Malahini in Greece and Turkey

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The Story of Arsinoe

by jfriesen

bones of Arsinoe I know that you have been waiting unable to sleep since you read about Arsinoe yesterday and you are wondering what the archaeologists found yesterday. Here is what you have been waiting for.

Arsinoe was a younger sister of Cleopatra and they were princesses in the royal family of Egypt. People did not know whether Arsinoe or Cleopatra would be the next queen, so they were both treated very specially. When she was about 10 the people who were advising her opposed Julius Caesar and they lost and she was paraded through Rome as an enemy who had been conquered. She was then put in jail for several years. When she was released she feared for her life. She was afraid of people who opposed her but also afraid of Cleopatra, who she thought might like to get rid of her to have a claim to the throne. In order to hide she went into the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. In the temple she was protected and no one was allowed to harm her.
arsinoe's tombUnfortunately, this only lasted for a few years when Cleopatra decided she should be killed. No one knows how this was done. What we do know is that there was a monument to her with an octagonal building over it and inside the crypt were found bones of a 16-year old. In her short life she had incredible adventures. This is a picture of the ruins of her monument. It is hard to tell that it was octagonal and so I am going to look for a better picture to add to the blog.

The project that Steve (my husband) is working on involves finding bones of rich and poor people and doing chemical analysis on the bone material. From that analysis he is hoping to find out more about their diets and about their lives. Arsinoe is important in this because she was definitely a very rich person.

Here in Ephesus they have also found many identifiable bones of Gladiators. They were not rich people, but they had a very specific diet and so the chemical analysis of their bones would be interesting also.

Celsus Library One other rich person was Celsus. He was governor of the province and was honored with a huge library. The picture shows the front (fa├žade of the building) and there is a sarcophagus for him built right into the ground. Until yesterday no one knew if there were still bones in the sarcophagus. Several problems had to be surmounted to find out if the bones were there. The door to the small room under the library was locked and no one had the key. After the lock was broken there was another problem. Celsus Library filming There was a film crew making filming and they would not let us into the monument to get to the sarcophagus. They said it would be another 15 minutes. An hour or so later a small group of us were allowed to go into an area that is closed to the public and to look inside the sarcophagus.

inside the tomb A picture taken with a digital camera held into the crack between the top of the sarcophagus and the box showed that THERE WERE BONES! This boy standing near the hole is the son of one of the archaeologists who work here.

Hole in the sarcophagus Now they hope to open the sarcophagus and take the bones out for the project. Archaeology can be pretty exciting.

2 Responses to “The Story of Arsinoe”

  1.   Sister Susie Says:

    I think it would be fun to write a travel book of stories. You could have pictures of the places and the stories that go with it. I guess you might have to make some up like the one about the backpackers leaving their picks, shovels and geology book behind.

  2.   Tim Says:

    I am an Art History teacher most of the time but I also teach Video Production. I have been working with my students on an student film project.

    I have Arsinoe as a character in a student film we are presently working on. I find your information about the real Arsinoe very interesting.

    My site link with what I have gathered so far about Arsinoe is

    I hope you will get some information on the bones.

    I wonder if they can tell what ethnicity if possible.

    There seems to be alot of debate about Cleopatra.
    Since Arsinoe was her sister is it possible that some kind
    of DNA test on the bones.