Milo of Croton
Manner of Death: Devoured by wolves while distracted.
Milo of Croton was 6th Century BC’s Hulk Hogan. He was the talk of Italy with his good looks, amazing wrestling career and athletic abilities. In his spare time, he led military campaigns to triumph. He was every ladies dream!
Unfortunately, his status earned him quite the ego, and legend has it that one day, while attempting to wrench a tree apart with his bare hands, he was so involved in his task that he did not notice the pack of ravenous wolves sneaking up on him… Once he did notice, it was too late, as his hands were trapped in the cleft of the trees trunk. Before he could try and free himself, he was thoroughly devoured by the wolves.
Manner of Death: Failed to turn away from Christianity
On this day in the year 203, the earliest recorded death of a Christian Woman occurred. Aged only 22, Saint Perpetua and her loyal slave girl Felicity, were thrown to the beasts and put to the sword in Carthage.
Both Perpetua and Felicity had recently given birth at the time of their deaths, leaving behind newborns. Perpetua's account of events leading to their deaths, which is apparently historical, is said to be written by her in diary form. The account is called “The Passion of St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and their Companions” and is said to contain accurate information on their lives and their arrest.
Perpetua was born to a noble, Roman family, who followed the pagan beliefs. For reasons unknown (a divine calling?) Perpetua made the decision to become Christian, even though she knew such a decision could ultimately kill her. The current Emperor of Rome, Septimus, had outlawed Christianity on pain of death.
Although it is known Perpetua was married, it is not know what ever happened to her husband, and most historians believe he had died and she was a widow.
Her noble father was frantic with worry at his daughters defection. He couldn’t understand why his well educated, high spirited, 22 year old daughter would want to sign her own death warrant, especially considering she had a baby son to look after. It is believed that although Perpetua did not waver under her father’s fears, she felt genuine sympathy for causing him pain by her decision.
Perpetua, together with her slave Felicity were arrested and trialed. Due to her noble birth, the judge at the trial tried to give her leniency, practically begging her to recant her Christianity, but she would have none of it, and was sentenced to death.
It is said that Perpetua, Felicity and other Christians went to the arena with joy and calm.
A nervous gladiator tried to kill Perpetua, but was unable to finish the job. Perpetua herself guided the knife to her throat. “Perhaps so great a woman…could not else have been slain except she willed it,” the story of their martyrdom comments.
King Richard I of England
Manner of Death: Shot down by a boy who was holding a frying pan.
King Richard I, (known as “The Lionheart”), became popular in the tale of Robin Hood, as being the ‘good’ King of England. In fact, by 1199 he had bank-rupted his country. His third Crusade, and his subsequent ransom payment after being captured by the German Emperor, put the country in national debt.
Richard found he needed vast amounts of money to finance a crusade, money which could not be provided by simply taxing his subjects.
He heard of a rumour that Castle Chalus-Chabrol in France had a pot of gold, so he went looking for this gold. The castle went under siege, during which time a young boy, who had been fighting with a frying pan (anyone else thinking of Sam in Lord of the Rings?), grabbed a crossbow and shot randomly into a crowd of knights riding on horseback. He hit one of the knights in the shoulder, that knight being King Richard. Richard, ever the gallant, congratulated the child on his well-aimed shot.
Unfortunately for Richard, the wound was not treated properly (as so many wounds were not back then), and turned gangrenous. As he lay dying, King Richard awarded his killer one hundred shillings, a vast sum of money at the time. He then died of his injuries.
The poor boy was flayed alive and hung not long after the King’s demise, under the orders of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard’s grieving mother.
“Bad Prince John” from the Robin Hood tales, became king thereafter, and had to tax the people much more than normal, to attempt to repay Richard’s debt.
Put together by Ashley Hall 2013