10 Completely Misunderstood Historical Figures

Marie Antoinette: The last queen of France before the French Revolution, she is often vilified and famously misquoted as saying "Let them eat cake" in response to hearing that the French peasants had no bread.

Nikola Tesla: While now celebrated as a pioneer in electrical engineering and for his contributions to the development of alternating current technology

Gaius Julius Caesar: Commonly known for his military genius and for being the dictator of Rome

Cleopatra VII: Often reduced to a figure of seduction and romantic entanglements with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, Cleopatra was actually a shrewd and capable ruler

Vincent van Gogh: Popularly seen as the archetypical tortured artist who only sold one painting in his lifetime, van Gogh's work and life are often romanticized or oversimplified.

Alan Turing: A pioneering computer scientist and codebreaker during World War II, Turing's crucial role in deciphering Nazi codes is often overshadowed by his prosecution for homosexuality and subsequent death.

Joan of Arc: Known for her role in the French victory at Orléans during the Hundred Years' War, Joan of Arc has been mythologized in various ways.

Richard III of England: Traditionally depicted as a villainous usurper who murdered his nephews, the "Princes in the Tower," Richard III's reputation has been the subject of significant debate and reassessment.

Malcolm X: Often misunderstood due to his early rhetoric about racial separation, Malcolm X's views evolved over time to advocate for civil rights and racial unity.

Hernán Cortés: Known for his conquest of the Aztec Empire, Cortés is often either vilified as a brutal conqueror or glorified as a pioneering explorer.