Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!

Who Embodied Evil Before Hitler?

My daughter is studying governments and needed some examples of dictators. A Google search led her to say, "Boy, everybody hates Hitler!" I gave her more examples, but they were all from the past 100 years. Before World War II, did any one person serve as a metaphor for oppression, cruelty, and all-around evil? Slate tackles the question.
The Pharoah. In the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, many Americans and Europeans had a firmer grasp of the bible than of the history of genocidal dictators. Orators in search of a universal symbol for evil typically turned to figures like Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, or, most frequently, the Pharaoh of Exodus, who chose to endure 10 plagues rather than let the Hebrew people go. In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote: “No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April, 1775 [the date of the Lexington massacre], but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever.” In the run-up to the Civil War, abolitionists regularly referred to slaveholders as modern-day Pharaohs. Even after VE Day, Pharaoh continued to pop up in the speeches of social reformers like Martin Luther King Jr.

But he wasn't the only example, just the most commonly used. Link -via Breakfast Links

I never understood why Judas or Pontius Pilate were considered "bad guys" just for playing their role in God's plan. Judas, in particular, should be considered a martyr.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The Spanish Inquisition can't go without a mention, but isn't really associated with one name, given that it lasted so long. 'The Pope' is probably as close as you'd get in that sense.

Several Popes, and the Catholic Church as a whole, have been spoken of as evil, particularly around the time of the Reformation... and in many cases with good reason. Obviously from the Catholic perspective those opposed to the Pope were viewed with similar contempt.

You could go further back and list many of the Roman Emperors - usually the ones who were assassinated tended to be reviled, Caligula being perhaps the one which still sticks in the minds of most people.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Uhhh, Kim Jong Il (b.Yuri Irsenovich Kim) comes pretty close to Hitler....rates about a 9.5 on the human garbage scale. Right now while geeks and nerds here flattenin' n' fattenin' their asses, most of North Korea is slowly starving, her people having to stomach propaganda and rhetoric from the cradle. But that's just one marionette's charge;

It's the politics of world government that has replaced the single tyrant of old. Here's a personal short list of the hydratic web of bullshit we have to suffer today:

-The entire United Nations System of Organizations including the World Health Organization, World Bank, etc.


-Governments of so-called, First World countries

The empire never dies folks....not until some un-engineered, natural world-wide catastrophe takes place. It simply becomes more wily and complex.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Honestly, I don't think its fair to use real people as symbols of anything, let alone evil. I'm sure Hitler had some good qualities too, its just that none of us want to recognize them.

For that reason I would prefer use of mythical characters like Lucifer or Maya.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Hitler only had one good quality: he knew when he was defeated and killed himself. All philosophical bull**** aside, it's perfectly fitting to use him as a symbol of evil.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Napoleon perhaps, or Robespierre?

I mean, Robespiere was eventually executed. Even the French aren't going to rah-rah for him too much?

Genghis Khan or Attila The Hun? I suppose you'll find fans.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
My vote: Pol Pot. He killed 20% of his own people. 20%!!!
Irony note: Amused to see Tom Paine invoking Pharoh. For many years, it was HE who was villified, due to his intelligent writings on religion. Historically, Europeans often used Atilla and the Huns as examples of evil.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
You guys need to read more.
Read about the hill Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde, gadding about Asia and stacking mountains of tens of thousands of freshly cut heads in Baghdad, the Indus Valley, and hundreds of other cities and towns.
The Mongols get my vote.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Hey hmm...

It had a reason, but Miss Cellania deleted Ryan's offensive comment. So now it just looks like I don't know how to spell ignorance myself.

Miss C, if you want to delete my reply to Ryan's comment, you can. It's obviously causing confusion when read out of context.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 13 comments

Email This Post to a Friend
"Who Embodied Evil Before Hitler?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More