history meme: 01/08 objects | Poison Ring
A poison ring or pillbox ring is a type of ring with a container under the bezel or inside the bezel itself that could be used to hold poison or another substance. They became popular in Europe during the sixteenth century and were used either to slip poison into an enemy’s food or drink, or to facilitate the suicide of the wearer in order to escape capture or torture.
During the Renaissance, feuding noble families created poison rings to kill their enemies in a fashionable manner. In the compartment, the wearer can hide a small amount of poison, and at the right moment, sneak the stuff into an enemy’s food or drink. The most dangerous poison rings used spring-loaded needles tipped with poison to deliver the toxin directly into their victims!
Though poison rings became popular during the Renaissance, there are accounts of them from as far back as 183 B.C. Here are some of history’s most famous examples of the item: Hannibal, the famous general of Carthage, wore a poison ring in case of capture. He took the poison himself to avoid being imprisoned by the Romans in 183 B.C. Cesare Borgia, a ruthless member of the Borgia family, wore a lion-headed ring at all times. Enemies were known to drop like flies around Borgia, especially at dinner parties, and it is assumed that his lion ring contained a nasty poison.