Inside the Mystery of Alexander the Great's Dad

New study claims his dad wasn't buried where researchers thought
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2015 2:05 PM CDT
Updated Jul 21, 2015 2:34 PM CDT
Alexander the Great's Dad Proves Elusive
A heavy solid gold casket from Tomb II, which some believe held Philip II's burnt bones, is displayed at Vergina museum, northern Greece, Oct. 7, 2014.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The bad news: The ancient tomb at Vergina believed to house Alexander the Great's father may in fact be the final resting place of someone else. The good news: King Philip II's tomb is just a few doors down, according to a new study—though not everyone is in agreement. Researchers built a convincing case last year that Alexander's pop rested in what is known as Tomb II, but a different set of experts now say a partial skeleton in the adjacent Tomb I could be his, reports Discovery. For one thing, the individual was 45 when he died, as was Philip. For another, records note that a leg injury three years before his death left Philip with a limp. Researchers say a left femur in Tomb I, joined awkwardly to the shin, includes a hole likely made by a projectile, reports The injury would've "rendered the person lame, with an uneven gait," researchers say, noting the find "conclusively identifies (Philip) as the occupant of Tomb I," per the study in PNAS.

The remains of a woman, 18, and a newborn also found inside are likely Philip's wife and their child, killed shortly after Philip's assassination in 336BC, researchers say. Meanwhile, the male skeleton found in Tomb II "bears no lesions to his legs that would indicate lameness," they argue, adding the bones entombed there are too late to be Philip's and a Scythian warrior. Instead, the study says those bones probably belong to Alexander the Great's half-brother, King Arrhidaeus, and his wife, Eurydice, who died in 317BC, reports LiveScience. But Theodore Antikas, who authored the earlier study on Tomb II, says the latest research is "unreliable" since only some of the bones in Tomb I were analyzed. It also isn't clear when some of them were removed from the tomb; they were found in storage and hadn't been seen since the tomb's discovery in 1977. The controversy is likely to continue. One thing experts agree on: Tomb III at the complex belongs to Alexander the Great's son. (Divers recently found treasure dating to Alexander's reign.)

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