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Hunters, Heroes, Kings

Hunters, Heroes, Kings: The Frieze of Tomb II at Vergina

Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 158
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  • Book Info
    Hunters, Heroes, Kings
    Book Description:

    This monograph considers the painted frieze on the facade of Tomb II at Vergina (ca. 330-280 B.C.) as a visual document that offers vital evidence for the public self-stylings of Macedonian royalty in the era surrounding the reign of Alexander the Great. The hunting scene on the frieze reflects the construction of Macedonian royal identity through the appeal to specific and long-standing cultural traditions, which emerged, long before Alexanders reign, from a complex negotiation of claims to heroic and local dynastic pasts, regional ideals of kingship, and models of royal behavior provided by the East.

    eISBN: 978-1-62139-010-7
    Subjects: History, Art & Art History, Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)

    From its remote position on the periphery of the Aegean world, the kingdom of Macedonia emerged in the 4th century B.C. as a center of increasing power and influence. The swift ascent of Macedonia under the Argead king Philip II and his son, Alexander the Great, brought the end of Classical Greece and ushered in a new international era of Hellenistic politics and culture. Philip (a force, by many accounts, to rival his famous son) established hegemony over the Greek city-states, paving the way for an unprecedented expansion of Hellenic interests in the East. Alexander, within his brief thirteen-year reign,...

  6. CHAPTER ONE The Hunters
    (pp. 27-58)

    The protagonists of the Vergina hunting scene, the central youth and the mature rider, are marked as distinct from their companions in multiple ways. Two of the things that distinguish them are their position on horseback and their participation in the lion hunt—elements sometimes identified as “Persianizing” and associated with Alexander’s time in the East. This chapter will examine these aspects of the Vergina frieze in light of local traditions, considering them as visual motifs with meaning within Macedonia, and exploring the implications of their insertion into the group hunt.

    The lion hunt of the Vergina frieze has attracted...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Hunt
    (pp. 59-76)

    The long history of the lion hunt and the horseman in Macedonia supplies a model for the lion hunt from horseback as an iconographic theme associated with the court, and it allows us to identify the protagonists in the Vergina frieze as men who fulfill the idea, and the ideal, of the Macedonian king. But in contrast to what one might expect, these men do not participate in a hunt that celebrates the individual prowess of either. They are, instead, part of a group hunt, and their role as the visually distinguished protagonists of an ensemble introduces questions about the...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The Landscape
    (pp. 77-100)

    One of the most valuable aspects of the Vergina painting is that it offers the most extensive representation of landscape to survive from the Greek world. The hunting scene takes place in stony terrain, in a space enclosed on either side by steep rock faces, while in the distance, a series of mountains and a vibrant, colorstreaked sky provide a backdrop. Even among the extant examples of Greek painting, this illusionistic treatment of a distant background is unique, with its closest parallels in the later landscapes of Roman painting. In addition, the landscape of the Vergina frieze also includes prominent...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Heroes and Kings
    (pp. 101-114)

    Adherence to paradigms grounded in heroic pasts is not incompatible with the self-presentation of Macedonian royalty, which encouraged close comparison with and even emulation of heroes.¹ Although evidence for royal customs before the reign of Alexander is scarce, there are hints that the past was a vital component of the self-styling of the kingdom’s elite throughout the Classical period. Concern with dynastic history is reflected in the Argead claim of descent from Herakles and in the Philippeion at Olympia, which included chryselephantine statues of three generations of Argeads—Amyntas III, Philip, and Alexander—along with Eurydike and Olympias (Paus. 5.20.10)....

  10. APPENDIX The Date of Tomb II
    (pp. 115-126)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 127-142)
  12. References
    (pp. 143-153)
  13. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 154-154)
  14. Index
    (pp. 155-158)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 159-159)