Lion of Amphipolis

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Coordinates: 40°48′11″N 23°50′33″E / 40.80311°N 23.842601°E / 40.80311; 23.842601

The Lion of Amphipolis
Another view

The Lion of Amphipolis (Greek: Λέων της Αμφίπολης) is a 4th-century BC tomb sculpture in Amphipolis, Macedonia, northern Greece. According to Oscar Broneer and archaeologist Dimitris Lazaridis, the first person excavating in the area in the 1960s, it was set up in honor of Laomedon of Mytilene, an important general of Alexander the Great, king of Macedon.


The finding of the monument is connected to the modern history of Macedonia in Greece, as the first parts of it were found initially by Greek soldiers during the First Balkan War that had camped in the area during 1912-13. They were followed by British soldiers a few years later in 1916, during World War I, who also discovered significantly large parts of the monument. The British tried to steal the pieces, but a Bulgarian attack prevented their plans.

In the early 1930s, during works for drying part of the Lake Kerkini nearby, there was a discovery of an ancient bridge and close to it within the mud of the river further, very large pieces of the marble lion. In 1937, and thanks to Lincoln MacVeagh, the US ambassador in Greece at the time, there was a private initiative along with support and funds from the Greek government to restore the Lion of Amphipolis, which eventually came to be in its current form. The whole process has been documented thoroughly by Oscar Broneer in his book The Lion of Amphipolis published in 1941.


Although in seated position, the lion is larger and bulkier than the one erected at Chaeronea and has a height of more than 4 meters in its main body. Taking into account the base, it is taller than 8 meters. The head has a width of 2 meters. Its craftsmanship shows a work of the 5th or first half of 4th century B.C. As to when it was erected, there is no agreement between experts as there is no mention of it in ancient sources.

There was recent speculation that the lion used to be on top of the Kasta Tomb.[1] but this theory has now been discounted.[2]


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