Dateline: Alexandria, Egypt, 30 BC
• In the tumultuous aftermath and mop-up of the defeat and suicides of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, the brand-new ruler of Rome and Egypt (soon to be referred to as Imperator Caesar Divi filius Augustus) made a state visit to the Soma super-crypt to pay his respects to one of his role models, Alexander the Great.
• At his request, the mellified body of Alexander was reverently removed from the burial chamber. After having the centuries-old conquerer lifted from his glass sarcophagus, the world’s highest-ranking Roman placed a gold diadem on the corpse’s cranium, then scattered flowers over him.
• Although eyewitness reports disagree, it appears that in a misguided effort to better scrutinize the body, the 33-year-old Roman leader broke off a sizeable piece of Alexander’s nose.
• Hoping to smooth over the de-beaking, the Alexandrian delegation urged him to continue his tour, moving on to view the bodies of the entire Ptolemy dynasty. Instead, the Augustus-to-be gave an audible sniff, saying, “I wished to see a king, not corpses.”
• An appalled silence fell, according to witnesses. Fearing the city’s now-traditional mob violence reaction, Alexandrian officials heartily encouraged Rome’s new head of state to set sail for Italy as soon as possible.