Five facts about historical world leaders you may not know

Winston Churchill was a raging alcoholic

Yep, that’s right. The man who stood up to Adolf Hitler and saved England from the Third Reich was a total piss freak. “I drink champagne at all meals, and buckets of claret and soda in between,” he once admitted. But not only that, the old bulldog consumed enough scotch and brandy to make any lesser man fall into a coma, all this while discussing strategies with his generals on how to win the war. Oh, and need I mention that he also smoked no less than 15 cigars a day? In comparison Hitler was a vegetarian teetotaller. Clearly the Germans never stood a chance.

Adolf Hitler was a junkie

While Churchill was getting sloshed, on the other side of the English Channel, his nemesis Adolf Hitler was getting high on a heavy cocktail of cocaine, heroin, and morphine, not to mention crystal meth. And if that wasn’t enough, the almighty Fuhrer would have himself injected with massive amounts of vitamins, steroids, hormones, liver extract of pigs, and all other kinds of weird shit. Yes, boys and girls, the world’s most well known psychopath had more drugs coursing through his veins than Jerry Garcia and the entire Grateful Dead combined.

Napoleon Bonaparte once wrote a romance novel

When he wasn’t gallivanting around waging war on the whole of Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte was a budding romance novelist, writing his first (and thankfully only) story when he was 26. Titled Clisson et Eugénie, the book is about a heroic soldier who falls in love, marries then dies courageously in battle. So good so far. But just check out some of the following lines: “I am worried and unhappy. I feel numb… Only the sight of you will cure me.” Not to mention this side-splitting morsel: “I threw myself on your body: it was icy cold. I wanted to bring you back to life with my breath, to bring you warmth and life.” It hardly reeks of Pride and Prejudice. No wonder the British banished him to exile.

Emperor Nero used to bite off the genitals of his enemies

Nero, or Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus as his friends would have called him, was one seriously sadistic dude. A violent and bloodthirsty emperor, he killed his wife, murdered his own mother, and even used Christians as torches during dinner parties, effectively turning them into human candles. How badass is that? But one of his favourite activities was to dress up in animal skins during games at the coliseum in Rome and bite off the balls of those tied at the stake. Yep, when it came to good old fashioned and wholesome family entertainment, you couldn’t beat the Romans.

Emperor Commodus forced dwarves and disabled people to fight as gladiators

And speaking of Romans, Emperor Commodus, (you know, that crazy guy played by Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator), thought it would be a great idea to round up all the dwarfs, cripples and freaks in Rome and force them to fight each other in mortal combat with meat cleavers at the Colosseum. Obviously such a bloodthirsty event would have to go down as one of the world’s most politically incorrect spectacles ever. Not surprisingly, many at the time considered Commodus to be somewhat mentally unstable.