Friday, June 17, 2011

Locusta- Rome’s Professional Poisoner

Poisoning was often used in ancient times. Whether it was knocking off one’s siblings to put someone more in line for the throne or getting rid of an unfortunate spouse, poison was, in some areas, almost an art form. Many plants such as hemlock and belladonna were used frequently in order to kill of pesky rivals or those of higher social classes.

While poison was used, and many ancient rulers utilized tasters in order to make sure they were not the victims, only Rome would have a professional poisoner. Her name was Locusta and it is believed that she caused the deaths of many important Romans including the Emperor Claudius and Britannicus, Claudius’ son. Locusta’s services were first employed by Agrippina the Younger, the final wife of Claudius, to permanently take care of her husband. The weapon of choice was a large dish of poisoned mushrooms.

More at The Ancient Standard