Golden Larnax of Philip II of Macedonia

The most famous larnax ever found in the world is the "Golden Larnax of Philip II" of Macedonia. He was the father of "Alexander the Great". And, his golden larnax was excavated at Vergina in the northern part of Macedonia.

According to the archaeologists, Philip II's larnax is dated back to the 4th century BC. It is made out of precious gold with a sun motif design on the top surface of its lid. However, archaeological experts aren't still sure if the tomb really belonged to king Philip II.

What Is a Larnax?

A larnax is actually a small box or coffin. Contained inside is a human remain which is either bent to fit inside the box or cremated into ashes. In the ancient period of Macedonia, keeping the human remains of their beloved families was a common practice that they follow.

During the Greek Bronze Age, archaeologist have found the first larnax dating back in the ancient period of the Minoan times. But unlike king Philip II's larnax, it is simply made of ceramics that imitates wooden chests. The pattern has a huge similarity to the Egyptian linen chests. Decorations consists of abstract patterns with animal figures and portrayals of their hunting and cult rituals.

Another famous larnax was the one that belonged to the Hellenistic period. It takes the form of a small terracotta sarcophagi painted with some similar artistic styles to that of the Greek vases.

Today, some people particularly in China still follows this ancient tradition of encasing the remains of their dead. After cremation of the dead human body, the ashes will be kept inside a rounded vase known as "urn". Urns can be displayed inside the house because they are actually made with highly decorative design for display purposes.

Moreover, the golden larnax along with the golden crown of king Philip II of Macedonia is now displayed at the Vergina Museum.