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We’ve all seen those movies where the hero dies in battle, killed in a valiant final defence of their country or their love. We are undoubtedly moved by such acts, often putting ourselves in the very same situation and wondering if fate gave us those same cards, would we play the same hand? And while there are numerous historical figures who died in such a valiant way, there are quite a few who didn’t. There are certain people in times gone by who have died humiliating deaths. Some of these people were great leaders who unfortunately will be remembered for their deaths more so than their life achievements. So here they are. In no particular order. The 5 most humiliating deaths in history.


Following the death of Murad the first at the battle of Kosovo in 1389, Bayezid became the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, a man in a very powerful position who controlled one of the largest empires in the world. Bayezid did some things right, he controlled much of the Balkans and personally led Ottoman armies in some key defeats of Christian armies. Unfortunately for Bayezid, there was a Mongol called Timur who was wreaking havoc in the east. Timur captured Bayezid in the Battle of Ankara in 1402. Bayezid was mistreated and ultimately died in captivity. The story goes he was put in an iron cage in a dining room and was forced to view his wife naked in all her glory serving Timur and his Mongol buddies. Not being able to deal with the shame, Bayezid repeatedly slammed his head on the iron cage, effectively beating himself to death.


Bayezid being visited by his captor, Timur.



This ones a little ambiguous as there are various sources and accounts as to the actual death of Arthur. Nephew of Richard the Lionheart, Arthur was next in line to the English throne. However, when Richard was on his deathbed he appointed his brother John to succeed him as he probably felt Arthur, at 12 years of age would be unfit to be King. John and Arthur wage  war with one another. Eventually King John captures his nephew, blinds him and castrates him and if that’s not enough, ties him to a couple of large stones and lets him sink to the bottom of the Seine so the fish can feast on nobility.


Valerian was a Roman Emperor from 253 to 260AD. Unfortunately for Valerian he is remembered as being the only emperor in the history of Rome to be caught by the enemy. While out campaigning against the Persians, he was thrown off his horse and captured by the Persian king, Shapur. He would go on to live for approximately another 5 years where he would serve the King, by being his own personal footstool to prop him up onto his horse. After being humiliated for long enough, Valerian begged his captor to let him go. The Roman’s would pay a handsome sum if the emperor is returned. Shapur instead of ransoming him, flayed him alive (another source states he had molten gold poured down his throat). Valerian was then stuffed and used as a decoration at Shapur’s court. Rumours are that whenever a foreign delegation would come to the King’s court he would bring out the stuffed Valerian to strike fear in the hearts of his visitors.


Valarian being used as a footstool.



Something about Roman Emperors and their lust for power, must rub people the wrong way. Caracalla ruled the empire jointly with his brother Geta. However in 211AD he decided he didn’t need his brother any more and had some centurions slice him to death while he was in his mother’s arms.  This cleared the way for Caracalla to rule on his own. While he did he pissed a few more people off. While he was out campaigning, in what is now southern Turkey, Caracalla excused himself to go urinate. Mid stream he was hacked to death by his bodyguard. Apparently Caracalla had the brother of the man put to death on some trumped up charges.


Aeschylus was an ancient Greek playwright. Unfortunately not much of his works survive and even more unfortunate was the manner in which this man died would make sure that rather than being remembered for his work, he will be remembered for the manner of his death. An eagle had mistook the mans head for a rock and dropped a tortoise onto it. He died instantly.