Israeli archeologists may have discovered the first-ever tomb of a woman known as a “hetaira” to Alexander the Great’s army in Ancient Greece.
A courtesan or hetaira was an “esteemed companion,” according to the Israeli paper Haaretz.
In more detail, hetairas were “one class of independent professional courtesans in Ancient Greece, who, besides developing their physical beauty , cultivated a level of talent and intellect far beyond the Attic average woman,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
The age of the tomb was estimated by the style of the mirror that was found with the bones.
“We know [the hetairai] were buried on roadsides,” archeologist Dr. Guy Stiebel of Tel Aviv University told Haaretz.
“Alexander of Macedonia was even criticized for investing not in graves for Greek soldiers who fell in the war against Persia, but for his hetairai, on the main road, from a point where they could see Athens and the Parthenon for the first time,” he added.
“Maybe we can, cautiously, see a correlation here.”
In Ancient Greece, the process of cremation did not turn a body to ash, but rather left bones behind.
Archaeologists who studied the tomb told Haaretz they believe the woman was cremated.
” The disarticulated bone fragments were discovered on the burial chamber’s floor. They showed signs of burning, which attested to cremation. This is the first Hellenistic-period grave found in Israel.
In Ancient Greece, the process of cremation did not turn a body to ash, but rather left bones behind, the publication said.
Stiebel of Tel Aviv University said that the presence of the mirror is another sign the tomb belonged to a woman.
“The ancient artifact of the mirror, which was only associated with women, is a sign that the tomb belonged to a woman, Stiebel told the Tel Aviv University newspaper. He added there were “no depictions in ancient times” showing men looking in mirrored.
The fact that the woman was found far from home in Jersualem is why the researchers theorize that the woman was a hetaira, rather than the wife of a soldier or officer.
In Ancient Greece wives would not have gone to war with their husbands, Steibel said. They would stay at home.
“Also, there are records of hetairai in exalted positions, and specifically on Alexander’s campaigns,” said the newspaper.
“We know from historic records that this was happening and we know that some joined generals or rulers on their campaigns — famously, the hetaira Thais joined Alexander on the road and he didn’t like her to be far,” Stiebel told Haaretz.
” “Some say that Thais is the person who was behind the burning of Persepolis when they captured it,” Stiebel added.
Further tests are expected to reveal more about the identity of the woman and the army she may have been traveling with, according to the Times of India.
The post Ancient tomb may have belonged to a courtesan with Alexander the Great’s army, archeologists reveal appeared first on Fox News.