We've previously discussed historical figures who narrowly avoided untimely deaths by accident, disease, or assassination. The latter is an ancient tool for seizing power, destroying a rival, or simply as a means of revenge. Despite being unsuccessful, some attempts have become ingrained in history and conscience, others have become humorous anecdotes about the intended victim's character, and still others have led to violent reprisals.
By 218 B.C., Qin Shi Huang ruled as China's first emperor. Along the way, he crushed six rival kingdoms. A man known later as Zhang Liang swore vengeance on the emperor, as several members of his clan were wiped out by the Qin onslaught.Zhang sold everything he owned with the hope of hiring someone to take Qin out. Such a person materialized in the form of an unnamed wandering strongman who wielded a huge iron hammer said to have weighed over 60 kilograms (132 lb). The two ambushed the emperor as his carriage passed, and the strongman threw his weapon with such force that it completely destroyed the carriage.