Friday, August 12, 2011

The Irony of Alexander the Great in Britian

Recently I visited a magnificent exhibition which took place in Oxford and specifically in the Ashmolean Museum, entitled "Heracles to Alexander the Great". It is the first major archaeological exhibition in the redeveloped Ashmolean Museum. On display are more than 500 spectacular treasures recently found at Aegae (Vergina, Northern Greece) which was the royal capital of the ancient Macedon. The exhibition tells the story of the Temenid kings and queens of Aegae. 
Alexander the Great, descendant of the God Heracles, is the most famous member of the Temenids, the family who ruled Macedon from around 650-310 BC. By defeating the powerful rulers of the Persian Empire and by spreading Greek culture as fas as central Asia, Alexander the Great established the largest empire the ancient world had ever seen and altered the course of history. 
The Temenids were based at Aegae, the first capital of Macedon. The royal city remained relatively unknown until the late 1970s, when Professor Manolis Andronikos and his team made an astounding discovery. Excavations brought to light the unlooted tombs identified with Philip II, the father off Alexander the Great, and his grandson, Alexander IV. 

Robin Lane Fox claims that "the Macedonians lived under the same political system for some five hundred years. Nowadays we admire the ancient Greeks for their inventions of democracy, but even among the Athenians it lasted much less long. Macedon's system was monarchy, the most stable form of government in Greek history. It persisted from about 650 to 167 BC and only stopped because the Romans abolished it".
On entering the exhibition an interesting fact is emphasised on the wall, i.e. the family tree of the Temenid kings, rulers of Macedon. A selection of the most prominent members is shown here:
-Heracles, son of Zeus
-Temenos, King of Argos (descendant of Heracles)
-Perdiccas, first king of Macedon and descendant of Temenos
-Amyntas I (second half of the 6th century-498 BC)
- Alexander I (498-454 BC)
- Perdiccas II (454-413 BC)
- Archelaos I (413-399 BC)
- Amyntas III (392-370 BC)
- Philip II (360/359-336 BC)
-Alexander the Great (336-323 BC)
-Alexander IV (323-310/308 BC)

This family tree highlights how the Temenid kings were related to royal families from southern Greece, especially Argos, one of the most ancient cities within the Greek world. 
Most of the architectural remains at Aegae date from the peak of its prosperity in the 4th century BC. Philip II wished to modernise the city and through excavations there was an effort to connect the centre of political and religious power with that of art and culture. 
After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Aegae continued to prosper until the Gallic mercenaries of King Pyrrhos pillaged the royal necropolis in 276 BC. Despite the efforts of the Macedonian king, Antigonos Gonatas, the city never again fully regained its strength.
The victory of the Romans over the Macedonians in the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC led to the abolition of the monarchy. An early Christian basilica suggests that Aegae remained a regional centre in late antiquity. 
I know for a fact that this exhibition was visited by representatives of the Greek Embassy of London (through a newsletter sent to many subscribers on a weekly basis) and shows emphatically Greece's support. However was this fabulous exhibition visited by any representatives from FYROM? I ask, since their beliefs state that they are the descendants of the ancient Macedonians and that Alexander the Great was a Slav. If it wasn't visited by any representative of the Balkan nation does that mean that they do not recognise the beliefs and the facts shown in Oxford, by the University of Oxford (one of the most highly recognised academic establishments in the world)? Are the facts so great that they prefer to remain silent in the view of truth?

What does this exhibition have to show the countries who have recognised FYROM as Macedonia, including the U.K.? It is, I believe ironic how the U.K. government has recognised this fallacy, whilst the University of Oxford and its professors have stated the opposite fact, i.e. the Greekness of both Macedonia and Alexander the Great. I question the government's advisers. Are they not the specialists in the field? However I understand the political and economic importance of acting in such a way and supporting a fallacy just like this one, i.e. the recognition of FYROM as Macedonia . Nonetheless I hope that Britain will never have the problem of having to explain and having to verify its history to foreign powers just like Greece has to in this case, supporting how for example Shakespeare was English and not African. Then I am sure that the professors of Oxford will be called in to verify and justify the Englishness of one of the greatest poets and playwriters the world has ever known.

1 comment:

  1. Κατανοώ (και συμφωνώ με) την πολιτική διάσταση που δίνεις μέσα από την ανάρτησή σου αυτή.

    Προσωπικά θα ήθελα απλά να υπογραμμίσω το γεγονός της Πελοποννησιακής καταγωγής του Μεγάλου Αεξάνδρου και βέβαια της δυναστείας του ολόκληρης!!!