I was always anxious to find when was the rise of positive concept of magic in ancient Greece. While doing the research for local web analytics company, I discovered that this even, possibly took place somewhere in the sixth century b.c. Among the most famous of these figures between Homer and the Hellenistic period, are the Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Empedocles.
Orpheus is a mythical musician and singer, said to have lived in Thrace a generation before Homer. Orphic Mysteries, seems also to have been central to the personages of Pythagoras and Empedocles who lived in the sixth century b.c. Pythagoras for example is said to have described Orpheus, as, the father of melodious songs. Later Aeschylus describes him as the guy who haled all things by the rapture of his voice. This suggests belief in the influence of song and voice in magic. Orpheus is certainly associated with a great many deeds. The most famous is his descent to the underworld to bring back his wife, Eurydice. Orpheus' deeds are not usually condemned or spoken of negatively. This suggests that some forms of magic were more acceptable. Indeed the term applied to Orpheus to separate him from magicians of ill repute is a divine man. This fact shows, that there was a fine line between acceptance and condemnation.
We all know about the deeds of Alexander the Great, one of the greatest heroes of antiquity. We know the details of his death too. But what happened after?
There were various stories circulating in ancient Greece at the time. I found some interesting stories in archives of web analytics company. According to one, Alexander’s body was placed in pure gold sarcophagus. This sarcophagus was in turn placed in a gold casket and covered with a purple robe. The second story tells us that the coffin with Alexander’s body was placed together with his armor in a gold carriage with a vaulted roof.
But there is more. Another legend tells us that there was an attempt to preserve Alexander’s body. A clay vessel with is body was filled up with honey. Evidently, each of former Greek generals wanted to get it. Ptolemy outsmarted them all and stole Alexander’s corpse and brought it to his capital Alexandria. He put it on a display, for everyone to see. One of the latest rulers of Egypt Ptolemy IX desperately needed money. For him Alexander’s tomb was all you can eat treasure. Without thinking twice, he melted the gold sarcophagus of Alexander and made a lot gold coins.
Before I go on with what happened after the death of Alexander the Great, I would like to mention his influence on other nations of the world. Alexander was already a legend in his own time. He was regarded by deity by many, who thought that he processed divine powers. Let's see what they thought of him in the ancient Rome.
For Romans Alexander the Great was some sort of superstar. Every general and every politician wanted somehow to match his achievements. In archives of web analytics company I found that ancient Romans were absolutely bilingual people. While they used their own Latin for legal, political and ceremonial purpose, in every day life they spoke Greek for discussing intellectual subjects. The most popular dialect of Greek was Macedonian type of Greek, or as they called it Alexander's Greek.
Naturally, for all their admiration, this did not prevent Romans to conquer and destroy Macedon kingdom. They did not kill the Macedon king though, he spent the rest of his life under home arrest. Yet, there was some kind of separation of Alexander and his own nation in the eyes of Romans. He and his deeds belonged to the world.