Cupid’s mirror & the wealthy priest

The ancient cemeteries of the Macedonian capital lie outside the city of Aegae. Archaeological research has recently unearthed twenty-one more graves, six of which are un-plundered. Inside the grave of a young girl (4th century BC), archaeologists found a bronze mirror depicting young Eros stretching his wings to catch the passionate god Dionysus (Bacchus) who lies upon a piece of panther skin, in the shape of a virile young man.

Eros appears in ancient Greek sources under several different guises. In the earliest sources, he is one of the primordial gods involved in the coming into being of the cosmos. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly.
Ultimately, in the later satirical poets, he is represented as a blindfolded child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid – whereas in early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power, and a profound artist.

Inside a second grave, the dig uncovered the grave of a middle aged man lying on a daybed, without any weapons around him. Evidence suggests he was a contemporary of Alexander the Great and must have been a priest to Bacchus, as he was wealthy enough to be buried in his purple- dye clothing and decorated with a gold plated ivy wreath. Inside his chamber, archaeologists found a symposium kit: a krater (vases for mixing wine with water), oenochoes (wine jugs) and the remains of wooden tables.


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