2010-12-31 07:01:56 UTC
ancient Egypt, this one dealing with the search
for Alexander the Great's body. Now I for one can
think of two possibilities in this case:
The body has long since been destroyed.
The body has long since been found.
I can't exactly deal with the first possibility,
but as for the second...
"Unknown Man E."
Now, if you're the least bit familiar with Egyptology
(Sorry, collective) you've heard of "Unknown Man
E," and this "Unknown Man E" fits the mark for
Alexander the Great in every way, shape & form
except for dating. And, this is where it gets interesting:
I'm not aware of any firm dating.
"Unknown Man E" is alternatively known as "The
Screaming Man," called so from his open mouth.
His preservation & burial are anything but typical
Egyptian, yet other evidence points to him being
a man of high status. One common explanation for
this is that the man died and was embalmed outside
of Egypt (as Alexander was) or was himself a
foreigner (as Alexander was). As an example...
In the ancient Egyptian "Tale of Sinhue" the king
lures Sinhue home to Egypt with the following
(amongst other) words....
: You will not die upon the hill-land, the Asiatics will
: not inter you You are not to be placed in a sheepskin
: as your enclosure is made It is too long for wandering
: the land, think of the corpse and return
Okay. Get it? FOREIGNERS wrap their dead in sheepskin,
not Egyptians! Egyptians thought it was icky.
"Unknown Man E" was buried wrapped in sheepskin. There's
also issues regarding the embalming techniques which
point to non-Egyptian source.
The single most safest, easiest & conservative answer to
all this is that "Unknown Man E" died somewhere other
than Egypt. No, this does not require him to be a foreigner
(Egyptians traveled), but he almost certainly died and was
embalmed somewhere other than Egypt.
But there is the issue of his uniqueness. In an age when
people often died from things like tooth decay, and
considering all the wars that were fought, it's a given that
Egypt had to have many high ranking officials die outside
it's borders... but none are embalmed like this man, and
none are buried this way. And this does suggest that
something was different about this man. If he was a
foreigner this would explain why he is so different.
Now the flip side...
The dating is all wrong. On the other hand, "Unknown
Man E" has never himself been scientifically
dated. Based on various techniques and styles he has
been tentatively dated from as early as the 18th
dynasty to as late as the 21st, but all of this is superficial.
If he was foreign, or at least embalmed by foreigners,
you can't exactly date him using methods that rely on
him being an Egyptian embalmed by Egyptians.
Yes, if he was embalmed by foreigners than the dating
techniques are useless.
Another issue is the man's age. After his discovery he
was tentatively placed in his early to mid 20s. But such
dating is imprecise to say the least, and more recent
testing calls this age into question, saying only that he
was under 40.
Which, yeah, fits Alexander the Great to a T.