirely painted with golden winged griffons in the pediment trimmed by alternating dark blue triglyphs and white metopes. Underneath runs the frieze that depicts a symposium, a meeting for men only. This is a rare colored version of the feast where we see the participants comfortably stretched on their couches enjoying their food and wine, while young women play the guitar and the flute. Further down the frieze is a cortege of young men on foot and on horseback making their way to the event while they are being watched by Macedonian soldiers leaning on their spears and shields. The doorway is guarded by two grieving young men wearing a chlamys. Such a richly decorated tomb supposedly belonged to a renowned Macedonian military, more so since remains of his armor were found inside the nearly destroyed burial chamber.

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Founded: 4th century BCE
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in Greece

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