Color magic

Well maybe the Persian army got the beat down from Alex and his Macedonian boys, but you have to admit the Persians had 'em on style. Efforts to reconstruct the colors from this 4th c BC coffin show members of the Persian army in bold stripes and diamonds. The Greeks wear . . . ah . . . ah . . . helmets and capes. Abdalonymous, King of Sidon, is pictured (center) on horseback.

While this masterwork of antiquity is often called the "Alexander Sarcophagus" (because the Macedonian hero is prominently featured as both friend and foe), it actually belonged to Abdalonymous and was unearthed at the royal necropolis at Sidon in 1887. I found it (detail pictured above)--and the colored reproductions (detail pictured below)--on display at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and set them side by side for comparison.