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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Breastplate and the Sword of Vergina and their Relation with the Identity of the Dead King in the Tomb II

Both the breastplate and the sword, the latter will be discussed in the next issue of this magazine, along with the other offerings and the bones found in the graves II and III of Vergina by the late Professor Manolis Andronikos are directly related to Alexander the Great and his family, who were reburied in the royal tombs of Vergina after the expulsion of Pyrros in 274/273 B.C. According to ancient historians, Pyrros had pillaged all the royal tombs of Vergina, among which those of King Philip II and Arrhidaeus. These two gold-embellished ancient armors are identical to those worn by Alexander in the great victorious battle of Issos, in 333 B.C., as it is represented in the relevant mosaic in Pompeii. The dimensions of the breastplate are relatively small, corresponding to the physique of Alexander, who was rather short, slim, brawny, with an ephebic countenance, according to the ancient and modern historiographers. The prevailing opinion is that the work was made in the island of Rhodes between 334 and 333 B.C. It is commonly accepted that the model of this work was the breastplate worn during the Trojan War by Achilles, whom Alexander admired and worshipped. An identical breastplate, as Homer refers, was also worn by Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaeans in the Trojan War, which was made in Cyprus and was donated to him by the king of Kinyra.