The Tomb of Cleopatra: History’s Ill-Fated Love Story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra are among the most famous lovers from the pages of ancient history. For several years, several sensational claims have emerged, stating that archaeologists have finally uncovered the long-lost tomb of history's most ill-fated lovers: Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.
Some even state that the researchers have reached the doors of the famous final resting place. Unfortunately, neither of the statements seem to be true. While there are high chances that archaeologists might be searching in the right area, the tomb has not yet been discovered.
Several news reporters asserted that famed Egyptian archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass during a lecture in Palermo, Italy, became excited regarding the imminent discovery of the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. In January 2019, the world was abuzz with whispers, and even the Western media centers broadcasted headlines like "Antony and Cleopatra's long lost tomb found and is set to be uncovered." According to the rumors, a team lead by esteemed archaeologist Zahi Hawass was closing in on the site of where the queen of Egypt and the Roman general had been buried. However, utter disappointment spread across the world as these allegations proved to be false. Hawass and his team debunked the myth in an interview and stated the stories to be false with such a sign of the tomb. As with the spread of these rumors, it is expected these claims must have sprung from some kernel of truth. In the same month in a press conference, Hawass declared that the tomb could be discovered in the ancient city of Taposris Magna, where catacombs of Egyptian artifacts relating to Cleopatra have earlier been found.
Amateur archaeologist Kathleen Martinez currently undertakes the excavation, and Hawass analyzing the efforts concedes to be on the right track. Hence, excavation for the generation-long search of the elusive tomb continues. Antony and Cleopatra's eternal resting place has long fascinated archaeologists and historians for several generations due to the story of the couple's colorful history and ill-fated demise. Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt ruled between 51 B.C. and 30 B.C. was renowned for her remarkable perception and gracefulness.
Greek historian Plutarch describes her as "the sort that would astound those who saw her; interaction with her was captivating…her tongue was like a many-stringed instrument."
Story of Cleopatra and Antony:
Cleopatra married Julius Caesar and had a son named Cesarion or "Little Caesar." After Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C., the Roman politician, general, and co-counsel of Caesar, Mark Anthony formed a political triumvirate with Octavian, the chosen heir, and great-nephew of Julius Caesar, and with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, the Roman diplomat. Cleopatra met with Antony for political alliance, but both of them fell in love with each other. When they met, Antony was already married to Octavian's sister, divorced her for Cleopatra, enraging Octavian.
Both Cleopatra and Antony flaunted their decadent love affair for 10 years and had three children together. Their political coalition began to deteriorate under extreme stress, ego, propaganda, and ambitions. Later on, Octavian declared war against Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 B.C. Antony's navy was completely demolished in the Battle of Actium, and the lovers escaped to Egypt with Octavian on their heels. With the invasion of Alexandria, both of them decided to commit suicide. Antony stabbed himself with a sword after hearing the rumors about Cleopatra's death. After he realized it to be a rumor, he wished to die in her arms. After his death, Cleopatra managed to commit suicide through poison, allegedly through the forced bite of a poisonous snake, for joining her lover and escaping humiliation and captivity. However, the legend claims they could not be separated even after their death, and ancient historians such as Suetonius and Plutarch were buried side by side in a tomb. It's claimed that it was the wish and command of Octavian Cleopatra's body should be buried with her lover's in a splendid and regal fashion. Despite strong evidence of the existence of the tomb, the location has remained lost to history.
Archaeologists, historians, and other fans of one of the world's first celebrity couples have been puzzled over the tomb's location for centuries. For several years the tomb was thought to be somewhere near Alexandria. The city was ravaged by several earthquakes, rising seas, tidal waves and is currently 20 feet underwater. In 1992, Franck Goddio, a French explorer, led the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology for conducting underwater excavations of ancient Alexandria. Their efforts have uncovered grand stone sphinxes, massive limestone blocks, towering granite columns, and even an empty cigarette pack with Cleopatra's name, but failed to find her tomb. Following the attempt, archaeologists turned their attention towards the desert temple located outside the city. They formulated a theory that explained the prestigious pharaoh Cleopatra wanted her tomb in a more sacred place than in downtown Alexandria. There is minimal evidence that remains uncovered that the tomb is in a secret location. Another search was carried out in 2006 in the decrepit temple located 28 miles west of the city of Alexandria near the ancient city of Taposiris Magna (present-day Abu Sir) sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mareotis.
However, under the leadership of Kathleen Martinez, the team of archaeologists uncovered more than 1000 ancient artifacts, including pottery, coins, broken statues, and a large cemetery.
The ancient city of Taposiris Magna, once renowned for its vineyards, is renowned for its most active archaeological excavations in Egypt. Although all the treasures have been discovered, the tomb of the ill-fated Roman lovers is still a mystery and secret. If the tomb is uncovered, the discovery is said to match in prestige only by the excavation of King Tut in 1922; until then, archaeologists will continue digging and solving the mystery.
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