Resistir ao diabo’ não significa ‘repreender’ a ele, gritando para ele. Isso se refere a um estilo de vida piedoso de submissão a Deus, uma ruptura com a amizade do mundo e um espírito de humildade pessoal.
—  Frank Retief

Poison and the Roman version of “Breaking Bad” ;) ~S

Poisons, Poisoning and the Drug Trade in Ancient Rome

L. Cilliers and F.P. Retief (University of the Free State)

Akroterion: Vol.45 (2000)


The first recorded instance of poisoning in ancient Rome occurred in 331 BC when, during an epidemic, a large number of women were accused of concerted mass poisoning. Overreaction of the community in times of stress particularly, when scapegoats for unexplained phenomena are sought, might have played an important role in this and many subsequent incidents of suspected poisoning. Rome represented a culture steeped in superstition, fear and mythology with virtually no scientific means of retrospectively proving or disproving alleged poisoning. The drug trade in antiquity is briefly reviewed, from the Marsi and rootcutters who collected materials, and the intermediary herbalists and drug pedlars, to the physicians and other prescribers of drugs. There was a general lack of proper knowledge, which led to much abuse and death of patients…

A lead lined cup - were vessels like this the downfall of Rome?

Lead Poisoning in Ancient Rome

Francois Retief and Louise P. Cilliers

Acta Theologica:  Supplementum 7 (2005) 


Lead was known to the ancients from at least the 4th millennium BC, but its use increased markedly during Roman times, to the extent that it became a health hazard. Mines and foundry furnaces caused air pollution; lead was extensively used in plumbing; domestic utensils were made of lead and pewter, and lead salts were used in cosmetics, medicines and paints. As a microbicide, lead was also used to preserve food. A grape juice concentrate (sapa) commonly used as a sweetener was prepared by preference in lead containers. Although Roman writers commented on the toxicity of lead, classic chronic lead poisoning was first described only in the 7th century AD. Skeletal lead content increased significantly in the Roman era, but peaked at a level only 41-47% of that of modern Europeans. The authors thus suggest that chronic lead poisoning did not contribute significantly to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.