Defenestration: A Short History

On December 28, 2014 by Tim Newman

Bishop Dom Martinho

Defenestration - Siege of Lisbon

The Castilian Siege of Lisbon

In 1383 the Bishop of Lisbon – Dom Martinho – met his end thanks to a spot of defenestration.

Martinho was thrown from a window by the citizens of Lisbon who presumed he had aided the Castilians in their siege of the city in the same year.


Defenestration - Eutychus

Here’s another Biblical defenestration. This time a chap called Eutychus, a young man from Troas, was listening to the Apostle John preaching late one Sunday night. John must have been boring because Eutychus nodded off and fell from the third floor window. He died on impact.

But don’t worry, the story ends well; John “fell upon” the body and brought him back to life. So this is the only recorded time in history that an act of fatal defenestration has been reversed. Unless he had just been knocked unconscious? Bible translations differ so it’s unclear whether the Apostle is supposed to have raised him from the dead or just looked after him until he was better.

If someone had nodded off whilst I was talking to them I would have thrown them out of the window myself.

King Alexander and Queen Draga

Defenestration - King Alexander and Queen Draga

The Serbian monarchs King Alexander and Queen Draga were murdered and thrown from a window by a group of Serbian officers in 1903.

King Alexander had been pretty popular at the start of his reign, but his marriage to the widow Draga who was 12 years his senior (who had also been his mother’s lady-in-waiting) ruffled a lot of feathers; the partnership put the line to the throne in confused jeopardy.

A group headed by military officers, a Greek Orthodox militant and the leader of the Black Hand secret society (who would eventually murder Archduke Franz Ferdinand) decided to kill the couple. They stormed the palace, murdered the pair, mutilated the bodies and disemboweled them before throwing them from a window onto piles of manure.

Adham Khan

Defenestration - Adham Khan

Adham Khan was Akbar the Great, the Mughal Emperor of India‘s foster brother and military general. Adham had the pleasure of being defenestrated no less than twice.

Akbar had promoted Adham’s rival – Ataga Khan, Adham took unkindly to this and had him killed. The death of Ataga royally jazzed off Akbar who took vengeance upon Adham.

Akbar awoke in the fuss just following Adham’s murder of Akbar and punched him square in the face. Akbar ordered Adham to be thrown from the 12 metre tall ramparts of the fort. The first fall broke both of Adham’s legs. In a blind rage Akbar called for him to be dropped a second time, his will was done and the job was finished.

Akbar personally informed Adham’s mother of her son’s death, she is reported to have said ‘You have done well.’ She died 40 days later of acute depression.

History Collection on LAZERHORSE.ORG

In conclusion: defenestration isn’t necessarily lethal, it can be politically motivated and it has a strong historic pedigree. But, personally, I don’t recommend it. There are much better ways of dying – death by laughter, for instance.

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