Erich Lessing

“The Suicide of Saul,” (shown here, compare with photo of mound) by Pieter Breughel the Elder (1525?–1569), depicts in grisly detail the Israelite king’s end on Mt. Gilboa (far left). With the surrounding countryside swarming with Philistine warriors (painted here anachronistically as medieval knights), his three sons already dead and himself severely wounded, Saul asked his arms-bearer to run him through with a sword, lest his despised enemy humiliate him. When the assistant refused, Saul fell on his own sword; the arms-bearer then impaled himself as well.