The most famous traitors in history

2023-04-21 08:38:00, Kuriozitete CNA
The most famous traitors in history
Illustrative photo

The worst enemy is the one who was once your friend. According to the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, the ninth and deepest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors. Throughout history, men and women have sold out their friends, families, and homeland, for gold or glory. Betrayal is hard to forgive, and the worst cases are still talked about with disgust today. Here are the most famous traitors in history:

Vidkun Quisling

The most famous traitors in history

The man whose last name entered the vocabulary of many languages ??of the world as a synonym for treason was a Norwegian soldier and politician who sold Norway to the Nazis. Quisling was very anti-Semitic, and founded his own version of the National Socialist Party, before the Nazis took over.

But from the beginning it was very unpopular. In 1933, his party received only 2.2 percent of the vote, and 3 years later only 1.8 percent. Unable to win otherwise, Quisling asked the Nazis to invade his country during a visit to Germany in 1939.

A year later, the Nazis arrived in Norway, and Quisling took the opportunity to announce himself as the country's new prime minister. But his rise to power was met with bombs and fires in Oslo by the angry population. Under the new regime, Quisling launched a crusade against the Jews. He imprisoned many of them, and sent many men and women to Auschwitz. A few months after the war, he was sentenced to death and shot.

La Malinke

The most famous traitors in history

Otherwise known as Malinal or Dona Marina, she was once the girlfriend of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez. In Mexico, it is synonymous with treason. The daughter of a local tribal chief, Malinke was sold into slavery after her father's death, and was eventually given to the Spanish as a gift along with several other women.

Being smart and knowing several languages, she began to work as a translator for the invaders, and became an invaluable guide for them. Although Cortes doesn't say much about her in his letters, we do know that she had more than one child, and saved his life on at least one occasion, after discovering a plot against him. The information that Malinke gave to the Spanish helped them conquer the Aztec capital Tenoctitlan and the entire famous empire.

Judas Iscariot

The most famous traitors in history

He is perhaps the most famous traitor of all time, as he betrayed the very son of God for 30 pieces of silver. According to the Bible, Judas made a pact with the Jewish priests to hand Jesus over to the Romans in exchange for money. While wandering in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, Judas kissed Jesus to identify him to the Romans.

After the crucifixion of Jesus, Matthew 27 tells us that Judas was horrified by what he had done: "...He threw away the silver coins, left the city and hanged himself in its surroundings." The biblical version of Judas is perhaps the most difficult to understand, as the Bible does not explain his motivation in great detail.

But the Gospels hint that Judas was greedy, calling him a thief. Meanwhile, the Gnostic "Gospel of Judas" presents us with an alternative Judas, who is innocent. In the mysterious text, it is Jesus who asks Judas to betray him so that he can save mankind.

The Rosenberg couple

Julius Rosenberg was a key member of a highly successful communist espionage network in the US. Among other things, he helped infiltrate the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, stealing information that may have helped the Soviets rapidly develop their nuclear weapon.

But both Julius and his wife, Ethel Rosenberg, would pay dearly for this betrayal. They were executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison. In their trial, it was claimed that Julius had been interested in communist ideas since university, while Ethel had also joined the New Communist League as a teenager.

The Cambridge Five

The most famous traitors in history

The Cambridge Five were the British equivalent of the Rosenbergs' espionage network. Five highly educated young men who were seduced by communism in the 1930s and ended up working for the Soviet Union. Kim Philby, Guy Barges, Donald McLean, Anthony Blue and John Cairncross were recruited by the Soviets while studying at Cambridge University.

Working for the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, they passed crucial secrets on US nuclear weapons to Moscow. The members of this group of traitors were never prosecuted, as they escaped and lived out the rest of their lives in the Soviet Union.

Benedict Arnold

The most famous traitors in history

Before he turned traitor, Arnold distinguished himself as a skilled soldier during the American Revolution. He achieved some notable successes at Fort Ticonderoga, and helped drive the British from Valcourt Island. But he felt ignored by the high command, so he decided to go over to the side of Great Britain.

Some historians believe that a decisive factor in Arnold's betrayal may have been his second wife. Peggy Shipen came from a family that was loyal to the British royal crown. In addition, the British offered Arnold a lot of money, which the latter needed to secure the dowry of his aristocratic wife.

Ephialtes of Thrace

The most famous traitors in history

Notorious for selling out noble Spartans and their allies at the Battle of Thermopylae, Ephialtes provided the Persians with valuable information that led to the massacre of his countrymen. During the Persian Wars, when a superpower of the time like Persia was about to devour the fragmented city-states of Greece, many of the latter banded together to fight their common enemy.

The 300 famous Spartan warriors, along with other Greeks, managed to block the Persian advance on the narrow mountain pass at Thermopylae. The narrow gap reduced the numerical advantage of the Persians, and enabled the Spartans and their allies to hold out for a surprisingly long time.

This is until the local shepherd, Ephialtes, told the Persian king that he knew another path. According to Herodotus, Ephialtes betrayed his countrymen, only because he expected a reward from the Persian king. After his betrayal, Ephialtes fled to Thessaly to avoid revenge. However he was killed by a man named Atenad.


The most famous traitors in history

During World War I, Péten was a decorated commander, famous for leading his troops to victory at the Battle of Verdun. But years later he collaborated with the Nazis, becoming the head of the Vichy government. At the end of the war,

Péten was sentenced to die as a traitor, but President Charles De Gaulle commuted his sentence.

He lived the rest of his life on the prison island of Il d'Zeu, where he died and was buried. However, some French citizens still admire Péte, claiming that he secretly supported the Allies./ Adapted from CNA.al

Received with cuts


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