Ever wondered if historical figures were able to achieve success while being very drunk? Turns out, it’s not just possible, but it’s happened many times. Here’s a few who marked history with a cocktail in hand.
Alexander the Great–Alexander a great general and effective leader (at least in the beginning). This king from ancient Macedonia conquered much of the ancient world in just ten years, all before his untimely death at 32. During a famous bout with a friend who had saved Alex’s life in battle, the young emperor impaled him on a spear. People often chalk this up to the corruption that comes with absolute power, but historians now believe Alexander was drunk during this and many other infamous outbursts during his life.
Cleopatra–The “Lady of Drunkenness” was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, a country that always appreciated a stiff drink. Cleopatra was known for her cunning–and how well she wielded it against some of the most powerful men of her time, such as Julius Caesar. The famous queen spent most of her time with a drink in hand.She bathed in red wines, starting a rumor that it helped her stay youthful. It was a tradition among Egyptian monarchs that drunkenness improved your ability to commune with the gods. Further, Egyptian culture had blended with the Hellenic traditions taking the ancient world by storm (largely thanks to Alexander the Great), and Cleopatra led a group of female devotees to the Greek god Dionysus (or Bacchus in Roman myth). I guess next time someone says you need to slow down, you can just tell them you’re communing with Egyptian gods.
Mark Antony–Most famous for his tryst with the above mentioned Cleopatra shortly after Caesar’s death, Mark Antony was part of the triumvirate that took power in Rome. He held dominion over the African and Asian areas Rome controlled, including Egypt. Antony was the main figure of “On Drunkenness,” cautionary tale by philosopher Seneca the Younger about the dangers of overindulging. He was known for being a loud, cruel drunk, and often dressed as Bacchus to ride over his land in a chariot, spilling wine as he rode. It even earned him points among his soldier ranks: when he publicly drank from a footsoldier’s vessel, he shocked the higher classes and impressed the lower. Raise a glass to the ancient world next time you imbibe–we wouldn’t have such a variety of alcohol today without their efforts.