Did the first emperor Qin Shi Huang die of mercury poisoning? If so, how do we know? I've seen lots of claims that he did (and claims that he didn't), but no citation explaining what primary source backs this up. It is known he ingested mercury and modern archaeologists have detected lots of mercury around his tomb, but that doesn't quite prove he died of mercury poisoning.
If Qin Shi Huang's cause of death is unknown, are there good sources to cite for this?
Edit (background research): I understand that much (most?) of our historical record on Qin Shi Huang comes from the Shiji (史记). But I was under the impression that the Shiji was written before the discovery that mercury was poisonous, so it's implausible that the Shiji attributes Qin Shi Huang's death to mercury poisoning. (I may be wrong and mercury's toxicity was known far earlier.)
I believe the idea he ingested mercury comes from the importance of cinnabar (which contains inert mercury) in ancient immortality elixers.
More importantly, the Shiji covers Qin Shi Huang's life in this chapter but "朱", the character for cinnabar, never appears. Nor does "汞", the character for mercury. As the Shiji was written in classical Chinese, it's possible cinnabar was referred to by a different name I'm not familiar with.
If I understand it correctly (which I may not), the sentence about him dying is
Which just says he fought for two weeks before dying. (Edit 2: My reading of this that quote is garbage.) Nothing about mercury or cinnabar. Am I missing something about the Shiji or does the belief he died from mercury poisoning come from some other source?