Poisoned: A History of Silent Assassinations

Explore what poison is and how it has been utilized throughout history.

Looking through infamous assassinations, and taking a look at humanity’s macabre search for the perfect lethal poison, Poisoned: A History of Silent Assassinations investigates thousands of years of how nature has shaped poison into the perfect silent weapon.

Using dramatic reconstructions and computer animations, the documentary introduces us to what happens in the body once a deadly poison has been released. Furthermore, we’ll visit some of the unfortunate poisoned victims throughout history like Cleopatra, Hannibal, Socrates, Emperor Leopold, and investigate the poison that killed them.

But what is the perfect poison? To instil a lethal dose towards a rival one must have a silent, non traceable killer at hand. It must also be without color or taste, lest it will be detected by the victim. It needs to work in low doses, so a poisoner doesn’t have to feed his victim large quantities. Finally, it needs to be undetectable after the event, so the poisoner leaves no trail of guilt.

To be a perfect poison, it should be able to mimic the symptoms of a disease so no-one would suspect a poisoning. Not surprisingly, such a perfect poison is not easy to find or make, and the search has occupied some of humanity’s finest minds through history. But although poisons are created to harm and be naturally destructive, it can also be used towards beneficial means.

Studying and utilizing poisons has given science an edge in throughout history. A cure for the poison is more easily understood once you know how the poison works. Understanding poisons are therefore an important means to further science and health in a multitude of scientific branches. A feature this documentary leaps into as the history of poisons unfold.

Poisoned: A History of Silent Assassinations
  • Info
  • Release date2004
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Steve Nicholls, Alfred Vendl
  • Part of the seriesThe Secrets of Nature