The last queen of Hellenistic Egypt, Cleopatra, is one of the most famous characters in ancient history. She was glorified by love: Cleopatra loved the Roman commander Mark Antony. She was and remains the most popular heroine of ancient times, whose image is replicated in cinema and literature.
It is known that after the conquest of Egypt by the Romans, Cleopatra committed suicide so as not to become a prisoner of the emperor Octavian. But the place of her burial is still unknown.
And now, Dominican archaeologists, who received permission from the Egyptian government to conduct excavations, reported that they had discovered a tunnel near Alexandria, carved under the ancient temple of Taposiris Magna.
Taposiris Magna means “Great Tomb of Osiris”. Osiris is a very revered deity in ancient Egypt, the patron of agriculture, and later a judge in the afterlife. According to legend, he was killed by his brother, dismembered and thrown into the Nile (therefore, the bodies of the drowned were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians), but his wife Isis found, gathered together the remains of her husband and even briefly resurrected him, but he eventually did not want to stay on Earth and became god of the afterlife.
The story of this love was resonant in ancient Egypt, but the fact is that for Cleopatra it had a very special meaning: she associated herself with Isis, and Antony with Osiris. Moreover, it was not only her personal feeling, but also a competent move, since it was customary for the pharaohs to identify themselves with certain gods in order to achieve true love and reverence for the people.
That is why Dr. Martinez from the University of Santo Domingo is convinced that Cleopatra, before her death, asked Octavian to bury her and Antony in the temple of Taposiris Magna.
“Cleopatra and her lover are buried in this temple, and the tunnel is the way to this discovery, – said archaeologist Kathleen Martinez, who has been excavating at this place for more than 10 years. “
What was found in the Temple of Osiris
The archaeologist obtained permission for, so to speak, an external examination. The inspection turned out to be very fruitful: they found the stone head of Cleopatra, coins with her image, an amazing mummy with a tongue made of gold foil. Egyptologists have never seen anything like it. So far, one has only to assume that perhaps the mummified man was provided with a golden tongue so that he could talk with Osiris in the next world.
Moreover, in 2020 it was reported that two mummies covered with gold leaf were found in the temple of Taposiris Magna, and X-ray examination shows that they are a man and a woman. But still, scientists abandoned the version that these were Antony and Cleopatra: the chamber where they lay was unadorned, unprotected, unprepossessing. Water obviously got there, the mummies are not very well preserved. It can’t be that they were buried like that. But not everyone is escorted on their last journey in gold leaf. It is believed that these could be priests, that is, clergy close to Cleopatra.
The search continued, and the world scientific community became more and more convinced that Kathleen Martinez’s intuition did not fail. She stubbornly asked for permission to excavate. In the end, Zahi Hawass was very tired of her and gave permission to work for a miserable two months. it was practically impossible to do anything sensible in such a period, which Kathleen later said in plain text: “In archeology, two months is nothing.” That is, the scientists went to carry out a mission that could be safely considered absolutely doomed in advance.
But history appreciates in people a combination of character and sincere love for what you do. Therefore, at the end of the second hopeless month, the entrance to the tunnel opened.
It turned out that the underground passage was made at a depth of 13 meters, stretches for a kilometer and 305 meters, has a height of two meters and is made very carefully. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities writes that it is a “geometric marvel”.
Partially, the tunnel goes under water along with the foundation of the temple, but this, unfortunately, is not surprising: for so many years there have been dozens of earthquakes here. So it has not yet been possible to discover where it leads.
But even if it does not lead to Cleopatra and Antony, an interesting question arises, for whom, then, such a colossal work was made, who or what had to be so carefully hidden. If Cleopatra’s tomb is discovered, this event could be one of the greatest discoveries in modern history.