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June 11: Alexander the Great Leaps Off This Mortal Coil

On this day in 323 B.C., Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, Hegemon of the Hellenic League, Pharaoh of Egypt, King of Persia, Lord of Asia, conqueror of most of the known world, undefeated military leader and full-bore drunkard, died in the Babylonian palace of Nebuchadnezzar II at the age of 32. It was long held that guzzling copious amounts of wine during a two-day drink-up did Alex in, but lately historians have been poking holes in that theory. Alexander drank heroically during his entire adult life and it seems unlikely that a mini-bender would suddenly lay the great man so low. More likely he was poisoned. After feeling sick for a week and a half, Alexander tried one last desperate maneuver to overcome whatever malady was gripping him. He knocked back a massive bowl of wine in a single go. And while it had often worked to defeat his many hangovers, this time it came up short and Alex ascended toward Elysium. Or perhaps, since he’d declared himself a god, he fast-tracked right on up to Mount Olympus.