What is the poisoning theory?

Napoléon was chronically ill the last five years of his life.  The poisoning theory explains this by him falling victim to repeated poisonings.  During five years he suffered sub-lethal arsenic poisonings.  The last six weeks the arsenic was partially replaced by antimony.  Eventually he was given calomel after having been served a drink containing bitter almonds.  It was this combination which eventually took his life.

A common misconception in this case is that he would have been poisoned by “jailors”.  Any literal such did not exist.  His last years Napoléon in a jerry-built mansion.  There his own food and drink was handled by six male followers.  Therefore, the person poisoning him must have been one of them.

Entire books have been written about this subject.  If you want a longer description but don’t want to read a whole book, one I have written is found here.

This page was last changed on the 27th of July 2023.