ATHEN – The funeral theme of the floor mosaic found at the northern Greek Kasta tomb, at Ancient Amphipolis, confirms the tomb is dated to the last quarter of the 4th century BC, the site’s chief archaeologist, Katerina Peristeri said.
The mosaic depicts the abduction of Persephone by Pluto (also known as Hades), the god ruling the underworld. Persephone is facing backwards (to the right), Hades is driving a two-horse chariot and moving to the left, where he is preceded by Hermes in the role of “psychopompos,” escort of souls to the afterlife.
The abduction of Persephone “is clearly a funeral theme,” Peristeri said, adding that “we have yet another example of dating the tomb – the last quarter of the 4th century B.C.” (315-300 B.C.).
Peristeri added that the mosaic does not indicate the sex of the person who was buried there and specified that “it is early” to say whether the tomb is royal.
“We cannot say anything before the excavation ends. It is a very important tomb and its significance rises with the mosaic, which is the first of its kind to be found at a funeral monument.”
“The theme of Persephone’s abduction is found in the wall painting of the so-called Tomb of Persephone, at the royal cemetery of Aegae” – the ancient capital of the Macedonian dynasty which includes Philip and his son Alexander the Great – Culture Ministry Secretary General Lina Mendoni said during a press conference.
“Pluto and Persephone, as a sacred marriage theme, are also found on the backrest of the marble throne found in the tomb of Euridice, the mother of Philip, at Aegae,” Mendoni said. The scenes related to these two “are related to cults of the underworld, the Orphic cults and the Dionysian cult practices,” she added.
Among other things she said was that “there is no question ever raised of moving the findings” while a sample of the earth has been submitted for geologic analysis abroad.