A cremated male skeleton in a lavish ancient Greek tomb is not Alexander the Great's half-witted half-brother, according to a new study.
The research reignites a 33-year-long debate over whether the burned bones found in the tomb belong to Alexander the Great's father, Philip II, a powerful figure whose years of conquest set the stage for his son's exploits, or Alexander the Great's half-brother, Philip III, a figurehead king with a less successful reign.
The researchers argue that a notch in the dead man's eye socket is consistent with a battle wound received by Philip II years before he died, when an arrow pierced his eye and left his face disfigured. They also dispute claims by other scientists that the bones show signs of having been buried, exhumed, burned and re-interred — a morbid chain of events that would fit with what is known about the murder and burial of Alexander the Great's half-brother and successor, Philip III Arrhidaios.
The study is unlikely to settle the debate over whether the body is Philip II's or Philip III's, which has raged since the treasure-filled tomb was excavated in 1977. But identifying the tombs' occupants would complete the last chapter in at least one royal couple's sordid life story.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Father or brother of Alexander the Great?
Live Science (Stephanie Pappas)