The great commander Alexander the Great passed away at a very early age. He was only 32 at the time. The exact reason behind his death is still a mystery for some, still a question of debate. Some scholars attribute his death to malaria, poison or typhoid. However, one thing is for sure that he suffered a high fever that lasted at least a week. It is also said that he died sometime in June, in 323 BC and it was a boiling hot summer. Some Persians shaved their heads, some all dressed up in black, not even one baby was crying. People were in mourning. The fires coming through the temples were quenched. Then embalmers came. They watched the body in great agony, not knowing what to do since he was not only a great soldier but also a God in disguise. They did not like the idea of touching a body out of this world, but still they had to perform their job.
His son from Roxane was still unborn. The catafalque had to be the best of the best, unsurpassed in terms of memory and legend. His body was covered with expensive authentic spices and the coffin was made of gold. After all those days funerals were like gifts to honour the dead than a display of mourning. He died in Babylon and he was mummified and buried somewhere in Egypt. The whereabouts of his tomb is still a mystery, but might be somewhere in the Siwah Oasis, at the temple of Zeus Ammon. Being buried there was his wish, that’s why archaeologists are searching for his tomb there in Egypt and also in Alexandria.
Ancient Greek writer Diodorus the Siculus was also there and he witnessed the whole ceremony and wrote about it his book. He says; “The carriage appeared more magnificent when seen than when described. Because of its wide fame it drew together many spectators; for from every city it came to, the people came out to meet it, and followed beside it when it went away, never wearied of their pleasure in the sight.” Book XVII,28.
Before he died, he gathered all his generals and told them, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail.”
The king asked his general to abide by these last wishes:
1). Alexander said, “My physicians alone must only carry my coffin.” I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor on this earth can really cure anybody. They are helpless in front of death.”
2). “I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be filled with the wealth that I collected.I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people know that wealth is nothing but dust.”the king said.
3). “My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept hanging out of my coffin.Bury my body, do not build any monument, keep my hands outside so that the world knows the person who won the world had nothing in his hands when dying.”
His generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes.
What made him so successful? Was it pure luck?
He won a lot of battles thanks to his ability to dream and strategize on a great scale. Although he was outnumbered many times, but still he managed to defeat the enemies. He was also very good at motivating his generals. He was approachable, courageous and fierce. After his death, Philip II reigned over Macedonia from 359 to 336 B.C, but he was as good as Alexander the Great.