1153: Epicharis

Well, That’s One Way to Make Your Mark

Died: c. 65 CE, Ancient Roman Empire

Epicharis was a freedwoman (former slave) living in Ancient Rome.

She is most known for being a part of the team attempting to assassinate Emperor Nero. The plot is known today as the Pisonian Conspiracy. Other conspirators included senators, a poet, soldiers, and more. Nero had that many enemies and was just that cruel.

Epicharis was caught when she grew impatient with the slow progress of the plan. She had attempted to hire a Roman officer to kill the emperor for her, but instead of following through on the plan, that officer informed the emperor of the plot, and Epicharis was arrested. Though she was tortured several times using various methods, Epicharis refused to divulge the names of her co-conspirators, and was sentenced to death.

Instead of allowing her captors to execute her, Epicharis ended her life on her own terms, strangling herself with her time’s equivalent of a bra according to most sources.

Little else of Epicharis’s story is known, especially considering the only source from Antiquity to mention her is in Tacitus’s Annals. Where she was from, what her family would have been like, and any other details of her life have been lost.