Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion

Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion










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When a man can present himself as a god, or at least as divinity’s chosen servant, and his supporters promote his fantasy, he can wield authority like no other.



A documentary series that explores history's ever-recurring rise of despotic rulers and examines how they portrayed themselves as gods in their quest for domination. This series looks at emperors and kings, tyrants and despots who succumbed to megalomania.
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 1
Men As Gods
  
It's a reality with a colorful history: Powerful leaders sometimes fall prey to grand delusions. A new thought-provoking series from Vision Media Productions
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 2
The Coming of the "Christian" Emperor
 
Was Constantine the Great a follower of Christ?
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 3
The Fall and Rise of the Roman Empire
 

The idea that political power can confer aspects of divinity on human leaders has remarkable longevity.
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 4
Aspects of Empire: Roman, Holy and German
   
A look at Otto the Great and his role in a reemerging Roman empire, this time in Germany.
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 5
Where the Sun Never Set: Charles V and the Defense of Christendom
   
The last emperor to be crowned by a pope, Charles V viewed himself as a soldier of God—with Mars and Neptune at his side.
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 6
I Am Called to Change the World
   
Described as the "restorer of religion, savior of the Church, anointed sovereign, living saint,” Napoleon was perhaps one of history’s most arrogant would-be messiahs.
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 7a
Hearts of Darkness
   
Mussolini and Hitler shared similar messianic delusions, yet they would never have risen to power if their publics had not provided the necessary support.
 

Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 8
Purging the People
  
Lenin rejected the idea of god-building and atheism was his state’s official belief system; but the use of traditional religion still played a part in securing popular support. Stalin encouraged this, using the deification of Lenin to his own advantage as he cast himself in the role of chosen successor.
 
Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion, Part 9
Oriental Christs
 
 
Manipulation of religious sentiment is an important element in the rise and rule of false messiahs. Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Kim Il-sung all claimed savior status, and all called on historical precedent and religious sentiment for legitimacy.