Dr. Stephan Faust (University College Cork), “Art and Power in ruler tombs of Macedonia and the Eastern Mediterranean, 4th-3rd century BC”
During the late Classical and early Hellenistic period, a series of spectacular tombs of local dynasts and kings was created in Northern Greece, Thrace, Asia Minor, and the Phoenician area. This group of monuments includes prominent examples such as the royal tombs at Aigai, the Maussolleion at Halikarnassos, the Heroon at Trysa, and the sarcophagi found in the royal necropolis at Sidon. The regions concerned featured different cultures in antiquity, each of which was influenced by specific historical developments, forms of government, traditions, funerary rites, geographical conditions, and by contacts with other cultures. Nevertheless, as the talk shall demonstrate, to a certain extent the decoration of these tombs mirrors shared ideas of power and death. This can furthermore be evidenced by an analysis of Diodorus' description of the hearse of Alexander, since its design can be compared to the archaeological remains of ruler and elite tombs in the Eastern Mediterranean, as regards architecture, imagery, and funerary practices. Indeed, it seems that the patrons and artists of the funerary cart deliberately adopted elements of diverse funerary traditions of the vast empire conquered by the Macedonian king. The discussion of Alexander's hearse and several key monuments allows for a better understanding not only of the archaeological material itself, but also of the societies in which the monuments served as important markers of ruler representation and commemoration.