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By Peter Macinnis

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Well, a bit macho. Perhaps they still are – this is the part of Austria that Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in. It’s unlikely he would do what the men of the area used to do as a hobby, though. They used to eat arsenic! The purpose, they said, was to improve their ‘wind’, so they could go faster, up and down the hills and mountains of Styria. Mostly, though, they seem to have done it for show, using a knife to carve some soft arsenic mineral out of a rock, and gobbling it down.

HANNIBAL AND THE SNAKES Hannibal was a famous general in the ancient world. He was the man who took elephants over the Italian Alps to fight the Romans. Hannibal’s army was defeated that time, but he escaped and continued with his campaign. He once won a naval battle against 50 some allies of Rome by using a sort of poison. Fighting ships in those days were powered by oarsmen – many men sitting close together and rowing in time with each other. Hannibal sent people out to collect snakes and told them to put the snakes in big pots and jars.

Whichever way it happened, it was no fun for the victim. 2 28 used as medicines. These gardens were often managed by old women or servants. That was enough to worry important men. Mithridates was the king of Pontus, in the part of the world that we now call Turkey. Pontus had many poisonous plants, and every important person in the kingdom was terrified of eating one of them by mistake. Mithridates decided to develop immunity to all these toxic plants by taking small amounts of every known poison and building the doses up gradually.

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