The exact cause of Alexander's death is unknown. Historians have debated the issue for centuries, attributing it to poison, malaria, typhoid fever or other maladies. What is agreed upon is that the Macedonian king died in early June 323 BC while suffering a high fever that had lasted ten days.

Why did Alexander get a disease while coming back from India even though he was supposed to be free of all diseases and immortal and son of a Greek god? Since Gods are immortals why demi Gods become mortals? Does the gene to make them immortal are not transferred when they are created? :)

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    $\begingroup$ This might be a better fit on Mythology SE. As it stands, on this site it's going to be much too broad and/or opinion based. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Nov 15 '16 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh He's asking about genetics, which I don't think is opinion-based. The question is, if there are immortals, why don't the half immortals get to be immortal, specifically asking about the gene for immortality. $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Nov 15 '16 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ Its an interesting discussion type question to be sure but I am not sure that it can work on the site. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 15 '16 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ If you mean the ancient Greek mythology, the general rule was that demigods were not immortal. They inherited mortality from their mortal parent. This is simply how ancient Greek mythology worked, it was accepted as a basic convention. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 14 '17 at 12:27

Genes work in lots of different ways. Here are two ways that explain this.

Epi-genetically. In epigentics, genes get switched on by environment. So you might have the gene for breast cancer, but never get exposed to something that will "switch it on." In this case it might be something like ambrosia, the food of the gods. So while Alex might have the predisposition towards immortality, it might not be switched on, so to speak. (This is a gross simplification, but you get the idea).

Immortality is recessive. Both parents have to have the gene for it to be activated. Therefore, a human mom and immortal dad = no immortality for Alex. Kinda like blue eyes (although, if Alex marries another demi, their kid could either be immortal or not--like if the kid happens to get the immortal gene from both parents. More likely they would be stock normal, getting either both mortal expression genes, or one immortal and one mortal).


The Greek Gods were more than humans with an immortality gene: they could shape shift, control nature, and generally do "supernatural" things like give birth from their skulls after swallowing the mother. So I don't think it's realistic to attribute their immortality to a gene, or even to any kind of biology; they're clearly made of "god stuff" beyond the ken of modern science.

Indeed, for a god even to impregnate a human woman, he must first change his shape to appear human. If a human were to merely look upon a god in their true form, the human would be destroyed.

So the children of gods are mortal simply because in order for a god to impregnate a human woman, he must first adopt a human visage and take human form. Then, the child grows in a human womb where they are nourished by human blood and earthly nutrients. Their body is built from human proteins, not "god stuff."

This of course assumes that the the father is the god and the mother is an Earth woman. If the sexual roles were flipped, the child might very well end up being immortal! Assuming that earthly sperm would even have any effect on a godly ovum.

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    $\begingroup$ Also consider that immortality may not be entirely innate but due to imbuing things like ambrosia and nectar; see also the apples of Iðunn, the heavenly peaches of immortality, et cetera. $\endgroup$ – Graham Kemp Nov 15 '16 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ It was not always male god plus mortal woman. There are also examples of female goddess plus mortal man (famous example, Achilles was the son of the immortal Thetis and the mortal man Peleus). And commonly the god shapeshifted into something other than human form (for example, in the case of Zeus, a bull, a swan and even rain) -- the default shape of Greek gods was human-like. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 14 '17 at 12:23

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