Whatever Happened To The Body Of Alexander The Great?

When it comes to great historical leaders, oftentimes their final resting places will match (or even exceed) the significance of their life in scope. For example, it's easy to identify where the remains of certain Egyptian pharaohs are — there are giant pyramids atop them, according to Britannica.

However, often as not their graves get lost to the mists of history. Poor record keeping, the ravages of war and conquest, grave robbing, unverifiable legends, and the passage of time can obfuscate where the body of an historical figure may have found its final resting place.

When it comes to Alexander the Great, the Greek conqueror who ruled much of the world a few centuries BCE, the location of his body is a centuries-old mystery, according to the book, "Alexander's Tomb: The Two Thousand Year Obsession to Find the Lost Conqueror." His remains changed locations a few times before being utterly forgotten about after a few centuries, and to this day, no one knows where he's buried — or do they?

Alexander the Great's body might be in Egypt

Alexander the Great died in 323 BCE, according to Archaeology, and if his wishes had been followed, his body would have been thrown into a river. That did not happen, and instead, his succeeding generals devised a plan to build a proper tomb for him. Eventually, he was buried in Memphis (Egypt), then re-buried in Alexandria (Egypt), then moved again to another Alexandria mausoleum.

That mausoleum was almost certainly raided and looted by armies that crossed through the region over the ensuing centuries. And by the fourth century CE, if accounts from Christian scholars of the era are to be believed, no one in Alexandria knew where any of Alexander's three tombs were located. By the 9th, 10th, and 16th centuries, Arab scholars were claiming to have visited Alexander's tomb, but none of their accounts specified where it was.

Archaeologists have undertaken multiple efforts to find the body, with little success. As recently as 2019, according to National Geographic, researchers believe they found clues in the excavation of an ancient Alexandrian royal dwelling, but as of this writing, the location of Alexander's tomb remains elusive.