Astronomer Tycho Brahe ‘not poisoned’, says expert
The 16th-Century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe is unlikely to have been poisoned, according to a researcher studying his remains.
Brahe was thought to have died of a bladder infection, but a previous exhumation found traces of mercury in hair from his beard.
However, the most recent tests have found the levels of mercury were not high enough to have killed him.
Some have speculated that he was killed on the orders of the Danish king, or by fellow astronomer Johannes Kepler, who also later gained fame.
A team of Danish and Czech scientists have been working to solve the mystery by analysing bone, hair and clothing samples.
“There was mercury in the beard, you will also have traces of mercury if you have a beard… But the amount of mercury was as you see in people [alive today],” Dr Jens Vellev, from Aarhus University in Denmark, told BBC News, who is leading the investigations.
Dr Vellev now thinks there was no foul play involved in Brahe‘s death.
The evidence that exists does not run counter to the descriptions of how he died. So, there seems to be no basis to suspect it was something other than that. Stories of intrigue and crimes regarding the deaths of famous people abound. Modern forensics applied to ancient remains can help us figure out a bit more but we always must keep in mind today’s interpretations may not apply to the situation back then. We don’t have ALL the facts, can only make the best guess and we will likely never know for sure. But the stories of intrigue endure regardless of facts to the contrary.