Dateline: Alexandria, Egypt, circa 89 BC
• Another shameful breach of decorum regarding Alexander the Great, now widely worshipped as the god Amon-Re in Egypt and elsewhere, has shaken the Mediterranean world.
• Last year, Egypt’s morbidly obese ruler Ptolemy X executed
a military coup to regain his throne. Then, unable to pay his mercenaries, he extricated the revered Alexander from his gilded crypt and trappings of beaten gold. Long noted for his dedication to alcoholism, the tenth Ptolemy had the precious metal melted down and turned into coinage, little realizing that he was sowing the seeds of his own demise.
• Although reaction was slow to build, Ptolemy’s money-grubbing perfidy was finally rewarded this year. Chased by irate troops from Egypt onto the sea, the rotund rascal was drowned as he sought refuge on the island of Cyprus.
• As Alexandrian citizens grieve over the desecration of their long-ago founder and namesake, artisans are frantically working around the waterclock, fashioning a transparent coffin for the honeyed corpse of Alexander.
• “It’s beyond state of the art. This coffin will provide better viewing for all, with far less chance of another degrading episode like this one,” commented a top bureaucrat at the elegant Soma complex in downtown Alexandria, which contains the bodies of all the Ptolemies plus Alexander.
The work, shrouded in secrecy until the unveiling, has led to conflicting reports as to whether Alexander the Great’s new containment vessel is made of translucent alabaster, or that cutting-edge substance favored by early adopters, referred to as glass.