He had destroyed an entire Roman military contingent: What is “mad honey”?


In one of the most brutal ambushes in history, an entire Roman military contingenta species produced by bees living on the shores of the Black Sea with hallucinogenic honeyor as it is known among the right deli dance He was killed by the enemy soldiers who poisoned him. “crazy honeyThe intoxicating feast known as the ‘” had caused severe but temporary disturbances, turning hapless Roman soldiers who tasted it into standing targets.

This event was aimed at spreading the Roman empire to Anatolia between 73 and 63 BC. Occurred during the Third Mithridatic War. During this expedition, the Roman Republic, one of the most cunning enemies it has faced, Encountered Mithridates VI, King of Pontus, also known as the Toxic King.

Mithridates, who has a history befitting villains in movies, is said to have become obsessed with poisons after his father was assassinated with a deadly toxin. Known for his intelligence and fascination with pharmacology, the monarch is still alive today. with a practice known as mithridatismhas successfully developed tolerance to several deadly poisons by regularly consuming non-lethal doses.

When the Romans came to the city, Mithridates was more than happy to take the stage and demonstrate his extraordinary military moves. According to historical sources, his soldiers, attacked the invading forces with poisoned arrowsto the Roman siege tunnelshornets and wild animals” and even developed chemical weapons from naphtha.

ancient historian Strabowhile describing an event that took place in 65 BC, Mithridates’ Heptacomitae He explains how his allies, named Mad honey, used a substance called mad honey to destroy a Roman unit. Honey produced by bees that feed on the nectar of a particular rhododendron species contains high concentrations of a class of neurotoxins called grayanotoxin.

Those who take higher doses of this substance, which can cause hallucinations, loss of coordination and nausea in small doses, may experience serious heart complications. According to Strabo, the Heptacomitae placed bowls of mad honey in the path of the advancing Romans and “Later, when the soldiers drank the mixture and lost their minds, they attacked them and easily destroyed them.

Not the first “mad honey case”

The authors of the new study compile historical accounts of the event, explaining that this is not the first instance of a former military unit being poisoned after consuming mad honey. Three centuries ago, the Greek commander Xenophonhundreds of soldiers with the help of a substance “that they suddenly lost their minds, that they were suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, that they could not stand on their feet.” he stated.

Despite their violent drunkenness, none of Xenophon’s men died, and all regained their senses within 24 hours of eating the honey. In fact, grayanotoxin poisoning was almost never fatal, as the toxins were rapidly metabolized by the body.

However, carefully timed attacks after the Roman soldiers languished with this honey meant that the Heptacomitae had little trouble slaughtering their enemies. Unfortunately for Mithridates, this minor victory did not change the tide of the war, which ultimately With the destruction of the Kingdom of Pontus by the Roman army concluded.

Mithridates himself, according to legend, tried to die by poisoning himself after his defeat. But ironically, his body was so used to the effects of the poison that he had to ask his bodyguard to end his life.


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