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Do you love an evil historical person/figure?

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egyptian goddess View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 01:42

Hey guys.

I was wondering who else out there likes, or maybe even loves a person from history, who has been endowed with an "evil" of "villainous" image or persona. I'd be a little concerned if anyone voted Hitler, but hey the guy may have had some loveable attributes, who knows?

 

So to start things off, a historical figure who I just can't seem to hate is no one but Hitler's right hand man: Albert Speer. I studied him for a while and was just really drawn to his persona. For those who don't know him or of him, he was Hitler's chief Architect and then later Minister for Armaments. He is assumed to be the only guy who ever ostensibly formed a close relationship with Hitler, which I think adds a little more ominous mystery to the image of Albert Speer. Essentially, as it turned out Albert Speer was tried at the Nuremburg Trials, along with the other Nazi officials and he was so good at manipulation (some would say) that he managed to escape the death penalty, and a sentence of life imprisonment for his complicity and knowledge of the Jewish holocaust and was only sentenced for 20 years. In that 20 years he wrote a fascinating diary, called the "Spandau Diaries" and following his release he wrote another book called "Inside the Third Reich", whereby he provided an insider's account of the Nazi regime and as a result became a phenomenal celebrity. Till his death he has claimed that he did not know about the mass murdering of the Jews, stating "one could have known if one wanted to know... I only had a vague notion", however recent evidence released following his death has suggested that he did have a knowledge of these disgraceful events.

So who else can't help liking an ominous historical figure, I'd love to hear about them Smile??



Edited by egyptian goddess - 30 Aug 2009 at 04:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Praetor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 07:37
interesting thread Egyptian goddessThumbs Up Truly there are a number of figures throughout history who though I find them to be morally reprehensible fascinate me no less for that. I have always found it rather easy to admire ability and brilliance in those from times past, regardless how they chose to use these gifts.

Genghis Khan in particular comes to mind, a brilliant politician, tactician and strategist, charismatic and possessed of a strength of will that makes Iron seem soft. According to such sources as the Secret history of the Mongols (which should be taken with more than merely a grain of salt) Temujin (later known as Genghis Khan) was born to a powerful tribal chief named in the harsh world of the Mongol steppe, when he was still young however his father died and Temujin's tribe, abandoned him and his family to fend for themselves, thus Temujin went from steppe nobility while still a child to the lowest of the low, tribeless in the harsh world of the Mongol Steppe his nobility now a curse as his father's powerful enemies sought some final revenge by pursuing his son. According to some sources he was even captured and used as a slave for a time before escaping his captors.

Despite all this adversity Genghis Khan clawed his way to greater and greater power in the Steppes largely through his own abilities and then proceeded to conquer a larger empire than Alexander the Great.

To me It is one of the greatest stories of triumphing against adversity regardless of what that triumph meant to the inhabitants of China and Central Asia.

Regards, Praetor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 08:52
Ah thank goodness - I thought Praetor might have taken my guy! Smile But then again, I should have guessed that he'd go with Genghis first of all. Anyway.

Sulla.

To me, he is one of the most evil and cunning figures in Roman history. Both in the political arena and on the battlefield, he had an uncanny knack of twisting the situation to his selfish advantage. Sulla's enigmatic life is riddled with instances of twisted brilliance, ranging from his web of dykes and trenches leading to a massacre at the battle of Orchomenus, to the way he dealt with rival populares, or just anyone he didn't like in general! I say his life is enigmatic, because it his motives, whilst superficially appearing obvious, if looked at more closely can be quite cryptic to an observer.

To cement his evil character, is his most well known bust. It just screams evil genius.



PS. I have moved this thread to a historical subforum, rather than the Mead Hall.

Regards,

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote egyptian goddess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 09:40
oh right. yeh I wasn't sure where it belonged.
 
I have suprisingly heard of both of them, and I think the most important thing is that while we love these figures, we still openly aknowledge their evil natures.
 
Hope the posts keep on comming, love to hear about more evil historical figures :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 10:39

While Stalin might be one of the worst dictators to ever walk the earth (he is 3rd place after Mao and Hitler). He none the less did a marvelous job transfering the largely distroyed and backward USSR because of famine and civil war and then WWII into an industrial, economical and scientific giant... twice. His policies lead to 20-30 million deaths but also made education and healthcare a right not a privilage.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Praetor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 10:56
Egyptian goddess I agree wholeheartedly with your last post, Al Jassas and Knights believe it or not Genghis, Stalin and Sulla were the three people I thought of in quick succession (not necessarily in that order) when beginning my reply to Egyptian Goddess's initial post (I decided Alex would love to mention Sulla so I chose not to mention him), it seems great minds think alikeWink.

Regards, Praetor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 12:31
Maybe one can also put Mao on this list. He did some very evil deeds but at the same time he shaped a new China that after a bath of steal would grow and who will become the next number one power in the world.
One can say that he in some way liberated the masses of China from the rather stagnant state they had been cought in after many years of Qing rule. He also managed to unite a nation that had become a playground for foreign forces and interests. And one shall not forget that he to some degree ended the subjugation of women in Chinese society. Now the women could step up and become the equal of men and do things that the women of old China could never have dreamt of.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 15:50
I don't believe there is such a thing as good and evil. I do know what most people today consider good and evil, and by contemporary standards I feel as if most of the historical characters I admire were "evil". 
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 18:08
Nicolo Machiavelli. I've always found him fascinating and am yet to be convinced that he was actually 'evil'!
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 18:42
I don't "admire" any of them, but I do have a fascination with certain figures; mostly gangsters and dictators with criminal backgrounds
 
- Gauis Marius (Roman populist, responsable for one of the greatest massacres within the city of Rome)
- Joseph Stalin
- Pancho Villa
- Raphael Trujillo (Dominican Republic)
- Lucky Luciano (American gangster)
- Meyer Lansky (American gangster)
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 18:58
As to why the Florentine politician should be considered evil is rather disingenuous, Parnell, but the directive behind this thread does call for such inversions, first because it is demanding a moral judgment in terms of politics and thrusting forth a rather Sanhedrinical connundrum: Is it not better that [some] should suffer rather than the entire nation perish? [John 11:50 in paraphrase]
 
Questions of expediency are always political and, if viewed in terms of human nature [the actual versus the ideal], who carries the greater blame the actor or the people that set the stage? Evil personified is always interesting, yet in all fairness, was not Machiavelli entirely correct in all of his assumptions as to the function and danger of power? Likewise, who the greater criminal, the initiator or the abettors, who certainly by their greater numbers have the better ability to control "evil", lest they be just as maniacal as their font of power?
 
It is interesting that none have approached judgment of this issue in terms of Nietzschean logic as encapsuled in this dictum: "Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule". To observe the human condition and comment upon its circumstances, as did Machiavelli, says little about his own person in terms of individual morals and ethics. For example, here is a blunt declaration from The Prince:
 
Anyone who would act up to a perfect standard of goodness in everything must be ruined among so many who are not good. It is essential therefore for a prince to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not to use, his goodness as necessity requires.
 
Is this an abstraction or, instead, a presentation of how things are?


Edited by drgonzaga - 30 Aug 2009 at 19:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 19:21
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

- Pancho Villa
 
 
ConfusedConfusedConfused
 
 
Who said fellow Pancho was evil?
 
Besides being a little bit unconventional in morals.... Or perhaps a sort of rolling stone, he isn't a good example of evil. Rather he was just a romantic bandit kind of guy.
 
And I admire him. After all he was the only man that has ever invaded "evil" United States... LOLLOLLOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 20:27
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

As to why the Florentine politician should be considered evil is rather disingenuous, Parnell, but the directive behind this thread does call for such inversions, first because it is demanding a moral judgment in terms of politics and thrusting forth a rather Sanhedrinical connundrum: Is it not better that [some] should suffer rather than the entire nation perish? [John 11:50 in paraphrase]
 
Questions of expediency are always political and, if viewed in terms of human nature [the actual versus the ideal], who carries the greater blame the actor or the people that set the stage? Evil personified is always interesting, yet in all fairness, was not Machiavelli entirely correct in all of his assumptions as to the function and danger of power? Likewise, who the greater criminal, the initiator or the abettors, who certainly by their greater numbers have the better ability to control "evil", lest they be just as maniacal as their font of power?
 
It is interesting that none have approached judgment of this issue in terms of Nietzschean logic as encapsuled in this dictum: "Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule". To observe the human condition and comment upon its circumstances, as did Machiavelli, says little about his own person in terms of individual morals and ethics. For example, here is a blunt declaration from The Prince:
 
Anyone who would act up to a perfect standard of goodness in everything must be ruined among so many who are not good. It is essential therefore for a prince to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not to use, his goodness as necessity requires.
 
Is this an abstraction or, instead, a presentation of how things are?


I see you take the literal approach to the interpretation of The Prince! I for one am undecided whether he wrote as a great satirist or as you say, the great political scientist objectively reporting facts. Instead his work stands as a warning of the perils of tyranny and an examination of a rational extension of power by autocrats. His is a cautionary work, no? It certainly doesn't compute when compared with his discourses, or his previous political career in Florence.

I don't think the whole 'evil genius' thing stands up. As you say, if he was writing literally, then what he wrote was merely a presentation of facts to his Prince. It makes him a highly intelligent, though pretty obvious decipherer of the contemporary political system.

P.S- One could also see it as an inherently anti-anarchism work. If one presumes that a state exists and that a certain degree of evil must exist for the greater good to prevail, then it is difficult to pin him down as a proponent of tyranny. One might argue that tyranny is a prequisite for liberty, in some form or other.


Edited by Parnell - 30 Aug 2009 at 20:30
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 21:17
I quite enjoy the way how a lot of the German Army and Navy (plus the political) staff held themselves in the Wars, and they'd be considered 'evil' by 'today's standars'... Göring, Keitl, Jodl... Dönitz. Von Lettow-Vorbeck. Ribbentrop.
 
Also, the Japanese chaps who were at the head of the Navy appeal to me (can't remember any names but a 'Tojo' though... the time's taking it's toll).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2009 at 12:43
Hernando Cortes. A highly intelligent entrepreneur who led one of the greatest 'business ventures' of his time. He was also cruel, dishonest and manipulative. And ultimately responsible for destroying a whole civilistion.
 
On the Machiavelli question, I took it as him saying the end justifies the means. Without a strong-handed prince there can be no peace. He ultimately wanted strong leaders in Italy who could unite the Italian peoples against what he regarded as the foreign invaders, France and Spain.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote egyptian goddess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2009 at 23:53
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

I don't believe there is such a thing as good and evil. I do know what most people today consider good and evil, and by contemporary standards I feel as if most of the historical characters I admire were "evil". 
 
I do agree. thats why I thought I'd say in initiating this post of whether anyone liked a figure who has been "endowed with an "evil" of "villainous" image or persona". Of course any conception of evil is based on a specific set of values or standards, so we cannot say anything was really or anyone was inherently evil, but by our standards and societies standards its easy to say that a lot of the historical figures mentioned in this thread are considered "evil".
 
wow. love the responses this thread is getting, interesting to see the different variations. keep them coming :)


Edited by egyptian goddess - 31 Aug 2009 at 23:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2009 at 15:01
The fact that Imperialism per se is considered reasonably bad and evil these days makes me rather evil myself as well. Not sorry about it though. Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Sep 2009 at 08:32
Alexander the Great is my favorite historical character by a large margin, I don't consider him evil, but there are those who do/would.  I have an interest in historical characters that were rather Machiavellian in personality/action, I think its because they were able to rule/live without letting morals or romanticism get in the way of their objectives.  (its the iron will/determination which I find fascinating)  Philip Augustus, Louis XI, Augustus, some of the WWII German Generals etc.  

Edited by Justinian - 07 Sep 2009 at 08:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2009 at 06:57
"Little Boots" is not exactly my favorite evil figure, more of an enigma to me. Was he a diseased incestuous psychopathic cold-blooded killer? Or was he a modern day sarcastic, politically incorrect manipulative despot? Inquiring minds want to know!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2009 at 08:39
Don't know what 'evil' is, but

Justinian II

The way that crazy noseless bastard retook the throne after being exiled in Cherson is an awesome story.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knives Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2009 at 10:10
I think Vlad Tepes is an awesome guy. Hearing the stories of him rounding up people and impaling them or trapping them in burning buildings makes me well, impressed. 

The man was hailed as the savior, the messiah, the anti-christ, the tyrant, the nation hero, theres so many different sides to him, so many stories he just ends up being this mystical and prestigious figure. I read about the way he uses superstition in warfare, and its just no wonder that such a enigmatic figure ended up being thought to be a vampire, not human, immortal. 

To go into further detail about this infamous man, well he was the prince and ruler of Wallachia, he was named formally Vlad III Dracula, son of Dracul, he is called Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Tepes in Romania and is a man hailed as a defender of the Christian faith against Turkish expansionism. He also has been listed as one of the most evil people of all time and the biggest tyrant of his time, but well, he is also considered a national hero in Romania so he can't be all that bad right? 

I prefer not to label people evil or good, i'd not even try that on Hitler, I can't understand what goes on in peoples heads and evil is judged on a cultural level with conditioned ideas so its just not a factual thing. I put him in here because thousands if not hundreds of thousands say he was evil. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pabbicus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2009 at 21:32

I would have to say, while the stories of his authorizing capital punishment for certain lesser crimes are a bit iffy, he did have the entire romanian nobility killed and replaced, which allowed him to make far more drastic changes than any rulers of the region before him, and his strategic placement of his victims had saved Wallachia from more than a few invading armies, who were so horrified by the sight that they simply dropped their weapons and fled.

He also made more than one startling defeat of superior Ottoman forces in his time, and of course saved the country from sharing the fate of the Bulgarians under Ottoman occupation.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 08:23
As a barrister, I have always found Hitlers oratory abilities facinating.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pabbicus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 08:29
I find some of his ability to inspire the masses is derived from his putting on of a much more rural, "working class" sort of "accent" or bent to his voice. He very much attempted to speak as similarly in manner as the industrial and agricultural working class as possible, though in private conversations several people have claimed he dropped this and spoke in a much more educated, intelligent tone. I'm not entirely sure, though.
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As far as I know (and I am not an authority on German accents) his accent was always "working class" another reason he was disliked by the usually aristocratic generals.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 12:22
Well speaking of Hitler I have always found him admirable, not for what HE DID, but for how from NO ONE he become THE ONE. The will power of this person is something to be appreciated, though is actions were against any form of humanity but I guess when you taste Power you forget what humanity is. I mean he was not the first person or the last to kill in the name of race or religion.
 
Beside Hitler I am very much found of El Che Guevara whose mostly considered an evil in US and other western countries but for me he was just another person fighting for rights.
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pabbicus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 21:12
Even though his "fight for rights" resulted in the "mysterious disappearance" of half of his countrymen, and the people he purposely inspired to attempt revolution in south america, as a result of his powerfully inspiring words(to the latin american peasants, at any rate,) nearly all died in brutal military backlashes after failed coup d'etats.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 23:18
@ Pabbicus
I don't know if you are talking about El Che or someone else but if it's about El Che I would say that Fidel Castro from first day till end of Che's life wasn't a worthy friend or campanion, it was Che who would go in front lines, it was Che who won Cuba for Castro and at end he was not even allowed to get back to Cuba (while escaping Africa) instead was asked to go to Bolivia and start a revolution by Castro, where he was captured and murdered.
Now the main question that rises is "How in the world Felix Rodriquez got the tip on Che's location (though it's stated that the Bolivian Army encountered them but the fact is what were BA doing there in the Forest if they didn't have a tip)?"
 
Though it may sound stupid to some but I guess Castro did not fullfil his part of friendship and champanionood.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 23:19
I can only agree with Omar on the topic of Justinian II. To personally strangle the two men sent to kill you, and to cling so tightly to your survival that you and a group of followers steal a fishing boat to go and attempt a coup - well it is a stark contrast to someone like Emperor Maurice. It is just a same that after he regained the throne he did not redirect that energy and determination into something other than hell bent fury.

Hitler is another one who must receive grudging admiration. He came from nothing, ended up living on the streets, and yet through his own willpower, charisma and intellect he managed to make himself supreme leader of an important nation. Most people back then (and today still) tended to come from a background with power and money behind it if they wanted to achieve great political power. He was the son of an abusive minor bureaucrat and by his early 20s was living on the street with nothing and no one to help him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2009 at 00:21
I would have to say Roman Emperor Caligula, the guy had a big boat built in a land-locked lake.
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