2011-01-06 20:21:44 UTC
Here's an interesting tidbit that highlights the importance
of evidence, and the near utter uselessness of tradition...
: In the courtyard of the mosque that had once been the church
: of St. Athanasius, standing inside a small open building, was
: a handsome, heavy sarcophagus carved from a single block of
: rare, beautiful, dark green breccia. It was decorated, inside
: and out, with Egyptian hieroglyphics. Although it was being
: used as a cistern for worshipers' ablutions before prayers,
: locals referred to it as "the tomb of Alexander."
So the popular belief, what was handed down by "Tradition"
was that this sarcophagus was the very tomb of Alexander
: French troops removed it and transported it to the hold of a
: French hospital ship. It was said that they intended to bring
: it to Paris, where a monument to Napoleon would be built
: around it, thus associating the latter with Alexander the Great
: in much the same way rulers had done since Ptolemy first
: hijacked the funeral cortege in southern Turkey.
The French bought into "Tradition," believed it belonged to
Alexander the Great, and wanted to ship it back to France...
: But in 1801, the British invaded Egypt and expelled the
: French. Antiquaries attached to the British forces knew
: about the so-called "Alexander sarcophagus" from travelers'
: writings. They searched for it specifically, removed it from
: the French ship, and today the sarcophagus is not in Paris,
: but in London, on display in the British Museum.
The British believed the stories too, and stole it for themselves...
" ....made it obvious that it had been carved for the last native
: Egyptian pharaoh, Nectanebo II, who had ruled from 360 to
: 343 BC. Historians and archeologists concluded that this
: sarcophagus had never contained the body of Alexander; that
: it came to be called "Alexander's tomb" is an example of the
: great flourishing of legend and false attribution about the
: conqueror that began even during his lifetime.
Human sources -- eyewitness accounts, ancient traditions --
are always inaccurate. Always. In fact, the King James version
of the bible contains just over 12 thousand words, yet is so
devoid of accuracy that people get excited over the most
feeble of archaeological "proofs."
Something to chew on....