On a recent holiday to Slovenia, I got the chance to visit Predjama Castle near the town of Postonja. Constructed inside a shallow cave halfway up a sheer cliff-face, the castle is one of the most impressive defensive structures I have ever seen. Not only that, but its history contains one very odd episode.
In the year 1478 ownership of Predjama castle passed to a knight named Erasmus. A rascally sort, Erasmus had a habit of robbing travellers and eventually managed to kill a relative of the Holy Roman Emperor. Furious, the Emperor dispatched a knight named Ravbar to besiege Predjama and starve Erasmus out.
Months passed as the army sat below the high walls, their cannons aimed but silent. Meanwhile, supplies continued to pour into the castle through a secret tunnel that ran down from the top of the cliff into the back of the highest tower. In contempt of his besiegers, Erasmus began to send gifts of food to the army below.
Realizing that the siege was useless, Ravbar adopted a new tactic. Bribing the servant who brought the food, Ravbar learned the exact spot of Erasmus\' privy. The next time that Erasmus felt the call of nature, the servant sent a signal down to the army. The army opened up with their cannons and sent a ball straight through the thin privy walls, killing Erasmus where he sat.
It certainly qualifies as one of the most ignoble deaths in military history.