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Most of us imagine that the popped-collared, beer-guzzling frat bro is a modern phenomenon, a kind of college-length cocoon stage between a jock teen and a used-car salesman. But the bro has been around far longer than you'd expect. The bro is forever, the bro is eternal, the bro is ...

5
The Greek Komos Gangs That Destroyed An Entire City

Tyrrhenian Group

The symposium was the ultimate male-bonding moment in ancient Greece: a ritual with its own dedicated room in the house where men gathered to drink wine, listen to music, and wax philosophical. As you can imagine, sticking a bunch of guys in what was essentially a glorified man-cave ensured the philosophy part of the evening soon devolved into good old-fashioned frat-boy antics. However, the real troublemaker would be the end of the evening, called the komos.

Campana Collection
Loco bozo, total pro-bro mofos.

The guests would take to the streets singing, shouting, and raiding their friends' houses for more booze. This was viewed as an important part of male bonding and a form of tribute to the god of wine, Dionysus. However, it often ended in fights, and leading writers like Plutarch and Xenophon soon took the opinion that people were just using it as an excuse to behave like dicks. So, you know, just like your average spring break, only after every party.

Christie's via University of Oxford
They were basically ancient James Francos.

Soon, gangs of young rich men started to form around komos -- attacking people with clubs, vandalizing sacred statues, and giving themselves names like The Erections and The Wankers. Some things are just timeless. One of the most infamous komos of all involved none other than Alexander The Great. In 330 B.C., he was boozing up with his men at the ancient city of Persepolis. As the evening went on, Alexander declared they would form a komos to honor Dionysus. The resulting party was so rowdy, they burned down the entire city, which was considered one of the finest in the ancient world. There is some debate as to why exactly this happened, but everyone present agreed it was the best bonfire party they'd ever been to.

4
The London Gang That Mutilated Faces For Fun

W. P.

The early 18th century in London was a very good time to be a douchebag, especially if you were an aristocrat, and especially if you were one whose sole desire in life was to wreck all the shit you had ready access to. In 1710, gangs of aristocrats were rife. They were heavily themed on specific types of mischief, and had names straight out of The Warriors. There were The Blasters, who flashed women; The Sweaters, who surrounded random guys from every direction then stabbed them in the ass with their swords for "turning their back on a gentleman"; and The She-Romps Club, who kidnapped girls into their clubhouse and made them walk on their hands so their skirts would fall over their heads.

William Hogarth
Meanwhile, you can't even look at someone doing yoga without throwing out your back.

Still, it wasn't all fun and stabbing: The most feared of these groups was a gang of young men called The Mohocks (or Mohawks, after the Native American tribe). They gained their notoriety because of their willingness to assault men and women alike with their special move of choice: a gruesome attack they referred to as "tipping the lion," wherein a passerby's nose was smashed in and then their eyes gouged out. There were reports of victims with their hands and ears sliced off and of old women stuffed in barrels and rolled down a hill. Some say The Mohocks carried a specially constructed iron instrument to rip open the victims' mouths. Other sources (such as Hunter S. Thompson, a man who knew his debauchery) insist there was a second mutilation gang called The Man-Killers and the two clubs were caught in a game of keeping up with the Joneses (murder sprees).

George Cruikshank
"You Jones?"
"Yeah."
"KILL 'IM!"

In 1712, Queen Anne grew sick of the hysteria The Mohocks were whipping up and promised a hefty-for-the-day reward of 100 pounds for every Mohock brought to justice. Realizing their jig was up, these upper-class gangbangers faded away to ... uh, rule the country consequence-free, probably.

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3
Emperor Nero's Fight Club Posse

Filippino Lippi

Emperor Nero might not have really played his fiddle as Rome burned to the ground, but he was something of a dickhole and murderous sociopath. All of this was, of course, par for the course for a Roman emperor, but late into his reign Nero upped the ante by forming a gang of aristocrats around him and roaming the streets in disguise, for the sole purpose of insulting and assaulting people. Hell, even this wasn't enough to set him apart from his peers, as attacking people was already considered normal shenanigans if you were young and rich. However, Nero's attacks were noted for their savagery, and his victims often ended up dead and dumped in the river.

Felipe Busnello
"'Please, I have kids!' LOL, good times, bros. Good times."

One day, the emperor's fun little random assault hobby took an unexpected turn, when Nero bumped into Montanus, a senator he knew. Nero and his gang assaulted Montanus and his wife anyway, but the senator was a spoilsport and fought back. Montanus proceeded to fulfill the secret dreams of senators everywhere by thoroughly kicking his ruler's ass in the ensuing fight, to the point where Nero had to hide from public view until his bruises healed. Nero initially chose not to pursue Montanus, because he had been in a disguise and assumed the senator had no way of knowing whose face he had used as a speed bag. However, Montanus knew full well what he had done and promptly apologized, which turned out to be the worst thing he could have done: By apologizing he had admitted to attacking the emperor, which was treason. Bemused and disgusted by such honesty, Nero had no choice but to explain the situation to Montanus, who took the hint and then took his own life.

fabio lamanna/iStock/Getty Images
At the funeral, Nero called him "MontANUS" and giggled.

Luckily, news of Nero's fuckery soon got out, and people reacted with disgust. Ha, just kidding -- this is Rome we're talking about. Everyone was so impressed with the emperor's one-sided Fight Club antics that not only did it increase his popularity, copycat assailants actually began emulating Nero by roaming the streets dressed as him.

2
The Gilded Youth, Who Peacocked Their Way Through Post-Revolutionary Paris

Pierre Courvoisier

Paris, 1794. The Jacobin regime of Maximilien Robespierre had been overthrown, and some people were thirsty for revenge on the revolutionaries. Among them were the Jeunesse Doree, or Gilded Youth -- aristocratic young men who dressed in an exaggeratedly flashy way to show they were wealthy. They set to work beating up anyone who looked like they might have been a revolutionary, sort of like an army of dickhead Batmen. That's right, an army. After a short while there were between 2,000 and 3,000 of them.

Louis Alexandre Eustache Loursay
Which meant at least 2,000 to 3,000 pairs of high-waisted pants.

In November 1794, the Gilded Youth attacked the Jacobin club and beat up everyone they could find. The government promptly responded to this egregious assault ... by closing the club and accusing the Jacobins of disturbing the peace. However, by the end of the year, the government was fed up with the Gilded Youth, as it became more and more apparent that the movement was drifting uncomfortably far right in the political spectrum. Strict new measures that tightened up conscription were introduced, the cafes where the gangs gathered were closed, and the streets of Paris got a lot less fabulous.

Louis-Leopold Boilly
We're almost certain this is what kicks off Les Miserables.

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1
Peter The Great, Who Founded A Fake State And Religion (For Boozing)

Godfrey Kneller

In many ways, Peter The Great was the epitome of Russia: large, boisterous, and magnificently drunk. When he wasn't kicking his aunt from power with his childhood play army or dragging his country to the modern age with the magic of pants, Peter was known to party like a horde of banshees in an ethanol factory. Upon seizing power, he decided it was high time to enjoy/abuse his position as tsar of all Russia. He set up a drinking club with his old friends that was specifically designed to parody the rituals of the court. This shadow court indulged in mock rituals and huge banquets with grand speeches and elaborate toasts punctuated by artillery salvos and trumpets. A typical gathering began at noon and would carry on for days. The debauchery had a very specific etiquette to it, though: Breach a rule like, say, forgetting to remove your sword before dancing, and you'd end up personally beaten by Peter himself. Or worse.

Among the most feared punishments was The Great Eagle, an eagle-shaped goblet containing 50 ounces of vodka that you had to down then and there, resulting in alcohol poisoning for even the most Russian of drunks.

igorr1/iStock/Getty Images
For those of you not down with your booze math: That's 34 shots. He made them chug 34 shots.

Not satisfied with just crapping all over royal customs, Peter set up another group, this time to mock the powerful Orthodox Church. Its full name was The All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod Of Fools And Jesters, but most just called it The Synod -- especially a few drinks in. Peter drew up an elaborate list of ranks and rules, appointing himself as a lowly deacon and his old tutor Nikita Zotov as the Drunken Synod's prince-pope, complete with robes made of playing cards and a tin hat. They pledged their loyalty to Bacchus, the god of booze, and honored him by drinking every last drop they could get their hands on in thinly veiled parodies of holy ceremonies.

via Wikimedia
Nikita would ask, "Why so serious?" then cackle, manically.

On Christmas, they roamed the streets in overcrowded sleighs drawn by bald men, singing at the top of their lungs and barging into rich people's homes to demand food and booze as payment for their "entertainment." Palm Sunday was marked by leading the patriarch around on a camel and into a wine cellar. Weddings were macabre feasts featuring absurd costumes and exotic fauna, such as farm animals and bears. Leading roles in the ceremonies were commonly taken up by dissolute people who would be liberally beaten, drenched with water, and they sometimes even accidentally died because of the ceremonies. Sadly, many a dick was Sharpied onto the faces of corpses in those days.

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Also check out 5 Famous Movies That Were Insane Parties Behind the Scenes and The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties In History.

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