History Main / RoyallyScrewedUp

22nd Feb '17 1:04:55 PM PrincessGwen
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** ''Videogame/FireEmblemFates'' . Both royal family of Hoshido and Nohr are dysfunctional. The Nohr family is the more troubled of the two, since their father Garon sired many children with his concubines. The infighting and power struggles killed off most of the half-siblings -- the relatively sane and decent ones are the only ones ''left''. Garon himself was hardened by this [[spoiler:but he's still not to blame for all of the really awful things that happen in the game, since he's a DeadAllAlong puppet of the true BigBad Anankos.]] If Nohr used to be dysfunctional but the infighting stopped after Elise's birth and from there the siblings get along well, Hoshido was the opposite. They used to be happy family, but everything fell apart after [[spoiler: the Avatar is kidnapped by Nohr and Sumeragi assassinated]]. The two older siblings Ryoma and Hinoka trained themselves too hard, busying themselves to distract themselves from the sadness of losing their father and younger sibling, but distancing themselves from their left younger siblings (namely Takumi and Sakura). This is visible in their supports, that Nohr siblings cleared their inner conflicts well, but Hoshido siblings... Does not completely clear their problems, even if you A support all of them. If you [[spoiler: sent the younger siblings fight the oldest one in Revelation, this also shows. Xander have a special dialogue if you sent Camilla against him, but Ryoma DOES NOT have any special dialogue even if you sent Takumi or Sakura against him. Even more so against their father Sumeragi. Sumeragi only have special dialogue with the Avatar and Ryoma, showing clear sign of ParentalFavoritism.]] The straightest example of an insanely evil royal is [[spoiler:the protagonist's true father Anankos who also happens to be a godlike dragon, but even that's due to a flaw with dragons in the fire Emblem verse: If they spend too long in their dragon forms without using a [[PowerLimiter dragonstone]] they go insane. Anankos is even worse than the normal insane dragon, because his sane half is still aware of what's going on and ''[[AndIMustScream can't do anything to stop it]]'']]

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** ''Videogame/FireEmblemFates'' . Both royal family families of Hoshido and Nohr are dysfunctional. The Nohr family is the more troubled of the two, since their father Garon sired many children with his concubines. The infighting and power struggles killed off most of the half-siblings -- the relatively sane and decent ones are the only ones ''left''. Garon himself was hardened by this [[spoiler:but he's still not to blame for all of the really awful things that happen in the game, since he's a DeadAllAlong puppet of the true BigBad Anankos.]] If Nohr used to be dysfunctional but the infighting stopped after Elise's birth and from there the siblings get along well, Hoshido was the opposite. They used to be a happy family, but everything fell apart after [[spoiler: the Avatar is was kidnapped by Nohr and Sumeragi assassinated]]. The two older siblings Ryoma and Hinoka trained themselves too hard, busying themselves to distract themselves from the sadness of losing their father and younger sibling, but distancing themselves from their left younger siblings (namely Takumi and Sakura). This is visible in their supports, that Nohr siblings cleared their inner conflicts well, but the Hoshido siblings... Does Do not completely clear their problems, even if you A support all of them. If you [[spoiler: sent the younger siblings fight the oldest one in Revelation, ''Revelation'', this also shows. Xander have a has special dialogue if you sent Camilla against him, but Ryoma DOES NOT have any special dialogue even if you sent Takumi or Sakura against him. Even more so against their father Sumeragi. Sumeragi only have has special dialogue with the Avatar and Ryoma, showing clear sign signs of ParentalFavoritism.]] The straightest example of an insanely evil royal is [[spoiler:the protagonist's true father Anankos who also happens to be a godlike dragon, but even that's due to a flaw with dragons in the fire Fire Emblem verse: If they spend too long in their dragon forms without using a [[PowerLimiter dragonstone]] they go insane. Anankos is even worse than the normal insane dragon, because his sane half is still aware of what's going on and ''[[AndIMustScream can't do anything to stop it]]'']]
21st Feb '17 10:56:24 AM gb00393
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* ''Series/GameOfThrones'' implies this is caused by inbreeding in the Targaryen and [[spoiler:Lannister]] family lines, in as little as one generation. The crazy rate is implied to be around 50% (as per the page quote), regardless of how long the inbreeding has been practiced.
** Technically the [[spoiler: Lannister]] case isn't a single generation; [[spoiler: Jaime and Cersei]] are first generation sibling incest, but their parents were first cousins. And since no particular fuss is made over that fact, it can be assumed that cousin incest is not uncommon in the Lannister family. [[spoiler: Cersei and Jaime]] were far from the first incestuous pairing in the family, but they were probably the straw that broke the camel's back.

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* ''Series/GameOfThrones'' implies this is caused by inbreeding in the Targaryen and [[spoiler:Lannister]] family lines, in as little as one generation. The crazy rate is implied to be around 50% (as per the page quote), regardless of how long the inbreeding has been practiced.
**
practiced. Technically the [[spoiler: Lannister]] case isn't a single generation; [[spoiler: Jaime and Cersei]] are first generation sibling incest, but their parents were first cousins. And since no particular fuss is made over that fact, it can be assumed that cousin incest is not uncommon in the Lannister family. [[spoiler: Cersei and Jaime]] were far from the first incestuous pairing in the family, but they were probably the straw that broke the camel's back. Furthermore, they're both unpleasant people, and their son Joffrey seems to combine the worst aspects of each.
18th Feb '17 7:18:59 PM ferrelas
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** Some Bavarians like to claim the madness of (possibly) Ludwig and (definitely) Otto on their Prussian mother Marie, pointing at the case of Frederick William IV (uncle of Marie of Bavaria), however new evidence suggests that the Frederick William did not actually go mad but suffered from the effects of a stroke in his later years, which his Bavarian consort Queen Elisabeth tried to hide from the public.

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** Some Bavarians like to claim blame the madness of (possibly) Ludwig and (definitely) Otto on their Prussian mother Marie, pointing at the case of Frederick William IV (uncle of Marie of Bavaria), however new evidence suggests that the Frederick William did not actually go mad but suffered from the effects of a stroke in his later years, which his Bavarian consort Queen Elisabeth tried to hide from the public.
18th Feb '17 6:18:51 PM ferrelas
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** ''All'' Habsburg lines tended to lead back to "Juana la Loca", a.k.a. Queen Joanna the Mad of Aragon and Castille...over and over. It's debatable how mad she actually was and how much of that was genetic versus how much was induced by grief and mistreatment after the death of [[PerfectlyArrangedMarriage her husband]] Philip the Handsome. Witnesses who weren't paid by the rivals to her throne[[note]]Yes, ''her'' throne: technically, she inherited it from her mother, Isabella, and was full queen in her own right, a fact that annoyed her father, husband, and son in turn, as they strove to prevent her from asserting her authority by grabbing it for themselves. Phillip did insert himself as the defacto "coruler" with more clout, but he wasn't a total dick about it, as the major reason was to keep his father-in-law out of his and his wife's business. Which Ferdinand kept trying to meddle in, despite "husband" traditionally trumping "father" in the Control the Damsel game.[[/note]] contested the incidents claimed as the most serious evidence of her insanity, such as repeatedly reopening her dead husband's casket. She probably did have some form of hereditary depression, but her purported "madness" was worst when [[MadwomanInTheAttic she was locked up in a nunnery]] by her own father, Ferdinand, upon her political and military defeats after attempting to prize his claws off her throne after her husband's death -- visitors (particularly outside witnesses) strongly discouraged. Her son, Carlos I/Charles V, later had to be told to treat his poor mother better ''as a condition for election as [[UsefulNotes/HolyRomanEmpire Holy Roman Emperor]]''.[[note]]Yes, this is ''that'' Charles V. The one who might have been ruler of all Europe (save England and France) had it not been for the emergence of Protestantism. That one.[[/note]] Her deplorably neglectful living conditions were quite the open secret and scandal at the time.

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** ''All'' Habsburg lines tended to lead back to "Juana la Loca", a.k.a. Queen Joanna the Mad of Aragon and Castille...over and over. It's debatable how mad she actually was and how much of that was genetic versus how much was induced by grief and mistreatment after the death of [[PerfectlyArrangedMarriage her husband]] Philip the Handsome. Witnesses who weren't paid by the rivals to her throne[[note]]Yes, ''her'' throne: technically, she inherited it from her mother, Isabella, and was full queen in her own right, a fact that annoyed her father, husband, and son in turn, as they strove to prevent her from asserting her authority by grabbing it for themselves. Phillip did insert himself as the defacto "coruler" with more clout, but he wasn't a total dick about it, as the major reason was to keep his father-in-law out of his and his wife's business. Which Ferdinand kept trying to meddle in, despite "husband" traditionally trumping "father" in the Control the Damsel game.[[/note]] contested the incidents claimed as the most serious evidence of her insanity, such as repeatedly reopening her dead husband's casket. She probably did have some form of hereditary depression, but her purported "madness" was worst when [[MadwomanInTheAttic she was locked up in a nunnery]] by her own father, Ferdinand, upon her political and military defeats after attempting to prize pry his claws off her throne after her husband's death -- visitors (particularly outside witnesses) strongly discouraged. Her son, Carlos I/Charles V, later had to be told to treat his poor mother better ''as a condition for election as [[UsefulNotes/HolyRomanEmpire Holy Roman Emperor]]''.[[note]]Yes, this is ''that'' Charles V. The one who might have been ruler of all Europe (save England and France) had it not been for the emergence of Protestantism. That one.[[/note]] Her deplorably neglectful living conditions were quite the open secret and scandal at the time.
7th Feb '17 5:54:07 PM Euodiachloris
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** Not that the Russian royal line needed much help from Queen Vicky. When you've got such kings as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia Ivan "the Great"]] (yes, he did tonnes; could also start a brutal war over not agreeing with anything any of his brothers liked), [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Terrible Ivan "the Terrible"]] (ye gads, the guy knew how to do crazy: and, ran through wives and children at an impressive rate), or even UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat (who... very much had his moments of darkly-driven, {{Cloudcuckoolander}} bonkers, despite the "Great") indirectly in your genetic back pockets, you've got problems. Even UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_III_of_Russia husband]] was a little unfortunate to have her as a wife (even though they were both far more German than Russian) -- as she probably killed him on the reasonable grounds that Russia having an ardent Russiophobe and Slavic cultural hater and man-child on the throne ''wasn't'' exactly working all that well for both domestic and foreign policy. And then there's Catherine's son, Paul, who would exile his officers to Siberia for a misplaced coat button and who was assassinated with his eldest son's more or less tacit consent.[[note]] Though he did suffer from horrendous guilt, so it's likely he may have simply intended to lock him up, or just didn't really think over how he would have to deal with his father.[[/note]] No matter what your surname was or who your supposed father was (there are a lot of questions at various points)... the same lesson can be repeatedly found in every Russian linage to hold that throne: don't trust family as they'll probably kill you. Likely on purpose.

to:

** Not that the Russian royal line needed much help from Queen Vicky. When you've got such kings as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia Ivan "the Great"]] (yes, he did tonnes; could also start a brutal war over not agreeing with anything any of his brothers liked), [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Terrible Ivan "the Terrible"]] (ye gads, the guy knew how to do crazy: and, ran through wives and children at an impressive rate), or even UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat (who... very much had his moments of darkly-driven, {{Cloudcuckoolander}} bonkers, despite the "Great") indirectly in your genetic back pockets, you've got problems. Even UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_III_of_Russia husband]] husband, Peter III]] was a little unfortunate to have her as a wife (even though they were both far more German than Russian) -- as she probably killed him on the reasonable grounds that Russia having an [[WrittenByTheWinners ardent Russiophobe and Slavic cultural hater and man-child man-child]] on the throne ''wasn't'' exactly working all that well for both domestic and foreign policy.policy (or that was the local perception of what he was maybe trying to do, at least: he was utterly hopeless at explaining himself in a politically acceptable manner, however). And then there's Catherine's son, Paul, who would exile his officers to Siberia for a misplaced coat button and who was assassinated with his eldest son's more or less tacit consent.[[note]] Though he did suffer from horrendous guilt, so it's likely he may have simply intended to lock him up, or just didn't really think over how he would have to deal with his father.[[/note]] No matter what your surname was or who your supposed father was (there are a lot of questions at various points)... the same lesson can be repeatedly found in every Russian linage to hold that throne: don't trust family as they'll probably kill you. Likely on purpose.
7th Feb '17 5:10:23 PM Euodiachloris
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** Not that the Russian royal line needed much help from Queen Vicky. When you've got such kings as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia Ivan "the Great"]] (yes, he did tonnes; could also start a brutal war over not agreeing with anything any of his brothers liked), [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Terrible Ivan "the Terrible"]] (ye gads, the guy knew how to do crazy: and, ran through wives and children at an impressive rate), or even UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat (who... very much had his moments of darkly-driven, {{Cloudcuckoolander}} bonkers, despite the "Great") indirectly in your genetic back pockets, you've got problems. Even UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_III_of_Russia husband]] was a little unfortunate to have her as a wife (even though they were both far more German than Russian) -- as she probably killed him on the reasonable grounds that Russia having an ardent Russiophobe and Slavic cultural hater on the throne wasn't exactly working all that well for both domestic or foreign policy. And then there's Catherine's son, Paul, who would exile his officers to Siberia for a misplaced coat button and who was assassinated with his eldest son's more or less tacit consent.[[note]] Though he did suffer from horrendous guilt, so it's likely he may have simply intended to lock him up, or just didn't really think over how he would have to deal with his father.[[/note]] No matter what your surname was or who your supposed father was (there are a lot of questions at various points)... the same lesson can be repeatedly found in every Russian linage to hold that throne: don't trust family as they'll probably kill you. Likely on purpose.

to:

** Not that the Russian royal line needed much help from Queen Vicky. When you've got such kings as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia Ivan "the Great"]] (yes, he did tonnes; could also start a brutal war over not agreeing with anything any of his brothers liked), [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Terrible Ivan "the Terrible"]] (ye gads, the guy knew how to do crazy: and, ran through wives and children at an impressive rate), or even UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat (who... very much had his moments of darkly-driven, {{Cloudcuckoolander}} bonkers, despite the "Great") indirectly in your genetic back pockets, you've got problems. Even UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_III_of_Russia husband]] was a little unfortunate to have her as a wife (even though they were both far more German than Russian) -- as she probably killed him on the reasonable grounds that Russia having an ardent Russiophobe and Slavic cultural hater and man-child on the throne wasn't ''wasn't'' exactly working all that well for both domestic or and foreign policy. And then there's Catherine's son, Paul, who would exile his officers to Siberia for a misplaced coat button and who was assassinated with his eldest son's more or less tacit consent.[[note]] Though he did suffer from horrendous guilt, so it's likely he may have simply intended to lock him up, or just didn't really think over how he would have to deal with his father.[[/note]] No matter what your surname was or who your supposed father was (there are a lot of questions at various points)... the same lesson can be repeatedly found in every Russian linage to hold that throne: don't trust family as they'll probably kill you. Likely on purpose.
7th Feb '17 4:44:48 PM Euodiachloris
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** Not that the Russian royal line needed much help from Queen Vicky. When you've got such kings as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia Ivan "the Great"]] (yes, he did tonnes; could also start a brutal war over not agreeing with anything any of his brothers liked), [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Terrible Ivan "the Terrible"]] (ye gads, the guy knew how to do crazy: and, ran through wives and children at an impressive rate), or even UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat (who... very much had his moments of darkly-driven, {{Cloudcuckoolander}} bonkers, despite the "Great") indirectly in your genetic back pockets, you've got problems. Even UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_III_of_Russia husband]] was a little unfortunate to have her as a wife (even though they were both far more German than Russian) -- as she probably killed him. And then there's Catherine's son, Paul, who would exile his officers to Siberia for a misplaced coat button and who was assassinated with his eldest son's more or less tacit consent.[[note]] Though he did suffer from horrendous guilt, so it's likely he may have simply intended to lock him up, or just didn't really think over how he would have to deal with his father.[[/note]] No matter what your surname was or who your supposed father was (there are a lot of questions at various points)... the same lesson can be repeatedly found in every Russian linage to hold that throne: don't trust family as they'll probably kill you. Likely on purpose.

to:

** Not that the Russian royal line needed much help from Queen Vicky. When you've got such kings as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia Ivan "the Great"]] (yes, he did tonnes; could also start a brutal war over not agreeing with anything any of his brothers liked), [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Terrible Ivan "the Terrible"]] (ye gads, the guy knew how to do crazy: and, ran through wives and children at an impressive rate), or even UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat (who... very much had his moments of darkly-driven, {{Cloudcuckoolander}} bonkers, despite the "Great") indirectly in your genetic back pockets, you've got problems. Even UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_III_of_Russia husband]] was a little unfortunate to have her as a wife (even though they were both far more German than Russian) -- as she probably killed him.him on the reasonable grounds that Russia having an ardent Russiophobe and Slavic cultural hater on the throne wasn't exactly working all that well for both domestic or foreign policy. And then there's Catherine's son, Paul, who would exile his officers to Siberia for a misplaced coat button and who was assassinated with his eldest son's more or less tacit consent.[[note]] Though he did suffer from horrendous guilt, so it's likely he may have simply intended to lock him up, or just didn't really think over how he would have to deal with his father.[[/note]] No matter what your surname was or who your supposed father was (there are a lot of questions at various points)... the same lesson can be repeatedly found in every Russian linage to hold that throne: don't trust family as they'll probably kill you. Likely on purpose.
7th Feb '17 10:19:34 AM Drake1703
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* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfiction, [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/66500/maternal-instinct/ Maternal Instinct]] has the royal family of the Changeling Kingdom, the House of Roachanov. Although Changeling culture is primarily based off UsefulNotes/ImperialJapan, the royal family has a reputation of intermarriage amongst its members that, throughout generations has led to many physical and mental disabilities and illnesses much more similar to those of old European royalty. Queen Chrysalis appears to have dodged most of these ailments, but her daughter and heir, Crown Princess Pupa is both heavily mentally and physically disabled. Pupa, at the time of the fanfiction, is approximately the same age as the Cutie Mark Crusaders, yet she can neither walk or talk, and is treated as virtually an infant and carried around as one by her careers. She is comparable to King Charles II of Spain and Feodor I of Russia. As one commentator remarked, ''"the Changeling royalty is essentially a tour of all the screwed up monarchies of Europe."'', again ironic as the culture is primarily Japanese.

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* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfiction, [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/66500/maternal-instinct/ Maternal Instinct]] ''Fanfic/MaternalInstinctMLP'' has the royal family of the Changeling Kingdom, the House of Roachanov. Although Changeling culture is primarily based off UsefulNotes/ImperialJapan, the royal family has a reputation of intermarriage amongst its members that, throughout generations has led to many physical and mental disabilities and illnesses much more similar to those of old European royalty. Queen Chrysalis appears to have dodged most of these ailments, but her daughter and heir, Crown Princess Pupa is both heavily mentally and physically disabled. Pupa, at the time of the fanfiction, is approximately the same age as the Cutie Mark Crusaders, yet she can neither walk or talk, and is treated as virtually an infant and carried around as one by her careers. She is comparable to King Charles II of Spain and Feodor I of Russia. As one commentator remarked, ''"the Changeling royalty is essentially a tour of all the screwed up monarchies of Europe."'', again ironic as the culture is primarily Japanese.
26th Jan '17 4:23:37 PM karstovich2
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* Ibn Khaldun's surviving work deals specifically with North African bedouins, but he established a more generally applicable generational succession for nomads and the civilizations they conquer: the first generation is rough and tribal and not quite civilized, the second (with luck) still understands what made his father strong but also has been brought up in the arms of city culture, the third begins to lose touch and grow soft, and after that discipline just fall apart until the next new dynasty rides in and replaces them. Rinse, repeat. Ibn Khaldun was one of the first historians to have a theory of history instead of just a straightforward record of what happened. The Islamic dynasties of Spain are an excellent example of this paradigm and WeHaveBecomeComplacent on this very wiki is a relative of his theories. While he mostly gave North African examples, you have to bear in mind that the ''Muqaddimah'' (which is where these theories come from) was actually the ''introduction'' to a much larger history of North Africa and the Mediterranean (''muqaddimah'' just means "introduction" in Arabic). With the possible exception of the Roman and Egyptian empires, pretty much every great empire of the Mediterranean region in the pre-modern era was founded by at best half-civilized conquerors who took over the established civilizations: the Akkadians, Assyrians, Hittites, Persians, Macedonians, Germans, Arabs, and Turks (to name only the most obvious examples) all did this. Even the Romans were pretty uncouth when they started taking over Italy; between their militarism, agrarianism, lack of high culture, and piety,[[note]]Rome was noted as the most pious city in Italy in that era[[/note]] the perception the Etruscans and peninsular Greeks had of the Romans was the Late Antiquity version of FlyoverCountry. And as for the Egyptians, they only expanded to become a true empire after their country was conquered by foreign barbarians (the "Hyksos", who were probably Canaanite shepherds), and they won that empire by adopting the barbarians' technology and tactics.

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* Ibn Khaldun's surviving work deals specifically with North African bedouins, but he established a more generally applicable generational succession for nomads and the civilizations they conquer: the first generation is rough and tribal and not quite civilized, the second (with luck) still understands what made his father strong but also has been brought up in the arms of city culture, the third begins to lose touch and grow soft, and after that discipline just fall apart until the next new dynasty rides in and replaces them. Rinse, repeat. Ibn Khaldun was one of the first historians to have a theory of history instead of just a straightforward record of what happened. The Islamic dynasties of Spain are an excellent example of this paradigm and WeHaveBecomeComplacent on this very wiki is a relative of his theories. While he mostly gave North African examples, you have to bear in mind that the ''Muqaddimah'' (which is where these theories come from) was actually the ''introduction'' to a much larger history of North Africa and the Mediterranean (''muqaddimah'' just means "introduction" in Arabic). With the possible exception of the Roman and Egyptian empires, pretty much every great empire of the Mediterranean region in the pre-modern era was founded by at best half-civilized conquerors who took over the established civilizations: the Akkadians, Assyrians, Hittites, Persians, Macedonians, Germans, Arabs, and Turks (to name only the most obvious examples) all did this. Even the Romans were pretty uncouth when they started taking over Italy; between their militarism, agrarianism, lack of high culture, and piety,[[note]]Rome was noted as the most pious city in Italy in that era[[/note]] the perception the Etruscans and peninsular Greeks had of the Romans was the Late Classical Antiquity version of FlyoverCountry. And as for the Egyptians, they only expanded to become a true empire after their country was conquered by foreign barbarians (the "Hyksos", who were probably Canaanite shepherds), and they won that empire by adopting the barbarians' technology and tactics.
24th Jan '17 3:38:50 PM karstovich2
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*** In East Asian, and especially Chinese, history, the main culprit for royal/imperial madness was not lead but mercury. For complicated reasons, the Chinese alchemists in particular insisted that mercury and its ore, cinnabar, were not only harmless, but key ingredients in any health tonic or elixir of immortality. Naturally, Chinese emperors were all about immortality, and so many an emperor was prescribed the elixirs. You read that right; Chinese emperors willingly ate or drank mercury ''to achieve immortality''. What's more, the alchemists were so sure that mercury was the key to eternal life that they did this for centuries, if not millenia--the first emperor recorded to have gone cuckoo-bird after too much "immortality elixir" was the ''first'' emperor, UsefulNotes/QinShihuangdi, who started off a suspicious but fundamentally sound monarch but ended up completely paranoid after years of "treatment" with mercury-containing "medicine." He was also the first emperor to die from it, after he drank ''pure mercury'' in 220 BCE. Again, he did this as a step to achieving eternal life. Undeterred, the alchemists simply concocted new mercury-containing potions, peddling them to subsequent emperors, and hand-waving away the obvious ill effects; one doctor told the Emperor Xuānzong of Tang (reigned 846-859 CE, and generally considered to be the last good Tang emperor) that the [[SideEffectsInclude litany of ill effects he was suffering]]--all of which modern medicine recognizes as symptoms of acute mercury poisoning--were signs that the medicine was working. Xuānzong also died of too much "immortality elixir" after (again) going from a suspicious but capable monarch to a paranoid wreck over the course of several years of treatment.

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*** In East Asian, and especially Chinese, history, the main culprit for royal/imperial madness was not lead but mercury. For complicated reasons, the Chinese alchemists in particular insisted that mercury and its ore, cinnabar, were not only harmless, but key ingredients in any health tonic or elixir of immortality. Naturally, Chinese emperors were all about immortality, and so many an emperor was prescribed the elixirs. You read that right; Chinese emperors willingly ate or drank mercury ''to achieve immortality''. What's more, the alchemists were so sure that mercury was the key to eternal life that they did this for centuries, if not millenia--the first emperor recorded to have gone cuckoo-bird after too much "immortality elixir" was the ''first'' emperor, UsefulNotes/QinShihuangdi, who started off a suspicious but fundamentally sound monarch but ended up completely paranoid after years of "treatment" with mercury-containing "medicine." He was also the first emperor to die from it, after he drank ''pure mercury'' in 220 BCE. Again, he did this as a step to achieving eternal life. Undeterred, the alchemists simply concocted new mercury-containing potions, peddling them to subsequent emperors, and hand-waving away the obvious ill effects; one doctor told the Emperor Xuānzong of Tang (reigned 846-859 CE, and generally considered to be the last good Tang emperor) that the [[SideEffectsInclude litany of ill effects he was suffering]]--all of which modern medicine recognizes as symptoms of acute mercury poisoning--were signs that the medicine was working. Xuānzong also died of too much "immortality elixir" after (again) going from a suspicious but capable monarch to a paranoid wreck over the course of several years of treatment. Qin Shihuang and Xuānzong weren't the only ones; practically every Chinese dynasty has at least one monarch who trusted the peddlers of immortality potions too much, and got a nasty case of quicksilver poisoning for his trouble.
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