3 Worst Historical Ways to Die

1- The Roman Emperor Tiberius

Tiberius officially rose to power in Rome around 14 AD. For most of the time that he ruled he was quite wise and just (at least as far a Roman Emperors go…) but some tragic events late in his reign sent him off the deep end. The final straw was his most trusted ally and friend in the Senate being put on trial and executed for helping to kill Tiberius’s son Drusus. Tiberius always had a hard time trusting the Senate (they did kill his favorite uncle Augustus) and after his son died; he fled to the island of Capri, hoping to avoid the senatorial knife. However, while at Capri Tiberius decided to strike first. He started inviting members of the Senate one by one to come to Capri on a “Private Visit” that few senators ever returned from. One of the more gruesome means of death that Tiberius employed was to a particular Senator that was a known drunkard. Tiberius had him seized on arrival and had is genitals tied up with a wet piece of cat gut (the string-like lining of a sheep or goat’s stomach, which would quickly dry and tighten) then force fed this hapless individual wine and water until his bladder burst. This of course did not kill the senator right away, but slowly and painfully filled his body for a day or two until he died of the toxins in his system.

2 – Aztec Sacrifice to the Rain God Tlaloc

The Aztecs were a culture that was widely known to have had more than a passing fancy with human sacrifice. To the Aztec mind, the gods were a constantly angry or dismissive lot that would easily forget about human life or be angered by human interference in the workings of the universe. The only way to placate these gods was through gifts, and quite naturally to them, the most precious gift they could give was that which kept them alive, blood. Most people are familiar with the standard practice of ripping a living persons heart from their chest and having this heart fed to an idol of the mighty Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl or the War god Huitzilopochtli; but there were also other sacrificial rituals for other gods that were far less popular but in many ways more awful than the standard blood sacrifice. The Aztec God of Rain was known as Tlaloc, and being the rain god, the Aztecs came up with a unique method of sending souls to Tlaloc in a way they felt that he would enjoy. Drowning would seem to be the common sense dispatch method for a rain God sacrifice, but the Aztecs felt that though the subject should certainly be submerged in water, the priests decided that to actually have a person die from the sacred waters of Tenochtitlan would somehow defile the blessings of the waters. Therefore they came up with this solution: just before the victim (often a small child to symbolize the new growth that the rains would provide) was tossed into the Sacred Pools on the top of the Main Pyramid at Tenochtitlan, they would smear the face of the victim with a thick layer of wet oli, a tar-like substance that would instantly dry into a hard rubber when the person’s face hit the water. This way, the sacrificed person would be dying in water, but not from water. Oh, and in case you were wondering where these priests found children for Tlaloc, they were often given to the priests by the children’s own parents. So many children would be offered, in fact, that sometimes these children would have to be given back to their parents, much to the family’s dismay.

3 – Roche Brasiliano’s Main Mast Kill

Roche was a pirate that terrorized the eastern Mexican coast around the 1660’s. Though Roche was not as well known as other pirates of his time, he made up for this with a level of brutality that no other pirate could top. With most of the captives that Roche took, he was as generous a pirate as most (you were given three choices: join the crew, be put in a small boat with a few days of food and water and be set adrift, or you could die) for everyone except the Spaniards. Roche really, really, really hated the Spanish. He was known to make landfall when capturing Spaniards just so he could shove an iron rod though them and roast them on a spit like a pig (take a wild guess where the entry and exit points were…). However, the worst fate a Spaniard ever suffered at Roche’s hands makes that end seem rather plain. This one poor Spanish soul insulted Roche to the point of such a rage that Roche slit open this individuals gut, removed a single length of the sailor’s entrails, then nailed it to the main mast without actually cutting the fleshy rope. Pretty bad, right? But Roche isn’t done yet. He was then reported to have dipped the end of a log in pitch, lit the end on fire, and then chased the attached Spaniard in circles around the mast by slapping his ass with the burning bit of wood until he finally died.

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~ by herodotuswept on November 14, 2007.

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