New Theory on What Killed Alexander the Great



The untimely death of Alexander the Great, on June 10, 323 B.C. in Babylon, has long been a topic of hot debate by historians.

The leading theories as to what killed the 33-year-old warrior — infection, alcoholism or murder— still don’t explain the fact that his body didn’t decompose for six days.

New Zealand’s Katherine Hall, senior lecturer at the Dunedin School of Medicine, has come up with a new theory: She thinks the body of Alexander wasn’t decomposing because he was in fact still alive. She postulates that the great commander had contracted the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré Syndrome from a common infection of the time.

Guillain-Barre is a neurological disorder causing paralysis throughout the body, something which could have affected his motor nerves.

“So Alexander could very well have been lying there, unable to move a muscle, and actually still be alive because they didn’t actually take pulses at that time to determine whether people were dead,” Hall states.

“My theory actually provides a rationale for why he did not decompose. And that being, that he wasn’t actually dead yet,” she says.

Dr. Hall worked in intensive care units for five years, and has seen many patients with Guillain-Barre syndrome.

She believes Alexander may have been in a coma, with his breathing almost invisible to observers.

“For one thing, if my theory is correct, the history books should be rewritten actually. Because his date of death should actually be six days later than what is recorded.”

A theory she is preparing to defend as the latest chapter is written in Alexander the Great’s fascinating life story.