As a Greek who was born in Northern Greece , I was pleased to see the exhibition of “Heracles to Alexander the Great: Treasures from the Royal Capital of Macedon at Oxford University, Ashmolean Museum ( which run from April 7th until August 29th, 2011). It is good to be reminded that we must keep the past alive…..especially at present times!!! This magnificent archaeological exhibition features over five hundred treasures made of gold, silver and bronze, gold wreaths and jewellery which they have been found in the royal burial tombs and the palace of Aegae, the ancient capital of Macedon.
The royal city of Aegae, in modern–day named Vergina in northern Greece, was the first capital of Macedon, the seat of the Temenid kings who claimed descent from Heracles. They ruled from the mid–7th to the 4th century BC, and gave to Greece two of its most renowned heroes – King Philip II (382–336 BC) and his son, Alexander the Great (356–323 BC). Until 30 years ago, when excavations uncovered the untouched tombs of Philip II and his grandson Alexander IV, Aegae remained relatively unknown. Recent discoveries brought to life a wealth of objects and treasures– from beautifully gold jewellery, silverware and pottery, sculpture, mosaic floors and architectural remains.
The exhibition took us through the world of Macedonian men Temenides dynasty, hunting and war; Princesses, Queens and High Priestesses, the role of women – in fashion and rituals, the Symposium, a central event in the life of Macedonians; Aegae, the building plan of Philip II and the Palace – with fragments of its architecture and objects of the banquet. According to archaeologist Angeliki Kotaridis who worked on the digs at the palace in Aegaei, it contains a: “series of finds which prove that Alexander the Great did not just spring out of nowhere to take over the whole world. He was a scion of the Temenides dynasty that ruled the Macedonian kingdom for three and half centuries and who were ‘descendants’ of Hercules and Zeus.” ‘Heracles to Alexander’ was a thrilling tour and gave us sense of the time and the wealth of a very important civilisation around the royal capital of the kingdom of Macedon, in the period which gave birth to some of the ancient world’s most famous names.
Alexander, my son has enjoyed the trail and was very proud to relate himself with the great hero’s roots but also to get his certificate too!