Dateline: Damascus, Syria, 4 January 321 BC
• After months of travel westward from Babylon, the miles-long funeral cortege of Alexander the Great took a bizarre detour today after an unknown number of attendants and honor guards accompanying the expired leader’s body were killed in a melee.
• The fracas began when the record attendance-breaking cortege approached Damascus, Syria, and was met by Ptolemy I of Egypt, one of the successor generals, and his army. Instead of the expected ceremony to honor his fallen commander, the 40-year-old generalissimo ordered his troops to forcibly divert the mule-drawn cortege and its glittering burden.
• As he headed south, Ptolemy shouted, “I’m not doing this for myself! Alex would have wanted it this way.”
• The cortege was last seen heading toward the Egyptian capital city of Memphis. A surviving eyewitness of the debacle, identified as the overseer of the official Mellify Muletrain, said, “Blinkin’ Ptolemy snatched up the Great One without so much as a by-your-leave. Worse yet, he stole 64 of my best mules. I ask you–who’s going to reimburse me for my loss?”