Most manipulative people in history. Watch

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Rational Thinker
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#61
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#61
(Original post by Pastaferian)
I would nominate my #1 heroine, Cleopatra, last Pharaoh of Egypt. They say that "All political careers end in failure" and Cleopatra was no exception. But within the space of 20 years, she twice came close to becoming Mistress of the Mediterranean (ie, the Roman Empire, plus Egypt). As a woman, she could not lead troops into battle, but if she had been a man, I think she would have succeeded. However, as generalship was not an option, her only option was to persuade others to do it for her.

Her alliances with Gaius Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius are well-known. Less well-known are accomplishments such as:
  • ousting her co-ruler (and brother) within months of ascending to the throne (aged 18)
  • courting favour with native Egyptians by identifying herself with the goddess Isis, and by learning their language (her dynasty had only spoken Greek before, being descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals - she spoke 7 languages fluently)
  • surviving politically dangerous early years when floods and famines ravaged the land
  • extracting herself from the capital (Alexandria) when a coup put her brother back on the throne (aged 21)
  • intriguing to return to Alexandria to meet Caesar (wrapped in a carpet) and ensuring that he did not annex Egypt to the Roman Empire (something many Romans were calling for)
  • living in Rome for two years, persuading senators to support Caesar's desire to be Dictator for life
  • escaping from Rome, and avoiding her many enemies, when Caesar was assassinated

Interesting, I always wondered why Rome did not just have Cleopatra assassinated and replaced with a less seductive individual, they could have done it so easily. The weakness of Julius Ceasar and Mark Anthony I suppose. Octavian was her problem I suppose, he could not be seduced and she had met her match. How suprised she must have been to learn that her boyfriends fleet had been obliterated and Octavian's troops were marching on Egypt. Her dreams of avarice had come to nothing.
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Pastaferian
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#62
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(Original post by Rational Thinker)
Interesting, I always wondered why Rome did not just have Cleopatra assassinated and replaced with a less seductive individual, they could have done it so easily. The weakness of Julius Ceasar and Mark Anthony I suppose. Octavian was her problem I suppose, he could not be seduced and she had met her match. How suprised she must have been to learn that her boyfriends fleet had been obliterated and Octavian's troops were marching on Egypt.
Rome was used to controlling eastern kingdoms using the concept of 'client kings', i.e., a monarch who paid tribute to Rome, and in the early days they would have expected to control her in this manner. But when Caesar met her, he was already on course to win the Civil War - moreover, at 52, he had no male heir. When he was assassinated four years later, he had his male heir (Caesarion), was Dictator of the Roman Empire, was effectively King of Egypt, and was about to embark on the conquest of the Persian Empire. As his partner, Cleopatra would (probably) have run Rome through his lieutenants, and would have worked to ensure his son and heir inherited this power. But Caesar died, so we'll never know.

Regarding the defeat of the fleet at Actium, it would have come as no surprise, as she was in the thick of it. But it wasn't really a battle - Anthony's forces had already been outmaneuvered and the 'battle' was a desperate attempt to break out. Even then, she survived in power in Egypt for another year, intriguing to secure the role of client king for her son Caesarion. But Octavian didn't fancy keeping Caesar's heir alive, and had him murdered. And so ended all her schemes.
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Rational Thinker
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#63
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#63
(Original post by Pastaferian)
Rome was used to controlling eastern kingdoms using the concept of 'client kings', i.e., a monarch who paid tribute to Rome, and in the early days they would have expected to control her in this manner. But when Caesar met her, he was already on course to win the Civil War - moreover, at 52, he had no male heir. When he was assassinated four years later, he had his male heir (Caesarion), was Dictator of the Roman Empire, was effectively King of Egypt, and was about to embark on the conquest of Persia. As his partner, Cleopatra would (probably) have run Rome through his lieutenants, and would have worked to ensure his son and heir inherited this power. But Caesar died, so we'll never know.

Regarding the defeat of the fleet at Actium, it would have come as no surprise, as she was in the thick of it. But it wasn't really a battle - Anthony's forces had already been outmaneuvered and the 'battle' was a desperate attempt to break out. Even then, she survived in power in Egypt for another year, intriguing to secure the role of client king for her son Caesarion. But Octavian didn't fancy keeping Caesar's heir alive, and had him murdered. And so ended all her schemes.
Interesting and an excellent reply! I am curious as to why Octavion did not have Cleopatra immediately executed upon his victory. She was a machiavellian character and it would make sense to remove the threat she possessed as soon as possible. I am sure he could have found someone to fill the vacuum?
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CryptoidAlien
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#64
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(Original post by Rational Thinker)
Hello, as your average person is shockingly ignorant and massively foolish, I thought it would be appropriate to create a thread to those individuals who have managed to manipulate everyone and everything in history.

Personally I am going for Joseph Stalin. Not only was he exceptionally intelligent. (Only Lenin was more well read in the Bolshevik's but he played left and right off against each other ( left being Kamnev and Zinoviev and right being Bukharin) in an amazing way. Oh he was completely ruthless, but ruthlessness does not mean a lack of intelligence. Stalin edited his opponents out of photographs and even the Vatican that most secretive of organisations wanted to ally with him. We must remember that the Bolshevik's were more than often not comprised of highly intelligent people such as Trostsky, so not your average foolish person and this means that Stalin's ruthlesssness and cunning is even more enhanced.

TL;DR Stalin ruthless but brillant, who do you think was the most manipulative person in history?
Prophet Muhammad, Leon Trotsky, Carl Marx, The Labour Party.
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Rational Thinker
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#65
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(Original post by CryptoidAlien)
Prophet Muhammad, Leon Trotsky, Carl Marx, The Labour Party.
Is it not Karl Marx? Why Trostky rather than Stalin and which Labour party? New or old?
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Pastaferian
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#66
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(Original post by Rational Thinker)
Interesting and an excellent reply! I am curious as to why Octavion did not have Cleopatra immediately executed upon his victory. She was a machiavellian character and it would make sense to remove the threat she possessed as soon as possible. I am sure he could have found someone to fill the vacuum?
Roman tradition was that a victorious general celebrated a triumph back in Rome, at which captives and the spoils of war would be paraded through the streets. Winning a campaign was one thing, but you won hearts and minds by holding a lavish triumph, putting on games, and distributing money and corn to the populace. Ideally, Octavian would have liked to parade Cleopatra through the streets in chains, and she would have been well aware of that (also that captives were usually strangled after the parade). Legend has it that she was negotiating to agree to be paraded, in exchange for her teenage son being recognised as Rome's client king, but Octavian wouldn't agree, and so she committed suicide before being captured. There was never an opportunity for Octavian to execute her, as she never fell into Roman hands. Caesarion was also murdered, and Octavian ruled Egypt through a personally appointed Prefect, instead of sending successive Governors.

She was indeed Machiavellian, also intelligent, talented, charismatic, and maybe beautiful. She's by far my favourite female character from history. For anyone who is interested in her life, I'd recommend the novel 'The Memoirs of Cleopatra' by Margaret George.
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Rational Thinker
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#67
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(Original post by Pastaferian)
Roman tradition was that a victorious general celebrated a triumph back in Rome, at which captives and the spoils of war would be paraded through the streets. Winning a campaign was one thing, but you won hearts and minds by holding a lavish triumph, putting on games, and distributing money and corn to the populace. Ideally, Octavian would have liked to parade Cleopatra through the streets in chains, and she would have been well aware of that (also that captives were usually strangled after the parade). Legend has it that she was negotiating to agree to be paraded, in exchange for her teenage son being recognised as Rome's client king, but Octavian wouldn't agree, and so she committed suicide before being captured. There was never an opportunity for Octavian to execute her, as she never fell into Roman hands. Caesarion was also murdered, and Octavian ruled Egypt through a personally appointed Prefect, instead of sending successive Governors.

She was indeed Machiavellian, also intelligent, talented, charismatic, and maybe beautiful. She's by far my favourite female character from history. For anyone who is interested in her life, I'd recommend the novel 'The Memoirs of Cleopatra' by Margaret George.
Interesting, I have read about Cleopatra before but never that she was willing to sacrifice herself for her son. I am also impressed that she did not appear to have suffer any developmental disorders which when you consider that the dynasty she belonged to were strongly interbred this is saying something. I think with Octavian she came up against someone who was unfortunately for her more than a match, he had his great uncle Gaius Julius Ceasar assassinated and so was prepared to be ruthless and intelligent. Interesting personalities Cleopatra and Octavion and also symbolic as the old Empire of Egypt declines and new one with Octavian emerges.
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groundcore
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#68
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I had an ex who was pretty manipulative
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Sir Fox
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#69
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I'm surprised only leaders in the spotlight are mentioned here.

What about Joseph Göbbels? He basically ruled the Third Reich's propaganda.
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Pastaferian
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#70
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(Original post by Rational Thinker)
Interesting, I have read about Cleopatra before but never that she was willing to sacrifice herself for her son. I am also impressed that she did not appear to have suffer any developmental disorders which when you consider that the dynasty she belonged to were strongly interbred this is saying something. I think with Octavian she came up against someone who was unfortunately for her more than a match, he had his great uncle Gaius Julius Ceasar assassinated and so was prepared to be ruthless and intelligent. Interesting personalities Cleopatra and Octavion and also symbolic as the old Empire of Egypt declines and new one with Octavian emerges.
I've never heard that Octavian was in on the plot to assassinate Caesar, and I'd doubt it was true. He was only 18, still dependent on Caesar financially, and for help in furthering his military and political career. He was also in Greece when the assassination occurred, about to take on an important role as a general in Caesar's planned invasion of Parthia. After the assassination, he inherited Caesar's huge fortune in theory, but had trouble collecting. Nevertheless, he was able to bribe his way into the Senate (technically, he was underage), to buy popularity by making donations to Rome's citizens, and gain the loyalty of several legions by similar means. Thereafter he had to battle politically and militarily to maintain a power base, something that would have come naturally if Caesar had lived longer. However, Caesar's intuition proved correct, and (as Augustus) Octavian eventually triumphed.
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WarriorInAWig
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#71
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Benjamin Netanyahu
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Sir Fox
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#72
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(Original post by Rational Thinker)
... he had his great uncle Gaius Julius Ceasar assassinated ...
You might want to reconsider that statement, there is no historic evidence whatsoever that Octavius was in any way implicated in the plot.
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nixonsjellybeans
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#73
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Rev. Jim Jones is a good shout on behalf of the wacky cults. Managed to build up so much popularity and money that he managed to shift him and his 'church' away to South America just as people were cottoning on.
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Jem12
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#74
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(Original post by MouldingMercury)
Ronald McDonald, he's taking over the world!
Macdonalds is causing addiction and health problems associated with obesity and high cholestrol.
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MouldingMercury
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#75
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(Original post by Jem12)
Macdonalds is causing addiction and health problems associated with obesity and high cholestrol.
Yep, and autism has gone up 40% since fast-food in America, making most of America...rather slow!
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Greenlaner
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#76
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#76
Saul Alinsky.
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Ndella
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#77
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Was actually going to say Lenin.
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Rational Thinker
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#78
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(Original post by Ndella)
Was actually going to say Lenin.
I thought of him. Also David Lloyd George.
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heyznothazy
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#79
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(Original post by Rational Thinker)
As for Hitler well he expressed kindness towards animals and disaproved of hunting.
*sacrcasm*... I am generally ok with cruelty but cruelty to animals, well thats a step too far!
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Cannotbelieveit
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#80
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Hitler, he managed to rally a whole nation behind his extremist beliefs.
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