A small handful of great individuals are not content to get their names in the footnotes of history and then quietly expire. No, these brave few achieve greatness and then top it off by kicking the bucket in a way so ridiculously implausible that people would have talked about them for years even if they hadn't done anything else.
These are five historical figures who died deaths that would make sure their names were written just a little bit bigger in the history books.
Think of him as the William Howard Taft of French presidents, both in his relative innocuousness and in terms of facial hair. He was nominated to run for president because his party wanted someone as plain vanilla as possible in order to avoid controversy. Faure seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
Until the day he died, that is.
Cause of death:
On February 16, 1899, French president Felix Faure decided to make a booty call in his own office. Now who would have the privilege of receiving such a dubious invitation? None other than Marguerite Steinheil, a total babe who was not unlike the neighborhood bicycle, if you get our drift. Right about when they were reaching the petit mort (French for orgasm) Faure had himself a grand mort (French for having a fatal stroke right in the middle of orgasm).
We've been making arrangements to see that we meet our makers in more or less the exact same way.
Marguerite then went on to sleep with a number of other famous dudes including King Sisowath of Cambodia. Now we aint' sayin' she's a gold digger, but she really decided not mess around with the lower income bracket.
Still, congrats to Faure. Not only did he die happy, but he also died the way he lived: serving as a symbol to the world for the people of France, where infidelity in the workplace is what hockey is to Canada. And who wouldn't want to help him shuffle off his pants/mortal coil? Guy had the bitchingest mustache in all of Western Europe.
Chrysippus is one of the greats when it comes to philosophy. He helped create propositional logic and helped lead a group of philosophical badasses called the Stoics. But, like the greatest philosopher of the modern age (Andrew WK), when it was time to party, he would always party hard.
Cause of death:
Legend has it, the man was partying with his donkey, who will go unnamed, and the donkey had a little too much to drink. No, we're not making this up.
The rumor further has it that the inebriated donkey then tried to eat some figs. Now, a donkey eating figs is apparently the most ridiculous thing possible, since Chrysippus started laughing so hard he keeled over and died. We're trying to picture it, but we're almost afraid to. Even if his donkey got up on its hind legs, batted the fig across the room with its dong, and then caught the rebounding fruit in its mouth, it wouldn't make him laugh that hard, would it?
Unless of course he was stoned out of his mind.
The whole incident was a huge blow to the field of Greek philosophy--not only because the Stoics lost one of their greatest advocates, but because most philosopher parties after the death of Chrysippus were totally lame.
Aeschylus is widely regarded to be the founder of Greek tragedy, so he's probably the guy you should blame for depressing the hell out of you during freshman English. Modern scholars have determined that Aeschylus is also the only man in history to have a name that is literally impossible to pronounce.
Cause of death:
Bludgeoning. With a turtle.
You see, eagles in the area surrounding Sicily loved turtles just as much as Kel from Kenan and Kel loved orange soda. There's just one problem with eating them--getting past that hard shell to the gooey center. So what do they do? They lift turtles up to great heights, and then drop them on rocks to crack them open.
Who loves turtles? Sicilian eagles love turtles.
The popular theory is that Aeschylus was just milling about out in the sun one day when an eagle mistook the top of his bald head for a rock and unleashed a world of tortoise-related hurt on the poet out of a perfectly innocent desire for a mid-afternoon snack.
That's the popular theory. One undoubtedly promulgated by fear-mongering toupee and Rogaine merchants hoping to make a fast buck off of bald men's crippling terror of death from above. It's worth noting that the turtle supposedly survived. How convenient for the turtle.
And while far be it from us to accuse the eagle and the turtle of plotting the murder of one of history's greatest tragedians, it is also worth noting that neither of them were brought in for questioning.
Arius was one of the most prominent heretics of early Christianity. Most modern historians will tell you that all of humanity was pretty much batshit insane right up to some point in the early 20th century, so you can imagine how bad it must have been back then. That's why Arius was labeled a "heretic" for humbly suggesting that there might have been a time when Christ hadn't existed.
Like, say, before he was born. HERESY!
Cause of death:
How can we put this delicately? He shat out his internal organs.
According to one of his political opponents: "A faintness came over him, and together with the evacuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious hemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that he almost immediately died."
If your sphincter clenched airtight at that description, you're not the only one. But fear not--some have speculated that Arius didn't die of natural causes, and was in fact poisoned. If that's true, then the assassin in question must be one of the biggest assholes in the history of murder. Political assassination is one thing, making your political enemy evacuate his own intestines is another.
But this is all pure speculation. Without any real evidence of foul play, we're going to have to chalk this up to natural causes. Excruciating, stomach-churning natural causes. Stay, regular, kids!
Herod the Great was a king of Judaea, most well known for his hand in the construction of the Second Temple and for something called "Massacre of the Innocents," which as it turns out wasn't the name of his awesome garage band.
Cause of death:
Pissing off God.
According to modern scientists, Herod suffered from not only a severe kidney disease, but something called Fournier gangrene.
From the above-linked article:
"The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus recorded details of his death, telling of symptoms that included intense itching, intestinal pain, shortness of breath, convulsions, and gangrene of the genitalia."
Gangrene. Of. The. GENITALIA.
In layman's terms? Dickrot.
OK, can we just stop the article right now? We totally do not want to think about that. We're just thankful this is a work-friendly site, so they wouldn't be tempted to tack on a picture of this affliction.
What could possibly cause symptoms so unimaginably painful and (literally) emasculating? Modern science doesn't have the answer, but the Bible sure does! After all, Herod was responsible for the Massacre of the Innocents.
According to Christian tradition, when he found out that the son of God had just been born and that he was no longer King of the Jews, Herod decided that a reasonable, measured response was to kill as many babies as he possibly could and just hope that one of them was Jesus. There were only three problems with this brilliant plan: 1) There are a lot of babies in the world, and it would be very difficult to kill all of them, 2) The wholesale murdering of hundreds of babies is the kind of thing that God tends to frown upon, and 3) Jesus is Jesus and therefore very difficult to kill, even in baby form.
Needless to say, not only did the plan fail, but it irritated God enough that he responded by murdering Herod's kidneys and junk.
Obviously, the whole "God did it" theory hasn't been proven, so we'll let you draw your own conclusions. But which would you rather believe: That God was responsible, or that this shit could pretty much happen to anyone?
If you enjoyed that, check out our rundown of The 5 Pimpingest Historical Figures. Speaking of historic anomales, find out what the emos are up to in "I'm Gonna Cut Myself" (AKA Every Emo Song Ever). Or find out why the South African people are asking their great man of history WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?