This Week In History News, May 9 – 15

Published May 14, 2021

Napoléon's deadly cologne obsession, Neanderthals killed by hyenas, and a Salvador Dalí painting found in a thrift store.

Napoléon’s Love Of Cologne May Have Led To His Death, Study Finds

Portrait Of Napoleon

Wikimedia CommonsOn May 5, 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died exiled and alone on a remote island. While his cause of death was initially believed to be stomach cancer, questions remain.

More than two centuries after his reign, historians widely agree that Napoléon Bonaparte ranks among the greatest military commanders in world history. Throughout the first two decades of the 19th century, Bonaparte’s victories in numerous wars extended the French Empire across much of Western Europe. But, in the end, he may have finally been beaten not by one of his wartime enemies, but by his own cologne.

A new study shows that, because the beloved cologne he used to excess contained so much alcohol, it may have protected him from deadly diseases during his military campaigns. But after using so much of it for several decades, he may have simply overdosed.

Read more about the bizarre death of one of history’s most influential figures here.

Cave Near Rome Yields Nine Neanderthals That Were Hunted And Eaten By Stone Age Hyenas

Guattari Cave Bones

Italian Ministry of CultureMany of the bones showed signs of being burnt and featured cut marks or clear signs of gnawing.

In 1939, workers at a beachfront hotel to the south of Rome accidentally discovered the mutilated skull of a Neanderthal in a long-sealed cave underneath the property.

At the time, the prevailing theory held that cavemen used the site for ritual cannibalism — and regularly feasted on the brains of the dead. But newly uncovered evidence now suggests hyenas were the culprits all along.

Dig deeper in this report.

Thrift Store Artwork On Sale For $10 Turns Out To Be A Signed Salvador Dalí Woodcut Print

Salvador Dali Wood Engraving

Seaside Art GalleryThe print is based on a series of 100 illustrations Dalí created in the 1950s.

The artwork donated to Hotline Pink Thrift Store in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, often arrives dusty and in broken frames. Customers sometimes skip right past it. But one piece recently caught the attention of a volunteer — and it turned out to be a genuine Salvador Dalí woodblock print.

Learn more here.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.