Alexander Philadelpheus (1866-1955), the son of a Greek historian, studied painting and archaeology at Munich, Athens, Paris and Rome. In 1913 he began the excavations at Nikopolis, the Roman Emperor Augustus’ City of Victory in western Greece, soon after it became part of Greece. He served as the Ephor of Antiquities in Attica when Gilbert met him. 

Since Philadelpheus’ surname means “brother-lover,” Gilbert’s nickname for him was the “Incest.” He married Victoria Valassis after she divorced her first husband who, according to Stanley Casson, came home one day and “found the incest hiding in a cupboard in his house & hauled him out saying ‘Now you can take my wife as I intend to divorce her, & so next time I will be the man in the cupboard.’” Gilbert, however, took Casson’s gossip with a grain of salt. 

One afternoon in May 2003 his grandson, also named Alexander Philadelpheus, and his wife invited me for tea in their apartment in Athens. He also doubted the story of the cupboard but wasn’t too surprised at another family scandal that Gilbert related: in July 1922, Philadelpheus’ niece, Kalliope Monferratos, “ran away from home with a married undivorced man whose wife is in Austria, & had to be fetched back by the police. A good beginning!” The grandson told me that “She was very smart and attractive so no wonder many men went after her!” 

He also proudly showed me his grandfather’s paintings and honorary medals, including one for having suggested using sunlight to spark the Olympic flame before it was relayed by torch to Berlin in 1936. He also kindly gave me a reprint copy of his grandfather’s book on the Monuments of Athens.