10 Acts Of Revenge That Made Us Glad That Wasn't Us
Vote up the true tales of revenge that make you thankful you didn't cross these historic figures.
Human nature and behavior have generally remained the same throughout history, and revenge is no exception. Whether justified or not, humans have sometimes gone to great lengths to deliver revenge to their victims.
Carried out by individuals from the lowest to the highest classes in their societies, revenge has remained a constant throughout history, with famous stories and interesting characters popping up quite often. With motives ranging from politics, relationships, crime, and countless others, this list should give you a pretty clear idea of just how far some people have gone to get their way.
Vote up the acts of vengeance that definitely took things to the extreme.
- Photo: Mikhail Nesterov / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain1179 VOTES
The Murder Of The Husband Of St. Olga Of Kiev Cost The Drevlians A City
A saint who is venerated by both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches, the first female ruler of the Kyivan Rus, St. Olga of Kyiv is famous for her act of revenge.
Her husband and king of the Kyivan Rus, Igor of Kyiv, set out with a sizable army in 945 CE to demand tribute from a neighboring tribe called the Drevlians, who had stopped their payments to the state. With Igor’s army much greater in size, they accepted the demands and paid their tribute. However, after setting back home, Igor was not content with the payment and returned with a smaller escort force to demand more from the Drevlians. His smaller force was defeated by the Drevlians, and Igor was subsequently captured and slain.
After the death of Igor, Olga assumed the throne as regent to their 3-year-old son. The Drevlians proceeded to send a group of diplomats to Olga, to report “that they had slain her husband… and that Olga should come and marry their Prince Mal,” Igor's murderer. Olga requested they remain in the boat they had arrived in through the night, and that in the morning they would be carried on their boat by the people of Kyiv into the court, which the Drevlians assumed would be an honor bestowed upon them.
The Drevlians accepted this request, but when they reached the court, they were placed into a trench dug the night before and were buried alive. Olga is credited with kneeling down as they were being buried and “inquired whether they found the honor to their taste.”
Olga then sent a message to the Drevlians, requesting they send the most distinguished men in their province to her, so that she could be escorted to her new groom, Prince Mal, with men of honor. The Drevlians, unaware of the fate of their first group of diplomats, agreed.
Upon their arrival, Olga requested the men bathe before their meeting. While doing so, they were locked in the bathhouse and burned alive. Olga then set out to visit the tomb of her fallen husband, inviting the Drevlians to a feast to mourn him. Once again agreeing to her requests, the Drevlians proceeded to feast and drink heavily alongside Olga and her retinue. Once they were nice and boozed up, she ordered her retinue to massacre the more than 5,000 Drevlian guests present for the feast.
Her final act of revenge upon the Drevlians arrived after a year-long unsuccessful siege of the city in which her husband was slain. After the Drevlians expressed fear that her quest to avenge her husband was not finished, St. Olga persuaded the leaders of the city that her prior actions were enough and requested they send her “three pigeons… and three sparrows from each house” as a peace symbol.
The besieged Drevlians rejoiced in this offer and fulfilled her request. On the following night, Olga ordered sulfur and cloth to be tied to the feet of these birds and set aflame, and upon their release, they flew home to their nests only to set the entire city on fire. Anyone attempting to escape was killed or taken captive as a slave. Finally, her quest for revenge for her husband’s death was complete.
- Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain295 VOTES
Vlad III, more commonly known as Vlad the Impaler, was born in 1431 in Transylvania. His father was Vlad II Dracul, the ruler of Wallachia at the time. Dracul (“dragon”), was a title given to Vlad II by a Christian military order named the Order of the Dragon, and when Vlad III came to power after his father’s demise, Vlad III held the title of Dracula, meaning “son of the dragon.”
The details of Vlad the Impaler’s rule are littered with examples of him performing cruel and tortuous actions upon his enemies, though the following act of revenge is one of the more famous examples and happened quite early in his rule, more or less establishing his reputation as an “Impaler.”
With Transylvania experiencing heavy political turmoil during Vlad’s father's rule, a sizable group of local warlords in Wallachia, known as boyars, ousted Vlad II as leader and proceeded to torture and kill him, in addition to his eldest son. Shortly after this, as Vlad III regained rule over the principality of Wallachia, he invited hundreds of the feuding boyars to a banquet under the guise of discussing their terms and potentially relieving his power to them. In reality, it was a trap designed to consolidate power and exact revenge on them for the murder of his father and brother. As they were feasting, Vlad had his guests stabbed and impaled on large, rounded logs.
Even more cruel was the fact that, throughout the countless examples of impaling, Vlad used poles that were rounded. This allowed them to avoid piercing vital organs, ensuring that the victims' suffering would be prolonged - even for days. (Vlad was, arguably, a much scarier villain than his fictional vampire counterpart.)
- Photo: SaraPCNeves / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain387 VOTES
Assassins Took The Life Of His Lover, So Peter I Of Portugal Took Their Hearts
Peter I (AKA Peter the Just or Peter the Cruel) reigned as king of Portugal from 1350 until his demise in 1369. At the age of 16, while his father was serving as king, he was betrothed to Constanza Manuel of Villena in a bid to create an alliance between kingdoms, as was often done during the period. Peter quickly laid eyes upon Constanza’s cousin Ines de Castro, and immediately fell in love.
Peter and Constanza would remain married for five years until Constanza passed giving birth to their third child together. Throughout the marriage, Peter and Ines were involved in a scandalous love affair. His wife Constanza naturally disapproved and unsuccessfully attempted to put a stop to it. Peter would secretly marry Ines in 1354, to the dismay of Peter’s father and still reigning king.
The king saw the possibility of Peter and Ines’s children overtaking the heirdom to the throne over Constanza’s children, so he ordered the assassination of Ines. While Peter was away on a hunting trip, three assassins stabbed Ines to death.
Peter held this act of betrayal close to his heart and, upon succeeding to the throne after his father’s passing, captured two of the three assassins responsible for his wife’s murder. Peter, deciding to make a point of this crime, had their hearts removed from their chests publicly after prolonged torture.
- Photo: Mithrandire / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0474 VOTES
In the Aegean Sea in 75 BCE, a notoriously dangerous area of the world at that time, a group of Mediterranean pirates captured a Roman nobleman named Julius Caesar. Not knowing the position and prestige held by Caesar back in Rome, the pirates set his ransom price at 20 talents (which is equivalent to over $600,000 USD).
Caesar laughed at the pirates, mocking them for not knowing his worth, and demanded the pirates raise this 20-talent sum to 50 talents (around $1.5 million USD).
Naturally, the pirates raised the ransom, but were presumably quite confused by Caesar requesting such a thing. During the course of Caesar's time as a hostage, he would treat his captors as if they were his subordinates, demanding silence when he was sleeping and ordering commands at them. He even recited speeches and poems he was working on at the time to them, mocking them as illiterates if they were not impressed.
In addition to these boldly confident actions performed by Caesar, he would additionally mention to his captors often that he was going to have them crucified once he was free, though they passed these remarks off as jokes by Caesar.
Sure enough, only 38 days after his release, Caesar mobilized a small naval force (mind you, in an area where he held little to no political power) and captured the pirates. He traveled to the prison in which they were being held and proceeded to have them crucified - even against the wishes of the local governor.
- Photo: Paul Gavarni / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain591 VOTES
Pierre Picaud May Be The Real-Life Inspiration For 'The Count of Monte Cristo'
The fascinating story of the The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas and completed in 1844, is likely based on the true story of a man named Pierre Picaud. Picaud was a French-born shoemaker in the 18th century who was wrongly framed for treason by three jealous men named Loupian, Solari, and Chaubert, who were all after the love of his wealthy fiancée. Sound familiar?
Picaud spent countless years in prison, and in doing so developed a friendship with an Italian priest, who informed him of the location of a sizable amount of treasure buried in Milan. Picaud was released from prison and proceeded to find this treasure, which he used to return to France and exact his revenge. Picaud successfully targeted the three men, murdering Chaubert and poisoning Solari.
For Loupian, the most hated of the three, Picaud engineered an insidious series of events. First, he arranged for Loupian's daughter to marry a criminal, then had the man arrested, which led to the girl suffering from a nervous breakdown and ultimately perishing. Picaud then framed Loupian’s son for the theft of jewelry, prompting the son to be arrested. Finally, Picaud burned down Loupian's restaurant, leading to the man's impoverishment, then ultimately stabbed him to death.
- Photo: Utagawa Kuniteru / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain644 VOTES
The 47 Ronin Avenged Their Disgraced Master With A Grand Plot - Then Committed Seppuku
The historical account of the 47 ronin is a deeply loved story embedded in Japanese culture. The events occurred at the start of 18th century, during Japan's Edo period, known for its great internal peace and economic development. With these societal changes taking place during the period, the samurai, akin to the medieval knights of Europe, were a warrior class who held loyal ties to a master.
The story begins with three provincial daimyo, who were large landholding magnates, being invited to the imperial court in Edo. Asano Naganori was one of these three daimyo. Asano, upon arrival to the court, provided a comparatively lackluster gift to Kira Yoshinaka, a retainer of the shogun who was influential in the education of court etiquette. Kira responded with dismay to the token gift provided to him by Asano and expressed his feelings via mockery and taunting.
Asano did not take kindly to this and retaliated, charging at Kira with a dirk in the audience hall of the shogun’s palace. Kira survived this violent encounter with only minor wounds, though Asano’s fate was to commit seppuku (self-disembowelment) the very same day - as ordered by the furious shogunate for such a brash breach of court etiquette.
The news reached Asano’s 47 loyal samurai, now ronin due to their lack of a master. Asano’s province was also forfeited to the shogunate’s control. Furious, the 47 retainers, led by Oishi Yoshio, discussed their next actions, and ultimately decided on a peaceful transfer of the castle and province to the shogunate. Two years later, after living drastically poorer and dishonored lives, the 47 ronin decided to retaliate against their hated adversary Kira, and to restore their former master’s honor.
On the night of January 30, 1703, the 47 ronin scaled the lavish walls of Kira Yoshinaka, fought against the castle’s defenders, and beheaded Kira. That same night, they placed the head on Asano’s grave.
The shogun caught wind of this, and although he was sympathetic to the ronin, he decided that their vigilantism could not be excused and ordered them to commit seppuku as their punishment. The ronin remained constant in their belief in honor as samurai and did not resist their sentence. Their actions provoked a storm of conversation in Japan and culturally revitalized the almost forgotten existence of samurai in society.