Saturday 6 August 2011

The Tomb of Aeneia (Nea Michaniona, Thessalonike, Macedonia, Greece)

The Tomb of Aeneia
By Vicky Charisopoulou
Source: Ta Nea, 05.08.2011

In the centre of the great hall of the permanent exhibitions of the Archaeological Musem of Thessalonike an entire tomb has been placed. It is well worth the effort to climb the two steps to
the elevated floor that surrounds it to look into its interior, hidden from view for 2300 years. The tomb was removed in its entirety during the excavations of the toumba on the south shores of the peninsula of Megalo Emvolo or Karabournou, to the NW of modern Nea Michaniona of Thessalonike. The area has been identified based on information given by Herodotus and Livy as the ancient city of Aeneia. The poros cist grave (named by archaeologists "of Aeneia") was found intact. Its interior is painted, its walls covered with murals of excellent quality (a multy-colour decoration band running along the four sides with plants, flowers, doves, ribbons) and personal items of the young woman were found inside. The burial is dated to 250-325 B.C.

The your aristocrat (judging by the finds) rested for 2300 years accompanied by her entire boudoir. The visitor can immerse himself into the exploration of the symbols that decorate the multy-coloured decoration that runs around the entire tomb. The burial symbols - doves, pine-combs and flowers - and the objects of everyday life (crown, ribbons, bust of a woman, case for toiletry goods) provide an excellent ensemble for painting of the 4th century B.C., one of the earliest in Macedonia. The are indicative of the luxurious life style and of the religious beliefs of the young aristocrat.

The town of Aeneia (modern Nea Michaniona) was named after its founder Aeneas, the legendary hero of Troy, son of the goddess Aphrodite and of Anchises. When, after the ten-year siege Troy was conquered by the Greeks, Aeneas smuggled his old father out of the city, carrying his on his shoulders. His left his home followed by his wife Creousa (daughter of the king of Troy Priam and of Hecuba) and their children, including his daughter Anthemone, after whom the town of Anthemous (Anthemusias) was named.

The final destination of the journey was Latium, in modern Italy, but Aeneas was forced to stop on modern Megalo Karabourbnou. Here, having buried his father who did not survive the journey, he built the city of Aeneia. Since then what is now know as Megalo Karanournou (t.n.: Karabournou is its Turkish name) was named Aeneia Akra and Ainaion Akroterion (t.n. Peninsula of Aenea).

Aeneas continued his journey to Italy, but his wife Creousa with their son Askanius and their daughters remained in the newly-founded city, where she reigned until her death.

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