More fun ways to die

Ancient Greeks kept coming up with some pretty bizarre ways to depart for Hades.  I'll mention two:

The founder of modern drama was a chap named Aeschylus.  He's considered the founder because he wrote the earliest surviving play: The Persians.  There were certainly earlier playwrights, among them Thespis, from whom we get the word thespian for an actor, but all their works are lost.

Aeschylus moved to Sicily in his final years.  That was a pretty common thing to do, because in those days Sicilians were nouveau riche but culture poor; they had plenty of money to entice famous artists.

We know for sure that Aeschylus was balding in his old age, because of the odd nature of his end.

Aeschylus was walking along one day when an eagle passed overhead.  Eagles like to eat turtles, but the shell is a problem.  The eagles solve that problem by flying high, then dropping the turtle-victim onto rocks to crack it open.

This particular eagle passing by Aeschylus mistook the playwright's balding pate for a stone.  He let go the turtle in his claws.  Aeschylus thus became the first and, as far as I know only, great writer to be struck down by a plummeting turtle.

Aeschylus not only founded drama, but set the standard for tragic writer deaths.  There were three great tragedians of the ancient age, the other two being Sophocles and Euripides.

Not to be outdone, Euripides moved to Macedonia at the invitation of the royal court.  Where he went for a walk.  And was promptly torn to pieces by wild dogs.

Clearly writers should avoid exercise.


15 comments:

Stephanie Thornton said...

This is good to know, especially as I have a rather unhealthy fear of bears.

Or healthy, considering I have them in my yard (and a guy down the road was just mauled yesterday).

So now I have an excellent excuse to avoid walking near bears. I'd hate to end up on one of your blog posts in the future. :)

Gary Corby said...

From "Great Writers of the 21st Century" published 3012:

"It is generally considered that the great historical author Stephanie Thornton would have gone on to achieve heights equal to her predecessor Shakespeare, had her career not been tragically cut short when, while avoiding a bear trail, she was trampled to death under a herd of stampeding guinea pigs."

Stephanie Thornton said...

Haha! And not even the wild kind of guinea pigs--it'd have to be the plain old domesticated kind up here in Alaska. Maybe they broke out of a pet store and were on their way to freedom.

So I suppose it was a noble death...

Thanks for the laugh Gary!

Suki-joshi said...

Are you telling yourself this to avoid exercise?

Hilarious, all I can hear in my head right now is Bon Jovi's 'Blaze of Glory'. Shot down in a blaze of glory - by an eagle with a turtle. The syllables don't quite fit right, but it's still making me giggle.

Gary Corby said...

Yes, precisely Suki-joshi. Either that or I should go for a walk and die bizarrely in order to cement my fame.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

I figure if I stay in the house to write, I'll just come up with some equally bizarre way to meet my end, no physical activity required. I'll be sitting in my chair, typing away, and an asteroid will plunge through the ceiling above me. Or maybe lightning will strike the house and travel straight through my keyboard. Eventually I'll have to go outside, and cross my fingers the neighborhood squirrels haven't become rabid killing machines. And I'll carry a parasol to protect myself from plummeting turtles.

Gary Corby said...

Laura, you know there's probably a story to be made out of that comment?

Sarah W said...

Can one die from being buried alive in one's own writing awards and royalty checks?

Because that's the way I'd like to go . . .

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Ha! Awesome post. Also--death by guinea pig stampede? Brilliant!

Colin Smith said...

This is either evidence of why writers need to avoid exercise, or a plug for toupees... or hats. Bald writers: never leave home without a hat!

Or is this a clue to a future case in the series: "Nico and the Deadly Turtles"? :)

Gary Corby said...

I wondered if I could make this one of my books, but I couldn't come up with a way for the murderer to train the eagle to drop the turtle on command.

It might actually work better in the modern world with better training methods?

Gary Corby said...

So having written all that, I'm about to go for a run. Wish me luck.

Miriam Forster said...

Ahahaha. Best argument ever. I hope you weren't eaten or smushed by wild animals on your run. Also, congrats on being RAOK blitzed this week!

Gary Corby said...

Have returned from my run unscathed. I think this might be nature's way of telling me I don't write well enough.

Robert said...

gee i write poems and id rather not write if a turtle or being torn apart by dogs was my fate