Death is not funny. It is a tragic affair that should not be mocked. However, let us forget about that for a moment and realize that to our jaded and over stimulated society, death can be funny. However, only if it is someone that has been long dead and no one alive can possibly be offended by. While amusing deaths happen frequently, as shown by the television show 1,000 Ways To Die, it is best not to tempt offending any remaining loved ones by mocking modern deaths.
No matter, there are plenty of amusing deaths that have happened throughout history. While tragic, at least they will always be remembered for having such an unusual death.
Approximately 620 BC
Draco was a law maker in ancient Athens for the Greeks. he was famed for replacing the blood code and oral laws of his people, which basically anyone could make up a law and kill another person for breaking it, with written laws that were enforced by courts. This made his quite beloved by the people for creating a semblance of equality and order.
This love by the people was actually his downfall. His death was the result of being smothered by gifts. In a theatre in Aegina, the appreciative citizens showered Draco with cloaks, which in turn buried him and smothered him to death.
Lucius Fabius Cilo
Lucius Fabius Cilo was a roman senator from Hispania (Spain). He led a remarkable average life as a senator, but had a unique death. Lucius Fabius Cilo choked to death from a single hair in his milk. I mean, if I can choke on my own spit, I can see this being plausible. Most historians think poison may be involved just because of how simple and usual his death was.
Arius was a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt. One day while strutting proudly through the forum at Constantinople shortly after his exile was lifted, something horrifying happened. As he walked, Arius was seized by a sudden bout of diarrhea, which is everybody's worst fear still today. This led to fierce hemorrhaging and culminated in his intestines coming out his back end. He died from this and most historians agree that it was from being poisoned by those who had previously wished him exiled for his ideas.
Li Bai was perhaps the most renowned poet of the Tang dynasty in China. He was very insightful and creative poet indeed. However, as all poets are, he was bound to bouts of whimsy at the beauty of the world. Li Bai's creative reign was put to an end when he was traveling the Yangtze River. He was crossing the river when he spied the reflection of the moon in the water. He was so taken in by the beauty that he leaned down to give it a little smooch. This resulted in his falling into the river and drowning.
Sigurd the Mighty
Sigurd the Mighty was a Viking earl of Orkney. Viking, as we all know, is one of those hazardous professions like being a fireman or police officer. Every time you go ir vikiing, there is a decent chance you might find yourself dead at the hands of your enemy. Sigurd the Mighty was raping and pillaging his way through modern day Scotland when he met his tragic fight to Mael Brigte. however, Mael Brigte was long dead when he defeated Sigurd.
Sigurd the Mighty liked to take the heads of his mightiest foes back home with him, perhaps to use their skulls for drinking wine or to play some volleyball with. This time though, Mael Brigte's teeth grazed his leg while he was riding back to his boat. You think teeth are full of bacteria today, back then they were way worse. The bacteria from the teeth got into the wound and killed Sigurd the Mighty before he made it back to his boats.
If you want unique deaths in history, than the punishments created by the Mongols could fill a book. They are often praised for their military strategy, but they were also quite creative when they needed to dole out punishment. Thus is the case for Inalchuk who was a governor of the city of Otrar.
One day a caravan of Mongol traders came to the city, Inalchuk thought them to be Mongol spies so he arrested and later executed them. One of them escaped and told Genghis Khan who attacked the city. So, having provoked the mighty Mongol horde, the city was sacked. When presented to Genghis Khan, he poured molten silver into his skull. Some rumors say he used his skull as a drinking glass.
If you are familiar with the death of Viserys Targaryen by Khal Drogo on the television show Game of Thrones, it was based on this tale.
Charles II of Navarre
Charles the second was King of Navarre and held many lands in Northern France. He was not exactly a fantastic king, as he earned the nickname of Charles the Bad. This was probably due to his part in the 100 Years War between England and France. Sure, he was king of part of France, but he switched allying side frequently to further his own agenda. This earned him a bad reputation in France and England.
His death was the only thing that made him popular. Since many people thought he deserved it, you can be sure there was a lot of snickering about it at that point in history. Charles the Bad had contracted a disease that caused his flesh to decay, most people believe it was leprosy. To remedy this, the doctor recommended that he be wrapped head-to-toe in brandy soaked linens then sewed into a sack at night so that the fumes did not escape.
So he had it ordered, however when his servant went to snip off the last bit of thread from sewing his night time sack, instead of cutting it with a knife, she burnt it with a candle. You can imagine the results of putting a candle near a man soaked with brandy. Charles the Bad exploded into flames which caused the servant girl to run away in horror, leaving the king to burn to death.