Sure the job had perks, but it also had real pitfalls as well. Murder and assassination are by far the most common causes of death for the emperors with some of the killings being both horrendous and creative – like Valerian’s death by having molten gold poured down his throat.
Fruhlinger rates the deaths of the emperors by how, “hard core” their deaths were, with natural causes being low on the scale and Valerian’s death as noted above rating the highest – possibly because he was also used as a human footstool by the Persian Emperor and was taxidermied after death.
In a desperate effort to keep this relevant to a food site, I note that Claudius I died by ingesting poisoned food probably given to him by his wife (and niece) Julia Agrippina who was also the mother of Claudius’ successor, Nero.
(For those of you who like this sort of thing, I recommend to you Malcolm Forbes’ book entitled, “They went that Away” which recounts how some famous men and women from history died. An enjoyable, easy read. (Words by Laura Kelley; Photo of Derek Jacoby as Claudius I borrowed from the internet.))