Special Sub-Topic: Poison: The Assassin's Friend
|Which poison is called 'the king of poisons' due its extensive use throughout history since Roman times?|
Arsenic. Arsenic was once thought of as the 'ideal homicidal poison', because originally there was no way of discovering that a toxic substance had entered the body.
|What is the origin of the word toxic?|
From the Greek word for 'bow'. Toxeuma means 'bow' in Greek. The poison is quick and goes straight to the target in the manner of an arrow. The word 'poison', incidentally, comes from the French for 'drink', because poison was traditionally put in drinks.
|The lethal dose of arsenic for a human being is how many miligrams?|
125. This is the latest measurement from the University of Hokkaido in Japan.
|Arsenic was very hard to detect inside the body until the year 1836, when a new test was developed - what was it called?|
Marsh Test. Dr. James Marsh developed this test. He would convert the arsenic he suspected to be in body tissue into arsine gas and then back into its pure form.
|What is the name of the first 'universal antidote', said to cure all types of poisoning?|
Mithridatium. King Mithridates VI in 150 BC was paranoid about poison and developed mithridatium which he took daily. When his castle was under siege he tried to poison himself, but because of the doso of antidote he always took, he failed and had himself stabbed.
|Called 'Spanish fly', this poison comes from a beetle called what?|
Lytta vesictoria. This poison is also known as cantharides. It causes swelling of the body and, eventually, death.
|'Spanish fly' was thought to be an aphrodisiac in France, but was also used for...?|
Abortions. The poison caused the womb to swell and choke the foetus, but it often killed the mother too.
|Which of these substances can be toxic?|
Silver. Poisoning of this kind is called argyrosis. It can cause the skin to turn blue or grey.
|Which part of the 'ratti' tree, or abrus precatorius, is toxic?|
Seeds. This tree originates from India. It is often made into needles called 'sutari', and the symptoms of the sufferer look a lot like a viper bite.
|Which 17th century woman murdered about 600 people and is thought of as the greatest poisoner of all time?|
Toffana. The Italian woman Toffana invented 'agua Toffana', a deadly poison containing arsenic which she sold to various people. She did this to make a huge profit because, at the time, there were not many poisons around and many women wanted to kill their husbands. Such practices were common in the 17th century. She was executed at Naples in 1709.
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