25 Most Insane Rulers In History

Posted by , Updated on May 20, 2024

This pattern appears to be recurring. Individuals in positions of authority often appear to lose their minds. From King George to Caligula, here are 25 of the most deranged leaders in history.



Emperor Justin II

Justin IIwikipedia

As the Byzantine Emperor from 565 to 576 Justin reportedly began to lose his mind near the end of his reign. He was pushed around the palace on a wheelchair snapping at attendants as he passed and even reportedly ate a few of them.


Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire

Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empirewikipedia

An Ottoman Sultan known to have an obsession with fat women he had his agents track down the fattest one possible. He also had 280 of his concubines drowned in the ocean when he heard that they had slept with another man and he would regularly feed coins to fish in the palace pool.


King Charles VI of France

King Charles VI of Francewikipedia

Before going made he was apparently known as Charles the Well Loved, afterwards he became Charles the Mad. Reportedly killing his own knights after one of them dropped a spear, he also refused to bathe and for a long time believed he was made of glass.


Anna of Russia


Although she was placed on the throne by old nobels hoping that she would be a figurehead, she not only assumed power by her wooing of the imperial guards but she was found to love cruel jokes, especially on the nobels who appointed her.


Erik XIV of Sweden

Erik XIV of Swedenwikipedia

Known for being insanely paranoid, he was known to have people executed simply for laughing in his presence. He even believed he was his own brother for a while. Eventually though his worst fears came true and he died of poisoning.


Princess Alexandra Amalie of Bavaria

Princess Alexandra Amalie of Bavariawikipedia

She somehow became convinced that as a child she had swallowed a glass piano. She also had an obsession with cleanliness and would only wear white.


Ferdinand I of Austria

Ferdinand I of Austriawikipedia

A product of inbreeding, he was epileptic, encephalitic, and rarely talked. In fact, it has been stated that the only words he ever said were “I am the Emperor, and I want dumplings”.


The Zhengde Emperor of China

The Zhengde Emperor of Chinawikipedia

As the Emperor of China in the beginning of the 16th Century this guy was known for playing make believe in the royal gardens and forcing everyone to play along with him.


Farouk of Egypt

Farouk of Egyptwikipedia

The last ruling king of Egypt, Farouk was known as a “stomach with a head” after grew to over 300 pounds. What was most bizarre though, was his kleptomania. He even stole a watch from Winston Churchill once. In his most famous act, however, he went to the zoo and shot all the lions after having nightmares.


Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia

Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussiawikipedia

Remembered for his affection towards the military, Friedrich was obsessed with creating the biggest fighting unit ever. And by biggest we mean tallest. He was even recorded as forcing tall men and women to have kids.


Qin Shi Huang of China

Henry VI of Englandwikipedia

Known for being terrified of being assassinated he never slept in the same place twice. It wasn’t just humans he was wary of though. Apparently he feared a giant sea monsters as well.


Juana I of Spain

Juana I of Spainwikipedia

Also known as Juana the Mad, she was so scared that her husband would cheat on her that even after he died she wouldn’t let any women come near his corpse, not even nuns.


Ludwig II of Bavaria

Ludwig II of Bavariawikipedia

Known for being really shy, Ludwig didn’t do much ruling during his reign by rather spent his time building fairy tale castles.


Ivan IV

Ivan IVwikipedia

Known as Ivan the Terrible, he was scarred at an early age by the loss of his parents and abuse at the hands of the government. At 14 he seized control of Russia and fed the government to a pack of dogs. He didn’t stop there though, and went on to kill and torture numerous others.


Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg

Maria Eleonora of Brandenburgwikipedia

Desperate for a son, she was reported to have gone mad when she finally had a girl. Although the king was happy to have a daughter she tried numerous times to kill her. Incredibly, her daughter survived.


Fyodor I of Russia


Also known as Fyodor the Bellringer, when his daughter died at two years old he took to wandering across Russia ringing every church bell he came across.


Queen Maria I of Portugal

Queen Maria I of Portugalwikipedia

After the deaths of her husband, son, and daughter, Maria apparently lost it. She was known for screaming non stop late into the night and having a fondness for wearing children’s clothes.


Otto of Bavaria

Otto of Bavariawikipedia

Brought in to replace his brother Ludwig II, he was found to be even worse, stammering and breaking things wherever he went. Recent theories have arisen claiming that the insane behavior was made up in order to make them easy to overthrow.


Christian VII of Denmark

Christian VII of Denmarkwikipedia

Although he was officially king, it was his advisers who basically ran the country. Christian was mentally ill, paranoid, engaged in self mutilation, and was extremely promiscuous.


Carlos II of Spain

Carlos II of Spainwikipedia

The result of severe inbreeding Carlos II was so deformed that he couldn’t even close his mouth to chew. Although he was supposed to be king his mother had to rule for him and he spent his life believing himself to be bewitched.


Afonso VI of Portugal

Afonso VI of Portugalwikipedia

Due to a disease when he was younger he was left partially paralyzed on his left side. He then grew up to be known as the crazy “glutton” king of Portugal and like many other kings on this list he ended up confined. In fact it was even said that there was a groove on the floor from where he paced so much.


Charles IX of France

Charles IX of Francewikipedia

Due to a disfiguration he was dubbed the Snotty King and was given to fits of rage and sadism even though he was a mama’s boy.


Henry VI of England

Henry VI of Englandwikipedia

He was so bipolar that his wife had to take over the kingdom. He would enter prolonged periods of mental breakdown become completely unaware of everything around him.


King George III of England

King George III of Englandwikipedia

One of the most well known crazy rulers in history probably due to the movies that have been made about him. Like Charles IX he also ended up behind bars and his only legacy besides being mad was that he lost the American Colonies.


Emperor Caligula

Emperor Caligulawikipedia

Hands down probably the most insane ruler of any nation in history, it is said that he was once had an entire family executed. The husband and wife went first and he then proceeded down the line of children until he reached the youngest, a 12 year old girl. She was crying hysterically by this point and the disgusted crowd begged for mercy as she was a virgin. Smiling, he had the executioner rape her and then kill her as well.