A Brief History
On November 30 1016, Edmund Ironside, also known as Edmund II or even Ēadmund Isernside (in Old English), was murdered on his “throne,” stabbed to death multiple times as he attended to “business.”
Why the quotation marks around “throne” and “business?” Because the poor guy was trying to go to the bathroom at the time of his assassination! What a “crappy” way to die! In fact, Edmund had only been king since April 23, 1016, so he barely got to enjoy the benefits of his time as king. Other chroniclers have claimed the doomed king was done in by a bolt from a crossbow, or even that he had incurred wounds in battle and later died of those wounds. The inconsistency about the accounts of his death, even the location of his demise, brings to light a serious problem in what we call “history.” As we have written extensively about ways people have died, it is only fair to wonder how many of those accounts are accurately portrayed by “history” and how those same accounts may be exaggerated or even fabricated. (Click the link for more articles of this nature and search our site using “ways to die” and “death” to discover more of our many related articles.)
History is supposed to be a retelling of events that have occurred in the past, but the facts surrounding those events are often written down by people that were not even present at the time, sometimes decades or even centuries later, as with Alexander the Great. Even the Gospels were written several decades after the life of Christ, if you believe secular researchers. If you believe religious “experts,” the Gospels were written somewhat earlier. Other times our only account of a person or event comes from a single source, a notoriously bad way to assume the veracity of any event or biography. The point of view of the writer, whether pro or con, has a lot to do with the perception of events and may even be totally falsified to suit the agenda of the writer. Historical figures such as Caligula and Elizabeth Bathory are portrayed as evil, even psychopathic murderers and miscreants, but are those accounts actually just a form of justification to suit their enemies? Without corroborating evidence or multiple accounts, it is quite hard to determine what really did or did not occur, let alone why.
Accounts of ancient battles are notoriously inconsistent in citing the numbers of soldiers involved, as well as casualty figures. At the famous Battle of Thermopylae, we find estimates of the Greek forces ranging from 5000 to 11,000, which is a mighty big difference, and yet the estimates of the Persian force size range from 70,000 to 300,000. Since both ends of the estimates cannot be correct, we have to wonder what else being reported is incorrect. As we have seen time and again, even in modern times, governments often lie about events and those lies might become enshrined in official “histories.” Former NFL star and US Army Ranger Patrick Tillman patriotically enlisted in the US Army in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. While serving in combat in Afghanistan, Tillman was killed in action. The government of the US lied about the circumstances of his death, claiming he had been killed by enemy fire while heroically fighting the enemy. In fact, Tillman had been the victim of a tragic mistake, killed by “friendly fire” by his own US Army comrades. Without journalists and a family demanding a proper accounting, history would have recorded the government sponsored lie and people in the future would be none the wiser.
Getting back to Edmund Ironside, he was certainly not the only notable person to die on the “throne.” Other people that died under such unflattering circumstances include Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll (1977), who had a heart attack and died while trying to pass a giant, impacted bowel movement, or “taking the Browns to the Superbowl” if you will. Catharine the Great, Empress of Russia (1796) was said to have died while “dropping off the kids at the pool,” which is only one account of her death, another being that she was crushed to death by a horse that fell over while she was engaged with the horse in sexual intercourse. (The horse story is almost assuredly a bit of disinformation promulgated by her enemies.) King George II of England (1760) reportedly also died in the act of “pinching a loaf,” or as more quaintly described at the time, “overexertions on the privy”.
How will you or this author die? Will people make up stories about our deaths and posterity will believe a lie? Will we go to the Great Beyond under embarrassing circumstances? Hopefully not! (Be careful how hard you strain…)
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you know anyone that died under embarrassing circumstances? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Newquist, HP and Rich Maloof. 75 Worst Ways to Die: A Guide to the Ways in Which We Go. Constable, 2010.
Proud, James. History’s Weirdest Deaths: History’s Weirdest Ways to Die. Portable Press, 2019.
West, Jerry. 50 Ways to Die: Homicides, Accidents, Suicides, Infanticides and Acts of Mother Nature. AuthorHouse Publishing, 2011.
The featured image in this article, a miniature of Edmund in the early 14th-century Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England, is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.