Magazine article The Spectator

Royal Treasures

Magazine article The Spectator

Royal Treasures

Article excerpt

Some schoolboys used to know about Alexander the Great (356323BC), how he extended the Macedonian Empire from Greece to India, cut the Gordian knot, and wept when there were no more worlds to conquer. Fewer schoolboys - or grown-ups - will know how skilled, and moving, the art of the Macedonian court was. Now they can, thanks to an exhibition at the Ashmolean, Heracles to Alexander the Great (until 29 August).

The exhibition shows for the first time outside Greece the exceptional treasures found, from 1977 onwards, in the Macedonian royal tombs, particularly that of Philip II, Alexander's father.

Among these are a tiny gold head of Medusa from Philip II's linen cuirass. Snakes curl under her chin, and through her hair, as her wide eyes still strain to turn you to stone . …

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