Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mystery about the precious orichalcum solved?

Orichalcum is a very unusual metal, which the ancient Greeks claim to be found only in Atlantis, the sunken legendary city. It is basically composed of copper and zinc that result in brass with a very shiny finish that looks very much like gold.

A full load of 39 ingots of orichalcum has been recovered off the south coast of Sicily from a ship that sunk in the sixth century BC just before entering the harbor of Gela. It probably came from Greece or Asia Minor and it is likely that it was caught in a storm – the main danger for ships sailing the Mediterranean.

The precious orichalcum was long considered to be a mysterious metal and is known from ancient texts but only few objects have survived. Plato mentioned orichalcum as a legendary metal, second only to gold in value, that was mined in Atlantis and used there to cover not only the inside walls of the Temple of Poseidon, but also its floors and columns. According to another theory, it would be invented by Cadmus, a Greek mythological founder of Thebes.

Recent analysis have revealed that orichalcum is an alloy that closely resembles brass and was obtained through the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper in a crucible. Examining the 39 ingots, they turned out to contain 75-80 percent of copper, 15-20 percent of zinc and small percentages of nickel, lead and iron. This theory is, however, being refuted by a professor from Rio de Janeiro stating that they are an alloy of copper, zinc and lead, believing that orichalcum has its roots in the Peruvian Andes from a civilization that lived there from 1200 to 200 BC – maybe a little too far away from home to be true?

Well, there is still so much we do not know, from Atlantis to (in this case) the Peruvian Andes. These ingots may simply be added to that list, but the find by itself is quite exciting in any case!

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