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Chrysippus Died Laughing (Literally)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Category: History

Chrysippus was a Greek Stoic philosopher born circa 279BC in Soli, Cilicia, a Roman province located in modern-day Turkey. He served as head of the Stoic School of Hellenistic philosophy in Athens until his death in circa 206BC. It was recorded by a student at the Stoic School that the influential philosopher and headmaster literally died of laughter. Chrysippus’s deadly fit of laughter began when a donkey approached him and began eating his figs. He then jokingly commanded his slave to, “give the donkey neat wine to drink with which to wash them down.”. According to the philosophy student who documented the events surrounding Chrysippus’s death, “Having laughed too much, he died.”. Modern medical experts have determined the actual cause of death was most likely cardiac arrest which was brought on by asphyxiation caused by intense laughter.

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