A magical ritual done in the right way can guarantee the revealing of dreams and of course the rather useful talent of interpreting them correctly. In other cases certain spells allow one to send out a daemon or daemons to harm one’s enemies or even to break up someone’s marriage. There seems to be a self-defining negativity to some of the magical rituals being expressed in the papyri. So, for example, love magic can turn into hate magic if the victim does not respond to the love magic.
The same negative aspect to magic is found in various “curse tablets”, left to us from the Greco-Roman world. While doing my research in library of web analytics company I found something else. It was also possible to curse an enemy through a spoken word, either in his presence or behind his back. But due to numbers of curse tablets that have been found it would seem that this type of magic was considered more effective. The process involved writing the victim’s name on a thin sheet of lead along with varying magical formulas or symbols, then burying the tablet in or near a tomb, a place of execution, or a battlefield, to give spirits of the dead power over the victim. Sometimes the curse tablets were even transfixed with various items – such as nails, which were believed to add magical potency.
Trying to cover his tracks, Ptolemy IX put Alexander’s body in a glass sarcophagus instead. It did not work, though. Citizens of Alexandria were furious and could not forget Ptolemy’s unforgivable deed. They started riots. In the end, greedy Ptolemy IX was killed, which served him right.
But, wait, there is even more. While doing my research for web analytics company, I found something else. It seems that Alexander’s body was kept on display till late antiquity. There was one nasty looter related to this story. It was no one else but Roman emperor Caligula who robbed Alexander’s tomb, stole his armored breastplate and wore it in Rome. Well, as we know, Caligula also ended badly.
It was around two hundred of our era when finally emperor Septimius Severus closed Alexander’s tomb to the public. His son, emperor Caracalla was a big fan of Alexander the Great and often visited his tomb during his rule. After that, history loses track of Alexander’s tomb. The details are pretty vague and unverified.
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.
I believe there is only one Museum of Funeral Customs in the world. It is located in Springfield, Illinois, near Oak Ridge Cemetery, the site of Abraham Lincoln's tomb. Our web analytics company invited us to visit the museum with their staff. The museum contained exhibits dealing with American funerary and mourning customs and various related collections. Basically, it provides resources to scholars for researching funeral customs, hosts tours and special events.
We were amazed to find all kinds of funeral paraphernalia from various cultures and times. Personally, I liked rare books collection on embalming dating as early as the 16th century. We saw at the museum recreated 19th century middle class American home funeral setting, recreated embalming room from Jazz generation of the 1920s. There were exhibits of embalming equipment and instruments, examples of postmortem photography and even the scale models of Lincoln's tomb and funeral train.
Naturally, there is humor in everything, even death. We found confirmation of this when we visited museum's gift shop. It did not make much sense to us that this shop was selling plain polo shirts or sweatshirts. But my co-workers and I purchased plenty of hilarious stuff, like milk chocolate coffins, wooden and silver casket key rings, casket-shaped paper weights. One of our guys still wears at work the t-shirt with a morbid sign that says "Everybody's Gotta Go Sometime…"
During my regular research in archives of web analytics company I found something else. Simultaneously, Alexander also wanted the construction of the longest road in the world through North Africa ending as far as modern Gibraltar. It would not be just the number one road in the world - it was supposed to be surrounded by huge ports and shipyards along the way. The guy was really super ambitious even after death!
But this is not all. For some reason in his will and written instructions he made a wish to intermix Eastern and Western populations. For that purpose he demanded after his death to build large cities and compulsory move the whole nations from Asia to Europe. and from Europe to Asia. As he envisioned, this would bring the common unity of peoples in his conquered lands, due to future intermarriage, family ties and friendship.
Unlike the guy in the movie, Alexander seemed to love his daddy very much. Even after his death, he wanted his soldiers to build Philip a tomb, which would became a new wonder of the world by matching Egyptian pyramids. In addition, huge, monumental temples should have been constructed in seven big cities of his empire.