Aigai (Vergina, Greece)
The discovery of Philip II of Macedon’s tomb in 1977 in Aigai, a village that’s today referred to as Vergina, was one of the most important finds of the 20th century.
It established this small village in northern Greece as the capital of ancient Macedonia.
Back in 338 B.C., Philip II subdued the rest of Greece through a campaign of «divide and conquer» — a phrase later attributed to him.
Ten years earlier he’d invited Aristotle from Athens to tutor his son, Alexander III.
At the height of his powers Philip II was assassinated in the Aigai theater by one of his bodyguards, Pausanias of Orestis.
His untimely death thrust 23-year-old Alexander into the limelight.
A decade later he’d conquered half the known world, an empire stretching as far as the Russian steppes, Afghanistan and the Punjab, earning him the moniker Alexander the Great.
Hellenistic Greece began here.
Today, the most important remains in the UNESCO-listed city of Vergina are the monumental palace and the burial ground, which contains more than 300 tumuli (burial mounds), some of which date from the 11th ce