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 Dragiana/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 OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 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)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Orichalcum in the news again!

Orichalcum, a most precious metal considered second only to gold, was highly valued in antiquity but has rarely survived. This means that the recent discovery of 47 ingots of orichalcum off the south coast of Sicily deserves to be highlighted.

In a previous blog (see: Mystery about the precious orichalcum solved?), I mentioned how 39 ingots had 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. In the same blog, I explained that orichalcum is basically composed of copper and zinc that result in brass with a very shiny finish that looks like gold.

This recent recovery comes from the same area as the previous one near the entrance to the harbor of Gela, together with two Corinthian helmets, several archaic amphorae and one round bottom flask manufactured in Massalia (modern Marseilles in France). The artifacts have been dated to the end of 7th/early 6th century BC.

The ingots of orichalcum which vary in size from 17 to 32 cm and in weight from 254 to 1340 grams have been analyzed and revealed to be made from 80% of copper and 20% of zinc with traces of lead and nickel.

This discovery confirms, if needed, the richness of a city like Gela where many specialized craftsmen must have been working to produce objects of great value.


  1. Replies
    1. Kind of … More details about orichalcum can be found on my earlier blog: Mystery about the precious orichalcum solved? stating the following: 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?