Historical figures had plenty on their plate to deal with: International affairs, inbreeding, and struggles with power are just a few of their issues. So you figure that any problem they can handle themselves would get taken care of one way or another. That includes family issues. Having relatives set-up, imprisoned for life and even murdering them wasn’t out of the picture. Living in Before Common Era (BCE) must have been stressful. Leaders like Cleopatra and Henry VIII were not afraid of executing their family members. Dive in and discover why these positions of power led to killing their own. You’ll be shocked.
The Possessive Herod The Great
The King of Judea, Herod The Great was a possessive king. After he was picked to rule the province of Judea, he married into the Judean royal family. He married Princess Mariamne, and everyone thought peace would follow. They were wrong.
Herod’s high level of possessiveness led to the couple always bickering with each other. Herod ended up executing her in 29 BCE along with her mom. We assume the mom was merely collateral damage.
Agrippina The Slick Poisoner
The Empress of Rome was looking out for her child. At least, that’s what she might have said. Agrippina married Claudius and was his fourth wife. Immediately after marrying, she sought out power. She was pushing her son, Nero, to be the next heir.
She didn’t want Claudius’ son, Britannicus, to be up next. Claudius adopted Nero and promised he would marry his daughter. In 54 Common Era (CE), Claudius mysteriously passed after a huge feast. Agrippina convinced the food tester to slip poison in the emperor’s mushroom dish.
Queen Elizabeth Ends Queen Mary
Queen Mary was the arch-rival of Queen Elizabeth. While Elizabeth was the Queen of England, Mary ruled Scotland as their Queen. However, Mary always felt that she was the rightful queen of England. After marrying her cousin, Mary had an heir to the throne and ended up in a lot of political trouble.
With few options, she had to ditch her pride and go with her cousin in England. She was imprisoned for decades. Then out of the blue, a plot to kill Elizabeth surfaced which implicated Mary. Soon after, Elizabeth had Queen Mary executed.
Augustus Makes An Example of His Promiscuous Daughter
Augustus had but one biological daughter. Her name was Julia, the Elder. Julia didn’t believe in monogamy much, but who did back then? She married multiple men and gave her father plenty of grandchildren. She didn’t see eye-to-eye with her dad’s moral reforms.
Not only did she marry a lot, but she also had a ton of affairs. By doing so, she broke the family laws Augustus was trying to impose. Augustus chose to make an example of her by exiling her off to an island near Italy. She ended up passing away from malnutrition.
John Shows Why He’s Called The Fearless
The Duke of Burgandy, John the Fearless had a huge quarrel with his cousin. His cousin was Louis, Duke of Orleans. When the King of France went mad, John had his eyes set on the throne. However, Louis was his little brother and fell into a lot of power.
Soon, the two started a back-and-forth battle over France. Orleans seduced John’s sister-in-law, and this prompted John to kidnap the heir to the throne. Orleans responded by assaulting John’s wife. After that, John ordered assassins to murder him. They beat him to a bloody pulp. Up next is one Pharaoh you didn’t want to disturb.
Pharoah Cleopatra Ordered her Sister to be Killed
Everyone wants to be in charge. But, not everyone is willing to do what it takes to be in charge. When Cleopatra was Pharoah, her sister yearned for the throne. She even dared to rally up an army to help support her.
Cleopatra laughed at the attempt made by her sister Arsinoe IV. The one thing Cleopatra had over her sister was more firepower. She and the Roman allies took her down and exiled her to Turkey. Cleopatra ordered for her sister’s execution.
A Battle For Life
Aurangzeb was the Emperor of India. He had a brother named Dara Shikoh. While Dara was Muslim, he was highly interested in connecting his faith with Hinduism. On the other hand, Aurangzeb was into the religious plurality. He was also a committed warrior.
The two had a battle one day leaving Aurangzeb the victor. Their father placed him in the limelight and chose him as the successor. Thus having his brother executed thanks to the loss in battle.
Suleiman Gets Tricked
As many people have come to realize as they gain wisdom, be wary of ulterior motives. Suleiman the Magnificent wasn’t aware of what his wife was trying to do. His wife, Roxelana became his number one lady and started to conspire against his sons. She wanted her child to be the heir.
Specifically, she wanted Prince Mustapha out of the picture. In 1553, Roxelana had a letter forged that indicated Mustapha was ready to rebel against his father. Suleiman didn’t know a proper punishment, but you can bet Roxelana urged for his death. And sure enough, his death was ordered by Suleiman.
King James Offs His Nephew
King James II of England had a brother that didn’t know when to quit. His brother, King Charles II had 14 children, and his son James Scott turned out to be a pain for King James.
When Charles II passed away, James II took the throne. Charles’ son James Scott was the true heir, so he started a rebellion and proclaimed to be the real king. As you can expect, that didn’t go as planned and King James II ordered for his nephew’s elimination.
Edward Quietly Ends His Brother
Edward IV was the King of England who had a brother George, Duke of Clarence. George was an ambitious Duke and plotted for his brother death more than a few times. He eventually teamed up with Earl of Warwick to end Edward. That didn’t work, so the two of them fled to France.
The family called a truce, but for some reason, Edward tried to sabotage George’s wedding. George once again conspired against his brother but was thrown into prison. Edward then quietly arranged for his brother’s death.
James Wasn’t Pleased With His Cousin
James I the King of Scotland was held captive in England for decades. Imagine all of the emotions you would have built up inside of you. And understandably, during his absence, someone had to gain power in Scotland.
It would be James’ cousin, Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany that would gain more power. An unhappy James captured his cousin because of this. Not only did he have his cousin executed, but Murdoch’s son Walter also was ended.
A Fatal Love Story
John I Tzimiskes was a smart emperor. Smart at least, when it came to having someone killed. His uncle was the famous General Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas. His uncle had fallen for a lovely ambitious woman named Theophano. The two were married, and she turned him against his advisors.
This is when John swooped in and took Theophano as his lover. The two came up with a marvelous plan to eliminate John’s uncle. John had assassins dress up as women and infiltrate his palace to finish Nikephoros.
The Death Of Alexander The Great’s Father
If you haven’t caught on by now, some of the wives these leaders are choosing have a plan of their own. Once they become a member of the royal family, their plots often form like clockwork. Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedon had at least seven wives.
One of his wives was none other than the great Olympias. Olympias (who is in the picture above) had Philip II killed by a bodyguard in 336 BCE.
War of Brothers
Spoiler alert, family meltdown on the way. When the Inca King Huayna died in 1527; his two sons, Atahualpa and Huascar took control of the kingdom. A joint rule didn’t turn out so well, unfortunately. Two years after their father’s death, war broke loose.
Things got personal when Atahualpa made a cup out of one of his brother’s general’s skull. The Spanish conquistadors showed up right when Atahualpa was winning the war. The Spanish captured him and held him for ransom. However, Atahualpa gave out one last order: execute my brother.
He’s As Good As Dead
William the Conqueror had to split his kingdom between four of his sons. One died, so Robert was given Normandy, and William received the throne of England. His youngest son Henry didn’t get a thing. Henry wasn’t one to worry; he knew what to do.
William died in 1100 in a hunting accident. Robert was out on a crusade at this time, leaving the door wide open for Henry. In three days, Henry became crowned the new King of England as Henry I. He locked up Robert for life after he attempted to take England for himself. Leaving him as good as dead.
Richard III Sends Away Competition
King Edward IV died in 1483 and left behind two sons. They were both young as the oldest, Edward V, was only 12-years-old. Because of the youth, Richard III was in charge of protecting them. In just 68 days, the two sons were sent to the Tower of London and never heard from again.
Ironically, Richard III found himself on the throne. No one knows just what happened to the boys, but there is a firm belief that Richard III had them killed.
The Wicked Emperor Qianfei
Maybe it was in their blood, but the Liu Song dynasty family members loved to kill two types of people. The first was everyone else’s family and the second is their own family. After starting out his life as a prisoner thanks to his uncle, once Qianfeir was freed, havoc broke loose.
Qianfei murdered almost everyone in his family, and he started with his brother. Because the last few emperors were the third sons, Qianfei had to end his brother’s life as he was the third son.
Henry VIII The Executioner Part 1
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Henry VIII, the King of England, wasn’t one to spare lives. He killed wives, cousins, a brother-in-law, and many others. Let’s start with his cousin once removed, Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Stafford was an important noble in the kingdom who had monarchical ambitions.
King Henry stopped the Duke in his tracks quickly. In 1521, Henry had Stafford executed for treason. It doesn’t end there, on the next slide, learn how he executed multiple wives.
Henry VIII And The Wives Part 2
King Henry was desperate to produce a male heir. Unfortunately, the wives he would have were either committing adultery, treason or having miscarriages. He married his brother’s widow but soon asked for a divorce. His next choice, Anne, couldn’t give any baby boys either. Henry had her executed on the charges of treason, adultery, and incest.
He ended up marrying four more times and would have one more wife killed, Catherine Howard. Her charge was just adultery. His quest for a son was in vain as his only son died as a teenager.
Another Pharoah Bites The Dust
Pharaoh Ramesses III ruled Egypt from 1186 BCE to 1156. His reign came to an end when his throat was deeply slit. Archaeologists say that he would have died on the spot. Judging off the pattern of these unfortunate events, who do you think was behind this?
One of his wives named Tiye was behind the plot. She was attempting to get her son on the throne, Pentaweret (how original). Many of the co-conspirators were killed, including Pentaweret.