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Julius Caesar did not suffer from epilepsy, but from mini-strokes

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Portrait of Caesar of Tusculum
Portrait of Caesar of Tusculum

Scientists conclude from well-preserved documents that the health problems of Julius Caesar were not due to epilepsy as previously thought, but rather to mini-strokes. The Roman commander, who was stabbed to death in 44 BCE, according to specialists from Imperial College in London, was to have many symptoms indicating this ailment.

According to Plutarch, Caesar was supposed to overturn and lose consciousness at the end of the battle during the Battle of Thapsus (46 BCE), which excluded him from further command in the fight. Scientists believe, however, that Caesar’s indisposition was caused by a series of mini-strokes, rather than an epilepsy attack so far.

According to Dr Hutan Ashrafian, all symptoms we know from sources indicate mini-strokes. Caesar similarly fell to the ground during his military campaigns in Spain and Africa. He had all the symptoms that indicated a stroke: headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness. Moreover, when the senators were honouring him, Caesar was unable to get up.

Also noteworthy is Caesar’s father and grandfather, who died under mysterious circumstances, which the researchers say suggests they may have suffered from strokes as well. Another piece of evidence in favour of the thesis put forward by the London team is that Caesar fought depression at the end of his life. This is a side effect of strokes.

Research on the dictator’s health condition repeatedly leads to a new thesis – among the diseases that could torment the Roman, there were also, among others, malaria and venereal diseases.

  • Sean Martin, Ancient Rome: Julius Caesar suffered mini-strokes not epilepsy claim Imperial College doctors, "IBT", 15 April 2015
  • Plutarch, Julius Caesar, 17.2

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