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Σάββατο, 25 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Historical Sources- Alexander the Great the Lost Tomb

It was the most renowned and respected shrine in the Roman Empire, the object of veneration by Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Octavian, Caligula, Hadrian, Severus, Caracalla and a host of other luminaries. It stood for centuries within a sacred precinct the size of a large town at the heart of the greatest Greek city in the world. Yet at the end of the 4th century AD, when the Christian emperor Theodosius outlawed paganism, it disappeared without trace, creating the greatest archaeological enigma of the ancient world. What became of the tomb of Alexander the Great? Does any part of it still survive? This site is dedicated to Alexander and the mysteries of his lost corpse and vanished mausoleum.

Some Ancient Testimony
"It was Ptolemy Philadelphus who [c. 280 BC] brought down from Memphis [to Alexandria] the corpse of Alexander."
Pausanias, 2nd century AD
"Ptolemy Philopator built [in 215 BC] in the middle of the city of Alexandria a memorial building, which is now called the Sema, and he laid there all his forefathers together with his mother, and also Alexander the Macedonian."
Zenobius, 2nd century AD
"About this time [30 BC] Octavian had the sarcophagus and body of Alexander the Great brought forth from its inner sanctum, and, after gazing on it, showed his respect by placing upon it a golden crown and strewing it with flowers; and being then asked whether he wished to see the tomb of the Ptolemies as well, he replied, 'My wish was to see a king, not corpses.'"
Suetonius, 2nd century AD
"Octavian next viewed the body of Alexander, and even touched it in such a fashion that, so it is said, a piece of the nose was broken off. Yet he went not to see the corpses of the Ptolemies, despite the keen desire of the Alexandrians to show them to him, retorting, 'I wished to see a king not dead people.'"
Dio Cassius, 3rd century AD
"[In Alexandria] Ptolemy prepared a sacred precinct worthy of the glory of Alexander in size and construction; entombing him in this and honouring him with sacrifices such as are paid to demigods and with magnificent games."
Diodorus, eyewitness c. 50 BC
"The Soma also, as it is called, is a part of the royal district. This was the walled enclosure, which contained the burial-places of the kings and that of Alexander."
Strabo, eyewitness c. 25 BC
"Caligula frequently [c. AD 40] wore the dress of a triumphing general, even before his campaign, and sometimes the breast-plate of Alexander the Great, which he had taken from his sarcophagus."
Suetonius, 2nd century AD
[AD 200]: "Severus inquired into everything, including things that were very carefully hidden; for he was the kind of person to leave nothing, either human or divine, uninvestigated. Accordingly, he took away from practically all the sanctuaries all the books that he could find containing any secret lore, and he sealed up the tomb of Alexander; this was in order that no one in future should either view his body or read what was mentioned in the aforesaid books."
Dio Cassius, 3rd century AD
"As soon as Caracalla entered the city [in AD 215] with his whole army he went up to the temple, where he made a large number of sacrifices and laid quantities of incense on the altars. Then he went to the tomb of Alexander where he took off and laid upon the grave the purple cloak he was wearing and the rings of precious stones and his belts and anything else of value he was carrying."
Herodian, 3rd century AD
"After he had inspected the body of Alexander of Macedon, Caracalla ordered that he himself should be called 'Great' and 'Alexander', for he was led on by the lies of his flatterers to the point where, adopting the ferocious brow and neck tilted towards the left shoulder that he had noted in Alexander's countenance, he persuaded himself that his features were truly very similar."
Anonymous, 4th century AD
"After a voyage lasting three days we arrived at Alexandria. I entered by the Sun Gate, as it is called, and was instantly struck by the splendid beauty of the city, which filled my eyes with delight. From the Sun Gate to the Moon Gate – these are the guardian divinities of the entrances – led a straight double row of columns, about the middle of which lies the open part of the town, and in it so many streets that walking in them you would fancy yourself abroad while still at home. Going a few stades further [1 stade = 165m], I came to the place called after Alexander, where I saw a second town; the splendour of this was cut into squares, for there was a row of columns intersected by another as long at right angles."
Achilles Tatius, circa 3rd century AD

"Who could be the friend of such as these? When they behave like this for money's sake, would they keep their hands off temple offerings or tombs? If they were travelling with some companion who had a gold piece, would they not kill him and rob him of it, if they had the chance. And this evil, King, is universal, whether you mention Paltus or Alexandria where the corpse of Alexander is displayed, whether Balaneae or our own city of Antioch. They may differ in size, but the same ailment afflicts them all."
Libanius, c. AD 390
"For, tell me, where is the tomb of Alexander? Show it me and tell me the day on which he died... his tomb even his own people know not."
John Chrysostom, c. AD 400

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