From: (David J. White)

Subject: Re: Alexander and poison (fwd)

Date: Fri, 10 Feb 1995 09:31:56 -0500 (EST)

Subject: Re: Alexander and poison

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Siwa inscription
naming Alexander and poison is a fraud. It does not exist. The Greek delega-
tes from the Ministry of Culture saw a dedicatory inscription written on
an architrave of a building from the reign of Trajan. It named Artemidoros,
eparch of Egypt. There was no Alexander and no tomb. 

Olga Palagia


Subject: The "Tomb" of Alexander (fwd)
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 1995 08:01:58 -0500 (EST)

	I  thought I'd hiss a word of warning on the "Alexander Tomb" to you 
all,  in case you haven't seen this item in the New York Times on Monday (p. 

	"CAIRO,  Feb.  5  - A high-level archaeological team from the  Greek 
Government,  investigating  claims that the tomb of Alexander the Great  had 
been discovered in Egypt's western desert,  visited the site today and  said 
that they saw no evidence that the tomb had been found.
	But Liana Souvaltzi,  the archaeologist who announced last week that 
she had found the tomb outside the oasis of Siwa,  said on Saturday: "I have 
no reservations.  This is Alexander's tomb.  There is no doubt."
	She  said  the  tomb was built in Macedonian style  and  that  three 
tablets uncovered at the site provided the archaeological proof.
	One of the tablets, she said, was written by Alexander's lieutenant. 
Ptolemy I, and affirmed a legend that Alexander had been poisoned.  Another, 
she  said,  was left by the Roman emperor Trajan,  who she said had paid his 
respects at the site.
	But the Greek team,  headed by the General Secretary of the Ministry 
of  Culture,  George Thomas,  said it was unclear if the structure  she  was 
excavating was even a tomb.
	He  and  members of the team said that the style of the complex  was 
not,  as Mrs.  Souvaltzi said, Macedonian.  And they said that the fragments 
of  tablets  they  were shown did not support any of  the  translations  she 
provided as proof of her discovery.
	The team members also said that the fragment they saw were from  the 
Roman period, some 300 years after the death of Alexander the Great.
	"We are not sure if the complex is a tomb or temple," said Dr. Yanni 
Tzedakis,  the  Director of Antiquities for the Greek Government,  "although 
there  are elements of the Hellenistic period in the  rubble.   It  appears, 
however, to be from a later period."
	Mrs.  Souvaltzi  has refused to allow the visiting team to read  her 
report  on the excavations.   She has also refused to brief the team on  her 
work.   She  gave  no  reason for her refusal to cooperate  with  the  Greek 
	"The  fact that the report on the excavations is not being shown  to 
us  is curious," Dr.  Tzedakis said.   "She should present photos and plans, 
along with details of the excavations to back up her claim.   This is how it 
is done in Greece."
	Abdel-Halim   Nureddin,   chairman  of  the   Egyptian   Antiquities 
Organization,  who  said earlier in the week that he supported the claim  by 
Mrs. Souvlatzi, now says he is less sure about the find.
	"It is an important discovery," Mr.  Noureddin said, "but we have to 
be  a bit careful.   We must wait for further study and a reconsideration of 
the text."
	Mrs. Souvaltzi, who has an archaeological degree from the University 
of Athens, has been excavating in the area around Siwa, 50 miles east of the 
Libyan border, for the past four years.
	The inscriptions on the tablets, broken into pieces, were translated 
by Mrs.  Souvaltzi's husband, who has no formal archaeological training.  He 
also provides the financing for her research.
	Mrs.  Souvaltzi,  who says she has received mystical guidance in her 
research,  in part from snakes,  has claimed in the past that this structure 
was  the tomb of Alexander.   She wrote an article in an Egyptian  magazine, 
published  by  Cairo  University  three years  ago,  saying  that  the  same 
structure was the tomb of Alexander.
	The  report  was dismissed at the time by senior  archaeologists  in 
Egypt and Greece.
	The  Greek team said that the fragments of tablets they  were  shown 
did not appear to support Mr. Souvaltzi's translations.  They also said that 
they  did not see the eight-pointed Macedonian star Mrs.  Souvaltzi says she 
found on what she describes as the tomb.
	"These  inscriptions have nothing to do with the period  of  Ptolemy 
I," Mr. Tzedakis said, "and they are very well dated.  We did not see any of 
the  words  they  say were inscribed on  the  tablets,  not  Alexander,  not 
Ptolemy, not even the word poison."
	Alexander,  King  of Macedonia,  led his armies out of Greece in 334 
B.C.  at the age of 22 and conquered an empire that covered much of Asia and 
the Middle East.  Ancient texts indicate that, after his death in Babylon in 
323  B.C.  on a military campaign,  his body was moved to Syria and then  to 
Egypt.  But his final burial place remains a mystery.
	About 570 B.C., the Pharaoh Amasis built a temple in Siwa to the god 
Amun.   The  temple oracle was one of the most famous in antiquity  and  was 
famed for being able to answer difficult question.
	Alexander went to Siwa in 332 B.C.  to see the oracle.   The oracle, 
according to legend, told Alexander he was divine and the son of Amun.

	Ogden Goelet