Ancient City Lined Up With Sun on King's Birthday

Ancient Alexandria's main road built for the effect, say archaeologists

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 16, 2012 5:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Alexander the Great got quite the birthday present every year, archaeologists say. They think the main road from ancient Alexandria aligned perfectly with the sun on that day, reports LiveScience. The theory, backed up by computer simulations of the sun's position in the 4th century, would explain why the layout of the city seems slightly off in some ways—the main east-west road isn't exactly parallel to the coast, for example.

"Aligning the city to the sun in the day of birth of Alexander was a way to embody in the architectural project an explicit reference to his power," says a scientist in Milan involved with the study. The best part: The discovery could shed more light into how the entire city was laid out—and thus lead archaeologists to Alexander's long-lost tomb.

A marble statue from Egpyt of Alexander the Great, dating back to approximately 300 BC, is seen at the Louvre in this file photo.
A marble statue from Egpyt of Alexander the Great, dating back to approximately 300 BC, is seen at the Louvre in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
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