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Faliron: Necropolis with 80 skeletons in chains, buried in array – Indications to Cylonian Affair in 632 BC?

Eighty dead, eighty men buried in array. All but one have their hands tied on their backs with iron chains. One skeleton has his feet chained. The remaining of  Ancient Greeks have been laying in a big area of Falirikon Delta in South Athens for more than 26 centuries. Digging in the area for the new National Opera and the National Library in the premises of the old Horse Racing filed in Faliron brought into light this amazing “polyandreio” – a mass grave for men who died and were buried at the same time. Upon the first findings the digging turned into official excavation, now the whole Necropolis has been revealed.

Necropolis Faliron

Archaeologists refer to the 80 dead as to “prisoners of Faliron” due to their tied hands. A mass murder of the Antique?

The dead were thrown into the pits and were not properly buried as it was custom in Ancient Greece.

Some skeletons were found in earthen pots and these skeleton belonged to infants and children.

Around 5% of the dead were cremated, while one skeleton was found in a wooden boat.Necropolis Faliron1

An archeological “mystery” however with strong indications to the uprisings during Cylon of Athens and Megaklis around 632 BC.

According to Curator for Archeological Findings for Western Attica, Piraeus and the Islands, Stella Chryssoulaki, the “polyandreion” (collective burial for men who fell together) came to light in the last 20 days and it has been only half a meter below the surface.

50% of the skeletons have been microscopically examined and found to belong to “healthy, well-fed men” and “without fractures” on the first sight.

Cause of  death? Chryssoulaki suggests that “a slaughter took place, execution.”

The excavation site in Falirikon Delta, where Stavros Niarchos Foundation was to cover by trees. After the archeological findings, there is consideration to establish a small museum. The issue is still open as the findings are recent, the the SNF has to come to agreement with the Greek state.

The “prisoners of Faliron” were allegedly not “common prisoners”. They are buried in line, two precious jugs have been placed in the mass grave, the tomb. Two small but precious jugs that have been examined and found to be dated around 632 BC.

Around this date, the time of Cylon of Athens begins, a noble Athenian who has been associated with the first reliably dated event in Athenian history, the Cylonian Affair, that is a coup d’ etat against the ruler of Athens..

Cylon attempted a coup in 632 BC with support from the Polis of Megara, where his father-in-law was tyrant. The oracle at Delphi had advised him to seize the Acropolis and Athens during a festival of Zeus. However, the coup was opposed by another Athenian aristocrat Megacles.

Cylon and his supporters took refuge in the Temple of “Polias Athena”  on the Acropolis. The Temple was considered a sacred and inviolable asylum.

Cylon and his brother escaped, but his followers were cornered by Athens’s nine archons. They were persuaded by the archons led by Megacles to leave the temple and stand trial after being assured that their lives would be spared.

Indeed the insurgents came out holding a rope tied to the altar of the temple.

However, the rope was cut or others claim that Megacles himself cut it, who immediately started shouting that the goddess herself had abandoned them and ordered his men to kill the supplicants.

The Athenian archons, led by Megacles, proceeded to stone them to death, However other antique sources state  that Cylon’s followers were simply killed.

Megacles and his genos, the Alcmaeonidae, were exiled from the city for violating the laws against killing suppliants. The Alcmaeonidae were cursed with a miasma (“stain” or “pollution”), which was inherited by later generations, even after the genos retook control of Athens.

sources: here & here

Can it be that the 80 “prisoners of Faliron” are the Cylon’s supporters who are killed while living the Temple and buried in Faliron, some six kilometers away, in the south, by the sea?

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One comment

  1. Fascinating stuff. Greek ancient history and civilization never cease to amaze me. I visited the new Acropolis museum in Athens last year and they did a great job. Underneath the craziness of modern day Athens history is never far away, almost touchable. Take pride in that my Greek friends and take it as an example.