A Terrible Taste
War is hell, but ancient wars were particularly brutal. After the Persians captured the Roman emperor Valerian during battle around A.D. 260, Persia's King Shapur I is said to have humiliated Valerian by using him as a footstool. But it only got worse for the Roman. After Valerian offered a king's ransom for his release, Shapur responded by forcing molten gold down his prisoner's throat, stuffing him with straw, and then putting him on display, where he stayed for a few hundred years.