Poisons in the Roman World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-09-01
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Germanicus Caesar died young of a mysterious illness; one of his political enemies was charged with murder by poison. The quaestio de sicariis et veneficiswas a Roman court designed specifically to hear charges of murder by knifings and poisonings. In busy years the court was presided over by two judges: one for knifings, the other for poisonings, yet little modern scholarship had been attempted on this dedicated court of law. Through exploring this legal history of poison, Poisons in the Roman Worldproves that poisons have a rich history at Rome, forming a distinct aspect of Roman society. Keeping in mind the ambiguity, the complexity of the lore, the paranoia and the anecdotal, through original research Cheryl Golden uncovers evidence that the threat of murder and accidental death by poison created serious legal concerns for the Roman World. Poisons aided farmers, soldiers, doctors and homemakers, were a legal concern in the market place, in family law and for the Roman constitution. The medical history of Rome shows significant care regarding drugs, cures (both simple and complex), aphrodisiacs, pesticides and snakebites. Examining evidence from the history of Rome#xE2;#xAC;"s transition from Republic to Empire, this study offers a fresh approach to the investigation of one of the most important transitional periods in western history.

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