Tomb of Olympias, Alexander The Great’s Mother, Found!
The lost tomb of Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great, has finally been discovered. Recent excavations in the Tomb of Korinos in northern Greece have resulted in what amounts to a massive historical discovery. Pontos News reported exclusively yesterday that Professor Athanasios Bidas recently presented a suite of hard evidence at a scientific conference suggesting this latest Korinos’ tomb was that of Olympias, wife of King Philip of Macedonia and mother of Alexander the Great.
Drawing of the tomb of Olympias by the French architect Pierre Jérôme Honoré Daumet, in 1855. (Pontos News)
Professor Bidas Is Certain This Is the Tomb of Olympias
In 2019, Professor Bidas read a set of ancient inscriptions that led him to believe he had identified the Tomb of Korinos as the tomb of Olympias (born circa 375 BC; died 316 BC), mother of Alexander the Great.
The professor said that having inspected hundreds of Macedonian graves he was particularly impressed by the size of The Tomb of Korinos. Dr Bidas suggested that the tomb must have belonged to “a great person” because it was a miniature version of the tomb of Alexander the Great himself.
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The Professor told Pontos News that he “was sure” this was the tomb of Olympias. He supported his theory by saying “in the spring of 316 BC, after a dramatic seven-month siege in Pydna, Olympias, the wife of Philip II, surrendered to Cassander, who judged her as an enemy of the homeland in a mock trial and did not give her the right to testify. He then killed her and buried her away from the urban fabric of Pydna.”
The key piece of evidence that this was an elite female burial was the fact that the marble ossuary vessel was oriented with the head to the east. This was how royal Greek women were "buried." (Pontos News)
An Idiosyncratic Tomb For A Revered Mother
Cassander’s hatred of Alexander, the son of Olympias, and all the Argead dynasty heirs to the Macedonian throne, was well known at the time according to the professor. So much so was this the case that it was later discovered that Cassander had a hand to play in the Macedonian monarchy’s assassinations.
Because the Tomb of Korinos is located in ancient Pydna and is the largest Macedonian tomb found to date, the archaeologist suspected that it was built for a 4th century BC elite.
The burial complex measures 22 meters (72 feet) long and the archaeologist’s suspicions were somewhat solidified that it was Alexander’s mother’s tomb when it was realized that it was aligned so that the deceased was buried with their head to the east. This alignment indicated that the person inside the tomb was female, and the marble on which the ossuary vessel was placed was located to the east of this structure.
A Greek Times article says the archaeologists at the site asked themselves “what person could such a huge idiosyncratic monument be built other than for the mother of Alexander the Great?,” the professor told reporters.
The three elite funeral chambers that Professor Athanasios Bidas believes to be the tomb of Olympias. (GEOKAT / Pontos News)
A Royal Matron Buried Amidst Her People
The sheer scale of the tomb and the engineering works associated with its construction were typical of those reserved for the burial of kings and royal families. But the relatively vast dimensions aside, another architectural clue as to the tomb’s inhabitant was the presence of the three internal chambers.
While this tomb in Korinos is smaller, its three chambers are very similar in design to the tomb excavated at the Siwa Oasis in Egypt. The archaeologist who led that dig, Liana Souvlatzi, believes that this is the legendary tomb of Alexander the Great, according to the Pontos News report.
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Finally, returning to the three epitaphs that the professor discovered in 2019. He calls these a “catalytic confirmation” that the tomb of Korinos houses the tomb of Olympias. Furthermore, the archaeologist presented evidence that at one time “a large central busy road passed between the two tombs.”
And if any of you out there are worried that this is all coming from one person, archaeologist Liana Soulvatzi, who led the excavations, says she “agrees with the reasoning of the study,” and that the legendary site of the tomb of Olympias, Alexander the Great’s mother, has indeed been identified.
Top image: King Cassander and his army on the left about to arrest Olympias (mother of Alexander the Great) on the right, in a painting by Jean-Joseph Taillasson (1745-1809). Cassander, it is said, executed this extremely powerful and much-loved woman, who fought valiantly for her family until the end. Source: Jean-Joseph Taillasson / Public domain
By Ashley Cowie