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5 Of The Most Unusual Deaths From Ancient Times

5 Of The Most Unusual Deaths From Ancient Times
By Didier Descouens - Own work, Public Domain

Death in modern times is either caused by disease, accident, or old age. And we don’t often hear about the death of someone in an unusual way.

But as the title suggests this article will list some of the most unusual deaths from ancient times. They might even sound similar to the game “Dumb Ways To Die”. These deaths are not only unusual but are also often written and talked about in history.

So without further ado, here’s a list of the 5 most unusual deaths from ancient times:

Draco of Athens

5 Of The Most Unusual Deaths From Ancient Times
By Oyez.org – Original publication

Draco of Athens was an Athenian lawmaker. He reportedly died in 620 BC. The reason for his death was reported to be being smothered. And here’s the most unusual part: Draco was smothered by the gifts of hats and cloak. He received these gifts from the citizens for his excellent work. Hence this appreciative gesture apparently led to his death at a theatre on Aegina.

Pythagoras of Samos

manuscript of man and plant
By French early 16th century

Everyone must have heard of Pythagoras. Pythagoras of Samos was a famous Greek Mathematician and Philosopher. You may know him as the inventor of the Pythagorean theorem. But did you know he died because of his impeccable principles? Pythagoras believed that beans were unclean and disliked them. And when he was being chased by enemies he almost managed to outrun them. But he refused to run through the bean field ahead in the road. He was murdered by his enemies who managed to catch up to him when he stopped running.


sketch of black and white man sitting on ground
By Maso Finiguerra. – 15th century Florentine Picture Chronicle by Maso Finiguerra., Public Domain.

Aeschylus was one of the three great Athenian tragedians. He died in 455 BC by a tortoise. How do you ask? Aeschylus was bald and reportedly his bald head was confused by an eagle for a rock. So, the eagle dropped a tortoise on his head to shatter the shell of the reptile. And the weird part of the story is that Aeschylus stayed mostly outdoors because it was prophesized that he would be killed by the fall of a house.

Chrysippus of Soli

sketch of man laughing at donkey
By Giuseppe Porta

Chrysippus was a Greek Stoic philosopher in the third century. He passed away in what is considered to be one of the most unusual ways. Chrysippus died from laughing at his own joke. Apparently, Chrysippus saw a donkey eating his Figgs. He then told his salve to give the donkey some neat wine to wash down the Figgs. So, he found his own joke so funny and laughed so hard that he died.

Saint Lawrence

painting of man being roasted
By Didier Descouens – Own work, Public Domain

Saint Lawrence received a horrific death penalty. He was persecuted and his punishment was to be roasted alive. But as he was roasted alive he teased his tormentors. As he was being roasted he told his tormentors that he was done on one of his sides and they should turn him over.

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