The Death of Guerrero

In 1911, Cuyamel Fruit Company planned a coup against the Honduran government.  They intended to use Manuel Bonilla to lead a small force posing as a popular rebellion against the current president in order to force a regime change, in order that they might obtain more beneficial conditions in the country, in which they owned most of their land and from which they received most of their bananas.

During the battle for La Ceiba, a strongly-defended city which housed the nation’s treasury reserves, General Francisco “Chico” Guerrero was in charge of the city’s defense.  During a skirmish in the main square, the general, attempting to prevent a rout and keep his men fighting, turned to the enemy and yelled, “I will show you bastards how a man fights!”  He whipped his white mule into a dash, and was promptly shot a dozen times before he had made it ten yards.

By sundown, the city and silver belonged to the rebels.

Death of Chrysippus

Chrysippus was a Greek philosopher, known as the second founder of Stoicism for his contributions to the school.  His thoughts led to Stoicism becoming one of the most influential philosophies of the ancient world.  Despite his success in Stoicism, though, his death was less than stoic.  According to legend, he witnessed a donkey eating some figs and cried out, “Now give the donkey a drink of pure wine to wash down the figs!”  He then had such a fit of laughter that he died.

Evidently, humor was different back then.

The Death of Crassus

Marcus Licinius Crassus was the richest Roman of his time.  He invested in real estate, owned mines, and traded slaves, but he also acquired wealth in less conventional ways.  He owned a private firefighting force, for Rome had no public one yet, and when he heard that a house was burning, he went there with his slaves.  Once there, he would offer to buy the house for much less than it was worth.  If the owner refused, he allowed it to burn.  If the owner agreed, he would save the house and its belongings, and sell the house at a great profit.

Eager for glory, he led an army against the Parthians later in life.  He was captured, and killed in the following way.  Knowing of his greed for gold, the Parthians poured molten gold down his throat, thereby ending his life.

The Downside of Mithridatization

Mithridatization is the process by which an individual exposes themselves to low doses of dangerous substances, most often poisons, in order to build up their immunity, so that they can no longer be hurt by the substance.  This doesn’t work with all toxins, though, most especially heavy metals, which build up in the body and become more dangerous the more often one is exposed to them.  During the days of the Roman Empire, though, it was an effective method of making oneself unpoisonable, since the poisons of which they knew were primarily those to which one cna build an immunity.

The name comes from King Mithridates of Pontus, who so greatly feared being assassinated by poison that he sought to make himself immune to all poisons through Mithridatization.  He succeeded too well.

He was defeated by the Roman general Pompey the Great, and in defeat, sought to take his own life in order to avoid being paraded as a trophy through Rome.  However, he was unable to poison himself.

In order to kill himself, he attempted to disembowel himself.  He was found and stopped by his retainers, though, and stitched up, and all sharp objects were taken from him.  Undeterred, in the night he tore out the stitches and removed his own intestines with his bare hands until, finally, he expired.

Milo’s Death

Milo was an ancient Greek Olympian.  He was perhaps most well known for, at the beginning of each Olympiad, training by running with a newborn calf upon his shoulders.  As time passed, he used the same calf until, by the end of the Olympiad, he bore a four year old cow while running.  He died in the following manner.  He came across a tree that some lumberjacks had begun to cut down, but not yet finished, leaving behind a wedge in the gap to keep the tree propped up until they could return.  Milo, unable to resist such a test of his strength, placed his hands into the gap and lifted in an attempt to knock over the tree himself.  He lifted up the tree enough for the wedge to fall out, and then when his strength failed him, the tree rested upon his hands, trapping him.  He was left there, trapped, until wolves found him and devoured him alive.