traditional center of the Macedonian Kingdom. Yet, Ptolemy intercepted the burial train to Syria and compelled those on duty to bring the deceased to Egypt. While some ancient sources suggested that Alexander the Great desired to be buried in his favourite city, the case of abduction seems more reasonable. Alexander never saw his city and possibly would never return back, since he seems to have decided Babylon to be the capital of his Empire. Moreover, there is no evidence, which could indicate that the “under construction” Alexandria was in favour of the king or attracted his attention after his leave from Egypt. Finally, if Alexander would desire to be buried in Alexandria, the body would never been sent to Aige, the traditional capital of Macedon. It seems clear that Ptolemy most of all was keen to increase his status by possessing the body of Alexander. Initially the body seems to have been transferred to Memphis. A possible location for the first tomb was the Sarapeion (sanctuary of Osiris-Apis in Saqqara). This might have been the safest area to secure the possession of the corpse, while residents of Egypt would accept Alexander as venerable figure, since his body was now included in the most popular sanctuary of the city, related to death and resurrection of the god Osiris-Apis. In the Dromos, leading to the main temple of sanctuary, archaeological excavations revealed a group of statues articulated in a hemicycle statue base, dating in the reign of Ptolemy I, composed by statues of Greek poets and philosophers, including Pindar and Homer. Undoubtedly, the two latter were the most favourite ones of Alexander 88
the Great . Also, a statue of Plato was part of the group, the teacher of Alexander’s tutor, Aristotle (Fig. 94).
Fig. 94. Sarapeion in Memphis. Semicircle of Philosophers
For the Hemicycle of Sarapeion at Memphis, see Ashton, 2003.