Why do we raise a “toast”?!

| Linda Brown | Word & Idioms

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Believe it or not – to save lives, no less!

In the 17th century, it was prevalent to flavor drinks with spiced toasted bread. However, the clicking part finds its roots in a sinister, dark, reality.

The custom of touching glasses evolved from concerns about poisoning. By one account, clinking glasses together would cause each drink to spill over into the others’ glasses. In other words, it ensures that if one glass is poisoned, we all go down together.

 

Bonus Fact: Pope Alexander VI and his son used to poison wealthy Romans, and then confiscate their treasures under a papal decree. On one occasion, Cardinal Orsini, hid his treasures because he guessed the Pope’s intentions. Alexander poisoned him with a relatively small dose of the Cantarella, hoping that one of the cardinal’s relatives would ask the Pope him spare his life and, in return, tell him where the money was hidden. No relative arrived, and finally, the pope sent a glass of wine to Cardinal Orsini ordering him to drink it within two hours. Two hours passed, but the cardinal refused to drink the poison. The angry pope sent him one of his men, a dubious character who was known as the most talented torturer. Orsini understood the clue and drank the poison.

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And for those of you who are really into assassination-by-poison history, here is some more:

Assassination by poisoning was a common method of murder and execution over two thousand years ago: Socrates – the famous Greek philosopher – was executed by drinking a glass of poison; and there is clear evidence that even prehistoric hunters knew and used poisons during hunting.

Believe or not – to save lives, no less!

In the 17th century, it was prevalent to flavor drinks with spiced toasted bread. However, the clicking part finds its roots in a sinister, dark, reality.

The custom of touching glasses evolved from concerns about poisoning. By one account, clinking glasses together would cause each drink to spill over into the others’ glasses. In other words, it ensures that if one glass is poisoned, we all go down together.

 

Bonus Fact: Pope Alexander VI and his son used to poison wealthy Romans, and then confiscate their treasures under a papal decree. On one occasion, Cardinal Orsini, hid his treasures because he guessed the Pope’s intentions. Alexander poisoned him with a relatively small dose of the Cantarella, hoping that one of the cardinal’s relatives would ask the Pope him spare his life and, in return, tell him where the money was hidden. No relative arrived, and finally, the pope sent a glass of wine to Cardinal Orsini ordering him to drink it within two hours. Two hours passed, but the cardinal refused to drink the poison. The angry pope sent him one of his men, a dubious character who was known as the most talented torturer. Orsini understood the clue and drank the poison.

Poising has distinct advantages over other murder methods. The poison is a quiet killer and its action takes a long time. When the victim begins to feel the poison, the murderer may be many miles away. Unlike assassinations with knives, swords, guns, and other weapons, anyone can drip a few drops into a drink or cooking pot.

The great Mithridates, king of Pontus (63-120BCE) knew all too well that poisoning was his political rivals weapon of choice. He decided to do something: investigate the various toxins and find them antidotes. In doing so, Mithridates became the first to conduct real research in the field of toxicology.

As a ruler, Mithridates could have ordered the execution of criminals using poisons, thus examining the effects of hundreds of different poisons and their drugs. 

His method of protecting himself from poisoning was to expose himself to toxins at low doses over time: he poisoned himself with tiny amounts every day, thus developing his body legendary for a wide range of toxins.

According to myth, Mythridast succeeded in finding a cure that could counteract the effects of all the toxins known to man. This drug was called ‘Mithridat’.

When Mithridates was finally defeated by the great Roman General Pompeii, he tried to commit suicide so as not to fall into captivity. He and his two daughters swallowed a deadly poison. Deadly for girls, it turns out, but not for Mithridates. The resistance he developed toxins proved to be effective, and he couldn’t die. Finally, he had to ask one of his officers to stab him.

Another spicy poisoning story is that of Pope Alexander VI and his son, Cardinal Orsini. They used to poison wealthy Romans, and then confiscate their treasures under a papal decree. One of the most interesting stories is about Cardinal Orsini, who hid his treasures because he guessed the Pope’s intentions. Alexander poisoned him with a relatively small dose of the Cantarella, hoping that one of the cardinal’s relatives would ask the Pope to spare his life and, in return, tell him where the money was spent. No relative arrived, and finally, the pope sent a glass of wine to Cardinal Orsini ordering him to drink it within two hours. Two hours passed, but the cardinal refused to drink the poison. The angry pope sent him one of his men, a dubious character who was known as the most talented torturer. Orsini understood the clue and drank the poison.

And for those of you who are really into assassination-by-poison history, here is some more:

Assassination by poisoning was a common method of murder and execution over two thousand years ago: Socrates – the famous Greek philosopher – was executed by drinking a glass of poison; and there is clear evidence that even prehistoric hunters knew and used poisons during hunting.

Believe or not – to save lives, no less!

In the 17th century, it was prevalent to flavor drinks with spiced toasted bread. However, the clicking part finds its roots in a sinister, dark, reality.

The custom of touching glasses evolved from concerns about poisoning. By one account, clinking glasses together would cause each drink to spill over into the others’ glasses. In other words, it ensures that if one glass is poisoned, we all go down together.

 

Bonus Fact: Pope Alexander VI and his son used to poison wealthy Romans, and then confiscate their treasures under a papal decree. On one occasion, Cardinal Orsini, hid his treasures because he guessed the Pope’s intentions. Alexander poisoned him with a relatively small dose of the Cantarella, hoping that one of the cardinal’s relatives would ask the Pope him spare his life and, in return, tell him where the money was hidden. No relative arrived, and finally, the pope sent a glass of wine to Cardinal Orsini ordering him to drink it within two hours. Two hours passed, but the cardinal refused to drink the poison. The angry pope sent him one of his men, a dubious character who was known as the most talented torturer. Orsini understood the clue and drank the poison.

Poising has distinct advantages over other murder methods. The poison is a quiet killer and its action takes a long time. When the victim begins to feel the poison, the murderer may be many miles away. Unlike assassinations with knives, swords, guns, and other weapons, anyone can drip a few drops into a drink or cooking pot.

The great Mithridates, king of Pontus (63-120BCE) knew all too well that poisoning was his political rivals weapon of choice. He decided to do something: investigate the various toxins and find them antidotes. In doing so, Mithridates became the first to conduct real research in the field of toxicology.

As a ruler, Mithridates could have ordered the execution of criminals using poisons, thus examining the effects of hundreds of different poisons and their drugs. 

His method of protecting himself from poisoning was to expose himself to toxins at low doses over time: he poisoned himself with tiny amounts every day, thus developing his body legendary for a wide range of toxins.

According to myth, Mythridast succeeded in finding a cure that could counteract the effects of all the toxins known to man. This drug was called ‘Mithridat’.

When Mithridates was finally defeated by the great Roman General Pompeii, he tried to commit suicide so as not to fall into captivity. He and his two daughters swallowed a deadly poison. Deadly for girls, it turns out, but not for Mithridates. The resistance he developed toxins proved to be effective, and he couldn’t die. Finally, he had to ask one of his officers to stab him.

Another spicy poisoning story is that of Pope Alexander VI and his son, Cardinal Orsini. They used to poison wealthy Romans, and then confiscate their treasures under a papal decree. One of the most interesting stories is about Cardinal Orsini, who hid his treasures because he guessed the Pope’s intentions. Alexander poisoned him with a relatively small dose of the Cantarella, hoping that one of the cardinal’s relatives would ask the Pope to spare his life and, in return, tell him where the money was spent. No relative arrived, and finally, the pope sent a glass of wine to Cardinal Orsini ordering him to drink it within two hours. Two hours passed, but the cardinal refused to drink the poison. The angry pope sent him one of his men, a dubious character who was known as the most talented torturer. Orsini understood the clue and drank the poison.