Alexander the Great's Tomb

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Alexander the Great's Tomb

Post by Hafiz » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:53 am

Alexander’s Tomb.

There have been many promises and rot about the search for his tomb, and not only in Egypt. Lies have also been spread about ‘his sarcophagus discovered at Sidon - see below.

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In January a female Greek archaeologist – shock horror by Egyptian standards, has reported on some headway in Alex which illustrates how poor the work, or lack of work, has been in Alexandria to date.

The following is from a National Geographic story:

“For 14 years the Greek archaeologist had been scouring Shallalat Gardens, a public park in the heart of Alexandria, Egypt, for traces of Alexander the Great, the ancient conqueror-turned-pharaoh who gave the city his name….an early Hellenistic statue bearing every hallmark of Alexander the Great (shocking exaggeration a la Hawass)… the Hellenic Research Institute of the Alexandrian Civilization, has dug down 35 feet beneath modern-day Alexandria and uncovered the ancient city’s royal quarter…This is the first time the original foundations of Alexandria have been found,” says Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist in residence at the National Geographic Society”

Two points. One, foreigners are doing this work and locals doing little/nothing. Second, this project claims and the Society agrees, that it’s the first to get down to the relevant level, not all that far, of the Hellenic period. What have the others being doing. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/cult ... der-great/

They don’t do the work but want all the credit and spoils.

The statue they have found is of artistic quality I’ve never otherwise ever seen in Egypt and in superb condition in contrast to the pock-marked rot in the permanently closed Alex Museum. The face is more weathered than the rest of the body and this makes it difficult to be certain its intended to be Alexander. Given the skill its certain however that it was sculptured in Greece or by an expatriate Greek sculpturer. Taking Hawass at his word, always risky, it should be returned to the country of its manufacture. Egypt never produced a statue of this realism, humanity, idealism and magnetism – and still can’t.

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Where this statue will be displayed isn't clear - probably not in the nationalist GEM, nor the provincial and new Museum of Egyptian Civilization and it can't be in Alex where hardly any museum is opened let alone one with all the first rate climate control/lighting necessary for this first rate find from the early Hellenistic period.

Finding a statue which may or may not be Alexander is no proof that he is not buried elsewhere including near the family tombs in Northern Greece – Pella or Vergina. Good luck to her as apparently she is the first to be getting down to the right level in the right place. She mentions no assistance from the Supreme Antiques or Hawass who has poured Egyptian resources into that Dominican Republic lawyer’s 10 years of digging west of Alex looking for that third rater, fratricidal and looser, Cleopatra’s, tomb. No positive of published results to date but a team of 100 Egyptian workers given free to this female wind bag. Takes one to know one. Dominicia teaches no archaeology but gave Hawass a doctorate from one of its dreadful universities.

The Greek archaeologist publishes yearly reports on her digs – do Egyptian archaeologists do the same in any language for whatever work they actually do http://www.hriac.com/ to obtain comment, assistance and criticism from learned colleagues? They also ‘create of a library containing all the relevant Alexandrian Bibliography….Organizing seminars and congresses concerning subjects of the Hellenistic Period….cooperation with the Hellenic and Egyptian universities for a complete and in detail study….The reinforcement of relationships of Hellenic and Egyptian archaeology scientists….The granting of scholarships to Hellenic and Egyptian archaeology students, for specialized studies based on the Hellenistic Alexandrian Period.’ http://www.hriac.com/2017/04/28/hriac-profile-2/. Pretty generous for a not rich western country. I wonder what the Dominican rat bag does and where her finds end up?

I wonder if new deals were done with western teams to keep half the spoils whether real work might begin again following the clamp downs from 1924 that, arguably, have led western institutions to take fewer risks and commit less money. In this case this woman and her team have taken 14 years to dig 35 feet – that’s only just over 2 feet a year.



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Re: Alexander the Great's Tomb

Post by A-Four » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:06 pm

Not really up on Alexander the Great, but from what I understand is that where ever he invaded city, town or even village throughout the Mediterranean and on to almost India, he changed its name to his own, therefore hundreds of place were simply known as Alexandria. It is said that he died in Babylonia, though his sarcophagus was discovered buried in Sidon. The coffin and body of Alexanda are long lost.

To me it makes sense that his body, coffin and sarcophagus would have been entombed in Babylonia, but as Greek influence lost its way, evidently the entombed remains sarcophagus coffin and body were transported to Siden to be picked up by ship on the Mediterranean. It seems to me the body and coffin were transported to who know where, but the sarcophagus, being the one in your picture in now in the national Archeological Museum in Istambul.

The reason why I say this, is that I saw this magnificent sarcophagus when this museum had been very impressively restored, a few years ago, with highly sophisticated atmospheric lighting that I have never seen elsewhere. As I carefully studied this object, I could hardly believe that this could have been made for one person only,............Alexander the Great.

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Re: Alexander the Great's Tomb

Post by newcastle » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:20 pm

It’s pretty well established, by contemporary writers, that Alexander died in Babylon and that his body was hijacked and taken to Egypt by general Ptolemy.

There it, and its coffin, remained for several centuries......again as attested by various writers...and indeed some Roman emperors.

Suggestions that it was elsewhere are conspiracy theories without a shred of evidence.

The so-called Alexander sarcophagi (there’s actually 4 of them) unearthed at Sidon have nothing to do with Alexander the Great, despite the relief carvings, some of which show Alexander and his exploits.

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Re: Alexander the Great's Tomb

Post by Hafiz » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:38 am

My point is that there has been little digging for Greek remains in Alex, that a fine sculpture has been discovered but nothing made of it in Egypt, that the Greek humble efforts are proceeding in a careful and generous way whilst locals dig up third rate Pharonic objects and call them God.My bet is that whilst there are scores of active diggings in Egypt at the moment this Greek digging is the only one in the Alex/Greek area of interest.

The evidence for the actual body being taken to Alex by Ptolemy is less clear in my view because seeing a tomb is different from seeing the body and Ptolemy had many PR/status reasons for wanting to be seen to hold the remains using whatever images at his disposal.What contemporaries believed happened may not be the truth.That some of the other generals wanted it buried in Greece seems clear. If buried in Alex it would have been in an immense tomb which takes us back to the start - who is looking for it given is would be hard to hide? Suggestions its in the sea are just standard Hawass rot but that is another story.

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Re: Alexander the Great's Tomb

Post by newcastle » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:35 am

Of course the writings of contemporaries are not irrefutable evidence, but they carry a lot more weight than hypotheses without any evidence!

By all accounts, the tomb of Alexander, in Alexandria, was magnificent.....but seems to have disappeared from the records.

Whether it was destroyed - or remains to be discovered - has kept archaeologists busy for centuries.

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Re: Alexander the Great's Tomb

Post by Hafiz » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:30 am

Fair points about evidence - I'm lazy, but try this hypothesis/question - what large building of antiquity has evaded a century and a half of western digging, even remote/concealed temples in the Central American jungles have been found and they lacked the maps/documentary 'evidence' to guide the diggers to the spot that we have on the Alex tomb.

Agree about the Sidon coffin - thought I made that point sufficiently clear - obviously not. That the body was intended for return to the family tomb in Macedonia seems likely. That Ptolemy stole it in transit to try to win the status wars or gain prestige or power over the other generals who were squabbling/waring after Alex's death seems not impossible. Others of the warring generals had his surviving wives, his mentally defective brother, his scheming mother and at least one child - eventually all 'dispatched but these humans (none, bar his brother, pure Macedonian and therefore lacking in full status) might have given power/prestige in the dreadful competition for one-upman-ship/credibility which followed as each faced the inevitable that none would serve under another, the empire must fragment into 3/4 spurs and the grand plan of expansion in the west be abandoned.

My risky bet is that it doesn't exist/wasn't grand bolstered by the lack of documentary evidence that it was ever sacked into oblivion by Roman/Byzantine/Arab conquests. On the other hand that Ptolemy thought it to his advantage to claim to have it and build a concrete statement to make his PR point seems not unlikely.That this worked to little military advantage for him with the competitor generals seems clear. That no other successor general similarly claimed the body is clear and builds Ptolemy's case that he had it. Jury is out sustained on speculation.

One piece of evidence for my flimsy argument is that there has been no Rolls Royce campaign to find it just this mere/humble effort by a well intentioned third rater Greek from a 4th rate archaeology school/university operating on a fifth rate budget. The ambitious, young and their rich institutions looking for a career-making-discovery should be there in droves - if they thought there was a chance of becoming the most famous archaeologist since Carter.

Off point but related various French fools supported by Hawass have gone diving off Alex, found little, but no major university has gone looking there so the idea that its there and more easily discoverable without having to demolish 20 apartment blocks on the land side seems to be an already judged race by other than the Cousteau-like fools. If this easy option existed in fact droves would be there.More on the aqueous slippery eels and their Egyptian volkish leader on another occasion.

In any horse race back those with form and observe the races they avoid. Good horses with smart owners stay away from races not worth winning.Still I'm assuming that people, or westerners, are rational.

Clearly I need to do more reading on the Roman and Byzantine period to find out what their views of it were. Alas there are no diggings for either period in Alex and haven't been any for generations.

The other option is that its there but concealed by the most ugly apartment blocks in the world and in a fight over money between an Alex property developer and the greatest archaeology in the world I back the former. On a positive note the apartment blocks are bound to collapse in another generation opening up a chance of a year or two of digging - and burying the dead.

Whilst the great Alexander leaves no tomb the family tombs in Vergina produce exquisite objects from his predecessors including his father. These tombs are more tumulus style/large amounts of earth/a hill over the burial chamber that was the more typical Macedonian style - not a free standing grand temple/tomb. The not very reliable reports of what was built in Alex would, if true, have represented a dramatic break with the burial systems of the past for the Macedonians, of whom Ptolemy was one.

Here is a small bust of Alex's father, the messy and lascivious Phillip found at Vergina - full of character:

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A floral crown/wreath from the same location - exquisite and delicate workmanship, unlike Pharonic buldozer lumps of gold:

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These humble tombs have survived but the tomb of the greatest man of his age has apparently not - a mystery - or a source of bad equine jokes. Can anyone think of a similar example with any other major figure from this period given that the Romans and Byzantines held Alex in highest regard.

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Re: Alexander the Great's Tomb

Post by newcastle » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:30 am

My mention of the Alexander Sarcophagus was in reference to A-Four’s suggestion that it was the resting place of Alexander the Great. Another example of his claiming better insight than dedicated archaeologists. :lol:

This topic has caused me to re-read an excellent book on the tomb of Alexander....”The Quest for the Tomb of Alexander the Great” by Andrew Chugg. It’s an exhaustive analysis of the record and, on the balance of probabilities, indicates that Alexander’s body was taken to Memphis, initially, and later interred in Alexandria....probably by Ptolemy’s son.

It was housed in a tomb which became the centre of a cult lasting to, and beyond, the time of Cleopatra.

Many reliable sources attest to the body being housed in a golden( later crystal) coffin and it was seen my several prominent Romans.

That the building, and its contents, have subsequently vanished is not surprising given the fate of Hellenistic Alexandria generally.

You’re right in that it may reappear with dedicated and extensive exploration of Alexandria’s ancient ruins.....unlikely under the current regime.

Those searching for Alexander elsewhere are, with almost complete certainty, on a wild goose chase.

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