\When Dozens of Bigwigs Drowned in Excrement
Heinrich VI invited key nobles and clergymen from across the Holy Roman Empire to meet for a peace conference at the city of Erfurt. Dozens of bigwigs from across the empire answered his call, and on July 25th, 1184, they gathered at a meeting room in Erfurt’s Church of Saint Peter. Their numbers included a Count Heinrich I of Schwarzburg, who was often given to emphasizing his determination to do something by stating: “If I fail, may I die in excrement!”
Beneath the church meeting room where the empire’s greatest assembled in all their finery, was the monks’ latrine. Unfortunately, the room was not structurally sound. No sooner did the meeting begin than the supporting beams holding the floor gave way, and the gathered bigwigs plummeted into the liquid excrement below. Dozens died, either from drowning in the fecal pool, or from the collapsed structure. They included Count Heinrich I, who met his end just as he had often said: drowned in shit.