Thursday, May 1, 2014


A team of archaeologists "may have found" the Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great under the crypt of an ancient Christian church in the heart of Alexandria.

According to unconfirmed reports, a team of Polish archaeologist claim they found a chamber resembling a mausoleum.

The marble and gold mausoleum had been sealed off, and is lined with inscriptions that combine artistic and architectural influences from Greek, Egyptian, and Persian cultures. 

The tomb contains a broken sarcophagus made of crystal glass, 37 bones, mostly heavily damaged but presumably all from the same adult male, as well as some broken pottery dating from the Ptolemaic and Roman ages.

While there may be no validity to the claim, it highlights the continuing mystery of the Lost Tomb of Alexander ... and raises hopes of finding the Lost Tomb of Antinous. 

A famous site of pilgrimage in Antiquity, the tomb was visited by many famous historical figures, including Julius Caesar and Cleopatra ... depicted by Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison before Alexander's rock crystal sarcophagus in the epic film "Cleopatra."

Numerous emperors came here, including Gaius Octavius, better known as Augustus, who is said to have placed flowers on the tomb and a golden diadem upon Alexander’s mummified head. 

It is possible that Antinous and Emperor Hadrian paid their respects during a visit to Alexandria in 130 AD.

The last recorded visit to the tomb was made by the Roman emperor Caracalla in 215 AD, less than a century before it disappears from Roman records.

The tomb apparently was sealed off and hidden in the 3rd or 4th Century AD, possibly to protect it from the christian repression and destruction of pagan sites after the change of official religion within the Roman Empire. 

It once held a broken sarcophagus made of crystal glass, possibly damaged during the looting that took place during the political disturbances that ravaged Alexandria during the reign of Aurelian shortly after 270 AD. 

The Egyptian Supreme Council for Antiquities has already officially recognized more than 140 unsuccessful searches for the site of Alexander's third and final resting place, built by Ptolemy Philadelphus around 280 BC. 

Many astounding theories have been elaborated over the centuries to explain why the tomb became lost.

One far-fetched yarn suggests that his body could have been unintentionally stolen from Alexandria by a pair of Venetian merchants, taken to Venice, mistakenly renamed and venerated as St. Mark the Evangelist in Basilica di San Marco in Venice.

Most believable, though, is the version handed down by many authors of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, such as Plutarch,  Ibn ‘Abd al-Hakam, Al-Massoudi and Leo the African. 

According to them, Alexander's body was hijacked in Syria by one of his generals, and stolen from its enormous catafalque while it was being transferred back from Babylon to Macedonia. 

That general, Ptolemy I Soter, then diverted the body to Egypt where it was interred in Memphis, the traditional capital of Egypt, while construction proceeded on Alexandria.

When Alexandria was suitably finished and proclaimed the new capital of Egypt in the late 4th or early 3rd Century BC, Alexander's body was transferred from Memphis to Alexandria, where it was entombed.

There it remained for 700 years. But by the 4th Century AD, the tomb's location was no longer known.

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