Historic Acts of Vengeance: Revenge accounts of James Annesley, Boudicca, and Pierre Picaud

Fareeha Arshad

History is filled with revenge stories of all sorts.Wikimedia Commons

There is something about revenge — the allure, the impulse, and sometimes even the pettiness. People often believe that vengeance is the only solution to the hurt they have felt all along. However, history bears witness to numerous accounts of bitterly ‘sweet’ revenge. Let’s look at some of such instances in history when revenge was best served cold. Or was it?

1. The kidnapping of James Annesley

A portrait of James Annesley.Wikimedia Commons

Nobody’s life is in more danger than the person who is born into royalty and has a place in the long line of succession. One such person was James Annesley, the son of Lord Altham and the grandson of the first Duke of Buckingham and Normandy.

After Annesley’s birth, rumours about his mother’s infidelity spread like a fire, which angered Lord Altham so much that he rejected the mother-son duo and threw them out of the house. Life worsened for Annesley since then. He was kidnapped and sent off to Delaware, where he was worked as an indentured servant for several months.

It turns out the person behind the tragic life Annesley and his mother was forced to live was because of his uncle, Richard Annesley, whose sole purpose was to clear the line to the Earldom of Anglesey. Yet, despite the challenges junior Annesley faced throughout his life, he overcame the difficulties and returned to Ireland to claim his birthright.

When the uncle got to know about Annesley’s return, he went berserk and ordered the assassination of his nephew to remove the only factor stopping him from claiming the Earldom. However, his attempts at killing the stubborn young Annesley went in vain. He then tried to prove the ‘illitimatacy’ of James Annesley, which again was unsuccessful.

Finally, the court concluded that James Annesley was the deserving heir to the Earldom of Anglesey. But, unfortunately, before James could live the life was born to inherit, he passed away. Despite the line being cleared for the uncle, the reputation of the senior Annesley was destroyed beyond repair, and he too passed away soon.

2. The Iceni rebellion

The ruler of Celts, Prasutagus, married Boudicca, and together they had two beautiful daughters who were declared the heir to the throne. However, before they could claim their birthright, the two girls were assaulted by the Romans while their mother was tortured.

Though the Celts were allied to the Romans, this unexpected treacherous act riled Boudicca. She ordered to attack against their powerful ex-allies and started the Iceni Rebellion in 60 A.D. She set fire in the Roman Britain towns of Verulamium, Camulodunum, and Londinium and as many as 70,000 civilians were killed during her revenge spree against the Roman conquest of Britain.

3. The vengeance of Pierre Picaud

According to many historians, Pierre Picaud could have been the basis of Alexandre Dumas’s character, Edmond Dantes, in the book The Count of Monte Cristo. Picaud was a local shoemaker in nineteenth-century France who led an everyday life and was to marry a rich, beautiful woman in the early 1800s.

Unfortunately, before he could enter into what could have been some of the best moments of his life, Picaud was betrayed by his friends, who accused him of being a spy for England. This led him to be unjustly jailed for seven years in the Fenestrelle fortress. Not wanting to sit around and face the punishment he didn’t deserve, Picaud dug a tunnel that connected the neighbouring cell of an Italian priest and slowly became close friends with him.

A year later, before the priest breathed his last, he left Picaud with a hidden treasure that lay in Milan. When Picaud was finally released in 1814, he set out to Milan to retrieve the treasure and plotted his revenge against his ex-friends, who got him to jail in the first place.

Picaud soon discovered that one of his former friends, Loupian, had married his fiancee, whom Picaud was to marry. He then destroyed Loupian and his entire family, leaving him penniless and friendless, only to kill him in the end.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I write about current affairs, history, science, and lifestyle.

Texas State

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