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Octavian and Alexander the Great

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Octavian Augustus at the tomb of Alexander the Great
Octavian Augustus at the tomb of Alexander the Great

Octavian Augustus, after the victory at Actium (31 BCE) and the suicidal death of Cleopatra and Antony, when he entered Alexandria, ordered to be taken to the tomb of the great Macedonian general, Alexander the Great. According to Suetonius, he honored the body, put a golden crown on his head and showered the body with flowers.

The servants asked Octavian if he would like to see the tombs of Ptolemy, the last dynasty of Egyptian rulers. The Roman replied, “I came to see a king, not a row of corpses!”

Cassius Dio added that when Augustus touched Alexander’s body, he accidentally broke off a small piece of his nose.

  • Cassius Dio, Roman history, 51.16
  • Suetonius, Augustus, 18

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