10 Weirdest Ways Famous Ancient Greeks Died

9. Heraclitus — Smothered Himself In Manure Then Eaten By Dogs

Gerard Butler 300

Heraclitus, apart from being one of the most important pre-socratic philosophers, seems to have been a decidedly odd person, so aptly his death does not buck the trend of an unusual life.

Known as the 'weeping philosopher,' due to his misanthropy, his relinquishing his privileged background for a poor philosophical life, and bouts of depression, Heraclitus developed numerous famous doctrines, such as that fire is the fundamental element of the world, that you can't step in the same river twice, and that all is in flux.

In later life, Heraclitus developed an illness that he was told was incurable. Thinking little of his physician's opinion, Heraclitus covered himself in cow manure, thinking the dampness might help. According to one source, the dung covered Heraclitus thereby managed not to cure his disease but to attract some wild dogs, who frenzied and ripped him apart.

Contrary to the dignified bearing we tend to think philosophers having, trying to show your doctor was wrong by covering yourself in excrement and getting eaten by dogs probably counts as a bit of a failed attempt.


A philosopher (no, actually) and sometime writer from Glasgow, with a worryingly extensive knowledge of Dawson's Creek.