Alexander's Tomb: The Two-Thousand Year Obsession to Find the Lost Conquerer

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Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize in American History, this is a landmark history of how the entire American health care system of doctors, hospitals, health plans, and government programs has evolved over the last two centuries.

A landmark history of how the entire American health care system has evolved over the last two centuries.

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Overview

Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize in American History, this is a landmark history of how the entire American health care system of doctors, hospitals, health plans, and government programs has evolved over the last two centuries.

A landmark history of how the entire American health care system has evolved over the last two centuries.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although the heroic exploits of Alexander the Great have been memorialized in fiction, films and biographies, the location of his tomb remains a mystery. British anthropologist Saunders (People of the Jaguar), an armchair Indiana Jones, deftly chronicles the various searches for Alexander's tomb by pharaohs, Christian emperors and archeologists from antiquity to the present. As Saunders tells it, while Alexander's corpse lay in state in Babylon in 321 B.C., a power battle among his generals led one of them, Ptolemy, to steal the corpse and carry it to Memphis in Egypt for burial. Later Ptolemy moved the body to Alexandria; 70 years later, one of Ptolemy's sons moved the body yet again to a more ostentatious home in Alexandria. Cleopatra plundered the tomb, and when Christianity became Rome's official religion in the fourth century A.D., Alexander's tomb may have been among the many pagan shrines and tombs destroyed throughout the empire. In 2004, one scholar speculated that Alexander's body lay beneath the altar of St. Mark's Church in Venice, buried by ninth-century Christians who mistook Alexander's remains for those of Saint Mark. Saunders's lively prose draws readers into this compelling tale of conquest, political intrigue and the aura surrounding one of history's great heroes. 16 pages of b&w photos. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In 323 B.C.E., Alexander the Great died in Babylon at the age of 33 after having conquered (or liberated) lands under Persian domination from Egypt to Afghanistan and as far as India. Alexander's body was mummified (unlike those of his royal predecessors) and lay in state in that city until 321 B.C.E., when Ptolemy diverted the Macedonia-bound funeral cortege to Egypt in order to gain legitimacy for his own ambitions there. Saunders (anthropology, University Coll. London; People of the Jaguar) has written the only English-language monograph currently available for a general audience on the mystery and cultural significance-down to the present day-of Alexander's tomb. The narrative is intertwined with the history of Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander in 331 B.C.E. during his campaign in Egypt and the site of his mausoleum. Such potent figures as Napoleon, Nelson, and archaeologist Howard Carter (of King Tut fame) shared a fascination for Alexander. Useful resources provided by the author include a glossary, a substantial bibliography, a "Dramatis Personae," and a time line extending from Alexander's birth through 2004. Recommended for public libraries. (Some illustrations and index not seen.)-Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Charles McGrath
....This important book is written with wit, irony and great style. --The New York Times Books of the Century
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465072026
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/23/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Nicholas J. Saunders is a lecturer in the department of anthropology at University College, London, and a regular commentator on British television and radio.
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Table of Contents

Timeline
Introduction: Ghosts in Ruins 1
1 The Cloak of Immortality 5
2 Death and Dying in Babylon 17
3 Stealing the Body and the Memphis Tomb 33
4 Who Moved Alexander's Corpse? 49
5 The Alexandrian Mausoleum 63
6 Ancient Visitors 79
7 The Tomb Disappears 95
8 The Two-Horned Lord and Medieval Whispers 113
9 Napoleon, Nelson, and Alexander's Ghost 129
10 Archaeologists, Maps, and Tombs 147
11 Alabaster, Fantasy, and Ancient Walls 163
12 Politics of the Dead 177
13 The Eternal Quest 191
14 Afterlife 201
Dramatis Personae 207
Glossary 229
Acknowledgments 247
Notes 249
Bibliography 269
Index 281
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