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You might assume that history's most influential leaders were just ordinary people born at the right place, at the right time, to the right sperm. And that is largely correct. But some of those folks clawed their way up from mundanity simply by having balls so immense that science has only recently, reluctantly, demoted their status from "dwarf planets" to "large moons."

5
Washington Drank the National Economy Under the Table

Adam Gault/Photodisc/Getty Images

President George Washington: Founding Father, wig aficionado, dental ent. You know him, you love him. You have to -- the man was a paragon of virtue, right? When Congress appointed him general of the Continental Army, they proposed a salary of $15,000 a year, but Washington declined. He instead asked them to pay any expenses he incurred during his time of service. Practically a saint.

U.S. Government
See?

The Ballsiness:

Congress, blinded by tears of patriotism at this noble man's offer, accepted it. And so began one of the greatest padding of expenses in government employee history. From September 1775 to March 1776 -- that's seven months -- Washington spent $6,000 on booze. In the single month he spent retreating through New Jersey, he managed to rack up a staggering $3,800 in charges. He dropped $800 on a saddle alone. In the final tally, there was 20 grand worth of "I forgot what this was" charges.

To be fair to Washington, he thought this was all pretty stupid, too. Washington once complained to a colleague that "The army, as usual, are without pay; and a great part of the Soldiery without shirts; and tho' the patience of them is equally thread-bare, the States seem perfectly indifferent to their cries." Of course, his frustration didn't amount to anything more than a few angry letters, because you don't bite the hand that picks up the bar tab. By war's end, Washington managed to rack up a bill for $450,000, or over $4 million when adjusted for inflation.

Gilbert Stuart
That's $5.12 million with tax and tip.

We'll go ahead and assume that wasn't all hooch money. Probably no more than a million or so. Such restraint! Like we said: practically a saint.

4
Winston Churchill Escaped From Prison With Quiet Dignity

Wiki Commons

He might look like an uncooked sausage shoved into a too-small suit, but Winston Churchill is one of the reasons this article isn't being written in German. In the context of World War II, you can't so much as mention the man's name without pouring out a little brown sauce in gratitude. But before he was teabagging Nazis, he was demonstrating the enormity of his surely unsightly balls by busting out of a South African prison.

 Imperial War Museums
This was actually during the brief skinny portion of the man's life.

The Ballsiness:

Before his political career, Churchill was a reporter in the Boer War in Dutch-settled South Africa. Being a reporter at the dawn of the century was a little different from today: Back then, there was really no such thing as "non-combatants." Reporters were armed and considered free game for any Dutchman who could level a rifle. This became readily apparent during one scouting expedition when Boer soldiers attacked the armored train Churchill rode on, slaughtering the British escort and dragging Churchill to a POW camp in Transvaal. For the next month, he buried the Boer Secretary of War in petitions for his release, but he failed to receive a single answer. Eventually, Churchill decided that his only option was to Shawshank his way out of the place.

Of course, he went about it in the most British fashion possible. First things first, he settled his accounts with the prison store. A Churchill always pays his debts and all that. Next he wrote a letter to the Boer Secretary of State politely apologizing for his escape and thanking him for his hospitality, and another to the Secretary of War explaining where he got his hat. He left both letters on his pillow, grabbed a handful of chocolates, and vaulted over the 10-foot wall into an adjacent alley. He strolled through town whistling a merry tune and greeting merchants, eventually boarding a train heading east. Before daylight, he leaped from the train and hid in a ditch, where he spent the day alternating between sleeping and eating chocolates. That's the only part of this story we can successfully imagine Winston Churchill doing.

Library of Congress
He gained 130 pounds and aged 40 years in those ditches.

For the next five nights, he ran from ditch to ditch, stealing food and water as he went, eventually managing to stow away on a train heading to British-controlled Mozambique. His first act upon rejoining the Empire was to abandon his more peaceful reporting duties and join a cavalry regiment, because one way or another, a Churchill always pays his debts.

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3
Peter the Great Seized the Capital With a Play Army

Aleksey Kivshenko

Peter the Great, czar of Russia, was the man responsible for transforming Europe's most belligerent neighbor from a country full of vodka-swilling hobos to one full of vodka-swilling hobos with guns. He westernized the Russian army, pushed her borders to the Baltic Sea, and beat the Swedes so hard that they forgot how to war and started making furniture. But how did a man like Peter come to power? The same way Peter Pan did: with the power of make believe.

Robert Kerr Porter
Also like Peter Pan, he apparently loved fucking up pirates.

The Ballsiness:

Peter inherited the Russian throne when he was 9, so the nobility appointed Peter's half-sister, Sophia, to act as regent until Peter's testicles dropped. Unfortunately, she grew to enjoy the taste of power and couldn't stand a prepubescent Peter reminding her that one day she'd have to give it up. In order to avoid thinking about the inevitable, Sophia shipped Peter off to grow up with a bunch of Western strangers.

When Peter turned 11, he asked for gunpowder (what 11-year-old wouldn't?), and Russia, as a country full of responsible adults, approved his request. Peter formed his playmates into regiments reminiscent of Western European armies. With his "toy" army that consisted of friends, playmates, and hired soldiers, he staged war games of such realism that one battle resulted in 24 deaths. And because in Russia, any less than three dozen dead is practically a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's, they nicknamed Peter's little army the Fun Forces.

nndb.com
Other than for those 24, it was fun for everyone.

By the time he was 16, his Fun Forces numbered over 600. Relations between Peter and Sophia broke down when Sophia demanded that Peter present himself at the Kremlin. Peter refused, and a tense standoff ensued between the Streltsy, Russia's regular military, and Peter's Fun Forces. In 1689, Peter marched the Fun Forces into Moscow. True to their name, the Fun Forces were there to have a grand old time: They seized control from Sophia, and Peter shipped his sister to a convent and had the bodies of her supporters hanged outside her window. That's what "a grand old time" is in Russia.

Never ask a Russian what a bad day is like.

2
The Duke of Wellington Slept With Napoleon's Sister, Girlfriends

Robert Alexander Hillingford.

Sir Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, was the man who stood up against Napoleon Bonaparte -- twice -- and kicked his ass in the Battle of Waterloo. But the rivalry between Wellesley and Napoleon went further than the battlefield. He had a more personal way of sticking it to his nemesis. By personally sticking it to Napoleon's sister.

Marie-Guillemine Benoist
He showed Pauline his Bonaparte.

The Ballsiness:

After Wellesley helped defeat Napoleon, Parliament appointed him the British ambassador to France, a move most historians refer to as "rubbing it in." Wellesley's immediate instinct was to use his new position to fuck with Napoleon like the villain in an '80s teen movie. First, he appointed Napoleon's head chef as his own -- despite having no interest in the culinary arts. Wellesley's fine palate was once described by the good Lord Ellesmere as "scarcely [able to] tell rancid butter from fresh."

Thomas Lawrence
This wasn't a dig at his taste in women. We think.

Wellesley started planning numerous trips to the emperor's hunting lodge, dragging various Bonapartes behind him. Just to rub it in that he could. His face was a common feature in the Bonaparte household, until he eventually planted it firmly in Pauline Bonaparte's vagina.

Pauline was supposedly more comfortable out of her clothes than in them, and she shared a close relationship with Wellesley. His pet name for her was "heartless little devil." He called on her several times, and eventually he even purchased her home, which is shockingly not an aristocratic euphemism. Now, to be fair, the history books don't specifically state that they did the horizontal mambo, but they're clear on two things: One, that Pauline was inclined to screw everything that moved, and two, that Wellesley commissioned a topless portrait of her that he hung above his bed. Dang, it's not enough to rail his sister, you post the nudes above your bed?

At61/Wiki Commons
C'mon, dude. What's your next conquest going to think?

And that's not even the extent of Wellesley's sexual rampage. He went on to sleep with not one, but two of the emperor's ex-girlfriends, Josephina and Georgina, both of whom considered the duke to be the superior lover. History doesn't mention whether he ever banged Napoleon's mom, but we are forced to assume he at least tried.

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1
Caesar Demanded a Higher Ransom From His Kidnappers

Michal Manas

Julius Caesar doesn't need an introduction. But here's one anyway: He was Julius Fucking Caesar.

Lionel-Noël Royer
Bow down, bitches.

The Ballsiness:

According to Plutarch, Julius Caesar was sailing off the coast of Spain when he was waylaid by pirates and taken hostage. Evidently not realizing who their captive was, the pirates demanded 20 talents of silver for his return. This is the point at which a normal person would be peeing while adding up all the love in their life, hoping it meets or exceeds that sum. Caesar laughed at the demand and insisted that the pirates stop insulting him and raise the bounty to 50 talents. The pirates shrugged and agreed, so Caesar dispatched some of his slaves to collect the money.

But while he was waiting, he spent the next month screwing with the pirates. When Caesar went to sleep, he would demand silence; while the pirates were messing about, he would get up and start issuing orders; and when he got bored, Caesar would read them poetry. If they displayed anything less than overwhelming enthusiasm, he would "jokingly" threaten to have them crucified. The pirates thought Caesar was hilarious.

jesuskindofmusic/iStock/Getty Images
"Ha, ha, nails in my hands! Classic Julius."

After 38 days, Caesar's slaves returned with the silver and he was released. If Caesar was any other human being ever, that would be the end of the story, but unfortunately for the pirates, he was indeed Julius Fucking Caesar, and so he returned later with a full Roman fleet and crucified every single one of those guys.

Listen, when Caesar tries to rhyme "orange" with "porridge," you keep your mouth shut and clap when he's finished.


David Rheinhart is a hobbyist and storyteller unwilling to acknowledge that this thankless profession doesn't pay. He has a Twitter account and a Tumblr account where he dumps the majority of his work.

For more people with balls that could deflect bullets, check out 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy and 5 Soldiers Whose Horrific Injuries Only Made Them Angry.

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