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Death from Strange Causes

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Æsʹchylus was killed by the fall of a tortoise on his bald head from the claws of an eagle in the air. (Valerius Maximus, ix. 12, and Pliny: History, vii. 7.)

Agathʹocles (4 syl.), tyrant of Sicily, was killed by a toothpick at the age of ninety-five.

Anacʹreon was choked by a grapestone. (Pliny: History, vii. 7.)

Bassus (Quintus Lucānus) died from the prick of a needle in his left thumb.

Chalchas, the soothsayer, died of laughter at the thought of having outlived the predicted hour of his death.

Charles VIII., of France, conducting his queen into a tennis-court, struck his head against the lintel, and it caused his death.

Fabʹius, the Roman prætor, was choked by a single goat-hair in the milk which he was drinking. (Pliny: History, vii. 7.)

Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, died from the blow of a cricket-ball.

Gallus (Cornelius), the prætor, and Titus Haterĭus, a knight, each died while kissing the hand of his wife.

Gabrielle (La belle), the mistress of Henri IV., died from eating an orange.

Itadach died of thirst in the harvestfield because (in observance of the rule of St. Patrick) he refused to drink a drop of anything.

Lepʹidus (Quintus Æmʹilius), going out of his house, struck his great toe against the threshold and expired.

Louis VI. met with his death from a pig running under his horse and causing it to stumble.

Margutte died of laughter on seeing a monkey trying to pull on a pair of boots.

Otway, the poet, in a starving condition, had a guinea given him, on which he bought a loaf of bread, and died while swallowing the first mouthful.

Pamphilius (Cnevus Babius), a man of prætorian rank, died while asking a boy what oʹclock it was.

Philomʹenes (4 syl.) died of laughter at seeing an ass eating the figs provided for his own dessert. (Valerius Maximus.)

Placut (Phillipot) dropped down dead while in the act of paying a bill. (Bacaberry the Elder.)

Quenelault, a Norman physician, of Montpellier, died from a slight wound made in his hand in extracting a splinter.

Saufeius (Appius) was choked to death supping up the white of an under-boiled egg. (Pliny: History, vii. 33.)

Torquaʹtus (Aulus Manlius), a gentleman of consular rank, died in the act of taking a cheesecake at dinner.

Valla (Lucius Tuscius), the physician, died in the act of taking a draught of medicine.

William III. died from his horse stumbling over a mole-hill.

Zeuxis, the great painter, died of laughter at sight of a hag which he had just depicted.

⁂ It will be observed that four of the list died of laughter. No doubt the reader will be able to add other examples.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Deaf Adder
Deal
Deal-fish
Dean (the Latin Decanus)
Deans (Effie)
Dear
Dear Bought and Far Brought
Dearest
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Death and Doctor Hornbook
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Death in the Pot
Death under Shield
Death-bell
Death-meal (A)
Death-watch
Death’s Head
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Deaths-man
Debateable Land
Debon

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