Dateline: Rome, Italy, and Alexandria, Egypt, 48 BC
• Gaius Julius Caesar, soon to be Rome’s new dictator for life, arrived on Egypt’s shores to pay homage to Alexander the Great and wrap up a little unfinished business after defeating his military rival Pompey at Pharsalus.
• Dressed in the regalia of a Roman consul, Caesar led a procession to the Alex tomb as his vanquished (and recently decapitated) rival had done.
• The mellified body of Alex, now into his third century, is showcased within the landmark called “Soma” (Greek for “the body”). Nearby is a rock grotto, the underground chamber where Alexander rests.
• At his arrival, rumors swept the city that Queen Cleopatra VII planned to give Caesar a personal tour of the Soma and possibly her other desirable holdings as well.
Soon after the tour, the bright-eyed dictator strode from the grotto where Alexander the Great’s iconic remains remain on round-the-sundial display. “Alex may be 277 years old but he doesn’t look a day over XXXII,” Caesar declared. “I don’t plan to go the honey route myself, but I can only hope to appear that well-preserved after death.”