Dateline: Rome, Italy, and Alexandria, Egypt, 215 AD
• At their Rome convention, soothsayers and other political pundits did a survey of Mediterranean movers and shakers. The results showed that Alexander the Great garnered 75 percent of the vote as the world’s most admired conqueror, while fully one-quarter of the respondents believed that Alexander was still alive.
• The survey, accompanied by the freshly removed liver of a large white ox, was presented to Roman Emperor Caracalla, a big Alex fan, who announced that he would sail to Alexandria to honor the iconic action figure.
• At the Soma mausoleum complex, the emperor and entourage, consisting of his entire army, were met by Imperial well-wishers. After entering the precinct, Emperor Caracalla sacrificed a large herd of ungulates and laid several boatloads of frankincense and myrrh upon the altars. When the smoke from animal fat and incense cleared sufficiently to allow access, it was discovered that the tomb had been sealed shut by Emperor Caracalla’s father, the late Emperor Severus.
• During the tedious interval required to break into the tomb, several unlucky attendants met with bodily harm as Rome’s top executive impatiently lashed out at underlings.
• Overcome with emotion at viewing the honeyed cadaver of his lifelong hero, the emperor removed his own purple cloak, belt, and armloads of gem-studded jewelry, which he placed upon Alexander’s 538-year-old remains.
• Members of his inner circle of toadies immediately pointed out the uncanny resemblance between Alexander and Emperor Caracalla, noting that the latter had the same ferocious brow and neck tilt as the former.
• Beaming, the emperor left the tomb, later telling reporters, “No wonder my old man didn’t want me, or anyone, to visit the tomb. I bet nobody ever went to my dad and said, hey dude, you and Alexander could be like, twins!”