There’s nothing like the vaguely sadistic pleasure of a good revenge movie, from Uma Thurman hacking the limbs off the entire Japanese mafia to any of the 36 vengeance-crazed madmen Mel Gibson has played. But it’s all fantasy, right? Real people don’t go on a Payback-style path of destruction when they’re wronged.
Well, maybe you should consider…
Trung Trac and Trung Nhi were simple-living sisters in a small village sometime in first century Vietnam, who by the way had been trained from childhood in martial arts. This will become very important later.
The area at the time was ruled with an iron fist by the Chinese, who had a kind of zero tolerance policy when it came to their subsidiaries acting like they were all unique and independent. So when Trac’s husband broke with convention and took a stand, the Han warlords decided to respond with a display of brutality that would have done the Roman Empire proud.
They executed the outspoken rebel, and then went ahead and raped his widow Trac because why not.
OK, see this? This is my ass kicking face.
We now take it as pretty common knowledge that you just don’t mess with Vietnam, even if you’re an immensely powerful and technologically superior nation. They know kung fu, or something, and apparently every time they get invaded they simply level up.
Due to their traditional Confucian teachings, the Han Chinese considered women to be pretty useless. So they didn’t realize that Trac and Nhi had been schooled in badass martial arts since they were little girls and thus weren’t prepared to take any of Confucius’ shit.
To avenge her lost husband and restore freedom of her people, Trac and Nhi paired up to go Bruce Lee on Han China. They raised an army of 80,000 pissed off women who proceeded to crack open a can of Vietnamese-flavored whoopass on the foreign invaders, treating an army of men like a troop of boy scouts.
After liberating their home village, the sisters took their war further afield, ultimately driving the Chinese right out of Vietnam with their tails between their legs (or at least those of them who had somehow retained the use of their legs).
Although the sisters and their uprising were eventually defeated by the Han, their epic, final battle became the stuff that legends are made of. One tells of Phung Thi Chinh, a pregnant noblewoman in their army who gave birth on the battlefield, and fought the Chinese with her baby on her back. Another that the Chinese surprised the women by attacking them bare-ass naked, which may explain why China to this day refuses to acknowledge that any of it happened at all.
Among other things.
#5.Boudicca Takes a Bloody Chunk Out of Rome
The Roman Empire never really earned a reputation for fair play. In fact, if you ask a historian about the Roman Empire, they will describe something that sounds like a mash-up between the Star Wars Empire and Mordor.
So, when King Prasutagus of the Celtic Iceni tribe died, leaving his kingdom to his wife Boudicca and their two daughters, Rome had other plans: They invaded the Iceni and enslaved them. Boudicca and her daughters were flogged and raped. Unfortunately for Rome, they didn’t understand who they were fucking with.
All we have to know about Boudicca comes from Roman records, and they described her as “tall and terrible, with a great mass of red hair to her hips… she carried a spear to instill terror in all who saw her.” The Celts weren’t just another tribe of pushovers for Rome to trample. Turns out they were one of the most terrifying civilizations in the history of the world.
With an army of William Wallace’s angriest ancestors in tow, Boudicca plowed a fucking airport of destruction through Roman Britain. Their first target was Camulodunum, the nearby Roman outpost that also doubled as a country club for soldiers like the ones who raped Boudicca’s daughters. The entire city was destroyed in a brutal siege so horrific that Camulodunum’s statue of Victory collapsed “with its back turned as though it were fleeing the enemy.”
It took three Roman legions to bring her down. But before she’d been stopped, Boudicca had obliterated three Roman cities, burned Roman London to the ground and massacred 80,000 Roman squatters in a manner that only the Celts can appreciate.
There’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment that comes from killing tens of thousands of Italians.
The Republic of Florence was long divided when it came to Pope Boniface VIII. Half the country would have gladly gone down on him, while the other half hated him and probably called him “Pope Bonerface” behind his back.
Shit got real in 1301, when the Pope appointed a Charles de Valois as peacemaker for Tuscany. A local politician named Dante Alighieri figured old Bonerface was up to something ugly (as per usual), so he decided to travel to Rome to talk it out. In a dick move worthy of the Guinness Book of Records, the Pope invited Dante to stay a while as his personal guest while he secretly ordered de Valois to march into Florence with an armed militia to overthrow and execute the government and install a more Pope-friendly regime.
To top it off, Boniface then slapped a huge fine on Dante, as punishment for being in Rome. The new council of Florence passed a declaration that Dante could never return to the city by punishment of death. This order wasn’t repealed until 2008, about seven hundred years after this punishment would have ceased to be effective.
Fortunately, Dante’s one-piece had shoes built into them.
The Pope probably should have just killed him instead of being such a smartass, because Dante went on to personally vilify him in what became one of the most widely read and influential works of literature in the Western world, the Divine Comedy.
Even without the aid of a printing press, Dante’s brilliant rhyming style and use of the common Italian language assured that everyone would hear his side of the story. He put everyone who ever messed with him in his whole life in an ironic literary interpretation of Hell, reserving a special spot for Pope Boniface VIII.
In the epic poem, St. Peter himself denounces his papacy as “a blood-filled sewer,” and his papal throne on Earth “vacant.” The burn was so delicious that some families had to build entire churches to offset the damage Dante had done to their names and businesses. These days, the equivalent would be if Eminem released a 40-track album in which he personally named you and called you a fuckhead in every single song, and it went triple Platinum.
The sweetest plum in the up-yours basket is the fact that, since Dante became a superstar, Florence decided they weren’t too good for him after all, and spent the next seven hundred years begging the city of Revenna, where he died, to return his bones to the city who screwed him. They refuse even to this day. Burn.
Almost as epic as this burn.
#3.Enrico Dandolo’s Blind Vengeance
The Byzantine Empire was pretty much the Biff Tannen of Medieval Europe. When the Western Roman Empire began to crash and burn, their eastern equivalent, Byzantium, turned away and pretended not to hear their desperate pleas, thus establishing Byzantium’s reputation as the alpha-asshole on the European continent.
In 1171, the Byzantines decided to step up their schoolyard-style bullying on the small but thriving Republic of Venice; arresting their merchants for no reason, stealing their goods and repeatedly calling them buttheads. Naturally, Venice got pretty pissed off over this, but with little in the way of military might they appointed an old man namedEnrico Dandolo ambassador to smooth things over with the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos in the capital of Constantinople.
Emperor Manuel I Komnenos.
The Byzantines instead thought it would be more fun just to blind him, and continue to shove Venice around for another 14 years. Nevertheless, Enrico continued to serve as Venice’s emissary, despite being blinded, surrounded by Nia Vardalos fans and badgered with jokes about how to make a Venetian blind.
In 1204, 33 years after the Byzantines blinded him and subjugated his people, Enrico returned from Venice armed to the teeth, and directed the armies of the Fourth Crusade to sack the ever loving shit out of Constantinople.
It was an act of blind revenge (sorry) as brilliant as it was brutal, since it caught the entire Byzantine Empire completely with their pants down. The city had never fallen to an enemy before, but this little old blind guy managed to capture its capital, and with it, the entire Byzantine Empire.
With his revenge finally fulfilled, Enrico died the next year. In his 90s.
Why you never joke about a blind Venetian.
In 1807, a French dude named Pierre Picaud had just about everything on life’s menu going for him: a steady job as a cobbler, a home just outside the lovely French riviera and an insanely hot, wealthy French girlfriend. Everybody knows one jerk like that.
Pierre’s three friends Loupian, Solari and Chaubart always thought they’d like to take him down a notch, so when he eventually proposed, his buddies seized on the opportunity to plan the most dick bachelor party prank in history–by sending a letter to the feds accusing Pierre of being an English spy. We don’t know whether or not they also tied him naked to a lamp post.
Yeah, smile motherfucker. Wait till we get some rope.
He was arrested and imprisoned in the brutal Fenestrelle fortress for seven years without charge, and to make things even worse, his former friend Loupian spent that time comforting Pierre’s ex-fiance with his penis.
If you think this sounds like we’re just confusing The Count of Monte Cristo with reality, you’re half right. The guy who wrote that book, Alexandre Dumas, based his novel on police records detailing the true case of Pierre Picaud, whose incredible story of revenge was almost too strange to be believed even then.
Details are a little hazy, but at some point during Pierre’s imprisonment, he somehow became a millionaire. Apparently he had a wealthy cellmate named Father Torri with whom he struck up such a close friendship that Torri left him his fortune after he died. Either that, or he knocked over an armored car while on parole. Either way, Pierre made use of his newfound wealth to exact a tornado of justice worthy of a Death Wish sequel.
This is my warm-up gun.
Over the course of 10 years, Pierre used his new wealth to brutally trick, ruin and murder his oppressors. One by one, his former friends wound up mysteriously dead, but it was that cuckolding prick Loupian who got the shortest end of the stick. Pierre first tricked the man’s daughter into marrying a criminal (whom Pierre had arrested), killing the poor girl out of shock. Pierre then burned Loupian’s business to the ground, had Loupian’s son arrested and then finished things off by stabbing the already ruined man to death, which was probably a small mercy.
Pierre was eventually kidnapped and killed by a fourth friend, Allut, who knew about the plot to frame Pierre but failed to report it. According to the French police, his insanely detailed deathbed confession was the basis for the entire report, which means that the only reason we know about it at all is because Pierre didn’t live quite long enough to finish the job.
After Genghis Khan decapitated his way through Asia like a mustachioed threshing machine, the Mongolian Empire found direct contact with the Middle East for the first time in their history. As a sign of good will, Genghis sent a caravan into the neighboring Khwarezmid Empire consisting of 450 men and what we can only assume was one damn fine fruit basket.
Like this, but with diamonds and whores.
However, the Khwarezmids did not take kindly to these “people in felt tents,” and Governor Inalchuq of Otrar seized the caravan, killing all but one Mongol merchant.
Genghis, at this point, was willing to give his neighbors another chance, figuring that perhaps they simply didn’t realize who they were fucking with. He sent a delegation to Inalchuq’s boss, Shah Ala ad-Din Muhammad II, to ask what up. The Shah responded by shaving the heads of the Mongol ambassadors, and sent their interpreter home without a head.
Honestly? The guy that got decapitated had it easy.
When he learned about the massacre of his envoy, Genghis nodded and quietly went off into the mountains to count to 10 and compose himself. After thinking it through for a few days, he returned refreshed, then gave Khwarezmid a pounding unlike any the world would see until World War II.
Somehow, this painting fails to capture the carnage.
To avenge his lost messengers, Genghis deployed three of his “four dogs” of war, which included Subutai, better known as the greatest general who ever lived. After laying siege to Inalchuq’s citadel for six months with newly-acquired Chinese technologies, Genghis finally obtained a refund for his fruit basket; supposedly by pouring molten silver into Inalchuq’s eyes and mouth. Then he went after the Shah.
Genghis Khan stormed into Khwarezmia with up to 200,000 of the best trained soldiers in the world, destroyed an army five times his size, and even diverted rivers to wipe the Sultan’s birthplace off the map. By the time Genghis was finished, “not even dogs or cats” were spared. The entire empire was literally erased, its four million inhabitants reduced to mounds of skeletons. The Shah himself escaped to an island in the Caspian Sea, where he died of pleurisy, bankrupt and alone. Thus cementing the popular adage, “don’t kill the messenger.” Especially if he works for Genghis Khan.
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