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royal tombs of alexandria

 
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kylejustin
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Joined: 23 Apr 2008
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Location: victoria, australia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:53 am    Post subject: royal tombs of alexandria Reply with quote

i found this really interesting and detailed article on the search for the tomb of alexander the great:

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/alexandersearch.htm

it outlines the ancient sources for the tomb. it was originally at memphis, but ptolemy II is believed to have moved it to alexandria. it was quite interesting that the sources for his tomb location seem to end in the late 4th century, when it was claimed that no one knew where the tomb was. interestingly this same period saw the advent of christianity as the roman empire's official religion, and the same era also saw the alexandria earthquake i believe.

i found it fascinating, especially that they are unsure where the royal cemetery was. i think his tomb slipped into the sea along with most of the royal section in the earthquake that took down the lighthouse.

people mention that his armour was buried with him, but i do not know if he was buried in it or it was just kept in the tomb. i know julius caesar is supposed to have been given the sword by cleopatra, and that caligula took off with the cuirass. augustus is said to have broken alexander's nose. so they obviously had access to the body itself, i know ptolemy IX melted down alexander's coffin to min coins, and replaced it with a glass coffin. so i guess it would be intersting to know how alexander's body was preserved? would it have been embalmed in the greek sense? with a small thin maybe shroud over the body? you'd think it would decompose after 6 centuries?

another interesting point, is that tourist guides from ancient times mention the tomb, and that many ordinary people were allowed to visit it. this led to modern legends about the location and the false buildings substituted for the tomb. yet no one claims any such buildings as cleopatra's tomb?

and cleopatra was easily as famous in her day as alexander, but for different reasons. makes me wonder why the ptolemaic tombs are always mentioned in passing, but never any detail about their location, architectural style, etc. and i also wonder why cleopatra's tomb was never a tourist attraction? i understand that octavian didn't like her celebrity, so would have wanted her buried quietly, but surely her tomb would have been a place to see, even if she was never buried there?
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anneke
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Joined: 23 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the tombs were mentioned. They describe the Soma, which is part of the royal necropolis. Strabo and Diodorus describe it as a walled enclosure.

I always understood this to be the place where the Ptolemies were buried as well.

I think some of the reports predate Cleopatra, so she would not have been mentioned.

My impression is that Alexander was so much larger than life, that the tombs of the other kings were only mentioned in passing. They were not something people would travel long distances for. The tomb - and body - of Alexander would have been something entirely different.
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good start to receive an overview to the current conditions of research is : Alexander the Great's Lost Tomb.

In many parts surely no longer up-to-date ... However, regarding ancient sources to the topic quite usefully (and free for download) is : Edward Daniel Clarke : The tomb of Alexander - A dissertation on the sarcophagus brought from Alexandria and now in the British Museum (1805).

Greetings, Lutz.
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kylejustin
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Location: victoria, australia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanx for those links lutz, very interesting!

anneke, i understand the royal tombs would be built around alexander's and that classical readers would have no interest in the ptolemaic dynasty. but later roman readers would have been interested in cleopatra, and i think it would have been noted if she were buried near alexander?
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