“This is a list of publicly unexplained human disappearances, and of people whose current whereabouts are unknown or whose deaths are not substantiated, as well as a few cases of people whose disappearances were notable and remained unexplained for a long time, but were eventually explained, or the body found.”
- 71 BC – Spartacus, leader of a slave rebellion against the Roman Empire. Although he was presumed killed in battle during the Third Servile War, his body was never found and his fate remains unknown.
probably dead by now though
- 53 BC – Ambiorix was, together with Catuvolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgic tribe of northeastern Gaul (Gallia Belgica), where modern Belgium is located. According to the writer Florus (iii.10.8), Ambiorix and his men managed to cross the Rhine and disappeared without a trace.
probably died sometime after 53 BC but before 1 BC, most likely near modern Belgium or possibly elsewhere
- c. 96 – Apollonius of Tyana (Philosopher) First century teacher who was known throughout the Roman Empire vanished mysteriously while walking down the road at age 100.
he was very old and he died on the road somewhere
- 108–164 – Legio IX Hispana (Ninth Spanish Legion) was a Roman legion stationed in Britain during the Roman conquest of Britain that disappears from surviving records without explanation in the second century. There are multiple conjectures regarding what happened to it and why no record of its fate has been found. Many references to the legion have been made in subsequent works of fiction.
whatever happened, at the very least, they are now dead; there is no chance they are still alive
- 378 – Roman Emperor Valens was defeated by the Goths at the Battle of Adrianople (modern Edirne, Turkey). The body of Valens was never found.
killed by Goths, though
- c. 834 – Muhammad ibn Qasim (al-Alawi) led a rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate but was defeated and detained. He was able to flee but was never heard from again.
no one ever heard from him again because eventually he died, maybe right away or maybe a long time later but he definitely didn’t live into, say, the twelfth century
- 1071 – Hereward the Wake was a formerly exiled Anglo-Danish minor noble rebel who led a huge revolt in the marshy region of Ely in England against the rule of William the Conqueror. Eventually betrayed by fearful local monks who led the Norman troops through secret trackways, many rebels were mutilated or executed, but Hereward escaped, never to be heard of again.
okay but he’s not still around
- 1203 – Arthur, Duke of Brittany, an heir to the throne of England. He was supported by French nobility who did not want John of England as overlord. On 31 July 1202, while besieging his grandmother Eleanor of Aquitaine, Arthur was surprised and captured by John’s barons and imprisoned at Falaise in Normandy. The following year, Arthur was transferred to Rouen and then vanished mysteriously in April 1203.
- c. 1291 – Vandino and Ugolino Vivaldi, Genoese sailors and explorers lost while attempting the first oceanic journey from Europe to Asia.
probably dead somewhere in the ocean but absolutely dead
- 1412 – Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince of Wales, instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England in 1400. Although initially successful, the uprising was eventually put down, but Glyndŵr disappeared and was never captured, betrayed, or tempted by royal pardons.
right but that didn’t make him immortal. he was never captured but he did eventually die. maybe in 1414? or some other, similar year
- 1483 – The Princes in the Tower, Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, first duke of York (9), sons of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, were placed in the Tower of London (which at that time served as a fortress and a royal palace as well as a prison) by their uncle Richard III of England. Neither was ever seen in public again and their fate remains unknown. The remains of four children have been found which could be the princes, but they have not been subjected to DNA analysis to positively identify them.
their fate is that they died
- 1499 – John Cabot, Italian explorer, disappeared along with his five ships during an expedition to find a western route from Europe to Asia.
died somewhere on the way to Asia
- 1501 – Gaspar Corte-Real, Portuguese explorer, disappeared on an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage from Europe to Asia. Two of his ships returned to Lisbon, but the third, with Gaspar on board, was lost and never heard from again.
update: he’s dead now
- 1502 – Miguel Corte-Real, Portuguese explorer, disappeared while searching for his brother Gaspar. Like his brother, he took three ships, and as with his brother, the ship with Miguel on board was lost and never heard from again
like his brother, he’s dead
- 1578 – Sebastian of Portugal, Portuguese King, whose body was never found after the Battle of Alcácer Quibir; many Portuguese came to believe that Sebastian had survived the battle and would return to claim his throne. The belief arose that Sebastian could return at any moment to help Portugal in its darkest hour
well not now he can’t, no matter how long he maybe survived after that battle, it definitely hasn’t been for “secretly 500 years”
- c. 1590 – The Roanoke colonists disappeared, becoming known as the Lost Colony. On 18 August 1590, their settlement was found abandoned.
someone found out what happened to them, I forget what but we definitely found out
- 1696 – Henry Every was an English pirate who vanished after perpetrating one of the most profitable pirate raids in history; despite a worldwide manhunt and an enormous bounty on his head, Every was never heard from again.
then he died
- 1788 – Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, daughter of a wealthy plantation owner on the French island of Martinique. After being sent to a convent school in France, she was returning home in July or August 1788 when the ship she was on vanished at sea. It is thought that the ship was attacked and taken by Barbary pirates. It has been suggested that she was enslaved and eventually sent to Istanbul as a gift to the Ottoman sultan by the Bey of Algiers. It is unconfirmed if she was the same person asNaksh-i-Dil Haseki, consort of the sultan
either that’s what happened to her and then she died, or she died before any of that and it happened to someone else
- 1792 – James Harrod, 46, an early explorer of the areas west of the Appalachian Mountains prior to their settlement by European-Americans, never returned from a trip to western Kentucky from Harrodsburg. Theories about his fate range from murder at the hands of his companions or Native Americans in the area, to accidental death or a desire to abandon his wife and family.
he died probably somewhere in Kentucky or elsewhere, but he’s certainly dead now
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.