Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Is the "Romans Built It" Theory Being So Publicly Dismissed?

The Greek Ministry of Culture (and Sport!) and the archeologists who are leading the Amphipolis dig are pointedly dismissing a theory that the Kasta Tomb is actually a Roman-built mass tomb for soldiers. This theory comes from Olga Palagia, "chair of the department of archaeology at Athens University." Her theory seems to be based on a stylistic evaluation of the caryatid scuptures, a style she claims did not appear until the 1st century B.C., and on her assertion that the perimeter wall of the monument is in a Roman style.

Why are government agents publicly dismissing Palagia's theory? Because if the tomb were Roman era then the Greek public would be very disappointed. The Romans were foreign conquerors of Greece; they plundered ancient Greece and made many Greeks into slaves. Currently the Greek nation is in a very bad financial condition. The Greek people see this new dig as a source of national pride -- a reminder of past greatness -- and also as a potential new source of tourist revenue. While a new Roman-era tomb might bring in a little bit of tourist money, it would not be nearly as lucrative as something associated with Alexander the Great. A Roman tomb would also be a reminder of past oppression of Greece, and Greeks who currently see themselves as under the oppression of German creditors would not be too happy with this reminder.

So the reason for publicly discrediting the Roman theory is simple: it's to maintain public support for funding the dig.

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