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List of mentally ill monarchs

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This is a list of monarchs who have been described as mentally ill in some way by historians past or present.


In many cases, it is difficult to ascertain whether a given historical monarch did in fact possess a genuine mental illness of some sort, whether he or she was merely eccentric or suffering symptoms of a physical illness, or whether he or she was just disliked by chroniclers.

Ancient world

  • Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon (now Babylon, Iraq) (reigned c. 605 BC-562 BC), allegedly became insane for a period of seven years.
  • Hantili I, who had paranoia
  • Roman Emperors

  • Tiberius, (42 BC–37 AD, ruled 14–37 AD), paranoid personality disorder and sex addiction. While Tiberius was in his later years in Capri, rumours abounded as to what exactly he was doing there. Historian Suetonius records the rumours of lurid tales of sexual perversity, including graphic depictions of child molestation, and cruelty, and most of all his paranoia. While heavily sensationalized, Suetonius' stories at least paint a picture of how Tiberius was perceived by the Roman senatorial class, and what his impact on the Principate was during his 23 years of rule.
  • Caligula, (12–41 AD, ruled 37–41 AD) nephew of Tiberius, suffered from antisocial personality disorder and narcissism, believing that he was a god and that the god of the sea was plotting against him. Was an alcoholic, made his horse a senator, ordered political prisoners decapitated over dinner, married his sister and ordered political assassinations. According to multiple classical sources, his mental health deteriorated suddenly after a severe fever that nearly killed him. This suggests that organic brain damage from high body temperature or encephalitis (possibly malarial) may have played a causative role instead of or alongside a preexisting mental illness.
  • Nero, (37–68 AD, ruled 54–68 AD), nephew of Caligula, suffered from borderline personality disorder, narcissism and histrionic personality disorder. Ordered the deaths of his mother and step-brother, had Christians crucified and burned, declared himself a god, allegedly started the Fire of Rome and played the lyre during it.
  • Commodus, (161–192 AD, ruled 180–192 AD) suffered from narcissistic and histrionic personality disorders, respectively, renamed Rome, the Empire, the Praetorian Guard and various streets after himself, believed himself to be the reincarnation of Hercules and had a servant burned to death for making his bath too cold.
  • Elagabalus (c. 203–222, ruled 218–222) catapulted venomous snakes at the people of Rome, invited guests to dinner only to give them inedible bread and leave lions in their bedrooms, used children's entrails for Divination, held lotteries for which the prizes consisted of wooden boxes containing bees, dead dogs and flies. Turned the Royal Palace into a public brothel.
  • Justin II (520–578, ruled Eastern Rome 565–578). The temporary fits of insanity into which Justin fell warned him to name a colleague. According to John of Ephesus, as Justin II slipped into the unbridled madness of his final days, he was pulled through the palace on a wheeled throne, biting attendants as he passed. He reportedly ordered organ music to be played constantly throughout the palace in an attempt to soothe his frenzied mind.
  • Islamic Caliphs

  • Fatamid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985-1021; ruled from 13 October 996 to 13 February 1021), known in Europe as the Mad Caliph
  • Ottoman Caliph Ibrahim I (1615–1648; ruled 1640–1648), known as Deli Ibrahim (Mad Ibrahim)
  • Ottoman Caliph Murad V (1840-1904; ruled from 30 May to 31 August 1876)
  • European monarchs

  • King Charles VI of France (1368–1422; ruled 1380–1422), known as Charles le Fou (Charles the Mad)
  • King Henry VI of England (1421–1471; ruled 1422–1461 and 1470–1471)
  • Queen Joanna of Castile (1479–1555; ruled 1504–1555), known as Juana La Loca (Joanna the Mad)
  • King Eric XIV of Sweden (1533–1577; ruled 1560–1568), he suffered from serious mental instability and paranoia.
  • Tsar Feodor I of Russia (1557–1598; ruled 1584–1598), son of Ivan IV. Known as Feodor the Bellringer (he was reputedly mentally disabled)
  • Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552–1612; ruled 1576–1611).
  • Tsar Ivan V of Russia (1666–1696; ruled 1682–1696) 11th child of Tsar Alexei, joint ruler with Peter the Great, he had serious mental and physical disabilities.
  • King Afonso VI of Portugal (1643-1683; ruled 1656-1668), he had serious mental and physical disabilities.
  • King Charles II of Spain (1661-1700; ruled 1665-1700), known as el Hechizado (the Bewitched)
  • Tsar Peter III of Russia (1728-1762; ruled 1762)
  • Queen Maria I of Portugal (1734–1816; ruled 1777–1816), known as Maria a Louca (Mary the Mad)
  • King George III of the United Kingdom (1738–1820; ruled 1760–1820), suffered from Porphyria which gave him explosive rage attacks, panic attacks, delusions and visual and auditory hallucinations.
  • King Christian VII of Denmark (1749–1808; ruled 1767–1808)
  • King Louis XVI of France (1754–1793, ruled 1774-1792), suffered from Depression.
  • King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845–1886; ruled 1864–1886), known as Mad King Ludwig
  • King Otto of Bavaria (1848–1916; ruled 1886–1913)
  • Chinese monarchs

  • Former Deposed Emperor of Liu Song (449–465; ruled 464–466)
  • Emperor Hui of Jin (259-307; ruled 290-301) Developmentally disabled
  • References

    List of mentally ill monarchs Wikipedia

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