This year near the historic City of Naples, there came to the surface of an archaeological dig a fascinating tomb of ancient Greek proportions. Like many great finds in history, though, they were not looking for anything ancient, unless you count the outdated water system that the Municipality of Giugliano had to undertake when they stumbled across the spectacle.
What's even more wonderful is that the tomb remained protected from vandals and grave robbers during its time hidden far underground, which means that all of its secrets, presumably, remain preserved, such as the beautiful artwork that still captures the human eyes, and several artifacts that were left on the wall shelves.
Of course, there's nothing unusual about finding an ancient Greek tomb, but this one, perhaps as unique as the Tomb of Bellerophon in Asia Minor, possesses a notable depiction of Cerberus, the three headed dog of the Underworld, who keeps the dead in and the living out. He is the grandest guard that Haides has in the Kingdom of the Dead.
The artwork of the tomb as well displays Cerberus being flanked by Hermes and Herakles (Hermes being an Underworld Psychopomp and Herakles being the Hero who captured the ferocious hound during His 12 Labors). Two centaurs also stand facing opposite of one another on the back wall, all together a wonderful testament to the religious, spiritual and mythological diversity of the ancient world, and the lives of the people who lived, loved and died in that world every day.
The workers and archaeologists who brought it to light after 2,000 years were in a fanatic celebration, because not only do we now have an amazingly preserved ancient Greek tomb with wonderful artwork, but there might be an entire Necropolis (an ancient City Cemetery) surrounding it. It remains unknown, at this time, who occupies the tomb. But still, the amazing amount of history and information that could now be at our fingertips is invaluable.
The burial was far enough underground that no one was able to interfere with it, the people buried inside being forever at peace while Europe erupted in continuous chaos above their chambers. Their bodies were far removed from the upper world that would eventually hate them for their religious devotion, but today, perhaps it is fitting that widespread religious freedom and the restoration of ancient Hellas has made their return to the living world more likely and welcoming.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,
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