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Weird History
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Historical Figures Who Are Nothing Like The People They're Painted To Be

Updated 14 Jun 2019 191.6k views12 items

Some historical figures seem larger than life, like Cleopatra, Gandhi, Marie Antoinette, and Mother Teresa. But sometimes these historical figures don't deserve their reputations. How do so many historical inaccuracies sneak into our textbooks? When we tell stories about our greatest heroes, we often leave out their dark side. Biopics ignore unsavory facts, like the dark period Mahatma Gandhi spent living in South Africa, and many movies get historical figures completely wrong.

The true personalities of historical figures are often nothing like their reputation. Some of the greatest villains in history weren't villains at all. Richard III, made famous by Shakespeare for his hunchback, didn't even have a hunchback - he was a victim of bad press. And many countries scapegoated female rulers for all of their problems, like Marie Antoinette, because they wanted to tear down powerful women (and it was easier than blaming the true culprit: often, it was the king). 

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