HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Most Unstable Monarchs Quiz
by Staff
Some truly unstable people have tried to rule nations, but only a handful of them have come to power through the monarchy. Let's take a tour of the kings, queens and emperors that were mad as hatters.

Nebuchadnezzar II supposedly had a period of insanity that lasted how long?

  • seven years
  • 34 years
  • 119 years

What animal did Nebuchadnezzar supposedly live like during his insanity?

  • a cat
  • an ox
  • a horse

What event do some scholars attribute Caligula's madness to?

  • watching his mother be killed
  • an illness that caused brain damage
  • hereditary insanity

What was a supposed symptom of Caligula's insanity?

  • He made his horse his consul.
  • He wanted to marry his sister.
  • both of the above

Caligula's adopted father and predecessor as emperor was also known for cruelty and insanity. Who was it?

  • Julius Caesar
  • Tiberius
  • Claudius

What was Queen Joanna of Castile and Aragon called?

  • Cray Jo
  • the Insane Queen
  • Joanna the Mad

What did both Joanna's husband and son do to keep their claim to the Spanish throne?

  • refuse to see her
  • imprisoned Joanna
  • killed her best friends

Charles VI of France was given what nickname?

  • Charles the Mad
  • Charles the Well-beloved
  • both of the above

What illness did Charles VI have?

  • Lyme disease
  • diabetes
  • bouts of insanity

Charles VI really did himself in when he …

  • refused to speak anything but Spanish
  • converted to Anglicanism
  • proclaimed Henry V of England his successor, as opposed to his son

Ivan the Terrible ruled what state?

  • Prussia
  • Russia
  • Scandinavia

Ivan's cruel rule included …

  • banning kittens as pets
  • systematically executing Christians
  • basically destroying an entire city

Ivan's dynasty came to an end when he did what?

  • named an imaginary person as his successor
  • committed suicide
  • murdered his son and only viable heir

Erik XIV of Sweden was accused of being crazy because he:

  • refused to bathe
  • hated clowns
  • murdered aristocrats without warning

Peter the Great induced his son to return to Russia after fleeing. When Alexis returned, Peter did what?

  • tortured him to death
  • gave him the throne
  • beat him with a belt and made him live as a servant

Let's stick with Russia for a while. Who took advantage of Peter III's "weak" mind?

  • his dog
  • his son
  • his wife

Sultan Mustafa of the Ottoman Empire was super lucky because …

  • He was really handsome.
  • His brother spared him from the (usual) execution that took place when siblings ascended the throne.
  • He became sultan at age 3.

Unfortunately, Mustafa's brother did what?

  • imprisoned Mustafa in a place called "the cage" for 14 years
  • killed Mustafa as soon as Mustafa came of age
  • made Mustafa his servant

After his brother died, Mustafa became sultan. How did it go?

  • Great! He was an excellent ruler with a keen political mind.
  • Uh, pretty terrible?
  • uneventful

Mustafa's nephew, Ibrahim, eventually became sultan. How did he spend his early years?

  • imprisoned in the same place as Mustafa had been
  • getting a great education
  • traveling the world

What was Ibrahim's downfall?

  • an obsession with collecting women in his harem
  • gambling
  • lasagna

King Ludwig of Bavaria wasn't a terribly good king, but he obsessively pursued what interest?

  • music
  • building grand palaces
  • both

After he was declared insane, King Ludwig was found drowned along with whom?

  • his pet fish
  • his psychiatrist
  • his mother

Queen Carlota was empress of what?

  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Belgium

Carlota had a mental breakdown after what?

  • They lost political support.
  • Her husband was deposed and executed.
  • both of the above

The madness of King George III of Britain has become well-known, but some believe he had what disease?

  • fever
  • porphyria
  • syphilis

George did seem to have what kind of episodes?

  • mania
  • schizophrenia
  • trichotillomania

The Habsburgs have a long and storied royal lineage. But what illness seems to also run in the family?

  • diabetes
  • depression
  • cellulite

The Ming Emperor Zhengde was known for his eccentricity and corruption. But he also sentenced a traitor to die by what means?

  • slow slicing
  • freezing
  • water torture

Who was Zhu Shou?

  • Zhengde's pet tiger
  • Zhengde's imaginary alter ego
  • Zhengde's imaginary dragon