Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Lost to history

Yesterday, I learned from someone I ought to trust with the truth, that: some famous Roman guy was poisoned by his wife/lover/maybe mother by a poisoned fig. 

At 3:am, I could not find any real reference to this when I Googled "Hey, Google, who poisoned every fig on the tree?"

We all know the hand gesture where the person bites her/his thumb which is really nasty and means something like "Pull a fig out of an ass's butt". I learned that first year of college. It stayed with me while I can't remember who told me that and in what book it was.

However, it deals with a fig.

Possibly, this fig thing goes with the poisoning of the guy.

The coolest part is that, while I can not remember where this was quoted from, I do remember this, and it has become something I will never forget.

In order for the woman to get to poison this guy, she


We're talking a very angry, vengeful woman here.

The Romans were famous for poisoning enemies. Kids. Grandparents. Politicians. There's a big read on Wikipedia about how this poisoning was going on...quite the thing.

Their poisons weren't all that powerful. They knew about Hemlock, thanks to the Greeks. They knew about some mushrooms. Other than those things, they just probably put any old thing into someone's food and hoped for the best.

Since their favorite condiment was garum, which is distilled rotten fish guts, it might have been hard to disguise the bad taste of a poison anyway.

While this story will stick in my head...it has definitely put me off Fig Newtons.

1 comment:

  1. I recalled this from I, Claudius. It is probably in the book, but most definitely in the movie, that starred Derek Jacobi. It was Livia, wife of Augustus Caesar. Best female villain in history. Certainly made an impression on my 10-year old psyche.
    Check out www.imdb.com/title/tt1255279/