The boring thing about modern democracy is that we almost never elect truly crazy people. Oh, sure, we'll vote in somebody with mild eccentricities or sexual appetites, and we may refer to some extremist as "crazy," but back when rulers took the throne based only on their bloodline, a nation could wind up under the fist of someone who was literally "howl naked at the moon" insane.
Don't get us wrong -- we're sure it was a nightmare for everyone involved. But it does make for hilarious stories down the line.
5Justin II of Byzantine Heard Voices, Bit People on the Head
Justin II was a sixth century emperor of Byzantine, which was how they rebranded the Roman Empire after it wasn't cool to be the Roman Empire anymore. Also, apparently they let pretty much anyone be emperor in those days, because Justin II was nucking futs.
History remembers Justin mainly as a kind of shitty leader who wound up losing most of Italy to Persia, which, if you're the emperor of Rome, is dropping the ball pretty badly. But the ancient historian John of Ephesus recounts some interesting facts about Justin's personal life, like how he would hear voices in his head and scream and hide under his bed to escape them. Apparently, the only way his servants could help him out was to play organ music throughout the palace to drown out the voices.
They'd have had better luck with dubstep.
That part of the story is key: the fact that nobody knew how to treat mental illness back then. So it wasn't much fun to be around the palace when Justin II went into full crazy mode -- it's said that when his servants were rushing around trying to restrain him, he would fight back by biting them, often on the head. Eventually, the servants had to go to greater lengths to entertain him, and came up with a solution that would appeal to any toddler -- building a makeshift throne on wheels and pushing Justin around the palace on it, to his great delight. As John of Ephesus puts it, "... having placed him on it, his chamberlains drew him about, and ran with him backwards and forwards for a long time, while he, in delight and admiration at their speed, desisted from many of his absurdities."
"Couldn't you just ride hookers like a regular monarch?"
Are you imagining this? You have an apparently very mentally ill man who A) nobody knows how to treat, B) has the power to have you imprisoned or killed if you cross him, and C) cannot be removed from power. You have a palace full of underlings desperately trying to keep a lid on his madness. Let's put it another way: At some point, a legend even arose that Justin II actually ate two of his servants. And there wasn't a goddamned thing anybody could do about it.