Attila the Hun
Attila was not just any Hun, he was the leader of the Huns, and under his rule the Hunnic empire consisted of almost anything that didn’t fly a Roman flag. It has been said that there is no surviving first person account of his appearance, which is not surprising considering the fate of most people who interacted with him. Clearly, however, he was a man with a passion for invasion. In fact, it was a passion so great that on his way to pick up his bride, Honoria, he decided to stop in Italy…and destroy it. Razing a country on the eve of your wedding? Outstandingly wicked.
Generally speaking, revolutionaries tend to be lauded for their courage and willingness to take a stand. Max, however — although being a leader in the French Revolution — decided that he would rather live on in infamy and instituted what has come to be known as the Reign of Terror. As we all know, anyone who starts something called a Reign of Terror belongs on a list of bad people…period.
Imagine your name being prefixed by the word “bloody”. That in itself should be enough to reserve a spot on our list. But how does that even happen? Mary I of England, it turns out, had a passion for burning people at the stake, particularly people who opposed her ideologies, hence the nickname.
Founded what would eventually become the largest contiguous empire in history and nearly managed to conquer not just one but two continents. Compared to many people on this list he was relatively benign, however, at least offering up the chance to surrender before proceeding to destroy everything in sight. Just to paint a picture of what that could look like, some historians have estimated that the Iranian population didn’t return to pre-Mongol levels until sometime in the late 20th century.
Sometimes it seems that being a Roman emperor was incongruent with maintaining your sanity. Case in point – this guy. What started with a little gambling and wasteful spending quickly turned into a circus of bloody mayhem. But not only did killing become his favorite pastime, he also concluded that he was God and therefore should have a statue of himself erected in the Temple of Jerusalem for people to worship. No wonder Rome burned to the ground.
Issuing solders Viagra to help them rape and kill women, indiscriminately executing his own people, and sponsoring international terrorists, he was only the second still-serving state leader in history to have arrest warrants issued against him. Translation: he was really, really bad at his job. So bad in fact, that even Fidel Castro once described him as being reckless.
Although the ruthlessness of this man never ceased to astound the modern world, we at List25 were not surprised by his lack of good behavior. How do you expect your parents to discipline you with a name like Ayatollah As-Sayyid Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini?
Not only did he kill 17 men and boys, the murders all involved rape, dismemberment, necrophilia, and cannibalism. To make things worse, he somehow got the idea that he could turn his victims into submissive “zombies” by drilling holes in their skulls and filling them with boiling water while they were still alive.
The leader of the People’s Temple, a cult that was forced to relocate from San Fransisco to the jungles of Guyana where he managed to convinced over 900 of its members to kill themselves with cyanide. That’s the largest loss of American civilian life in one event prior to 9/11.
For over twenty years Saddam served as the President of Iraq instituting genocidal campaigns against the Kurds, Shabaks, Yazidis, Assyrians, and Mandeans. What’s more, he seemed to have an impulsive desire to randomly invade neighboring countries and when things didn’t go his way he would just take out his frustration on his own people…with poison gas.
Leopold II of Belgium
Its impressive that from such a small country could come such a colossal tyrant. Deciding that his country wasn’t big enough Leopold did what any leader would do and went to Africa…to start his own. In what is present day Democratic Republic of the Congo, he managed to enslave, torture, and kill over 3 million people just so he could sell some ivory.
Osama bin Laden
As the face of modern terrorism and the founder of al-Qaeda he lived a good portion of his life with a $25 million dollar bounty placed on his head by the FBI. In spite of that, he managed to evade capture for the better part of three presidential administrations before tasting American steel.
“Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another. ”Well said Mao…exactly why we made sure to reserve an extra spot on our list.