Alexander Statue from Alexandria?

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to lend any credence to claims of artifacts from the period of our purview being found in Egypt. After all that Cleopatra business of a few weeks ago (about which I might blog some more items that I’ve been sitting on), we get this item from the Egyptian State Information Service:

The Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawwas said 9/5/2009 that a Greek archeological mission under Calliope Papacosta discovered a rare statue made of white marble in Alexandria.

The 80 cm long, 23 cm wide statue has been discovered eight meters deep under the earth surface, Hawwas said.

A ribbon around the head of the statue proves that it belongs to an important person for such ribbon was used only be rulers, Hawwas added.

The facial features of the statue are much similar to that of Alexander the Great especially the nose and hair style, he said.

… so that’s the automatic spin Dr Hawass puts on it. Here’s how the story of the find was spun in the Greek Press (ANA):

The director of the Hellenic Research Institute of the Alexandrian Civilization (HRIAC) this week described a marble statue unearthed on May 4 during excavations in Shalalat Gardens of Alexandria, referring to a “a very important Hellenistic statue, very rare in terms of craftsmanship and beauty, and one that depicts a great figure of Hellenic history.”

The 80cm-tall statue was found in very good condition and retains numerous characteristics reminiscent of statues depicting Alexander the Great.

HRIAC director Kalliopi Limneou-Papakosta, an archaeologist, underlined that the statue will have to be studied further in order to draw safer conclusions as regards the identity of the figure it depicts.

The specific statue is regarded as the most important discovery made in Alexandria in recent times, and will soon be on display at the city’s archaeological museum.

The SIS version, for what it’s worth, was accompanied by this tiny photo:

Egyptian State Information Service photo
Egyptian State Information Service photo

Looks more like an athlete than an Alexander to me, but it really isn’t that great of a photo. What’s worth noting, however — perhaps as a warning — is that the area where this was found (i.e. Shalalat Gardens) is the place where some folks — most recently Andrew Chugg (video here … takes a while to download) — would place the tomb of Alexander.

2 thoughts on “Alexander Statue from Alexandria?

  1. Well, there are certainly elements that suggest that it could be Alexander, but I would agree that it looks more like an athlete. For a start, the report says the hairstyle is reminiscent of Alexander, but I disagree – for a start, the hair on Alexander statues tends to be longer and more leonine. But also the head position would be very unusual for an Alexander statue. Of course, it might have been an athlete who wanted to emulate Alexander and asked for the statuette to resemble the dead king …?

    Of course I’d love to say that it’s Alexander, but I have to admit I’m sceptical. As you say, more like wishful thinking, I fear.

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