7 – The Triple Death
In ancient Persia, some rulers believed an enemy deserved to die more than once and did everything in their power to prolong the suffering of victims. They believed that for someone to truly die, they needed to have three deaths and all of them had to be brutal. Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, and in one story, his wife ordered the brutal execution of a eunuch.
It is not known how the eunuch angered her nor could I find out whether it was Cyrus’ first wife Cassandane, or his second wife Amitis, who ordered the triple death of the eunuch. According to the story, the eunuch’s eyes were pulled out of his head, but he was allowed to remain alive. Next, he was flayed alive but once more, the queen would not let him die, and he was nursed back to health. Finally, he was crucified.
There are differing accounts of the triple death in ancient Persia. In some cases, the victim was ‘only’ tortured several times in a row before being allowed to die. However, when the crime was deemed serious enough, the repercussions were horrendous. When Cyrus the Younger was killed in 401 BC, Mithridates made the mistake of boasting about his role in the event and was executed via Scaphism as I mentioned earlier.
This wasn’t the only brutal death suffered by an individual involved in the death of Cyrus. According to Plutarch, a Carian apparently struck the king behind the knee with a dart, which caused Cyrus to fall, hit his head and ultimately die. The Carian also boasted of his role in the king’s death and Parysatis, Cyrus’ mother, made sure he suffered for his sins. He was placed on a wheel in the sun for 10 days. After that, his eyes were gouged out, and finally, molten brass was poured into his ears.