The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History

Khalid Elhassan - February 28, 2023

Power is an aphrodisiac. Many pursue it, but not all can have it, and those who do manage to get their hands on it often guard it jealously. However, power sometimes doesn’t last nearly as long as its wielders wish, and can end all too soon, sometimes in dramatic ways. Take the prime minister who ruled for only a few minutes, or the Napoleon who reigned as emperor for only a couple of days. Below are twenty-five things about those and other short, abruptly ended, and dramatically ended stints of power.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Napoleon’s abdication. Wikimedia

The Other, Other, Napoleon’s Short Stint in Power

Just about everybody knows of Napoleon Bonaparte, who among many things in an action-packed life, reigned over France and much of Europe as Emperor Napoleon I from 1804 to 1814. And many know of Emperor Napoleon III, his nephew who sat on the imperial throne from 1852 to 1870. But if there is a Napoleon I and a Napoleon III, there must have been a Napoleon II, right? Who was he, and whatever happened to him? There actually was an Emperor Napoleon II, born Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. The son of the most famous Bonaparte, this Napoleon was born in 1811, and his reign as emperor was incredibly brief: a mere two days.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Austrian school portrait of Napoleon II, circa 1818. Square Space

His father dominated Europe for years, but things went downhill for him after his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. The rest of Europe ganged up on him, his allies deserted him, and eventually, his enemies occupied Paris, and his army refused to fight anymore. On April 4th, 1814, Napoleon abdicated in favor of his three-year-old son, who thus became Emperor Napoleon II. However, his enemies were not having it. So on April 6th, Napoleon made another abdication, in which he renounced the French throne not only on his own behalf, but that of his descendants as well. The toddler Napoleon II was taken to Vienna by his mother Marie Louise of Austria, daughter of Francis II, Emperor of Austria. Given an Austrian title, Duke of Reichstadt, he spent most of his life in Vienna, and died of tuberculosis at age twenty-one in 1832.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Siaka Stevens, on the cover of his autobiography. Amazon

Prime Minister for a Few Minutes

Sierra Leonean politician Siaka Stevens (1905 – 1988), who ruled as both prime minister and president, might have had the shortest stint of power in recorded history. Born in the then British Protectorate of Sierra Leone, Stevens worked as a policeman, mine worker, railway station manager, and union organizer before he became a career politician. In 1943 he founded the United Mineworkers Union, studied labor relations at Oxford University a few years later, and in 1952, became minister of lands, mines, and labor.

Stevens continued his rise up the political rungs after Sierra Leone gained its independence, and on March 17th, 1967, his party won elections by a narrow margin. Stevens became prime minister, but his rule lasted for just a few minutes before he was arrested in a military coup. Exiled to Guinea, he returned to Sierra Leone thirteen months later, after another military coup, and resumed his office as prime minister on April 26th, 1968. His second stint in power lasted longer than his first, and he ruled the country, first as prime minister and then as president, from 1968 until 1985.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Zanzibar Palace. Historic UK

A Sultan’s Brief Dalliance With Power

The Anglo-Zanzibar War was probably history’s shortest war: it lasted less than an hour. In the nineteenth century, the Sultanate of Zanzibar in what is now Tanzania consisted of the islands of Zanzibar off the East African coast, and the mainland across the water from them. In 1890, the British and Germans divided Zanzibar amongst themselves: Germany got the mainland, and Britain got the islands. That same year, the sultan of Zanzibar accepted a British protectorate, by whose terms his successors had to be preapproved by Britain. When the Sultan died in 1893, the British used that provision to install a puppet replacement, Hamad bin Thawani. He ruled for three years, until shortly before noon on August 25th, 1896, he died suddenly.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Sultan Khalid rallies his men to resist the British. Cultura Colectiva

Sultan Thawani’s 29-year-old nephew, Khalid bin Bargash, was suspected of having poisoned him. Khalid immediately moved into the palace in Zanzibar Town, and without British approval as required by the terms of the protectorate treaty, declared himself sultan. The British preferred a more pliant successor, Hamoud bin Muhammad. So they rushed three cruisers, two gunboats, 150 marines and 900 African soldiers to Zanzibar Town, and gave Khalid an ultimatum to vacate the palace by 9 AM, August 27th. He refused, gathered a force of about 2800 men, and barricaded himself in the palace. When the ultimatum expired on the 27th, the British ships opened fire and commenced a bombardment at 9:02 AM.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
The sloop and royal yacht HHS Glasgow, sole ship of the Zanzibar Navy. Wikimedia

The Thirty-Eight-Minute War

By 9:40 AM, the palace and the adjacent royal harem were on fire, the sultan’s flag had been cut down, and the gunfire ceased. A journalist reported that the sultan had “fled at the first shot with all the leading Arabs, who left their slaves and followers to carry on the fighting“, but others stated that he stuck around for a bit longer. However long he stayed, the sultan was not in the palace when the British reached it shortly after the bombardment stopped. Khalid, with dozens of his followers, fled to the German consulate, and requested asylum. By that afternoon, the British had installed their favorite, Hamoud bin Muhammad, as sultan in his place.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Wreckage of Sultan’s palace and harem after the British bombardment. History of Yesterday

The war lasted about thirty-eight minutes, during which the British expended about 500 artillery shells, 4100 machine gun rounds, and 1000 rifle bullets. The Zanzibarians lost around 500 men and women killed or wounded, while British casualties consisted of a single petty officer injured aboard a warship. The British sought Khalid’s extradition, but the Germans granted him asylum and transported him to German East Africa. Captured by the British in World War I’s East Africa Campaign, Khalid was exiled to Seychelles and then Saint Helena. He was eventually released, and returned to East Africa, where he died in 1927.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Lee Harvey Oswald in the Soviet Union. The Times, UK

An Assassination Shrouded in Controversy

The assassination of John F. Kennedy has given rise to countless conspiracy theories over the years. Despite extensive investigations and research, no definitive answer has emerged as to whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Oswald was a former US Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, but returned to the US in 1962 after a few years of disillusionment. He struggled to keep a job and, in March 1963, attempted to assassinate a retired general with a rifle he purchased through mail order. He later secured a job at the Texas School Book Depository and, when JFK visited Dallas on November 22, 1963, Oswald set up a sniper nest in a sixth-floor window of the building and killed the president with three shots.

Oswald was later charged with killing Kennedy, but he denied it, claiming that he was a “patsy”. Two days later, he was shot and killed on live TV in the Dallas Police HQ by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner. Oswald’s murder before he could tell his story lent plausibility to the theory that the aim had been to silence him. Then Ruby died in jail of cancer a few years later. That supercharged the theory that those behind the assassination had neatly silenced Oswald: a dying man with nothing to lose did the deed in exchange for some unknown favor or to pay off a past debt.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Valerian, as depicted in a gold aureus. Wikimedia

A Dramatic Fall from the Heights of Power

Emperor Valerian ruled the Roman Empire from 253 to 260 AD, during a period known as the Crisis of the Third Century. He appointed his son to command the western half of the empire and led his army east to confront the newly established Sassanid Persian Empire. However, his invasion ended in a decisive defeat in the Battle of Edessa, and he was captured by Persian King Shapur I. Valerian was subjected to humiliating captivity and death, including being used as a footstool and forced to drink molten gold, while his skin was dyed and displayed at a temple.

Valerian was born into a patrician family and was a military man who rose through the ranks to become emperor. However, his reign ended in disgrace due to his failed military campaign against the Persians. His capture and subsequent treatment by Shapur I were seen as a symbol of Rome’s weakness, and his death marked the first time a Roman emperor was captured in battle.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Wu Zetian, as depicted in film. Sopanam

An Emperor Dethroned by His Mother

Emperor Zhongzong of Tang had two stints in power, with his first brief reign coming to an end in 684 when his mother, Wu Zetian, kicked him off the throne. Wu Zetian went on to unofficially run the country, and eventually became the sole officially recognized empress in China’s imperial rule. A strong, intelligent, and ruthless woman, she had an affair with Emperor Taizong’s son and eventual successor, and eliminated opponents and potential threats to steadily grow her power. She framed the emperor’s first wife for the death of her own infant daughter, and ultimately proclaimed herself empress regnant, ruling until she was overthrown in 705.

Zhongzong was reinstated as emperor in 705, but he died just five years later. Wu’s tale of rise to power and how she held onto it could have taught Machiavelli some new tricks. Born into a wealthy family, her father encouraged her to develop her mind and she grew up well-versed in literature, music, history, politics, and governmental affairs. Her beauty and brains served her well, and she eventually became Emperor Gaozong’s official consort, with her power steadily growing as she eliminated opponents. She became empress dowager and regent after Gaozong’s death, and ruled the empire in the name of her son before overthrowing him and proclaiming herself empress regnant.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Members of People’s Will. Philitt

The Russian Terrorists Who Went After the Tsar

Nineteenth-century Russia was marked by great discontent and political turmoil. It groaned under the heavy-handed – and incompetent – absolutist rule of the Tsars. Reforms were attempted, but reformers often ran into the tsarist government’s oppressive instincts. Without political freedom, and with free expression severely restricted, many reformers grew disgusted with the system, and turned into revolutionaries dedicated to its overthrow. One such group formed a secret organization, Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will), which sought to overthrow the autocratic government by acts of violent propaganda calculated to spark a mass revolt.

People’s Will was a terrorist organization, in short. It saw terrorism as a proactive tool to overthrow the tsarist regime. It called for violence, announced an ambitious program of terrorism and assassination to break the government’s power, and decreed a death sentence against Tsar Alexander II, who was to be executed as an enemy of the people. They established clandestine cells in major cities and within the Russian military, and began to publish underground revolutionary newspapers and leaflets targeted at industrial workers.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Tsar Alexander II. Russia Beyond

The Dramatic End of Tsar Alexander II’s Days in Power

People’s Will tried to kill Tsar Alexander II in December of 1879 with explosives on a railway, but missed his train. They tried again two months later, and planted a bomb in his palace. However, the tsar was not in the room when the explosives went off. The unsurprisingly frightened tsar declared a state of emergency, and set up a commission to repress the terrorists. Within a week, a People’s Will assassin attempted to kill the commission’s head. The repression mounted, and People’s Will activists caught with illegal leaflets were hanged. Undaunted, the group doggedly persisted in its relentless efforts to assassinate Alexander.

They finally succeeded on March 1st, 1881. A People’s Will member waited in ambush along a route taken by the Tsar every week, and threw a bomb under his carriage when it passed by. The explosion killed a guard and wounded others, but the carriage was armored, and Alexander was unhurt. A shaken Tsar emerged from the carriage, and crossed himself as he surveyed the damage. His relief was premature, as there was a second assassin concealed in the crowd that gathered in the explosion’s aftermath. Shouting at Alexander “it is too early to thank God!“, the second assassin threw another bomb, which landed and went off directly beneath the Tsar’s feet. Mangled by the explosion, Alexander died soon thereafter.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Medieval depiction of Iconoclasts destroying a church in the reign of Emperor Constantine V. Imgur

The Byzantine Emperor Stripped of Power by His Mother

In the eighth century, theological debates about Christian doctrine often sparked violent reactions from ordinary Christians. One such debate was over the use of religious images, or icons. Some Christians believed that the worship of icons was a violation of the Second Commandment and therefore equivalent to idol worship. This belief, combined with the Muslim conquest of the Middle East and Africa, led to a backlash against icons known as Iconoclasm. Emperors Leo III and Constantine V enforced Iconoclasm, but it was eventually undone by Irene of Athens, who called a church council in 786 to denounce the policy.

When her son Constantine VI became an Iconoclast, Irene had him overthrown and mutilated, and she continued her mission to reintroduce religious imagery until she was exiled and died in 803. Irene then proclaimed herself empress. She continued her quest to undo Iconoclasm and reintroduce religious imagery, until she fell from power in 802 in the aftermath of a revolt. She was exiled to the Isle of Lesbos, and died there a year later. In conclusion, the Byzantine Empire in the eighth century was rife with religious turmoil, with debates over Christian doctrine leading to violence and political upheaval.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
The blinding of Bela’s father, Prince Vazul. Imgur

A Medieval Hungarian Royal Family’s Infighting Over Power

King Bela I of Hungary (circa 1020 – 1063) reigned from 1060 until his death. In his years in power, he suppressed a pagan rebellion and thus solidified Hungary’s Christian identity. He also fought a successful war against Holy Roman Emperor Henry III to defend Hungary’s independence. Bela accomplished much in his relatively brief tenure on the throne. Unfortunately for him, it was his very throne that doomed him. Born into Hungarian royalty, Bela’s father, Prince Vazul, had been a nephew of the childless Hungarian King Stephen I.

When the king bypassed Bela’s father to name another nephew heir, Vazul rebelled, but was captured and blinded as punishment in 1031. Bela and his siblings fled Hungary, but returned in 1046 and seized power when Bela’s eldest brother successfully deposed the king and seized the crown. Per Hungarian royal custom, whereby the crown passed from brother to brother by seniority, Bela was made a duke and named heir. However, while Bela was away from Hungary, his brother changed the rules and named his four-year-old son his heir.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Bela I of Hungary. Chronica Hungarorum

A King Removed from Power by His Own Throne

Understandably, Bela was not happy when his brother deprived him of a shot at power. So he raised an army in Poland, and marched into Hungary to reassert his rights. In the struggle that followed, the brother on the throne was killed, and Bela was crowned in his place. Soon after he became king, a revolt erupted. The rebels demanded a return to paganism, and an end to Christianity, which had become the official state religion a few decades earlier. In response, Bela mobilized an army and crushed the pagans. In 1063, he successfully fought off a German invasion under the auspices of the Holy Roman Emperor and asserted Hungarian independence from foreign domination.

Bela’s hold on power came to an undignified end later that year, after his throne tottered and fell. “Throne tottered and fell” is not meant here as a figure of speech, or an allusion to a diminution of his power and authority. It was quite literal. One September day in 1063, Bela held court in his summer palace in Domos. Flanked by his senior advisors, and with his noblemen and officials gathered before him, he regally ascended the steps to his throne and took a seat. Unregally, the heavy wooden throne collapsed once the royal posterior sat down. Bela I was severely injured in front of his horrified court, and died of his wounds soon thereafter.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Genghis Khan. Orange Smile

A Shah Who Lost His Power – and Life – Because of an Extremely Rash Decision

Genghis Khan, founder of the Mongol Empire and one of history’s most feared conquerors, attempted to establish diplomatic and trade relations with the Khwarezmian Empire in 1218. However, the Khwarezmian ruler, Shah Muhammad II, insulted the Mongol embassy and trade mission and executed its members. As a result, Genghis launched a whirlwind campaign against the empire and forced Muhammad II to flee. The Mongols pursued him relentlessly until his death on a small Caspian island, and millions died in the process as entire cities were massacred and used as human shields.

Genghis Khan’s invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire cemented his reputation for savagery, and he famously declared himself the Flail of God. The fate of Muhammad II serves as a tragicomic reminder that he challenged history’s greatest conqueror and was out of his league. The empire he once ruled was reduced to an impoverished and depopulated wasteland, while Genghis Khan went on to found the world’s largest contiguous empire.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Ptolemy IX Chickpea. Pinterest

Ptolemy IX’s Mother Stripped Him of Power

Even if a mother has a favorite kid, she’s expected to at least go through the motions and say that she loves all her kids equally. Not so, with the Ptolemaic Dynasty’s Cleopatra III. The Ptolemies were probably history’s most dysfunctional ruling family, and Ptolemaic family intrigues complicated the reign of Ptolemy IX Soter (“Chickpea”). Among other things, the Ptolemies had an established family tradition of incest, so this Ptolemy married his sister Cleopatra IV. When his father, Ptolemy VIII Potbelly died in 116 BC, Ptolemy IX’s mother and the reigning queen, Cleopatra III, made him co-regent. However, Ptolemy IX was not her favorite son, and she only chose him because of public pressure from the citizens of Alexandria.

To work out her resentment, Cleopatra III forced Ptolemy IX to divorce his sister-wife Cleopatra IV, and replace her with her own sister, and Ptolemy IX’s aunt, Cleopatra Selene I. Ptolemy IX’s sister and ex-wife fled Egypt to the neighboring Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom, where she married Antiochus IX and became queen consort in 114 BC. Her reign proved brief, however, and she was murdered amidst Seleucid dynastic turmoil. Ptolemy IX fell from power when Cleopatra III accused him of having tried to murder her, and deposed him in 107 BC. His place was taken by his brother and Cleopatra III’s favorite son, Alexander, who ascended the throne as Ptolemy X.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Cleopatra III. Wikimedia

A Favorite Son’s Ingratitude

After she deposed her son Ptolemy IX and replaced him on the throne with a more favored son, Ptolemy X, Cleopatra III settled in to enjoy her twilight years as queen and co-regent. Unfortunately for her, that enjoyment did not last as long as she might have hoped. The favorite son whom Cleopatra III had made king demonstrated his ingratitude in the most visceral way possible. Six years into their joint rule, Ptolemy X tired of his mother’s interference with his power as ruler, and had her murdered in 101 BC. He then made his wife, Cleopatra Bernice III, queen and co-regent.

An incestuous tie was a Ptolemaic norm by this point. Ptolemy X’s wife Bernice III was also his niece – the daughter of his brother, the Ptolemy IX who had been deposed by their mother Cleopatra III. A popular revolt in 88 BC overthrew Ptolemy X, who fled to Syria. He returned with a mercenary army, and to pay them, he looted and melted down the golden sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. That infuriated the Alexandrians, and he fell from power for a second time when they deposed and chased him out of Egypt once more. Ptolemy X was killed as he tried to flee. Ptolemy IX, his brother and father-in-law who had been deposed by their mother, Cleopatra III, returned to the throne.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Caligula. The Telegraph

Rome’s Nuttiest Emperor

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (12 – 41 AD) became known as Caligula (“little boots”) because of the miniature legionary outfits he wore as a child while he accompanied his father on military campaigns. He grew to become emperor of Rome from 37 to 41 AD, and is probably the gold standard for crazy rulers. Caligula grew up in the household of his uncle, Emperor Tiberius. That worthy was a paranoid odd fish who spent much of his reign as a recluse in a pedophilic pleasure palace in Capri. He surfaced on occasion to order the execution of relatives accused of treason.

Tiberius’ victims included Caligula’s mother and two brothers. He probably poisoned Caligula’s father as well. A great natural actor, Caligula hid any resentment felt towards his uncle. He thus survived the bitter Tiberius, who remarked as he named him heir: “I am rearing a viper for the Roman people“. Those stressful years left their mark on Caligula. Once freed of the ever present threat of execution by his paranoid uncle, he cut loose. Caligula dove head first into an orgy of lavish spending and hedonistic living, as the combination of sudden freedom and sudden unlimited power went to his head.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Partying it up, Caligula style. The New York Times

A Mad Man in Power

Caligula kicked off the crazy early on, with a demonstration of his contempt for a soothsayer’s prediction that he had no more chance to become emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae. Caligula ordered a two-mile bridge built across the bay, then rode his horse across it while clad in the breastplate and armor of Alexander the Great. On one occasion, he began to cackle uncontrollably at a party. When asked what was funny, he replied that he thought it hilarious that with a mere gesture of his finger, he could have anybody present killed right then and there.

Displeased by an unruly crowd at the Circus Maximus, Caligula pointed out a section to his guards, and ordered them to execute everybody “from baldhead to baldhead”. On another occasion, bored at an arena when told that there were no more criminals to throw to the beasts, he ordered a section of the crowd thrown to the wild animals. His depravities included incest with his sisters. At dinner parties, he frequently ordered guests’ wives to his bedroom. After he bedded them, he returned to the party to rate the quality of their performance, and berate the cuckolded husbands for any perceived deficiency in their wives’ performance.

The Most Dramatic & Short Lived Reigns of Power in History
Caligula’s reign ended in dramatic and bloody fashion. Imgur

A Dramatic and Sudden Fall from Power

Caligula also turned the imperial palace into a whorehouse, staffed with the wives of prominent senators and other important dignitaries. To further show his contempt for the senatorial class and the Roman Republic for which they pined, Caligula had his beloved horse made consul – the Republic’s highest magistracy. On one occasion, Caligula declared war on the sea god Neptune, marched his legions to the sea, and had them collect seashells to show the deity who was boss. He eventually declared himself a god, removed the heads from various deities’ statues, and replaced them with his own.

It was none of that craziness that doomed Caligula and brought his power to an end. Instead, his fall came because he offended his bodyguards. His security detail’s commander, Cassius Chaerea, had a high-pitched voice, and Caligula liked to mock him as effeminate. He thought it hilarious to come up with derogatory daily passwords that had to do with homosexuality. Whenever Chaerea was due to kiss the imperial ring, Caligula made sure it was on his middle finger, and waggled it obscenely. Chaerea finally had enough, and in 41 AD, he hatched an assassination plot with other Praetorian Guards, and hacked Caligula to death.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Ancient Origins – What Really Happened to Valerian?

Bak, Janos M. (Editor) – The Illuminated Chronicle: Chronicle of the Deeds of the Hungarians from the Fourteenth Century Illuminated Codex (2018)

Barrett, Anthony A. – Caligula: The Corruption of Power (1998)

Bevan, Edwyn Robert – The House of Ptolemy: A History of Hellenistic Egypt Under the Ptolemaic Dynasty (1927)

Bingen, Jean – Hellenistic Egypt: Monarchy, Society, Economy, Culture (2007)

Bowman, Alan – Egypt After the Pharaohs: 332 BC – AD 64, From Alexander to the Arab Conquest (1996)

Cawthorne, Nigel – Daughter of Heaven: The True Story of the Only Woman to Become Emperor of China (2007)

CNN – One JFK Conspiracy Theory That Could be True

Conspectus of History, Volume 1, Number 1, 1974 – The Empress Irene

Cracked – 15 of the Shortest Reigns of Power in History

Encyclopedia Britannica – Bela I, King of Hungary

Encyclopedia Britannica – Siaka Stevens

Garland, Lynda – Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527 – 1204 (1999)

Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe, Part II (1994)

Grant, Michael A. – Caligula: The Corruption of Power (1989)

Herren, Judith – Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium (2002)

Herrnon, Ian – Britain’s Forgotten Wars: Colonial Campaigns of the 19th Century (2003)

Historic UK – The Shortest War in History

History Collection – The Witch Doctor President and Other Horrific Rulers

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum – November 22, 1963: Death of the President

Lampert, Evgenii – Sons Against Fathers: Studies in Russian Radicalism and Revolution (1965)

Medium – Tsar Alexander II: Tsar Liberator and Rise of Terrorism in Russia

Metropolitan Museum of Art – Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Icons and Iconoclasm in Byzantium

Military History, May 2006 – Facing the Wrath of Khan

Morgan, David – The Mongols (1986)

Napoleon Foundation – Napoleon II

Ratchnevsky, Paul – Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy (1994)

Rejected Princesses – Wu Zetian: China’s Only Female Emperor

St. Mary’s University Research Scholars, Vasquez, Christopher – The Savior of Rome; Caligula’s Worst Nightmare: Cassius Chaerea

Strange History Net – The Most Dysfunctional Family in History: The Ptolemies

Suetonius – The Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Caligula

Thompson, James Matthew – Napoleon Bonaparte: His Rise and Fall (1951)

World History Encyclopedia – Valerian

Yarmolinsky, Avrahm – Road to Revolution: A Century of Russian Radicalism (1955)