A study of Napoleon Bonaparte's trousers could put
an end to the theory that the French Emperor was poisoned.
Napoleon died aged 52 on St Helena in the south Atlantic where he had been
banished after his defeat at
His post mortem showed he died of stomach cancer, but it has been suggested
arsenic poisoning or over-zealous
treatment was to blame.
Now Swiss researchers say his trousers show he lost weight prior his death,
confirming he had cancer.
The research, by scientists from the anatomical pathology department of the
University Hospital in Basel and the Institute of Medical History at the
University of Zurich, looked at 12 pairs of Napoleon's trousers.
Four were from before his exile and eight were pairs he wore during the six
years he spent in exile on St Helena, including the pair he wore while dying.
The researchers also collated
information from post mortems on the weights of patients who had
died of stomach cancer.
They then measured the waists of healthy people to work out the correlation
between that measurement and their actual weight.
This information was then used to calculate Napoleon's weight in the months
leading up to his death.
The largest pair of trousers Napoleon wore had a waist measurement of 110cm;
those he wore just before his death measured 98cm.
This, they say, shows he lost between 11 and 15kg over the last six months of
The Swiss team says the presence of arsenic in Napoleon's hair, the source of
the poisoning theory, was linked to his enthusiasm for wine.
At the time, it was the custom of winemakers to dry their casks and basins
（北京外国语大学通讯员谢丽供稿 英语点津 Annabel 编辑）