Silently and sadly they filed past his bed, gazing upon the dying face which they had seen so bright and full of life a short time before. As most of the soldiers were older than their king, they had never expected to outlive him; and every one said that it was sad to die thus, at thirtythree, when master of nearly all the known world.
Just before he died, some one begged Alexander to name his successor. He hesitated for a moment, then drew his signet ring from his finger, gave it to Perdiccas, his principal general, and whispered that the strongest among them should have the throne.
Alexander’s death was mourned by all, for, in spite of his folly and excesses, he was generally beloved. Even Sisygambis, the Persian queen whom he had taken captive a few years before, shed many tears over his remains, and declared she had lost a protector who had always treated her as kindly as if he had been her own son.
The conqueror’s body was laid in a golden coffin, and carried in state to Alexandria, the city he had founded at the mouth of the Nile. Here a fine tomb was built by order of Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals, who said that his dead master also should be worshiped as a god.
Ptolemy wanted the body to remain in Egypt because an oracle had said that he who buried Alexander would be master of his kingdom.