A week of useless knowledge …. Day 1

20 January 2014

The title really does tell the story. This week, we thought we would put together some top X (sometimes two, sometimes ten) compendiums – historical and genealogical of course – of useless knowledge and bizarre trivia for your entertainment.

Monday’s offering is ‘Decomposing composers: ten causes of death’…. cunningly placed in death date order:

1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): a stroke, after undergoing an unsuccessful operation on his eye

2. George Frederic Handel (1685-1759): septicaemia as a result of unsterile equipment used to remove his cataracts

 …. and how many people have had laser eye surgery in this century?…

3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Bright’s disease, a degenerative kidney disease

4. Franz Schubert (1797-1821): typhoid

5. Franz Liszt (1811-1886): pneumonia

6. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): cholera

7. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): cancer of the liver

8. Claude Debussy (1862-1920): cancer of the rectum

9. Alban Berg (1885-1935): blood poisoning from an infected insect bite

10. Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943): malignant melanoma

Just goes to show that most illnesses and diseases have been around for centuries – here’s to finding more cures in the twenty-first.

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