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Gordium: Great Tumulus


The Tomb of Midas. Photo Marco Prins. Gordium: capital of ancient Phrygia, modern Yassihüyük.
  
History Photos Phrygia

The Great Tumulus, or Tumulus MM, or the "tomb of Midas" in Gordium has a diameter of 300 meters and is 47 meters high. It was erected for a very important man, whose body has been found in a wooden chamber that measured about 6 x 5 meters. Even the contents of his last diner could be reconstructed. 

The name "tomb of Midas" is modern. Because the timber used in the inner chamber was dendrochronologically dated to about 740 BCE, the deceased cannot be identical to the Mit-ta-a mentioned in an Assyrian text as the ruler of "Muški", who asked Assyrian support in 710/709. (According to Eusebius, Midas died in 695.) Apart from this chronological problem, it is now doubted Muški was the Assyrian word for Phrygia.

The Greek authors Plato (Phaedrus, 264D) and Dio Chrysostom (Oration 37, 38) say that there was a Greek epitaph on the tomb, but the text is probably an invention:

A maid of bronze am I. I mark the grave
of Midas. While water flows and trees grow tall,
here will I bide by the tear-drenched tomb and tell
yhe passers-by that Midas lies here

Among the funeral gifts was one of the oldest alphabetic inscriptions outside Phoenicia.

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Tomb MM ("the Tomb of Midas". Photo Ab Langereis. The Tomb of Midas. Photo Marco Prins. The chamber of the Tomb of Midas. Photo Marco Prins. The chamber of the Tomb of Midas. Photo Marco Prins.
"Tomb of Midas" "Tomb of Midas" Inner chamber, exterior Inner chamber, interior
Bronze rhyton from the Great Tumulus in Gordium. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara (Turkey). Photo Marco Prins. Reconstruction of the head of the deceased in the Great Tumulus in Gordium. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara (Turkey). Photo Marco Prins. Skull of the deceased in the Great Tumulus in Gordium. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara (Turkey). Photo Marco Prins. Model of the inner chamber of the Great Tumulus in Gordium. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara (Turkey). Photo Marco Prins.
Bronze rhyton from the Great Tumulus in Gordium (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara) Reconstruction of the head of the deceased in the Great Tumulus in Gordium (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara) Skull of the deceased in the Great Tumulus in Gordium (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara Model of the inner chamber of the Great Tumulus in Gordium (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara)

History Photos Phrygia
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 29 May 2010
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