The city was also the burial-place of the Macedonian kings, the dynasty which sprang from the Temenid Perdiccas. It was built on a commanding and picturesque site near the modern town of Vergina.
The seat of government was afterwards transferred to the marshes of Pella, which lay in the plain beneath the ridge through which the Lydias forces its way to the sea. But the old capital always remained the "hearth" (, Diod. Excerpt. p. 563) of the Macedonian kingdom and the burial place for their kings. The body of Alexander the Great was to have reposed at Aegae, where his father Philip II of Macedon fell by the hand of Pausanias of Orestis but it was taken to Memphis through the intrigues of Ptolemy I Soter.
In 1977, Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos started excavating the Great Tumulus at Aegae and found that two of the four tombs in the tumulus were undisturbed since antiquity. Moreover, these two, and particularly Tomb II, contained fabulous treasures and objects of great quality and sophistication.
Although there was much debate for some years, as suspected at the time of the discovery Tomb II has been shown to be that of Philip II as indicated by many features, including the greaves, one of which was shaped consistently to fit a leg with a misaligned tibia (Philip II was recorded as having broken his tibia). Also, the remains of the skull show damage to the right eye caused by the penetration of an object (historically recorded to be an arrow).
A study of the bones published in 2015 indicates that Philip was buried in Tomb I, not Tomb II. On the basis of age, knee ankylosis and a hole matching the penetrating wound and lameness suffered by Philip, the authors of the study identified the remains of Tomb I in Vergina as those of Philip II. Tomb II instead was identified in the study as that of King Arrhidaeus and his wife Eurydice II. However this latter theory had previously been shown to be false.
Nearby is the ancient palace of Aegae. The palace is considered to be not only the biggest but, together with the Parthenon, the most significant building of classical Greece. Restoration works on the palace are due to be completed by 2022.
The tomb of Philip II of Macedon at the Museum of the Royal Tombs in Vergina
The golden larnax and the golden grave crown of Philip
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1854-1857). "Aegae". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1854-1857). "Edessa". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.