History is fraught with tales of madness and emotional scars of leaders that never healed. Whether from birth or later in life, mental illness crept in and marred great leaders, foreshadowing their weaknesses forever. Many are the heroes of their day that lost their minds to sickness, never to overcome their burdens. From the beginning of time recordings tell the stories.
Twas A Tale Of Madness
1. King Nebuchadnezzar ruled in biblical times, before the birth of Christ, c. 605 BC – 562 BC. He ruled over the Babylonian Empire. While he did much to improve upon his kingdom, it is said that God punished him for being prideful, by causing him to go mad. Deuteronomy 28:27-29 and Jeremiah 25:16 are the Biblical references to this. It also say that he would drink and go mad, so under that assumption if he were in modern times, he would be described as an alcoholic and that is what caused him to be mad.
2. Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Nero the Roman Emperor, ruled from 54 A.D. to 68 A.D. He was the last in the line of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. He became Emperor at the young age of 17. He was cruel beyond measure and ruled as a tyrant, even killing his own mother and half brother. When Rome burned in 64 A.D. he played his fiddle and watched his kingdom be destroyed. By today’s standards, he would probably be consider bipolar and possibly multiple personality disorder.
3. Charles VI of France became known as “Charles the Mad” early on. He ruled from 1380 until his death in 1422. He was only 11 when he inherited the throne, but didn’t take power until he was 21. He had frequent bouts of insanity. During these times he would believe that he was made of glass, he would attack the servants, and he would scream with paranoid thoughts and delusions. He would be ill for months and then snap back and be fine. It is believed that he suffered from Paranoid Schizophrenia.
4. Eric XIV ruled as King of Sweden from 1560 until he was deposed in 1568. He was viewed as intelligent, artistic, and ambitious. Early during his six year reign, he began to show signs of mental illness. This eventually led to insanity. Some scholars attribute it to his lineage, while others thought it was the result of the Sture Murders.
5. Charles IX was the King of France from 1560 until his death. He ascended the throne of France upon the death of his brother Francis II at the tender age of 10. France was already ensconced in war and there was other political unrest in France. Being a young king sided he with Gaspard de Coligny, leader of the Huguenots. Coligny along with thousands of soldiers were slain in the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572. It was after this that King Charles IX stated exhibiting a very fragile mental state and he also was suffering from Tuberculosis. He would have very violent mood swings. If he were alive today, it would be said that he probably suffered from PTSD.