• Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

They Were Nuts! Seven of History’s Crazy Rulers


Dec 6, 2022

When one seems on the state of the world as we speak, one may very well be forgiven for considering that some, if not all of our leaders are a minimum of somewhat bit crazy. Relaxation assured: this sense is nothing new. Folks have been placing up with rulers who’ve misplaced their minds for millennia. A few of them have been amusing, some terrifying. Listed here are seven rulers who misplaced their minds.

1.Qin Shi Huang’s Seek for Immortality

Qin Shi Huang was a ruler who believed his personal hype. At the least in his case, it was considerably earned. Qin Shi Huang rose to energy as the primary emperor of a unified China within the third century BC.

As soon as Huang gained energy, he quickly turned obsessive about protecting it. He had many enemies, and over time he confronted a number of assassination makes an attempt. The concept that dying was the one factor that would separate him from energy brought about him to lose his thoughts. He turned obsessive about gaining immortality. He consulted medical doctors who prescribed him a wholesome routine of intercourse to keep up his vitality.

When this failed, he started taking drugs filled with mercury. These had the other impact. His well being declined, and so did his sanity. As Huang misplaced an increasing number of of his marbles, he turned to mysticism. His biggest adventurers have been despatched out to the ‘Islands of the Immortals’ to discover a magical elixir that might permit him to dwell perpetually. Fearing evil spirits, he had a fancy system of tunnels constructed that linked his 200 palaces.

Huang is finest remembered for his magnificent tomb full of its military of terracotta troopers. They have been meant to be an immortal military that might shield their supposedly immortal emperor. Huang died in 210 BC.

Should you thought the person who had a terracotta military constructed for him was insane, you have been proper! Qin Shi Huang’s seek for immortality resulted in his personal dying. ( 画中的日记 / CC BY SA 4.0 )

2.Nero the Mom Killer

To be sincere, you can write a whole listing simply of loopy rulers of Rome. Essentially the most well-known of them might be Nero. Nero seems to have begun his reign comparatively sane, however more and more fell right into a paranoia that left him somewhat loopy.

A lot has been fabricated from Nero’s violent tendencies, however Nero had a softer aspect (which was additionally loopy). By the point Nero turned the emperor of Rome on the age of seventeen, he had been educated within the arts and was a gifted singer, musician, and reciter of poetry.

In Roman tradition, skilled actors and musicians have been, socially talking, barely greater than whores or slaves. However Nero cherished to carry out. As emperor, he hosted a variety of occasions and competitions to play in public. He even went so far as coming into the Olympic Video games and forcing the organizers to incorporate creative competitions. Unsurprisingly, he gained each occasion he entered.

He cherished performing a lot and performed for therefore lengthy that viewers members got here up with ingenious technique of escape. Previous males would feign dying and girls would pretend going into labor simply to flee. When Nero died he acknowledged, “What an artist dies in me.”

Additionally, he had a behavior of killing the folks near him. All of it started along with his mom, whom he had killed. His causes for having his mom killed are unclear, nevertheless it appears after her dying Nero started to undergo from paranoia. If his personal mom may activate him, anybody may.

It’s broadly believed Nero had his first spouse killed and killed his second spouse himself. After his second spouse, Poppaea, died, he had a younger commoner who resembled his deceased spouse castrated. He then dressed the younger man as his spouse and married him – actually the actions of a loopy ruler.

A bored Roman emperor (Nero) has let himself be carried in a palanquin into the prison of an arena and looks at the prisoners (captive Christians). Above them are the lions they will soon be thrown to. Painting by Henri-Paul Motte, 1880 (Public Domain)

A bored Roman emperor (Nero) has let himself be carried in a palanquin into the jail of an enviornment and appears on the prisoners (captive Christians). Above them are the lions they’ll quickly be thrown to. Portray by Henri-Paul Motte, 1880 ( Public Domain )

3.Charles VI of France Believed He Was Fabricated from Glass

Charles VI of France is remembered for 2 issues: his crushing defeat at Agincourt in opposition to the British and the truth that he was actually fairly mad.

Charles’s bouts of psychosis are quite a few and well-documented. In 1393, he forgot his title and the truth that he was king. When his spouse came around in an try to assist, he had no thought who she was both. He ordered his servants to take care of her but in addition do away with her.

Then from 1395-96, he started claiming he was Saint George . He acknowledged his servants and officers, however couldn’t bear in mind his spouse or youngsters. Across the similar time, he took to working wildly across the corridors of his residence, Lodge Saint-Pol. It turned such an issue that to maintain him inside and secure, entrances needed to be walled up.

Then in 1405, he refused to wash or put on clear garments for 5 months. After this final bout of insanity, data of his psychological sickness grow to be scarcer. It’s believed this isn’t as a result of he recovered however as a result of his bouts of madness turned so quite a few that folks gave up protecting observe of them.

Due to Pope Pius II , we all know that sooner or later Charles started to consider he was made of glass . He turned frightened of breaking and would let nobody contact him. He would sit nonetheless for hours and even went so far as having iron rods sewn into his clothes to guard him. It’s frequent for highly effective males to have fragile egos, however Charles took it one step additional.

The Madness of Charles VI: crossing the forest of Le Mans on an expedition against Pierre de Craon, the king, brandishing a sword, mistakes the members of his retinue for enemies and attacks them. (Public Domain)

The Insanity of Charles VI: crossing the forest of Le Mans on an expedition in opposition to Pierre de Craon, the king, brandishing a sword, errors the members of his retinue for enemies and assaults them. ( Public Domain )

4.Ivan the Terribly Loopy

Thus far, many of the leaders on our listing lived lives of luxurious. Their insanity was both the results of an insatiable ego or in Charles’s case, genetic. However Ivan IV, or Ivan the Terrible as he would come to be recognized, was totally different. He misplaced his thoughts as a result of abuse he had suffered as a younger man.

Ivan misplaced each of his mother and father at a younger age. After the lack of his mom on the tender age of seven, Ivan was left defenseless. The elite members of the Russian authorities tormented and abused him. At an early age, Ivan started torturing small animals as a coping mechanism.

In 1544, on the age of 14, Ivan had had sufficient. He seized management of his nation by having the pinnacle of the federal government fed to a pack of hungry canines. He was topped tsar two years later on the age of 16.

At first, it appeared being made ruler cured him of his madness. He made a public confession and apologized for his numerous merciless acts. At first, he was a very good tsar. For instance, he created legal guidelines aimed toward creating class equality, in order that nobody would undergo as he had.

However it didn’t final lengthy. He quickly started massacring his personal folks, particularly anybody who dared problem his autocratic tendencies. As he received older, he turned extra unhinged and the paranoia and rage of his youth reappeared. This culminated within the homicide of his eldest son, inheritor, and favourite, Ivan Ivanovich.

Even Ivan the Terrible realized he’d gone a bit mad after he murdered his own son. Painting by Ilya Repin, 1885 (Public Domain)

Even Ivan the Horrible realized he’d gone a bit mad after he murdered his personal son. Portray by Ilya Repin, 1885 ( Public Domain )

5.Emperor Caligula the Sadist

Emperor Caligula of Rome is sure to prime any listing of loopy rulers. Caligula was a frontrunner whose sadism and depravity appeared to have recognized no bounds. For a begin, Caligula tried to instate his horse, Incitatus, as a consul. He appointed a priest to serve the horse and had a shocking marble steady constructed, full with chairs and a settee. This was greater than somewhat eccentric.

Then there are the a number of tales of his sadism. For instance, someday on the Circus Maximus, Caligula was having fun with the spectacle when all of the sudden it turned obvious the organizers had run out of criminals to feed to the lions. Caligula merely had the primary 5 rows of spectators dragged from their seats and thrown into the sector. Lots of died.

One other time, when somebody insulted Caligula to his face, he responded by having the person’s household executed in entrance of a crowd. It started with the person and his spouse. Then the youngsters adopted, one after the other. Finally, solely the youngest daughter, a 12-year-old, was left.

The group was outraged however had stayed out of morbid curiosity. Earlier than the younger lady may very well be killed, a spectator cried out that she have to be spared as she was a virgin. The lady was crying hysterically, having watched her household dispatched one after the other. Caligula responded by ordering the executioner to rape the younger lady in entrance of the group earlier than strangling her to dying.

Caligula was additionally mentioned to have been past debauched. He publicly had intercourse along with his three sisters at public banquets and video games, typically on the banquet desk itself. It has additionally been claimed that he prostituted his sisters out to different males for his leisure and slept along with his brother-in-law.

Traditionally, a lot has been fabricated from Caligula’s sadism. Some historians have claimed that among the worst tales about Caligula have been exaggerated or made up in an try and discredit him after his dying. Nevertheless, sufficient sources exist to color an image of an emperor who was mad, unhealthy, and completely insane.

Caligula wasn’t just a cruel sadist; he was a crazy ruler who made his horse consul. (Public Domain)

Caligula wasn’t only a merciless sadist; he was a loopy ruler who made his horse consul. ( Public Domain )

6.Tsar Peter III and his Toy Troopers

Some rulers lose their minds over time, and a few by no means had them within the first place. Tsar Peter III of Russia appears to have suffered from a sort of Peter Pan syndrome; he by no means grew up! Right this moment, he’s primarily remembered because the ruler whose spouse, Catherine the Great , deposed him and dominated in his stead. However how did Catherine handle to do away with her husband?

Effectively, it was broadly believed that Peter was obsessive about toy troopers. Catherine claimed that on their marriage ceremony night time she was left disenchanted when Peter had plans apart from consummating their marriage.

As an alternative of undressing, Peter pulled a field of toy troopers out from below his mattress and compelled his bride to play with them till 2am. One other time, Peter spent a considerable period of time organising a toy fort prepared for a mock battle. He was left enraged when a rat occurred to stroll previous and knocked over his toys. The rat was quickly hung from the wall for ‘breaching navy self-discipline’.

Catherine might certainly have exaggerated the tales of Peter and his toys as a means of discrediting and in the end deposing him. Nevertheless, there are sufficient sources that corroborate her claims to soundly say that Peter was a number of troopers in need of a full platoon.

Russia’s Tsar Peter III was such a crazy ruler that his wife, Catherine the Great, was able to depose him. (Public Domain)

Russia’s Tsar Peter III was such a loopy ruler that his spouse, Catherine the Nice, was capable of depose him. ( Public Domain )

7.The Newest Loopy Ruler: Turkmenistan’s Niyazov

Our listing ends with the newest ruler on the listing. One of many traditional calling playing cards of a loopy ruler is an ego that may’t be saved in verify; that is what occurred to Saparmurat Niyazov.

Niyazov turned president of Turkmenistan after the autumn of the USSR, ruling from 1990 till his dying in 2006. He quickly set to work making a cult of character that rivaled even that of the Kim Dynasty in North Korea.

This morphed into an obsession with renaming all the things. He had the months of the yr, days of the week, and even bread renamed to characterize his glory. His ego was such that cities, faculties, and even a meteorite got his title.

Medical doctors have been even ordered to cease reciting the Hippocratic Oath . As an alternative, they needed to swear an oath to Niyazov. Niyazov went so far as turning a e book he had written into the equal of the nation’s bible. His e book, the Ruhnama, needed to be taught in faculties, which is fairly customary fare for a dictator. Nevertheless, Niyazov went one step additional. Should you needed any authorities job, nonetheless low stage, you needed to be examined on the Ruhnama. Even the driving check had questions on it!

Niyazov took the concept of a cult of character and primarily tried to show it right into a state faith. His ego was such that he noticed himself as a god. Those that learn his e book 3 times have been “assured to go to heaven”. It’s unsurprising that quickly after his dying the folks of Turkmenistan quickly undid the overwhelming majority of his decrees.

Turkenistan’s loopy ruler Niyazov turned his autobiography right into a state faith (Hans Birger Nilsen / CC BY SA 2.0 )


So there we’ve it, a choice of loopy rulers who suffered from various levels of insanity. A few of them have been tragic; a few of them dedicated heinous acts, and a few have been simply amusing. What isn’t amusing is the impact these rulers had on the folks pressured to observe them. Everybody on this listing was an autocrat who exerted their whims on the folks they dominated.

We wish to suppose that the checks and balances we’ve in place as we speak shield us from this type of madness. Nevertheless, if latest historical past has taught us something, it is that we’re not as secure as we predict we’re.

Prime Picture: Should you suppose a few of as we speak’s world leaders are nuts, you’ll be stunned by a few of historical past’s different loopy rulers. Supply: KlymVital / Adobe Stock

By Robbie Mitchell


Barrett, A. 1989. Caligula: The Corruption of Energy . Yale College. London

Famiglietti, R.C. 1992. Tales of the Marriage Mattress from Medieval France (1300–1500) . Windfall; Picardy Press.

Theroux, P. 2007.  The Golden Man: Saparmurat Niyazov’s Reign of Madness. The New Yorker.

Yu-ning, L. 1975. The First Emperor of China. White Plains: Worldwide Arts and Sciences Press.

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