A glimpse of the lives and deaths of some who came before us.
Manner of Death: Martyred by being roasted inside a bronze bull.
Ever had a bad toothache or disease in your teeth? Well, if so, you should pray to Saint Antipas.
Saint Antipas is mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Christened by John the Apostle, and ordained as Bishop of Pergamon, he faced many dramas in his life. His religious life was active during the reign of Roman emperor Domitian, who was not fond of Christians, believed in the traditional Roman religion very strongly, and firmly stomped on anyone who believed otherwise.
Strong in his religious conviction, Saint Antipas died in a horrible way…
So, the ancient Greeks invented this lovely torture device, known as the “brazen bull” (otherwise known as the bronze bull or Sicilian bull) right? This charming device was made entirely of bronze. It was hollow, and had a door on one side.
Saint Antipas was locked inside this bull, and then a fire was set underneath it. The fire slowly heated the metal until poor old Saint Antipas roasted to death.
For his martyrdom, he became the patron saint for relief from toothache and diseases of the teeth! And to add something just a little grosser to this story, his holy relics apparently secrete oil, known as the "manna of the saints".
Manner of Death: Shot himself as an example
Clement Vallandigham was a hot shot politician and lawyer in Ohio. He had a long, distinguished career in the military – before being arrested and trialled for violating General Order Number 38 (which was basically a stupid order which stated that it was an offense to say something against the War effort – how ridiculous!).
For his crime, he was banished by President Lincoln to the opposing side of the War (we’re talking the civil war here). He is quoted as saying: "I am a citizen of Ohio, and of the United States. I am here within your lines by force, and against my will. I therefore surrender myself to you as a prisoner of war." – Bizarre!
Anyway, enough of the back story, on to the death!
Clement, acting as an attorney, was representing a defendant who had been charged with murder, for killing a man in a barroom brawl. The strategy was to show that the dead man actually killed himself accidentally, while drawing his weapon.
To prove this strategy, Clement picked up the murder weapon and placed it in his pocket. He then withdrew it, and proceeded to reinact the way he believed the victim died – and he did it to the letter – because the gun he picked up was still loaded.
Clement died from his injuries, but he did manage to convince the jury that his defendant was innocent in the process!
Alexander of Greece
Manner of Death: Bitten by a monkey
Prince Alexander was born in 1893, the second son of Crown Prince Constantine and Princess Sophia of Prussia. Although not the first in line for the throne of Greece, after his father and older brother were exiled, he was placed as a puppet king on the throne, and was virtually a prisoner in his own mansion (I could think of a worse place to be prisoner).
He went against his ‘captors’ wishes in 1919 when he married a commoner for love (shock horror), childhood friend Aspasia Manos. They were not married for very long though, before Alexander died.
On 2 October, 1920 Alexander was walking through the grounds of the Tatoi Estate, the summer residence for the Greek royalty, when he came across a domestic Barbary Macaque monkey attacking his German shepherd. Everyone who’s anyone knows that you never get in between two fighting animals – but obviously Alexander didn’t know this, because he attempted to end the fight… another monkey, watching from the sidelines, did not appreciate Alexander’s interference, and attacked him, biting him deeply on his leg and torso.
The King’s wounds were quickly cleaned and dressed, but not cauterized. By the evening, his wounds had become infected, and he had a strong fever. Septicaemia had set in. Although the topic of amputation was raised, none of the attending physicians wanted to be the one to do it, so the subject was dropped.
Just after 4pm on 25 October, 1920, Alexander of Greece died of sepsis. Both monkeys were also killed. Poor monkeys.
Put together by Ashley Hall 2013