6 Evilest Rulers of Ancient History

It is said that with great power comes great responsibility. The people on this list definitely had a lot of power, but they were the furthest thing from responsible. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most heinous figures of the ancient history.

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Agrippina the Younger.

Agrippina the Younger. Source: Wikimedia

Julia Agrippina the Younger was an Empress of Rome and mother to Nero (another figure on this list). She was also an important part of many Roman family trees, not least because her third husband was her uncle Claudius. It is believed that Agrippina poisoned her second husband, and she has definitely murdered her third, Claudius, only four years into the marriage, even after he adopted Nero and made him the heir. She was the one in control within the first few years of Nero’s ruling, which would certainly explain a lot.


Attila the Hut.

Attila the Hut. Source: Wikimedia

Attila the Hun was the leader of the Hunnic Empire in 434-453 AD. His methods of conquering new lands, from Germany to the Ural Mountains, are believed to be some of the most brutal, savage and cruel in history. Even his death was barbaric – he drowned in his own blood. He didn’t really discriminate between his own people and his enemies – murder was his business card. He was also believed to be into drinking women’s blood.


Caligula bust.

Caligula bust. Source: Wikimedia

Another member of Agrippina’s family – Caligula was her brother. During his ruling, the Roman law became nothing but an instrument of torture. Given that Joffrey Baratheon of “Game of Thrones” is said to be based on him, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the Emperor quite enjoyed murder and forcing families to attend their members’ executions. In fact, it’s very likely that Caligula has engaged in the vilest acts you can imagine, so if something seems repulsive to you, he’s probably done it. And that includes sleeping with all of his three sisters at the same time.

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan. Source: Wikimedia

There is no denying the influence of Genghis Khan on today’s world – I’ve previously written that if you’re reading this, chances are that you’re his descendant. Unfortunately, he was infamous for his thirst for blood and cruelty during his time on the Mongolian throne. One of his preferred methods of execution was pouring molten metal into the criminals’ eyes and ears (think Khal Drogo!). It is believed that his army’s death toll amounts to approximately 50 million people. His heinous acts include rape, torture and fratricide committed at the tender age of 13. Surprisingly, he died of natural causes.



Nero. Source: Wikimedia

Nero was the Roman Emperor around the time Christianity was born. It’s safe to say that the guy has literally almost burned down and destroyed the Great Roman Empire. He was Agrippina’s biological son and has gone to great lengths to have each member of his family murdered. The fire that ultimately led to his demise was ignited by him in order to burn down all the Christians, who referred to him as “The Antichrist”. Murdering Peter and Paul was a mere drop in the ocean of atrocities Nero has committed before killing himself. His last words were “What a great artist is dying!”.

Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang.

Qin Shi Huang. Source: Wikimedia

This ruler was the very first emperor of China and one of the cruelest ones to date. The Great Wall of China might be stunning, but it is built on the bones and blood of the people Qin Shi Huang starved to death and murdered. He was also obsessed with eternal life and murdered 500 scientists who failed to provide him with a passage to immortality. When he realised that he was going to die, he ordered to build a 3-mile wide mausoleum because he feared attack, even in death.

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What do you think?

  • Josh

    What about Vlad Tepes 🙂 ?

    • We haven’t covered him in this list, but he definitely deserves a spot in there 🙂

    • Alfa

      He was christian knight of Dragon order, together with Serbian ruler Despot Stefan and Hungarian Hunyadi Janos. The main thing was not to allowed Turks to rule over Balcany. Vlad Tsepes was cruel, of course, but when he was ruler, there are not Turks there. Turks called him to make agreement of peace, and when he came, they beheaded him. Why not Suleiman the Great, or Hitler? Why Romanian knight?

  • Don Wegrzynowski

    Some serious mistakes in the Genghis Khan “bio”….

    The ONLY time he execute anybody by pouring molten metal into his eyes and ears, was Inalchuq, the Governer of Otrar, Uncle to Sultan Muhammad II of Khwarezmia. in 1219 Inalchuq had executed a 450 person trade and diplomatc party sent by Genghis Khan. One Mongol escaped and reported the event. Next he sent a 3 person diplomatic directly to the Shah, who killed the Muslim diplomat, then shaved the heads and beards of the Mongol diplomats( Never mess with a Mongols head!). When after about a five-month seige of Otrar, he took Inalchuq alive, took him into the city’s Square and had all the gold and silver from the Citadel melted down and poured it into his eyes,ears, and mouth.

    He then went on to defeat the Shahs 450,000 man army, with an army of around 70,000(he WAS laying seige to China, after all).
    For the record, the Mongol “Horde” never had more than 125,000 Mongols in it.

    Fratricide: He and his Brother Kasar indeed did kill his half-brother Begter when he was 13. His family was esstially homeless, the clan that his father had led having abandoned them on the steps, taking their cattle and horses. They had to scrounge for food, eating rats, mice, birds and fish. His half brother Begter had caught fish and ate them himself, thereby depriving his Mother and the rest of his family of food. A “killable” offense in those days.
    The 50 million death toll is an almost impossible number, exagerated by mostly European and Muslim historians used to demonize the Mongols. Juvainni, in the case if Otrar for instance, wrote that there were over 2 million people killed there. No record of more than 100,000 -150,000 population.
    And as for being an “evil ruler’, his people loved him, ( how, otherwise , would the 10 tribes elect him as “Genghis Khan”?). If you were Mongol, under his rule, you experienced an freedom and wealth that were un-imaginable.
    So in my humble opinion, he has no business in the “evilest rulers” catergory.The other 5 in this list ALL did something/things Heineous to their own people. Temujin Boorjigenis still revered as a saint in Mongolia. The others on this list probably dont have shrines in their respective countries to them, do they?
    Genghis Khan, perhaps, may have been a ruthless conquerer, but certainly not an evil ruler.

    • Detective Rust Cohle

      Fair points but in modernity, a ruthless conqueror is still considered evil by most. There’s no distinction between harming your own people and setting out to harm/conquer others. Gengis Khan just happens to be one of the more famous of the many ruthless conquerors in history and thus probably makes this list based more on popularity than being more ruthless than other lessor known conquerors.

  • Detective Rust Cohle

    Close but Nero’s final words were “What an artist dies in me”

  • TaylorKA

    The only two who can definitively be called evil are Agrippina and Caligula. The others are a matter of perspective and opinion.

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