Where is the tomb of Alexander the Great?

Hello guys, a long time ago in ancient Greece, a legendary person was born. His name was Alexander the III (A.k.a. Alexander the Great). He was a very charismatic person and at an early age, he had shown his qualities as a leader. At the age of 16, he had his first victory as a general against “the Sacred Band of Thebes—a supposedly unbeatable, select army made up entirely of male lovers—during the Battle of Chaeronea” (Source: History.com, https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/alexander-the-great. Later on,he succeeded his father (Phillip the II) to the Macedonian throne, after the latter was killed by Pausanias. “Then, in 334 BC he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years” (Source Wikipedia). Finally, he died of fever in Babylon, at the age of 33 during his campaigns. He had managed to create a vast empire that was split into four. His generals had taken control of these territories and they were fighting among themselves, in order to gain control of the empire.

The vast empire of Alexander the Great (Image credit: WIKIPEDIA)

Initially, the resting place of Alexander the great was known. An article in wikipedia says this about Alexander’s burial:

According to Quintus Curtius Rufus and Justin, Alexander asked shortly before his death to be interred in the temple of Zeus Ammon at Siwah Oasis.[5] Alexander, who requested to be referred to and perceived as the son of Zeus Ammon, did not wish to be buried alongside his actual father at Aegae.[5] Alexander’s body was placed in a coffin of “hammered gold”, according to Diodorus, which was “fitted to the body”. The coffin is also mentioned by Strabo and Curtius Rufus (subsequently, in 89–90 BC the golden coffin was melted down and replaced with that of glass or crystal[6]).

Alexander’s wish to be interred in Siwa was not honored. In 321 BC, on its way back to Macedonia, the funerary cart with Alexander’s body was hijacked in Syria by one of Alexander’s generals, Ptolemy I Soter. In late 322 or early 321 BC Ptolemy diverted the body to Egypt where it was interred in Memphis, the center of Alexander’s government in Egypt. While Ptolemy was in possession of Alexander’s body, Perdiccas and Eumenes had Alexander’s armor, diadem and royal scepter.

According to Plutarch, who visited Alexandria, Python of Catana and Seleucus were sent to a serapeum to ask the oracle whether Alexander’s body should be sent to Alexandria and the oracle answered positively.[8] In the late 4th or early 3rd century BC Alexander’s body was transferred from the Memphis tomb to Alexandria for reburial[9] (by Ptolemy Philadelphus in c. 280 BC, according to Pausanias). Later Ptolemy Philopator placed Alexander’s body in Alexandria’s communal mausoleum.[9] The mausoleum was called the Soma or Sema, which means “body” in Greek. By 274 BC Alexander was already entombed in Alexandria.[10] The Tomb of Alexander became the focal point for the Ptolemaic cult of Alexander the Great.” (Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Alexander_the_Great)

At first , the people of the ancient world knew were Alexander was buried but at some point, his body is vanished. Nobody knows its current location. The whereabouts of the tomb of Alexander the Great is one of the biggest archaeological mysteries of the modern world. There have been numerous attempts to find his tomb, but none of them were successful. There are several scenarios about the location of his grave. Let’s have a look at some of the most famous ones.

Amphipolis

Amphipolis was an ancient Greek city that was built by the Athenians in 437 B.C. At some point it was captured by the Spartans during the Peloponnese war, but afterwards it fell to the hands of Phillip the II. Hence, Amphipolis became a part of the Macedonian kingdom. This city is located in modern Serres, a province of Northern Greece and the first excavations in this area were done in 1913. After many excavations, the archaeologists had found a huge circular hill that had a huge tomb in it (aka Kasta tomb). Some people believe that this could be the tomb of Alexander the Great, but many historians disagree with this view by claiming that there are no historical evidence to support this view. Most ancient sources state that he was buried in Alexandria. The archaeologists that were in charge of the excavations of this tomb had announced in 2014 that the construction of this monument was ordered by Alexander the Great for Hephaestion, his best friend. That probably kills the possibility of Alexander being buried in this tomb, but some people still believe that Alexander could be hidden in one of the chambers of this tomb

This is the Kasta tomb

The royal tombs of Vergina

In 1977, a Greek archaeologist called Manolis Andronikos had started an excavation in the small city of Vergina which is located in northern Greece. It is now believed that this city is in the area of ancient Aegae, the first capital of ancient Macedonia. Andronikos had found there, the tombs of some of the most important people of the Macedonian kingdom. According to Andronikos, these were the graves of Macedonian kings including Phillip the II and the son of Alexander the Great, Alexander the IV. Some scientists dismiss this theory claiming that these tombs had simply belonged to Macedonian noblemen and not to royal members of the Macedonian rulers.

However, there is another interesting theory about these tombs. Some scholars believe that it is not Phillip II that is buried in the second tomb but Alexander the Great! According to some new evidence that have been found ,Phillip’s skeleton was out of the tombs. Due to a foot injury that this skeleton has, it is now believed that this had belonged to Phillip the II because it matches the historical accounts about a wound that he had sustained in his foot during a battle. (source: national geographic, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/07/150720-philip-macedon-alexander-the-great-dad-greece-archaeology/#:~:text=Was%20This%20Really%20the%20Tomb%20of%20Alexander%20the%20Great’s%20Father%3F&text=Archaeologists%20who%20excavated%20this%20tomb,rest%20in%20a%20nearby%20tomb. )

This means that there’s another person in the second Tomb of the royal tombs of Vergina. Eleni Glykatzi arveler, a famous historian, believes that it is Alexander the Great that’s inside this chamber. She claims that traces of a mineral was found in the supposed body of Phillip. According to scientists this mineral only exists in Egypt and as it is widely known Alexander the Great was buried in Alexandria of Egypt for some time. She has an entire theory that backs this claim. There is a very interesting article about this but it is in Greek. Most of you wouldn’t make sense out of it, but in case you know Greek you can check it out here: https://www.voria.gr/article/arveler-xipniste-echoume-ton-mega-alexandro-thammeno-sti-vergina

The entrance to the tombs of Vergina

The tomb is located in Alexandria

The most popular scenario about Alexander’s resting place is that it is located in Alexandria. According to wikipediaThe Egyptian Supreme Council for Antiquities has officially recognized over 140 search attempts for Alexander’s tomb.[9] Mahmoud el-Falaki (1815–1885), who compiled the map of ancient Alexandria, believed Alexander’s tomb is in the center of Alexandria, at the intersection of the Via Canopica (modern Horreya Avenue) and the ancient street labeled R5” (Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Alexander_the_Great). So far however none of these attempts were fruitful. Alexander’s tomb is still hidden somewhere in the world.

The tomb was destroyed by Christian Fanatics

There is a rather pessimistic theory that claims that Alexander’s tomb was destroyed by Christian fanatics, because it was a pagan monument. It is widely known that religious fanatics were vandalizing Greek monuments because they considered them paganistic. It is also believed that these people had burned many ancient texts of famous philosophers for the same reason.

These were the main theories about Alexander’s tomb. I hope you liked this article. Bye bye guys!


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