Where is the tomb of Alexander the Great, one of the most successful rulers and military strategists of all time? He was only 33-years-old when he died in Babylon in 323 BC.


Mosaic of Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was born in Pella in 356 BC. He was the son of King Philip II of Macedonia and the student of the great Greek Philosopher Aristotle. He had his first military victory when he was only 16-years-old. Despite his obvious strengths as a king’s son, Philip and Alexander had a falling out when Philip chose a new wife of Macedonian birth. There was talk of producing a “legitimate” heir. This angered Alexander and he and his mother were exiled.


Nonetheless, Alexander became king when his father was assassinated during his daughter’s wedding. He was 20-years-old. By the time he was 26-years-old, he had conquered the Persian Empire.
Body Laid in Memphis, Egypt

He said before his death that he was leaving his kingdom to “the strongest.” If he had wanted his empire to exist in peace after his death, he chose the wrong words. His men took this to mean that the strongest of them would take the place of Alexander. This naturally led to fighting.
Amidst all of the bickering, plans for the burial of the king were being made, which they also argued about. Plans were made and changed several times. Ultimately, Ptolemy I Soter hijacked the body in 321 BCE before its transfer to Aegea and laid Alexander’s remains to rest in Memphis, Egypt.
The funeral procession of Alexander the Great, as depicted by Diodorus Siculus. Image: Public Domain.
The Coffin
According to Diodorus Siculus in Book XVIII:

First, they prepared a coffin of the proper size for the body, made of hammered gold, and the space about the body they filled with spices such as could make the body sweet-smelling and incorruptible. Upon this chest there had been placed a cover of gold, matching it to a nicety, and fitting about its upper rim. Over this was laid a magnificent purple robe embroidered with gold, beside which they placed the arms of the deceased, wishing the design of the whole to be in harmony with his accomplishments.

Revered in Death
Because of Alexander’s great success in life, brought about by his tenacity and daring, he was greatly revered in death. This is how we know where his tomb was in certain places at certain times. There are records of such people as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Caligula (who may have had his breastplate stolen out of his sarcophagus) visiting his tomb. We also know that Alexander the Great’s body may have been placed in a golden sarcophagus.

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