Death by Gold: Strange Stories from History

You’ve probably heard of death by execution and death by hanging, but what about death by gold? There are several stories in history where people are killed by gold. Take a look at these strange stories throughout time.

Valerian Had Molten Gold Poured Down His Throat

Molten Gold

Image Courtesy of The Puzzler via Flickr

It’s rumored that Valerian, a Roman Emperor, was taken prisoner by the Persians because of war and tyranny. The Persian ruler, Shapur, decided to kill Valerian by pouring molten gold down his throat. Basically, the molten gold destroyed Valerian’s esophagus and throat and filled his stomach with gold until it burst. Shapur then stuffed Valerian’s body with straw and used him as a trophy and symbol to others of Persia’s greatness.

Genghis Khan Killed the Governor of Utrar with Molten Gold

Genghis Khan

Image Courtesy of Marcio Cabral de Moura via Flickr

Valerian isn’t the only story of a person dying by gold. It’s also rumored that Genghis Khan killed the governor of Utrar after a battle where Genghis lost several of his merchants. The governor of Utrar had molten gold poured in his ears and mouth to torture him before his death. He wasn’t used as a trophy, but this kind of death is pretty cruel.

Crassus Suffered Same Molten Gold Fate

Gold Fate

Image Courtesy of mcdarius via Flickr

Apparently, death by molten gold pops up in several stories because Crassus received the same, cruel punishment. Crassus had been climbing up the Roman political power during the rule of Spartacus. He eventually was awarded the title of consul after showing great leadership during many battles and wars. Crassus was later killed during a battle with the Parthians. He had molten gold poured down in his mouth as a symbol of his greed for wealth.

Death by a Gold Elixir Meant to Preserve Age and Beauty

Gold Elixir

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Well, obviously molten gold is dangerous, but it’s not the only way to be killed by gold. The mistress of King Henry II of France (Diane de Poitieres) poisoned herself with an elixir that contained gold. The elixir was supposed to help her fight the appearance of age, and it must have worked because she was 20 years older than King Henry II but looked the same age. The gold poisoning didn’t occur all at once — it made her hair finer than normal and her skin look like porcelain. However, the youthful benefits of gold probably weren’t worth dying for. Large traces of gold were found in the mistress’s blood after her death, proving she was killed by self-inflicted gold poisoning.

It looks like death by gold is a pretty cruel way to die, whether it is through blood poisoning or molten gold. Do you think it is one of the cruelest punishments?

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