Wednesday, May 14, 2014

THE FACE OF TYRANNY

I'll start with Cesare Borgia (above), a violent psychopath whose senseless wars of conquest helped to undermine the Italian Renaissance. Orson Welles played him in a film called "Prince of Foxes" which I highly recommend. 

His was an interesting face, no? Some contemprary painters patterend their depictions of Christ on him. 


Here's Caligula, the mad young Roman emperor. The sculptor made him look crazy, which must have been a dangerous thing to do.


How about Genghis Khan (above)? He waged brutal, senseless war just to enhance his own reputation.


Then there's the mass murderer, Stalin, shown here in the days when he was a young thug.


Here's (above) Ivan the Terrible, a man who was aptly named. He was an evil man but I cut him a little slack because at great cost he stood up to the Mongol invasion and thus bought time for Europe to achieve a new Golden Age.



Then there was Mao, apparently the greatest mass murderer of the 20th Century, stacking up a body count that exceeded even that of Hitler and Stalin. Read about what went on when he tried to enforce his "Great Leap Forward."

By the way, Hitler certainly deserves a high place in this rogues gallery but I left him out because I couldn't find a suitable picture. Every photo of him has already been seen a gazillion times.

Not so frequently seen is this recent reconstruction of the head of Robespierre, architect of the French Revolution's "Reign of Terror." I always pictured him as having a thin, angular face, but I guess I was wrong.

6 comments:

J Gillian Finley said...

Hi Eddie!

Egad! I knew Mao was a baddy, but I didn't know he actually TOPPED Hitler in the body count! SCARY!!!!

Do you remember that P&B episode that was more of a music short (Meticulous Analysis of History)? Two of the people you mentioned were in that song. Ghengis Khan and Caligula. What exactly did He do, or dare I ask? Did HORSES actually come into it?? SPEW!!!

Great post!

The Modesto Kid said...

Too bad Yul Brynner never got a chance to play Robespierre!

Roberto Severino said...

I wouldn't want to have a run in with any of these guys, that's for sure, especially the ones with the thick mustaches and beards! Great post. I will see if I can rent that Orson Welles film.

Anonymous said...

Reading this, I thought of a painting of Oliver Cromwell, often referred to as the "English Hitler", responsible for genocide in Ireland.
It's a Unionist mural in Northern Ireland.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/69/Oliver_Cromwell_mural_(2736627207).jpg

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

J: Yeah, Mao decided China wouldn't need so much food if it had fewer people so he deliberately starved at least 42 million of his own people. That beats Stalin's deliberate starving of 11 million Ukranians.

Numbers like this are so enormous that you think they can't be true, but I'm not aware that they're controversial. The 42 million figure was based on official Chinese records.

Mao purged local chiefs who didn't implement his plan vigorously so their replacements kept scrupulous records to prove that they followed orders. There's a great recent book about this, but I can't remember the name.

That song sounds interesting. I'll see if I can find it.

Anon: I almost included Cromwell. Let me try that link...

J Gillian Finley said...

Yowza! Scary!!! That's what spooks me about the potential of guys like Brain. Unfettered, unquestioned power. No matter who wants that (Man or mouse), it makes a person edgy.

Here's that song. http://youtu.be/n9aYrURLHh0 Enjoy!