Not to impune
, but there are a few inconsistencies
that I would like to address
Arrian did, indeed, cite over-drinking as Alexander's cause of death. However, it should be noted that during the period in which both Arrian and later Plutarch wrote, it was believed that an imbalance of humors caused sickness and fever, rather than virii, bacteria, and the like. Alcohol was believed to affect the humors, as was bathing. As such, it makes sense that Arrian (and later Plutarch) would attribute the cause of death to drinking and bathing. For additional information on this point, I recommend The Healing Hand, a text on medicine in the ancient world, by Guido Majno, and Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire by Ralph Jackson, which speaks about the Greek bases of Ancient Roman medicine.
Another point that I would like to address is the mistaken notion that Alexander had finished his conquests just before he died. At the time of his death, he was making preparations to invade what is now Saudi Arabia, an area he had passed over on his way through Persia and into India; in fact, his troops were constructing a fleet for use in the Persian Gulf at the time of his death. It is also known that Alexander was aware of the Western world, having received embassies from Carthage, Gaul, Libya, and Spain in 324 BCE, so it is not unreasonable to believe that he may have considered further conquest to the west. Given this, it is easy to conclude that the episode of Alexander's weeping for lack of another world to conquer is a load of crap, though poetically asthetic.
Additional sources on Alexander the Great:
- Fuller, J.F.C.; The Generalship of Alexander the Great
- Fox, R. Lane; Alexander the Great
- Green, P.; Alexander the Great
- Hammond, N.; Alexander the Great: King, Commander, and Statesman
- Marsden, E.; The Campaign of Gaugamela
- Pearson, L.; The Lost Histories of Alexander the Great
- Tarn, W.; Alexander the Great
- Wilcken, U.; Alexander the Great