The story is interesting for the appearance of numerous impostors in it. The most often known cases are when someone declared himself to be a real person in order to gain power or material gain. In Russian history, the most famous case was Tsar False Dmitry.
Often fraudsters pretend to be persons who never existed at all, it is enough just to remember the children of Lieutenant Schmidt. Interestingly, in the romantic era (XVIII-XIX centuries), a lot of fake princesses and natives of exotic peoples arose.
Today, impostors prefer to pretend to be movie and theater stars, famous athletes, and singers. Let's talk about the ten most famous impostors in the history of mankind, who, with one degree or another, used their legend to achieve their goals.
Gaumata. The first known impostor was Gaumata, who seized power in Persia as early as 522 BC. According to the official version, this Median priest took advantage of the absence in the country of the legitimate king Cambyses, who was with the army in Egypt, and raised an uprising. To have the right to the throne, Gaumata announced that he was Bardia, the younger brother of the king, who had been killed shortly before by him. Cambyses moved troops against Gaumata, but died on the way under mysterious circumstances. For 2 months, the authority of the impostor was recognized by all the peoples of the country. The first steps of the new king were the abolition of taxes for three months and military service. The internal policy of Gaumata was manifested by the destruction of the privileges of the Persian nobility, all this made the king very popular among the people. Naturally, dissatisfied people quickly appeared, especially since Gaumata did not appear in public, which raised doubts among the nobility. The daughter of one of them decided to check if the king's ears were not cut off, as they should have been on Gaumata. For this she agreed to spend the night with him. When the truth was revealed, a riot broke out. The conspirators destroyed not only Gaumata, but also many other priests, and Darius became the new king. Gaumata's reign lasted only 7 months. Several sources testify to this coup, almost all of them call Gaumata a magician, which rather testified not to his abilities, but to Median origin. Historians believe that it is impossible to unequivocally believe that Bardia was killed and did not rule. Perhaps the story with the false king was invented by Darius in order to subsequently enter the throne and justify his claims to power. A well-known document of that time, the Behistun inscription, which could hardly have been fabricated, testifies in favor of the story.
Alexander I Valas. Another famous impostor of antiquity was Alexander I Valas, king of Syria and Pergamum and ruler of the Seleucid state. This man was born in Smyrna and was of simple origin. However, over time, he began to appear as the son of King Antiochus, thereby claiming his rights to the Seleucid throne. Curiously, the fraud's claims were recognized by the Roman Senate, Pharaoh Ptolemy VI, and other rulers. The king of Egypt even gave his daughter to Alexander to wife. During the civil war, the king of Syria, Demetrius I was overthrown and at the head of the empire in 150 BC. the impostor stood up. He immediately took full advantage of the fruits of power, starting to lead a riotous lifestyle. The Ptolemies had a strong influence on him; coins with the face of the founder of the dynasty were even minted in the country. However, over time, the Egyptians turned away from Alexander, he was defeated, power in 145 BC. passed to the son of the lawful king. The impostor fled, was killed and beheaded.
Nero. The famous emperor Nero after his death left not only an unstable state and a bad memory (it is enough to recall only the first persecution of Christians!), But also several false Neroes. The prerequisites for their appearance were the fact that, despite Rome's dislike for the emperor, other provinces of the empire kept a good memory of him. The very news of the death of the ruler was announced by one person, and the funeral was not public. In 68 AD, the year of the death of Nero, the first impostor appears in Greece, who gathered around him beggars and slaves and captured the island of Tsitnu. However, the uprising was quickly suppressed. The next impostor, Terenty Maximus, also outwardly resembled the emperor. In addition, he knew how to play the kifared, like Nero and his predecessor. Despite the inconclusive stories about staying somewhere for 11 years, the impostor in 79 was able to attract many gullible people to his side, who helped him meet the king of Parthia. The swindler quickly attracted him to his side, who was in opposition to Rome and was thinking about the restoration of Nero. However, the nobleman, having received from Rome evidence of imposture, executed Terenty. Most likely, the political situation had also changed by that time.
Princess Margaret. The first known impostor in Europe was False Margaret. Princess Margaret was the daughter of King Eirik of Norway and the granddaughter of King Alexander of Scots. The chronicles say that the girl's mother died during childbirth in 1283. When the baby was two years old, her grandfather died and a power struggle began in Scotland. As a result, the parties agreed that it was Margaret who should become the ruler of the country, and due to her age, a regency council of six nobles was appointed so far. There were far-reaching plans that included the marriage of the princess to Prince Edward, the future king of England, and the unification of the two countries through this. However, at the age of 6, Margaret, or as she was called the Scottish Maid, died. This was the beginning of a new wave of civil strife, the struggle for power and independence. The appearance of the false princess was facilitated by the fact that the girl died without witnesses, it was unclear how and what she was ill with, thus there were rumors and gossip. In 1300, a certain person appeared in Norway from Germany, who announced that it was she who was Margarita, and her death was staged in order to seize power. History has no doubts that it was an impostor, because she looked about 40 years old, her hair was gray. How could this be with a seventeen-year-old girl? King Hakon, Margaret's uncle, conducted a thorough investigation. The adventure to seize the royal throne failed, because the nobility, unlike the minor nobles, did not support the princess. It is believed that large nobles who tried to come to power were behind the impostor. In 1301, False Margaret was burned at the stake and her husband beheaded. It is curious that in the Norwegian Bergen the cult of the holy martyr Margaret soon arose, a church was built, people were drawn here to worship her ashes. Numerous merchant's wills made the parish rich, but the Reformation destroyed the cathedral, like other Catholic buildings.
Lambert Simnel. There were cases when impostors performed their role not even of their own free will, as happened with Lambert Simnel (1477-1534). Degradation of royal power and defeat in the Hundred Years War led to a bloody feud in England known as the "War of the Roses". The parties destroyed all who could claim the throne, by the time the open war ended in 1486, only Edward Warwick, Edward IV's nephew, remained alive. Heinrich Tudor came to power, who soon executed the young pretender. The York party had no one to oppose the king, so it was decided to nominate an impostor. It is known that the applicant was born in Oxford, in a well-to-do family. At the age of 10, the boy was sent to study the theologian Simon, who secretly sympathized with Yorks. It was the priest who discovered the similarity of the child with the children of Edward IV. At first, the boy was planned to be married off to Richard of York, the youngest of the king's children, and when in 1486 a rumor about the death of Edward Warwick appeared, the plan changed. Behind Simon's back stood the nobility, who had prepared themselves prominent places in case of victory. The child received an excellent education, knowledge of court etiquette. A rumor was spread among the masses that the prince managed to escape and get to Margaret of Burgundy, who was the head of the Yorkists. It is not surprising that there they recognized Simnel as the Earl of Warwick, although before that she knew him perfectly. King Henry, trying to file a popular murmur, ordered to deliver from the Tower and show the real and quite alive Edward Warwick to people. But this did not convince people of the existence of the impostor. In 1487 the Yorkists landed in England with an army of mercenaries. In the decisive Battle of Stoke Field on 15 July, the rebels were defeated, and Lambert Simnel and his guardian Richard Simon were captured. The priest could not be executed because of his dignity, so he was sentenced to a long prison term. In Coventry, Simon publicly repented and spoke about the true name of the applicant, about the role assigned to him. The calculating king understood that a ten-year-old boy could not threaten his power himself, so he left alive and even gave a job in the royal kitchen. Simnel remained to serve at the court, reaching the rank of falconer and outliving the king.
Joan of Arc. Few people know, but the story of Jeanne d'Arc had a continuation in our vein. Jeanne des Armoise continued the story of the French Virgin. In 1436, 5 years after the burning of Joan, an unknown named Claude appeared in Lorraine, she was poorly dressed, rode a nag and had no means. She turned to the knight Nicolas Cyr, with whom the real Jeanne was familiar. The nobleman recognized her as a heroine and lent her money for a further journey. Here she met her brothers and other noble people, everyone recognized her as the real Jeanne. In Metz, the resurrected heroine created a real sensation, people gathered in droves to look at their idol. Soon Jeanne meets with dukes and counts, even takes part in intrigues. The Inquisition begins to take an interest in the girl, which cooled her activities. Soon Jeanne marries Senor Robert des Armoise, it is curious that he had previously seen a real "Orleans virgin". A marriage contract was drawn up, the bride received part of the land holdings, the coats of arms of the spouses were combined, and Jeanne used the original coat of arms, donated by the king once upon his elevation to the nobility. Over the next three years, the woman gave birth to her wife two sons, at which time the inhabitants of Orleans continued to pay for the mass for the peace of the soul of their heroine, not understanding whether to believe the rumors about her miraculous salvation. On July 24, 1439, Jeanne appeared in the city, she was given a magnificent reception and a huge amount of money was presented in gratitude for saving the city. The triumphant journey through the cities ended in Paris, where in 1440 the woman was arrested as an impostor and sentenced to pillory. King Charles, who was shamefully inactive during the war, was not profitable for the appearance of a national hero. Be that as it may, Jeanne allegedly confessed to the lie and repented, returning to her husband. However, there is still debate over whether Madame des Armoise was a real Jeanne or not. She herself did not say anything about how she escaped the fire, or about the five years of her life spent before she appeared in public. The very fact of the execution of the heroine is shrouded in mystery, perhaps the British, following some of their goals, saved Jeanne's life. Researchers are confused by the fact that too many people have recognized the heroine without pursuing any of their interests. There is a clear similarity between the Jeanne d'Arc bas-relief and the portrait of Jeanne des Armoise, but this may have been done on purpose to confirm the legend. This story remains unrevealed until the end, historians are looking for new evidence and facts, and the des Armoise family reveres Joan as their most glorious ancestor.
Maturin Bruno was the most famous of more than a hundred (!!!) impostors who proclaimed themselves Louis-Charles Bourbon. In 1789, this four-year-old prince became heir to the French throne, but in 1792 the monarchy fell and the royal family was imprisoned in the Temple. After the death of Louis XVI in 1793, his wife, Marie Antoinette, swears allegiance to the young Dauphin as king, and European countries also recognize him. However, in 1795, the ten-year-old king dies of tuberculosis and is buried in a common grave. Almost immediately there were rumors that the real king was able to survive and escape. This gave rise to a whole crowd of impostors. One of them, Maturin Bruno, was born into a shoemaker's family, leaving home at the age of 11. The intelligent boy appears to be the son of the baron, but over time he was exposed and for the period from 1795 to 1803 Bruno's traces are lost. Then Maturin wanders, ends up in the army, escapes and eventually finds refuge in America. In 1815, Bruno returns to France, appears to have disappeared 8 years before the rich man Filippo ... Soon the fraudster again begins to lead the life of a vagabond and it was then that he decided to introduce himself as Louis-Charles Bourbon. As in the case with other impostors, the same mechanism is triggered - the people suffering hardships are ready to recognize the "true" monarch. Rumors begin to creep across the country that the true king is in prison and is suffering hardships. Fearing riots, the impostor is transferred from one prison to another. In Rouen, real fame comes to him, everyone is allowed to see him, Bruno himself is going to write to his royal relatives and compose memoirs. On February 19, 1818, 65 jurors unanimously delivered a verdict - before them an impostor. However, the people do not believe this, believing that the accused was drunk. Bruno spent the rest of his days in different prisons and died presumably in 1825. It is interesting that the sister of Louis-Charles until her last days was sure that her brother had managed to escape. Only in 2000 was the DNA analysis of the heart of the young king, which was seized at an autopsy and has survived to this day. Experts have confirmed the royal origin of the organ, therefore, King Louis XVII really died in Temple, and all the numerous stories about his miraculous salvation are fiction.
Stefan Maly. The story of Stefan Maly is also interesting. It appeared in Montenegro in 1766, using several versions of its origin. He looked then about 35-37 years old. Stefan took a job as a farm laborer for a wealthy peasant and then became famous for his ability to heal and take money only from those whom he helped. The healer often talked with the sick about the unification of Montenegro, which was under Turkish rule. Soon the country was filled with rumors that the Russian Tsar Peter III did not die, but fled to one of the neighboring Slavic countries. It must be said that Montenegro has always perceived Russia as an older brother, expecting help from our country in getting rid of oppression. The first to recognize the Tsar in Stephen were the companions of Metropolitan Vasily Petrovich, who was at the court in 1753-1759. When the portrait of the emperor was found, everyone was convinced of the obvious similarity, while Stephen himself only contributed to the spread of rumors. Just a month later, Small was recognized by the Russian and Montenegrin tsars throughout the country. As a result, the question of the impostor was raised before the assembly of seven thousand, which unanimously decided to give Stephen the Small power over the state. However, when on November 2, 1767, envoys came to the impostor, he, to everyone's surprise, tore the letters and announced that he was giving up power while the civil strife continued in the country. Surprisingly, everyone obeyed the demand! And so Stephen, as a king, travels around the whole country, openly proclaiming himself Peter III.It is curious that the name "Stefan" was carved into the state seal. The Turks and neighboring countries took a wait and see attitude. The impostor led a wise internal policy - tribal discord was eradicated, and court decisions were made for robbery, murder and theft. A census was carried out in the country, and the church was separated from the state. In fact, under Stefan, Montenegro took the path of transformation into a state of the modern type. Having suffered painful defeats from the Venetians and Turks, the Montenegrins officially found an ally in the person of Russia. Stefan himself hid from enemies for a long time, being seriously wounded in 1770 continued to rule the country from the Brcheli monastery. But in 1773, a bribed servant killed the impostor, taking his head with him to receive a reward.
Tsar False Dmitry I. The most famous impostor in Russian history remained Tsar False Dmitry I. Tsarevich Dmitry (1582-1591), the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, formally did not have the right to the throne. After the accession of his brother, this was the last representative of the Moscow Rurikovich. According to the official version, while playing with his peers, the prince had an epileptic seizure, and he hit himself with a sharpened object in the throat, which caused his death. It is believed that the actual ruler Boris Godunov, in the struggle for power, could have been interested in the destruction of the tsarevich. In 1598, the Rurik dynasty was interrupted, and the Time of Troubles began in the country. In 1603, an impostor was declared in Poland, who proclaimed himself Dmitry, miraculously saved. The dynastic crisis, popular discontent and the terrible famine of 1601-1603 became the basis for the appearance of False Dmitry. There are several versions of the origin of the impostor, the main of them says that his name was Grigory Otrepiev, and he belonged to a noble but impoverished Lithuanian family. As a child, False Dmitry ended up in Moscow, served as the Romanovs and was tonsured a monk. It was there that he showed intelligence, starting to ask about the circumstances of Dmitry's death. Gregory's bragging about plans to seize the throne forces the authorities to act, the monk flees, eventually ending up in the Commonwealth. In 1604, Otrepiev went to the court of the Polish king Sigismund. He, pursuing his plans, recognizes False Dmitry and gives funds to hire his own army. Gregory makes an offer to the noblewoman Marina Mnishek, promising the future father-in-law 1 million gold pieces, and his wife - the lands of Pskov, Smolensk and Novgorod. On August 15, 1604, a motley army marched on Moscow. However, mediocre tactics led to the fact that False Dmitry got stuck in Putivl, receiving ambassadors there and making loud promises. In May 1605, Boris Godunov died, and part of the royal nobles went over to the side of the impostor. On June 20, 1605, False Dmitry solemnly entered the Kremlin. Even his mother, Queen Martha, recognized the impostor, and on July 30 he was crowned king. The people developed an ambiguous attitude towards the new tsar. On the one hand, he optimized taxes, improved the judicial system, and on the other, he violated the posts, brought the Poles into power and in 1606 married the Catholic Maria Mniszek. However, less than 10 days after the wedding, a riot was raised by Vasily Shuisky, as a result of which False Dmitry was killed, and outrages were committed over the body. However, soon, in 1607, another impostor appeared, who went down in history as False Dmitry II, who announced that he was Dmitry, and, accordingly, False Dmitry. Despite all her disgust, Marina Mnishek swore to him. Soon the new impostor gathers an impressive army, mainly from Poles, and in 1608 he encamped in Tushino, for which he received the nickname "Tushinsky thief". Many lands recognize the new False Dmitry, but when the Poles themselves begin an open intervention against Russia, the army falls apart, and False Dmitry himself perishes. This is how the history of the Russian Time of Troubles gave power to two impostors at once.
Princess Tarakanova. Another famous Russian swindler-impostor was Princess Tarakanova, posing as the daughter of Empress Elizabeth and her favorite Razumovsky. Where the impostor came from is still unclear. It was said that she was the daughter of either a baker or an innkeeper, but such versions could not explain her outstanding education and manners, knowledge of languages and tact. The adventurer was distinguished by rare beauty, she was smart, she loved luxury. Tarakanova was always surrounded by fans, which she shamelessly used all the time. The fraudster traveled across Europe, fleeing from creditors, under the names of the maiden Frank, Sultana Ali-Emete, Princess of Azov and Princess Elizabeth of Vladimir. She herself never used the name of Princess Tarakanova. In 1774, under the influence of the Poles, the impostor declared herself the daughter of Elizabeth, telling everyone the details of her life with her mother until she was nine years old and sending manifestos to European politicians. However, the beauty succumbed to the tricks of Alexei Orlov and at the behest of Catherine II was captured and in May 1775 taken to the Peter and Paul Fortress. It was here that she died of consumption in December, even hiding her true origin from the priest.