(ORDO NEWS) — Flavius Zeno was a 5th century Roman emperor whose reign was fraught with internal rebellions and religious divisions, and it looks like he was as unlucky in death as he was in life!
According to Byzantine Greek historians, Zeno was accidentally buried alive after falling ill. However, when his cries were heard from the sarcophagus, his wife refused to open his tomb!
Zeno was emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire from 474-475 AD and again from 476-491 AD. During his reign, the fall of the Western Roman Empire took place.
On April 9, AD 491, Zeno died in Constantinople. Historical records are not clear as to the cause of his illness, but it is reported that it could have been dysentery, epilepsy, or “insensibility from drunkenness”.
According to two Byzantine Greek historians of the 11th and 12th centuries, John Zonaras and George Kedrenos, Zeno was believed to have died from drunkenness or illness, and his body was placed in a sarcophagus in the Church of the Holy Apostles.
However, he woke up from unconsciousness, and for three days, cries of “have pity on me” were heard from inside.
Zonaras and Kedrenos reported that Zeno’s wife, Empress Ariadne, who was hostile to her husband, did not allow her subjects to intervene and open his tomb. If these reports are correct, then Zeno died a slow death from asphyxiation and dehydration.
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