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6-royal_toxicologist_mithridates

Mithridates experimenting with poisons on a condemned prisoner

Mithridatism had been in vogue in other parts of the world as well. In ancient India, legend has it that, during the rule of the king Chandragupta Maurya (320–298 BCE), there was this practice of regularly administering poison in small amounts to pubescent young girls until they grew up, gradually making them immune to poison. These maidens were called vishakanyas (visha – poison, kanya – maiden). It was believed that having sex with vishakanyas could result in the death of their partners and hence they found employment as assassins.

As a kid I remember watching in awe while a snake charmer nonchalantly shoved his hand inside a sack filled with cobras, drawing one out and toying with it, even pissing it off with tight slaps on it’s head, making the snake repeatedly lash out. I used to wonder why nothing ever happened to the guy……

The toxicomaniac (Part-2)