The 39 Clues


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Poison Ring

During the Renaissance, feuding noble families created poison rings to kill their enemies in a fashionable manner. At first glance, a poison ring appears much like an ordinary ring with a large jewel in its setting. But a closer examination shows that the ring opens like a door, revealing a tiny hidden compartment. In this 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.

The Lucians, a powerful and secretive branch of the Cahill family, are said to count a poison ring among their treasured heirlooms. Their ring is thought to be the first to use a needle to deliver the poison. Whoa. What are you talking about? That’s crazy talk. Who are the Cahills?

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