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.

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.