October 13, 2020: Death of Emperor Claudius
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Today we're covering the poisoning of Roman emperor Claudius by his much younger fourth wife I'll repeat. Now. Let's go back to ancient Rome on October thirteenth fifty four C, e. It was just. Tonight in the sprawling imperial mansion of sixty four year old emperor Claudius. He was hosting a lavish dinner party. There were tables of senators, Roman nobility, and other distinguished guests all around them servants carried jugs of wine and gilded trays of meat and vegetables. Claudius. Sat on a raised day with a few of his most trusted lieutenants and his beautiful wife thirty-three-year-old I'll. Pena. Gripping also happen to be Claudius niece. In fact, the Roman Senate had to make a special exception to the Empire's incest laws for Claudius to marry her but Claudius didn't care after three previous marriages. He finally had a beautiful woman at his side during a break in the musical entertainment Claudius raised his silver goblet and toasted her the most beautiful woman in all of Rome. I'll group enough tried to smile at her husband and emperor, but it wasn't easy. The man's nose was constantly runny. He drooled and spit when he spoke and he had a habit of drinking too much. As Agra, Pena bit her lip and raised her glass. She silently pray that the old man would die soon and leave the throne to her seventeen year old son Niro. When the toasting was over in the Music Return Agree Pena excused herself from the table and slipped into the kitchen. There she found Claudius. Personal Food taster holidays. Holidays was tasting plate of Venison cooked with mushrooms one of the emperor's favorites. He saw Pena he tensed they word supposed to be seen together. But Agree Pena moved quickly she slipped talented a small pouch of gold coins and sprinkled a package of her own mushrooms onto the dish. Then she continued into the kitchen like nothing had happened. Back at the dinner party, Claudius was oblivious to agree Pena's dealings. He toasted the senators and his personal bodyguards the Praetorian guard he stopped when he saw servants enter with another barrage of trays he welcomed everyone to enjoy the next course of food. While everyone ate from communal dishes. Claudius received an individual plate, which as usual had been checked by his food taster Halladay. Claudius thanked his trusted eunuch and then ate ravenously devouring the meat and mushrooms. After another round of toast to his distinguished guests, Claudius requested a musical performance a group of singers and Harpists were led into the ballroom. As, they started to play something happened that would change the course of the Roman. Empire. Claudius, started sweating his mouth drooled more than usual. His I seem to spin in his head. He reached out for something to hold onto, and then suddenly he collapsed onto the table. Claudius. Torso and head smashed into his plate and spill the wine goblet guests screamed immediately the PRAETORIAN guard swarmed. They yelled for Claudius personal doctor who was also at the party. Gayus. Rushed over to examine Claudius, he ordered the Praetorian Guard to carry the stricken emperor back to his bed chambers. There's xenophon one look at the emperor's sweating trembling body and gave his diagnosis the emperor had been poisoned and his life was in danger. Coming up emperor Claudius fights for his life. Listeners who doesn't love a good go story rattling chains mysteriously moving objects unfinished business. I am ready for all things spooky and so is podcast network starting October. 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On October thirteenth fifty, four, ce sixty, four year, old Roman emperor Claudius was poisoned at a dinner party his ambitious wife. Agra Pena, had slipped the emperor poisoned mushrooms with the help of the royal food taster. Death by poison was a common occurrence in ancient Rome Claudius, his father druce was rumored to have been poisoned as well as several other members of Claudia's extended family meaning Claudius is Dr Xenophon was quick to realize what had happened as the Praetorian Guard stood vigil next to the emperor xenophon pulled Dogra Pena side to discuss the situation. I there was the update on the emperor's condition xenophon titled Pena that Claudius must've only consumed a small amount of poison. He might live or he might die in a few days. There was no way to tell at this point but then xenophon said something that would horrify most doctors. He told Pena that he would finish the job. xenophon return to Claudius, his bedside he informed the Praetorian guard that the only way to save the emperor would be to make him regurgitate the poison from his stomach. The guards stood back as the doctor gently opened the emperor's mouth and threaded along ravens feather into the man's throat, the emperor gagged but nothing emerged from his mouth xenophon tried again this time it worked the emperor's body convulsed vomiting the poisoned food. Within minutes, the emperor's body was no longer writhing in pain. He seemed to stop sweating. The PRAETORIAN guard was relieved. The doctor had saved their. Emperor. At this point, xenophon told the soldiers that they could leave the emperor to rest. No, one would bother him now little did the guards realize the emperor's apparent tranquillity was not the result of a miracle cure xenophon feather was actually dipped in atro- Bub Bella Donna. As deadly nightshade, he applied a heavy dose of the poison to Claudius his larynx and throat where it entered the bloodstream. Instantly, the emperor was now breathing shallowly within an hour he was dead. When. The Sun rose in the morning I'll gruppen went into see her husband there in his bed. She found him cold and unresponsive. She screamed for the servants to fetch the doctor. Once again, this time when xenophon arrived, he confirmed that the emperor was indeed dead. As the servants looked on xenophon admitted that perhaps the emperor hadn't regurgitated enough of the poison he had tried his best but there was nothing that they could have done. He tried to comfort agree Pena who was now a widow? Pena. Didn't tell the Senate of Claudius is death for a few days according to her astrologer. She had to wait for the correct stars to align. She wanted an auspicious moment to break the news to them. But more importantly to announce that her son Nero would ascend the throne. In the days that followed, they were elaborate funeral rites held for Claudius, his body was cremated and the ashes were interred in the mausoleum of Emperor. Augustus. Ironically seventeen-year-old Niro delivered the eulogy for his slain stepfather. Many Romans had the hide their laughter during the speech. They knew the boy had the most to gain from. Claudius as death and everyone suspected Niro's mother had poisoned hair. Unfortunately, there wasn't much that could be done. Now the empire needed a ruler. So the Senate conferred the title of Emperor on Seventeen Year Old Miro. As fate would have it. Justice was eventually served for most of Claudius 's murderers months later xenophon the doctor died of undocumented causes though many suspected he was poisoned. By. Years later in fifty nine ce agree Pena was murdered as well by none other than her son. Nero, he didn't use poison though when he sent his assassin to kill her, she said to have commanded they stab her in the womb, the womb that had given birth to him and in sixty eight C e after a disastrous reign Niro himself chose to die by suicide rather than face execution although in his last moments, he couldn't bring himself to take the final plunge. He had to ask a servant to stab him. So in the end, Claudius was avenged and the Great Roman Empire kept dying its own slow death of murder greed and corruption. Thanks for listening to today in true crime. I'm Vanessa Richardson for more stories on the intrigues of Rome's emperors checkout park cast original dictators today in true crime is a podcast original. 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