Saturday 6 April 2024

Turkish Delights (Part 1) - Macedonians at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

We have just returned from a trip to northwest Turkey/Türkiye, wallowing in the fleshpots of Istanbul, and finding peace on a pilgrimage to Troy. Obviously there were many a photo taken, but I thought I'd share a few here that might be of more interest to the wargaming community.

The key object to see, for me, was always going to be the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus, dating to the late 4th century BC and understood to be the sarcophagus of Abdalonymos, whom Alexander the Great confirmed as king of Sidon in 332 BC.

It is a truly spectacular piece of art, and of course one of the more important pieces of evidence when it comes to the equipment of Alexander's soldiers and their Persian contemporaries. 

Especially significant are the areas where the pigments can still be seen, giving a sense of the colours of battle. Blue helmets anyone...?

Sticking with a Macedonian theme, we have this great 'Illyrian' style helmet from the 7th or 6th century, found near Thessaloniki. This seems to be the most common Archaic and early Classical helmet form in Macedon and appears frequently on Argead royal coinage.

Finally, this wonder late 5th century BC funerary stele from Pella is not only beautiful, but also one of the best pieces of visual evidence for the use of hoplites (in a limited way) in Macedon prior to Philip II's reforms in the mid-4th century. 


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