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by Archaeology Newsroom

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

The gold-embellished sword of Vergina shows a great resemblance to the one found in the battle field of Marathon, in Attica, and we believe that it served as the model for the Hellenistic weapon. The sword, today in the Archaeological Museum of Vergina, was made in Cyprus and, according to Plutarch, was presented to Alexander by the king of Kition Poumyathon before the battle of Issos. All the characteristic features of the sword, such as the lion, the seated sphinx and the inverted tree, are identified as the symbols of Idalion and Kition, a united Cypriote kingdom at that time. In the religious traditions of many people of the East, the «world» and the «universe», in their broader sense, are represented as a big inverted tree. Thus, by incising this tree on the sword, the Phoenicians of Cyprus, who donated the weapon to Alexander, recognized him as immortal and lord of the «universe».