The Madness of Caesars.

Around the time that the Roman Empire made itself Holy and Emperor Constantine became the first Pope, historians noticed a rather disturbing trend in the leadership..

they were all mad as hatters.

it was partly down to inbreeding but mostly it was about having unlimited power over more than imagination could encompass.

‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Machiavelli.

and it corrupted them in some curious and interesting ways. Caligula made his horse a senator. Nero fiddled while Rome burned, largely because he’d set the blaze himself, just to see what happened. When challenged on this he displaced the blame onto a new and unpopular sect called Christians, rounded up every one and fed them to wild animals,

‘a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of “hating the human race.” Tacitus.

and so he had them torn apart and burned for evening torches to light the Coliseum before announcing himself God.

Wiki have an entry for ‘mental ilness in monarchs’. You have to scroll a bit. Edward II seized power by the imaginative route of assassinating his father with a red hot poker.. up his bum.

Charles VI  of France thought he was made of glass.

Vlad the Impaler had a thing for …well, impaling.

but the list does seem a tad conservative. Notable exceptions include Louis the Sun king of France who needed the daily adulation of 400 hand picked spectators, nobles all, to witness the amazing feat of him slicing the top off his boiled egg at breakfast.


and then there was Catherine the Great who had a thing about horses, the well-hung stallion kind. Unfortunately it was the death of her and not in the way you might think. Having endured the girth of his member the queen was crushed by the entire beast, accidently dropped by rope and harness bearing servants who must have momentarily found something else to do with their hands.

And dear Leopold II of Belgium who enslaved the entire Congolese people in their own country , mutilating and murdering them by the millions. That’s a bit mad.

….but there must have been some good ones, what about Richard the wossname, LionHeart….?

You mean the great liberator of the City of Acre in 1191 who butchered 2,700 civilian prisoners bound hand and foot…?

or..or..or.. Charlemagne, yeah he built Uninversities an’ stuff.

….architect supreme of the Dark Ages who entrenched and consolidated a paralysing system of feudalism that would persist for 500 years until the er.. social levelling of the Black Death.

Not to mention his little tea party in the forests of Verdun 782 AD, where 4,500 enemy saxon prisoners were decapitated one by one…, not because they were enemies who’d tried to kill him and would do so again given half a chance but because they refused to sniff the glove and convert.

This system, with its mad monarchs has not changed with the democratizing of nations. In fact Democracy is a stage of its evolution, currently in its underground puppating stage, like a big fat Witchety grub. The old kings take off their crowns, retire quietly, marry into money, themselves, and carry on behind closed doors. They have ‘extensive portfolios’ and pull the strings of government just like before…

except on silent running..

and now veiw the battle not from the traditional nearby hill atop a white charger, but by drone, whose feed you can veiw by the pool half a world away..

if you can be arsed.

There seems to be something inevitable about the madness of monarchs.

But why? And why is nearly 90% of Wiki’s list of mental monarchs the various glittery crowns of Western civilisation?

Only one crazy Chinese Emperor, though he was a real humdinger. Quianfei, who had a taste for eyeballs in honey and regularly had his female relations raped  while he watched. Those that resisted in any way were beheaded. When his advisors protested he ordered them to commit suicide.

Curiously the record contains a final note on Quianfei..

..that he dreamt of a woman prophesying his death within the year on account of his entirely ungoverned passions.

He duly succumbed.

No African kings on the list. Idi Amin doesn’t count. He only imagined that he was the last king of Scotland.

The, ‘ how do they get so crazy?’ question is easier to address than, ‘ why do we have it like this’?

In nearly all other kingship systems around the world the king is a custodian of the nation and there to ratify natural law, the law of Harmatia, the Principle of Relatedness. In the West the king does not ratify, he codifies the law. He conceptualises it and then lives above it.

King David rapes Bathsheba and  orders her husband Uriah into the thick of battle to ensure his death. Natural law doesn’t apply to him. Without relatedness he becomes unhinged.

but its allowed, so long as you’re sorry..

and worship no other gods..

yes, and worship no other gods…..

whom we shan’t mention…or name.


More important than describing how this happens is why we’d have such inflated leadership in the first place.

And I’m afraid the answer is because its convenient to have distant others rule our fate. We don’t have to evolve. We can project all the symbols, responsibilities and struggles for human value and meaning onto celebrity, wealth and power.

and be their bitches.

”So long as we are blind to the inner tyrant, we blame an outer tyrant when we fall into darkness”. M. Woodman.

… loading them down with the myriad archetypal projections that constitute those deepest hopes and aspirations of a people. The mental monarchs and celeb equivalents are psychically cut to pieces by the collective claws of a nation’s disowned individuation. In what Moore and Gillet call ‘the Abdication Syndrome’, we live in a culture where others are elected to ‘make it’ on our behalf. We bask in their regal glow and participate vicariously in a fantasy of acclaim and adulation..

whilst having to do nothing.


the rare hope of newborns.



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Psychotherapist/writer/artist/ author of, 'Going Mad to Stay Sane', a psychology of self-destructiveness, about to come into its third edition. Soon to be printed for the first time, 'Abundant Delicious.. the Secret and the Mystery', described by activist Satish Kumar as, ' A Tao of the Soul'. This book documents the archetypal country through which the process of individuation occurs and looks at the trials and tribulations we might expect on the way. In the meantime..... Narcissisim is the issue of our age. This blog looks at how it operates, how it can damage and how we may still fruit despite it.

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