Who Killed Alexander the Great?
Atlantic Productions for
the Discovery Channel, first
aired November 24, 2004.
Intrigue and suspicion have surrounded the untimely demise of Alexander
the Great since the day he died. With the assistance of Detective John
Grieve of Scotland Yard, the latest historical research, and the analysis
of experts in ancient poisons and disease, this one-hour special pieces
together the evidence to try to solve a 2,300 year old murder mystery.
Featured as a cover story for The Sunday Times Magazine.
Narrator: Behind the brilliant strategist, he identifies
a brutal and unpredictable pattern of behavior, made worse by heavy drinking.
Bursztajn: The effects of alcohol may themselves be
cumulative. People become more and more paranoid, less self-protective,
and paradoxically you have people who are both more paranoid and more
risk taking at the same time.
Narrator: To establish the effect of this traumatic
loss on Alexander, Grieve consults top forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Harold
Bursztajn: Once alexander is beset by grief, his loss
would have left Alexander with a burning rage, a grief which knew no
bounds. It's likely that he would have been not as able to protect himself,
not as able to use his best judgment, he would have drank more. All of
which would have made him more vulnerable.
Narrator: Dr. Bursztajn explains to John Grieve, that
Alexander's immune system and behavior could have been seriously affected,
leading to medical treatment.
Bursztajn: One potential form of treatment for mood
swings, for post-traumatic stress disorder, could be hellebore.