Dictators And Their Eccentricities

May 24, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

In light of the release of Sacha Baron Cohen latest film, The Dictator, Helier Cheung took a look at some real life autocrats whose eccentricities have come to define their reign. They include:

  • Emperor Caligula of Rome
    • His love of race horses led him to give his favourite horse an army of slaves who served the horse wine in golden goblets.
    • His troops were ordered to collect sea shells during a fight against the British.
  • Francois Duvalier of Haiti
    • He believed that voodoo spirits guarded him on the 22nd of every month and refused to leave his palace on any other day.
    • He believed that a voodoo curse he placed on US President John F. Kennedy led to his assassination on the 22nd of November.
    • He banned the boy scouts.
    • Some reports suggest he killed all black dogs in Haiti.
  • Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan
    • The 150m tall gold statue that he had built of himself was made to revolve so that it always faced the sun.
    • He named the month of January and a meteorite after himself.
    • He had an ice palace built in the capital.
  • Kim Jong-il of North Korea
    • State media reports that he scored a perfect 300 the first time he bowled, and had five holes-in-one the first time he golfed.
    • His fear of flying meant that he travelled by train. He had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day.
    • He loved movies so much that he kidnapped a South Korean film director and forced him to make films for the “Dear Leader”


To read why these men acted in these ways as well as more examples and other details, including the King of Scotland, the lake in the middle of a desert, and the double rainbow that appeared in the sky when one was born click here.

Source: BBC