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.

Roman Emperors[edit]

  • Tiberius, (42 BC–37 AD, ruled 14–37 AD). 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, cruelty, and especially 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) grandnephew of Tiberius, believed that he was a god and that the god of the sea was plotting against him.[citation needed] 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. Ordered the deaths of his mother and step-brother, had Christians crucified and burned, declared himself a god, allegedly started the Fire of Rome.
  • Commodus, (161–192 AD, ruled 180–192 AD) 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.
  • Justin II (520–578, ruled Eastern Rome 565–578).[1] The temporary fits of insanity into which Justin fell warned him to name a successor. 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.

European monarchs[edit]

Middle Eastern monarchs[edit]

Asian monarchs[edit]


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  2. ^ a b Tuchman, Barbara (1978). A Distant Mirror. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-30145-5. 
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  4. ^ Roberts, Jenifer (2009). The Madness of Queen Maria. Templeton Press. ISBN 978-0-9545589-1-8. 
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  8. ^ a b King, Greg (1996). The Mad King ( A Biography of Ludwig II of Bavaria ). London: Aurum Press. pp. 252–255. ISBN 978-1-55972-362-6. 
  9. ^ The University Department of Psychiatry in Munich: From Kraepelin and his predecessors to molecular psychiatry. By Hanns Hippius, Hans-Jürgen Möller, Hans-Jürgen Müller, Gabriele Neundörfer-Kohl, p.27
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  12. ^ C. G. Jung, Analytical Psychology (1976) p. 123
  13. ^معالجه-کردن-بوعلی-سینا-آن-صاحب-مالیخولیا-را
  14. ^ "Schizophrenia," Time Magazine, 18 August 1952
  15. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 83.
  16. ^ Jin Shu, vol. 10.
  17. ^ Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Page 129
  18. ^ Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Page 123