Skip to comments.Did toxic wine kill Alexander the Great? Scientists ‘find plant behind ancient leader’s’…
Posted on 01/11/2014 8:09:49 PM PST by Olog-hai
Alexander the Great built a legendary empire before his untimelyand mysteriousdeath at the age of just 32 in 323 BC.
Some historians argued was death was due to natural causes, while others maintained he was secretly murdered at a celebratory banquet.
Now, an Otago University scientist may have unraveled the case some 2,000 years later. National Poisons Center toxicologist Dr. Leo Schep thinks the culprit could be poisonous wine made from an innocuous-looking plant, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald. [ ]
His research, co-authored by Otago University classics expert Dr. Pat Wheatley and published in the medical journal Clinical Toxicology, found the most plausible culprit was Veratrum album, known as white hellebore.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Wonder what they will say it is another four years from now. Back in 2010, it was bacterial contamination from river water or suchlike.
Did toxic wine kill Alexander the Great? Scientists find plant behind ancient leaders agonizing death over 12 days
This is Veraturm alba, which bears no resemblance to Helleborus:
It is sobering to think that when Alexander the great was my age, he’d been dead for 30 years.
Ah well. Chalk another one up to the Mail’s many blunders. A few more of those and they’ll pass the “Grauniad” (Guardian).
Let’s see - the case is over 2000 years old, there is no body or mummified remains or even bones left to examine, the man died in Babylon, a city which no longer exists, and the only witnesses apparently wrote varying accounts of his death in ancient languages on papyrus. Might as well consult a Ouija board - it’s all just speculation at this point.
Obviously doesn't have white flowers.
Restina came about, I think, because the Persians added turpentine to wine in the hopes of poisoning the Greeks, and the Greeks liked it so much they asked for the recipe.
Accidental poisoning in the quest for a better kick is certainly a possibility. Then again, so was deliberately poisoning the conqueror - especially if promising a better high.
Think what those Greeks bearing gifts could have accomplished if they had had polonium 210.
The wild geranium has similar petaloid features, but the foliage is starkly different.
There are so many hybrids out now, as compared to when I started a 2nd career and new business in the Horticulture industry 25yrs ago, it's mind boggling.
The foliage on that pic you posted looks very similar to the Beltilla striatus, Hardy Chinese Orchid.
Heh; you’d think someone on staff would know how to use Google or one of the search engines for basic research. Fat chance.
Had to look-up “Grauniad”, and found this:
First time I’d ever heard of that!
Iraq and the salt marshes have always been high-disease areas, yet we’re supposed to see some great mystery in a guy living a dissolute life in this environment getting sick and dying?
Make that Bletilla.
They had no need to ferment it or disguise its bitter taste either. A 1:10 dry plant tincture is so potent it is used by the drop to slow heart rate and lower BP in someone with a bounding pulse and high fever. Only someone with a lot of experience would even think of using it.
You’re right. The entire Hellebore Genus is toxic, and although I have multiple advanced degrees in Marketing, Business and Horticulture, I know for sure that I’m not smart enough to mess with that stuff.
Do you own/run a nursery or green houses? Although I used to go and collect the wild plants that nature did all the work on I love growing plants and have begun to shape up my little home garden in the past couple of years. It’s really enjoyable as an occupation or a preoccupation.
I founded/owned/operated a large Family Farm/Nursery/Garden Ctr business ($8.5mm), with 604 employees over 22yrs, and closed it down end of 2011, liquidated and retired. It was a wildly successful business and a great change of life from working in Midtown NYC for the previous 17yrs.