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Alexander the Great’s Demise: Are Mosquitoes to Blame?

I’m sure we’ve all heard about Alexander the Great. He conquered vast areas,

mingling cultures and spreading wealth- but his reign came to an abrupt end when

he died at 33.


How is it possible? Scientists have greatly debated the cause of his death- and it

boils down to two culprits. The possibilities are- typhoid fever, or malaria.

Malaria has a few tell-tale characteristics; fevers, diarrhoea and chills- but both

malaria and typhoid were rampant in Ancient Babylon. In the weeks before his

untimely passing, Alexander the Great suffered from chills, sweats and exhaustions-

and all three are symptoms of malaria.


Paul Cartledge, famed British historian, supported this theory that malaria killed

Alexander. According to author Andrew Chugg, there is concrete evidence that

malaria snuffed out Alexander’s life. He claims that it was contracted by Alexander

two weeks before- he caught it in the marshes, whilst auditing flood defences.

David W. Oldach stated that “Alexander also had severe abdominal pain, causing

him to cry out in agony”. The source for this argument is from a seemingly

“unreliable” book, called “Alexander Romance.”



There are, of course, several other theories- poisoning, outright murder or alcoholic

liver disease. Some even suggested heart attacks as a possible cause!

Obviously, there’s no way to figure the truth out. However, if malaria really did kill

Alexander, that would just be ironic! Something that several humans collectively

couldn’t accomplish, was achieved by a single mosquito from just one little bite.

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