The Deadly Styx River and the Death of Alexander

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Jan van der Crabben
by Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University and Antoinette Hayes, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
published on 07 November 2011
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Plutarch, Arrian, Diodorus, Justin, and other ancient historians report that rumors of poisoning arose after the death of Alexander in Babylon in 323 B.C. Alexander’s close friends suspected a legendary poison gathered from the River Styx in Arcadia, so corrosive that only the hoof of a horse could contain it. It’s impossible to know the real cause of Alexander’s death, but a recent toxicological discovery may help explain why some ancient observers believed that Alexander was murdered with Styx poison. We propose that the river harbored a killer bacterium that can occur on limestone rock deposits. This paper elaborates on our Poster presentation, Toxicological History Room, XII International Congress of Toxicology, Barcelona, 19-23 July 2010, and Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, Washington DC, March 2011.

Editorial Review This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Written by Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University and Antoinette Hayes, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 07 November 2011. Source URL: http://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/pdfs/mayor/051101.pdf.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Pharmaceuticals, A. M. S. U. A. A. H. P. (2011, November 07). The Deadly Styx River and the Death of Alexander. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/272/

Chicago Style

Pharmaceuticals, Adrienne M. S. U. A. A. H. P. "The Deadly Styx River and the Death of Alexander." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 07, 2011. https://www.ancient.eu/article/272/.

MLA Style

Pharmaceuticals, Adrienne M. S. U. A. A. H. P. "The Deadly Styx River and the Death of Alexander." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 07 Nov 2011. Web. 22 Sep 2020.

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