Mark Prigg For Dailymail.com
It has baffled historians, but the mystery of Alexander the Great’s death may finally have been solved.
Previous theories have concluded he died from infection, alcoholism or murder.
However, a new study concluded he met his demise thanks to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), which can leave sufferers paralyzed.
It also claims that he was not dead – just paralyzed – for six days before finally passing away.
In an article published in The Ancient History Bulletin, Dr Katherine Hall, a Senior Lecturer at the Dunedin School of Medicine and practising clinician, says previous theories around his death in 323BC have not been satisfactory as they have not explained the entire event.
‘I wanted to stimulate new debate and discussion and possibly rewrite the history books by arguing Alexander’s real death was six days later than previously accepted,’ she said.
‘His death may be the most famous case of pseudothanatos, or false diagnosis of death, ever recorded.
Along with the reported delay in decay, the 32-year-old was said to have developed a fever; abdominal pain; a progressive, symmetrical, ascending paralysis; and remained compos mentis until just before his death.
Only five barely intact accounts of his death at Babylon in 323 BCE survive to the present day.
None are from eyewitnesses and all conflict to varying degrees.
According to one account from the Roman era, Alexander died leaving his kingdom ‘to the strongest’ or ‘most worthy’ of his generals.
In another version, he died speechless in a coma, without making any plans for succession.
‘In particular, none have provided an all-encompassing answer which gives a plausible and feasible explanation for a fact recorded by one source – Alexander’s body failed to show any signs of decomposition for six days after his death,’ said Dr Hall.
‘The Ancient Greeks thought that this proved that Alexander was a god; this article is the first to provide a real-world answer.’