Roman history is as long as it is packed with meticulous detail. Over the centuries of their power, the Romans saw some of the most important events ever to go down, putting their name in the history books again and again. While they might have been behind some of the most cutting edge inventions ever to have been created, the Romans are better remembered for their strange individuals, of which there were many. Across the years, some of the most interesting people turned up in the Roman empire but in the long spanning history, few have made an impression quite like Locusta.
The early stages of Locusta’s life remain a relative mystery and to this day, historians are only aware that the Roman was most likely born a peasant somewhere in the present day Alps region. As a young woman, she upped sticks and moved to Rome in the hope of finding a better life. Armed with her very specific knowledge of the dark arts, however, Locusta was destined to find a whole lot more than a new city lying in her wait.
Already entrenched in the world of botany and plant-based healing, Locusta began focusing on how best to produce potions that were aimed in producing agony and death. Enthralled by the bloody gladiator fights that had overtaken Rome at the time, she soon became obsessed with the act, sometimes watching the famously violent event for days at a time. Not before long, Locusta had taken her herbal knowledge and twisted it to meet her new worldview, dedicating her time to concocting potions that brought about death. As well as poisoning those who displeased her, Locusta was sought out by individuals for the same means, helping them do away with their enemies.
Soon enough, her abilities had spread to higher ranks and not long after Locusta’s arrival in Rome, she was being sought out by some of the most high ranking officials there were. Her ability to pick out and kill anyone she pleased helped to fuel the corruption already present in ancient Rome, essentially giving high ranking officials the power to do away with anyone they so wished. Using substances like hemlock, belladonna, arsenic and nightshade, Locusta could concoct exactly the recipe that she wished, doing away with her victims in a number of gruesome ways.
While Locusta did get away with her underhand actions for a long time, soon enough, her link to a number of prominent deaths brought about her arrest. Over the years, Locusta was arrested twice under charges of murder, nearly locked away for good. Each time, however, she was saved by a number of powerful Roman senators, all of which used their political connections in order to save her fate. Legally freed, Locusta was essentially granted permission to keep on doing what she had already been up to.
It wasn’t until a number of decades later that Locusta’s was caught by legal officials again. Arrested for a third time, she was accused of crimes with a murderous intent, later being freed by Julia Agrippina, a Roman Empress. As soon as she was in the clear, Locusta put a plan to kill Claudius into action, which was one of her most audacious crimes yet. Given the go-ahead by Julia, her saviour, Locusta set about poisoning both Claudius and his bodyguard, making it all but impossible for medical professionals to save his life. The crime paid off and for the next few years, Locusta enjoyed a relatively high profile life, protected by her high paying customers. Eventually, of course, things caught up with her and after one killing too many, the then-emperor of Rome, Nero, decided enough was enough. He had Locusta seized, publically denounced and chained and sentenced to death. Like her victims, Locusta’s end was brutal, putting to an end to decades to murder and plot.