List of poisonings
This is a list of poisonings in chronological order of victim. It also includes confirmed attempted and fictional poisonings. Many of the people listed here committed or attempted to commit suicide by poison; others were poisoned by others.
- Socrates (d. 399 BC), Greek philosopher — According to Plato, sentenced to kill himself by drinking poison hemlock
- Artaxerxes III (d. 338 BC), Persian king, poisoned by his vizier Bagoas
- Artaxerxes IV (d. 336 BC), Persian king, poisoned by his vizier Bagoas
- Bagoas (d. 336 BC), Persian vizier and king-maker, poisoned by Darius III
- Demosthenes (d. 322 BC) Athenian politician
- Chandragupta Maurya's queen Durdhara (d. 320 BC) was accidentally poisoned when she ate poisoned food meant for the emperor who was immune
- Aratus of Sicyon (d. 213 BC), leader of Sicyon and of the Achaean League
- Antipater the Idumaean (d. 43 BC), father of Herod the Great
- Cleopatra VII of Egypt (d. 30 BC), poisoned herself with an asp’s bite
- Julius Caesar Drusus (d. 23), son of Tiberius
- Emperor Hui of Jin China (d. 304)
- Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 661), caliph
- Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (d. 720), umayyad caliph
- Musa al-Kazim (d. 799), Shia Imam
- Romanus II (d. 963), Byzantine Emperor
- Alan III, Duke of Brittany (d. 1040)
- Constantine II of Armenia (d. 1129)
- Alphonse I, Count of Toulouse (d. 1148)
- Baldwin III of Jerusalem (d. 1162)
- Blanche of Bourbon (d. 1361), first wife of King Pedro of Castile
- Louis, Count of Gravina (d. 1362)
- Robert, Count of Eu (d. 1387)
- Ladislaus, King of Naples (d. 1414)
- Dmitry Shemyaka (d. 1453), Grand Duke of Moscow; poisoned with arsenic by Vasily Tyomniy's agents in Great Novgorod
- Margaret Drummond (d. 1502), mistress of King James IV of Scotland
- Timoji (d.1512), Hindu privateer and Portuguese ally
- Juan Ponce de León (d. 1521), Spanish conquistador; after being wounded by a poisoned arrow
- Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky (d. 1610), Russian general and statesman
- Yamada Nagamasa (d. 1630), Japanese adventurer
- Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor (d.1740), ate poisonous mushrooms
- Johann Schobert (d.1767), German composer, ate poisonous mushrooms believing them to be edible
- Bradford sweets poisoning (1858)
- Olive Thomas (d. 1920), Silent film actress, accidentally ingested a large dose of mercury(II) chloride
- Madge Oberholtzer (d. 1925) rape victim of KKK leader D. C. Stephenson, mercury(II) chloride
- Nestor Lakoba (d. 1936), Abkhaz Communist leader, was poisoned by NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria
- Abram Slutsky (d.1938), head of Soviet spy service, poisoned with hydrogen cyanide by NKVD
- Nikolai Koltsov (d. 1940), famous Russian biologist, was poisoned by secret police NKVD
- Erwin Rommel (d. 1944) German general
- Adolf Hitler (d. 1945) cyanide and gunshot simultaneously before capture
- Eva Hitler (née Braun) (d. 1945) suicide by cyanide capsule at Adolf Hitler's side
- The Goebbels children (d. 1945), poisoned by their parents Magda and Joseph Goebbels (who then killed themselves shortly afterwards by poison and gun shots before capture)
- Heinrich Himmler (d. 1945), leader of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS); suicide by cyanide capsule after being captured
- Odilo Globocnik (d. 1945)
- Hermann Göring (d.1946), leader of the Nazi Luftwaffe; suicide by cyanide capsule, long after being captured and only hours before his hanging was to take place
- Theodore Romzha, a Bishop of the Greek Catholic Church, was poisoned in 1947 with injection of curare on the order from Nikita Khrushchev
- Alan Turing (d. 1954), British mathematician — Apparently committed suicide by injecting an apple with cyanide and taking a bite.
- Stepan Bandera (d. 1959) poisoned by a cyanide capsule shot from a gun by KGB agents
- 1971 Iraq poison grain disaster At least 650 died by eating methylmercury-treated grain intended for seeding
- Bandō Mitsugorō VIII (d. 1975), Japanese kabuki actor, ate four livers of fugu fish
- A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was poisoned by his "disciples" to death. Sister of Prabhupada (Pishima) confirmed poisoning .
- Jayanta Hazarika (d. 1977), Assamese singer and musician
- Georgi Markov (d. 1978), Bulgarian dissident, — Assassinated in London with ricin
- Peoples Temple cult-members (1978), over 900 killed by cyanide-laced punch at Jonestown.
- Love Canal (up to 1978) — Buried toxic waste was covered and used as a building site for housing and school in Niagara Falls, New York, resulting in claims of chronic poisoning and a massive environmental cleanup.
- Bhopal Disaster (1984) — An accidental release of poisonous gas from a pesticide plant in India that killed over 10,000 people and injured many more.
- Matsumoto incident, June 27, 1994, sarin gas attack carried out by members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult. 7 killed, approximately 200 injured.
- Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, March 20, 1995, carried out by members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult. 12 killed, 1034 injured.
- Marshall Applewhite (d. 1997); cult suicide
- Ibn al-Khattab (d. 2002), a Sunni Jihadi fighter, died from a poisoned letter sent by Russian FSB agency
- Roman Tsepov (d. 2004), Russian businessman poisoned by unspecified radioactive material
- Alexander Litvinenko (d. 2006), Russian ex-spy and investigator, died three weeks after being poisoned by radioactive polonium-210
- Zamfara State lead poisoning epidemic, March - June 2010, in Zamfara State, Nigeria, deaths at least 163 people.
- Hafizullah Amin, the second President of Afghanistan, was poisoned by a Soviet agent in 1979.
- Alexander Dubček, a Slovak politician, survived an attempt to poison him with Strontium-90 in 1968
- Nikolay Khokhlov was poisoned by radioactive thallium in Germany in 1957 for refusing to work as a KGB assassin
- Gulf War syndrome, a multisymptom disorder that was caused by exposure to toxic substances during the Gulf War, 1991.
- Zhu Ling, Chinese university student poisoned with thallium in 1995. Suspect never charged.
- Clare Boothe Luce (1956) — Fell ill but did not die; arsenic poisoning
- Khaled Meshal, Hamas Leader, survived being poisoned by Israeli assassins. The King of Jordan ordered the capture of the assassins, two of which were caught, and an antidote was supplied by Israel for their release.
- Anna Politkovskaya was poisoned during her flight to Beslan in 2004
- Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, survived being poisoned with potassium cyanide, as well as being shot, bludgeoned, and being thrown into a frozen river before he finally died by drowning.
- Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian politician, poisoned with dioxin during the 2004 electoral campaign.
- Viktor Kalashnikov, Russian ex-KGB Colonel, and his wife poisoned with mercury in November 2010.
- Alexander the Great
- Augustus (d. 14), Roman Emperor, with poisoned figs by his wife Livia
- Barbara Radziwiłł (d. 1551), Queen of Poland
- Boudica, Queen of the Iceni and leader of the rebellion against Roman rule in Britain, suicide by poison according to Tacitus; Dio Cassius claims natural illness
- Charles Darwin — possibly died due to self-medication with Fowler's solution, one percent potassium arsenite
- Claudius (d. 54), Roman Emperor, by his wife Agrippina the Younger
- Germanicus (d. 19), Roman general
- Constance of Normandy (d. 1090), daughter of King William I of England
- Hanoi Poison Plot. In 1908, a group of local Vietnameses tried to poison the entire French colonial army's garrison in the Citadel of Hanoi (today Vietnam)
- Huo Yuanjia (d. 1910), wushu master and Chinese national hero, arsenic
- Jamestown colonists — Standard historical accounts claim deaths by starvation, but the possibility of arsenic poisoning by rat poison (or of death by Bubonic plague) has also been reported 
- King John of England, with peaches
- Mithridates VI of Pontus
- Mozart with antimony
- Lal Bahadur Shastri
- King Eric XIV of Sweden (d. 1577), according to folklore killed from poisoning by arsenic hidden in pea soup
- Napoleon Bonaparte — some claim he was killed by someone on his staff with arsenic. Evidence is inconclusive.
- Pope Benedict XI (d. 1304)
- Pope Pius VIII (d. 1830)
- Ptolemy XIV of Egypt (d. 44 BC), if so, by his sister Cleopatra
- Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury (d. 1612)
- Tycho Brahe (d. 1601), Danish astronomer
- Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy (d.1637)
- Stefan Dusan (d. 1355), Serbian king
- John Gallagher Montgomery (d. 1857), U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania
- Emperor Gojong of Korea, allegedly poisoned by the Japanese
- Maxim Gorky (d. 1936), Russian writer. NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda admitted at the Trial of the Twenty One that he ordered to poison Gorky and his son.
- Robert Johnson (d. 1938), American musician
- Raoul Wallenberg (d. presumably in 1947), a Swedish humanitarian, who save tens of thousands of Jews in World War II, was reportedly poisoned in Lubyanka prison by Grigory Mairanovsky
- Joseph Stalin (d. 1953) — Officially cerebral hemorrhage; but, according to Vyacheslav Molotov's memoirs and historians Radzinsky and Antonov-Ovseenko, Stalin was poisoned on Lavrenty Beria's orders
- Vasili Blokhin (d. 1955), former executioner of NKVD
- João Goulart (d. 1976), former Brazilian president ousted by 1964 coup d'état.
- Carlos Lacerda (d. 1977), Brazilian journalist and presidential nominee.
- Pope John Paul I (d. 1978), (unconfirmed)
- Yuri Shchekochikhin (d. 2003), Russian investigative journalist, died presumably from poisoning by radioactive thallium
- Yasser Arafat (d. 2004) — Arafat reputedly died from liver cirrhosis, which may be a consequence of chronic alcohol use or poisoning. Some Arafat supporters feel it is unlikely that Arafat habitually used alcohol (forbidden by Islam), and so suspect poisoning. However, it is also important to note that cirrhosis is not necessarily caused by alcohol use, or indeed any poison at all.
- Ardeshir Hosseinpour (d. 2007), Iranian nuclear scientist, possibly poisoned/assassinated by Mossad: death by "radioactive poisoning" or "gas poisoning" (unconfirmed)
- Nadezhda Tylik, mother of a victim of the 2000 Kursk submarine explosion, sedated against her will by the Russian authorities during a press conference.
- Zachary Taylor, was theorized by author Clara Rising that his milk was poisoned during an independence day celebration.
- Locusta, professional poisoner hired by Roman emperor Nero and his mother Agrippa for several murders.
- Dr John Bodkin Adams, British doctor acquitted in 1957 but suspected of killing 163 patients via morphia and barbiturates.
- Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan in the 1990s often used poisons for murder, including chemical weapons such as VX and Sarin.
- Lucrezia Borgia, (d. 1519) alleged by rivals of the Borgias to be a poisoner, using a hollow ring to poison drinks with white arsenic.
- Mary Ann Cotton, 19th-century woman who poisoned family members for financial gain.
- Thomas Neill Cream (d. 1892), British serial killer.
- Nannie Doss, black widow.
- Anna Marie Hahn (executed 1938), American serial killer.
- Genene Jones, homicidal nurse.
- Grigory Mairanovsky, who received Soviet PhD degree for testing poisons on political prisoners.
- Stella Nickell, who used cyanide-laced Excedrin to kill her husband and another woman in suburban Seattle in 1986.
- Vera Renczi, Romanian serial killer who used arsenic to kill two husbands, a son, and 32 suitors.
- Charles Sobhraj, a serial killer who preyed on Western tourists throughout Southeast Asia during the 1970s.
- Michael Swango, American physician and surgeon, who fatally poisoned at least thirty of his patients and colleagues.
- Graham Frederick Young (d. 1990), British serial killer.
- Daisuke Mori, Japanese nurse convicted of one murder and four attempted murders by muscle relaxant.
- Harold Shipman (d. 2004), English general practitioner and one of the most prolific known serial killers in modern history.
- Richard Kuklinski (d. 2006), American contract killer who was associated with the Gambino crime family.
As poisoning is a long-established plot device in crime fiction, this is an inexhaustive list.
One notable poisoner in pop culture is Coriolanus Snow. Finnick reveals in "Mockkingjay" that Panem's president orders "the mysterious death of Snow's adversaries or, even worse, his allies who had the potential to become threats. People dropping dead at a feast or slowly, inexplicably declining into shadows over a period of months. Blamed on bad shellfish, elusive viruses, or an overlooked weakness in the aorta. Snow drinking from the poisoned cup himself to deflect suspicion. But antidotes don't always work. That's why they say he wears the roses that reek of perfume. They say it's to cover the scent of blood from the roses that will never heal." (p. 171-2)
Plutarch Havensbee gives Katniss "a few deep violet pills" (p. 84) that contain the berry's juice. She attempts to swallow the pill after shooting Alma Coin, but Peeta takes it from her to prevent her suicide.
In the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, the District 5 female tribute, nicknamed Foxface, lost her life after eating nightlock berries she didn't know were lethal. Katniss and Peeta, the District 12 tributes, threatened to consume nightlock so they both could live. now had threatened Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker, to contain the spark of rebellion. Seneca allowed two victors over having none (I.e. blowing them sky-high when they pulled out the berries), so he was executed. "Catching Fire" implies he was hung (p. 241), but the movie has him locked in a room with no other food besides nightlock berries.
The arena for the Fiftieth Hunger Games (the Second Quarter Quell) was "deadly poisonous" - "the luscious fruit dangling from the bushes, the water in the crystalline streams, even the scent of the flowers when inhaled too deeply . . . only the rainwater and the food provided at the Cornucopia are safe to consume" (p. 198). Maysilee Donner used the poisons to great effect, personally killing five people.
- Anthony Berkeley: The Poisoned Chocolates Case
- Ann Granger: Say It With Poison
- Francis Iles: Before the Fact (filmed as Suspicion)
- Francis Iles: Malice Aforethought
- Agatha Christie: Three Act Tragedy
- Agatha Christie: A Pocket Full of Rye
- Agatha Christie: Crooked House
- Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None
- John Dickson Carr: The Burning Court
- John Dickson Carr: The Black Spectacles (US title The Problem of the Green Capsule)
- Raymond Postgate: Verdict of Twelve
- Freeman Wills Crofts: The 12.30 from Croydon
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: A Study in Scarlet
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
- Dashiell Hammett: Fly Paper
- Dorothy Sayers: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
- Dorothy Sayers: Strong Poison
- Gosho Aoyama: Case Closed/Detective Conan
- Rex Stout: Fer-de-Lance
- Rex Stout: The Red Box
- Rex Stout: Black Orchids
- Cornell Woolrich: Waltz into Darkness (filmed as Mississippi Mermaid and Original Sin)
- Alexandre Dumas, père: The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers
- Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
- Kaori Yuki: Count Cain (GodChild after vol. 5) Protagonist Cain Hargreaves is known as the Count/Earl of Poisons. He has quite a collection of poisons, and frequently solves murder cases, almost all of which involve poisons.
- Romeo suicide by poison in Romeo and Juliet
- Snow White ate a poisoned apple
- Mingo Swieter in Ricarda Huch's 1917 novel, The Deruga Case (curare)
- Vladimir Harkonnen of Dune
- unsuccessful poisoning of Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The intended victim was Albus Dumbledore
- David Eddings sagas: In the Belgariad, the Nyissan people poison each other on a regular basis; some work as professional poisoners.
- Arsenic and Old Lace
- The Young Poisoner's Handbook
- Jill Tracy- The Fine Art of Poisoning
- Joseph Kesselring: Arsenic and Old Lace
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
- Hamlet, King Claudius, Gertrude and Laertes, characters in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
- Imogen, in William Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline
- List of people by cause of death – List of unusual deaths
- Cult suicide
- Food poisoning
- Food taster
- Lead poisoning
- Lethal injection
- Pesticide poisoning
- Poisonous animals
- Poisonous plants
- List of fictional toxins
- Public Broadcasting Service, Secrets of the Dead, 2011. Accessed 4/25/2012
- Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9