10 Incredible Ways People Faced Up To Their Own Death

10. Sempronius Densus (69 AD)... Died Valiantly Fighting Alone, Protecting Emperor Galba

Praetorian Guard
Wikimedia Commons

Few men have ever shown such loyalty and courage when faced with impending death - but Roman Centurion Sempronius Densus was determined to save his own soldiers before he perished.

A centurion in the Praetorian Guard, Sempronius was the personal bodyguard to Emperor Galba's deputy, Piso Licinianus. Piso had been an unexpected choice to make deputy, however, and his rival for the role - Marcus Otho - instead conspired to assassinate the Emperor in order to seize power in 69 AD.

When Galba and Piso were being paraded down the street, a large group under Otho's orders attacked the pair - only for Sempronius to singlehandedly stand in their way. While his colleagues either fled or assisted in the murders, Sempronius threw himself in the way of Piso and allowed him to find a safe hiding place as the centurion fought off the group of assassins.

Sempronius fought off the assassins with just a single sword for several minutes before he was felled - and the group then murdered both Galba and Piso. Yet the centurion's brave and honourable stand was immortalised in many contemporary Roman works.

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Tom Hanks
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NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.