Weird History

Roman Emperor Elagabalus Was A Capricious Tyrant Who May Have Invented The Whoopee Cushion

Emperor Elagabalus was the Roman emperor for a brief time from 218 to 222, but he packed a lot of scandal into those years. When it comes to the weirdest royals throughout history, Elagabalus might be the wildest of all. It's hard to separate the fact from the fiction in these legends about him, but with tales this eye-popping, who would want to?

A devotee of the Syrian god he was named for, Elagabalus brought the deity's cult to Rome and tried to make it the main religion of the empire. He wasn't above physical aggression, either; Emperor Elagabalus stories have him harming unsuspecting guests while they dined on bizarre Roman cuisine, and even depict him as making human sacrifices. But he got the most attention for his private life. Elagabalus had multiple wives as well as a husband, and some reports suggest he was transsexual and enjoyed dressing up in traditional female garb.

If that wasn't intriguing enough, consider this: Elagabalus was only 14 when he became emperor, but the good times didn't last. At the age of 18, the young emperor was slain by his own soldiers.