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10 Historical Figures Who Were the Giant Trolls of Their Era

6. Marcel Duchamp

In 1917, Marcel Duchamp actually submitted a urinal as an art piece to the Society of Independent Artist’s salon in New York under a pseudonym. As they claimed to accept any artwork if the artist paid the application fee. Duchamp was a member of the Society board that was set to approve art pieces. He also spread rumors about another piece of artwork he is working on, so people wouldn’t suspect his urinal artwork.

Marcel Duchamp
Image Credit: Man Ray/ Yale University Art Gallery via, Gary Stevens/Flickr

On 9th April 1917, Marcel Duchamp was a society board member of an absurd and glaring art event in the 20th century. Art event members claimed that they would accept any artwork as long as participants had paid the application fee.

Probably to test this claim, Marcel Duchamp submitted a urinal as an art piece to the Society of Independent Artist’s salon in New York. He named his art “Fountain.” It was an upside-down urinal signed and also dated with the denomination “R. Mutt, 1917.” The members of the Society’s board rejected Duchamp’s art piece by declaring it was not true art.

They covered up the situation by saying it was a practical joke from an anonymous artist. Duchamp resigned from the position of society board member after this and also spread rumors that he was working on another piece of artwork, so people wouldn’t suspect him of the urinal artwork. (source)

7. Diogenes of Sinope

Diogenes was a Greek philosopher. He was known for his multiple, controversial philosophies. When Alexander captured the land where Diogenes was staying, he was excited to meet Diogenes. Alexander offered Diogenes anything he desired, to which Diogenes replied “’Yeah. Great. Move to the left. You’re blocking my sunlight.” Then Alexander responded, ‘If I weren’t Alexander, I would rather be Diogenes.’

Statue of Alexander The Great and Diogenes in Corinth. Image Credit: Sculptureholic/

Diogenes of Sinope, also known as “Diogenes the Cynic,” was a Greek philosopher. He was literally a savage and controversial personality in an ancient era known for his multiple, controversial philosophies. Some of his notorious philosophical stunts are walking all day with a lamp looking for an honest man.

One of his famous controversial stunts was when he met Alexander the Great. It was the time when Alexander conquered the town where Diogenes was staying. Alexander was curious to meet Diogenes and talk to the famous philosopher of that era.

When Alexander went to meet Diogenes, he was chilling in the morning sun. Alexander asked if there is anything he might do for him and also told him to ask anything he desired. To this Diogenes responded interestingly, “Yes, stand out of my sunlight.” Then Alexander said, “If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes.” (source)


8. Erik Thorvaldsson

Erik the Red was the person behind the naming of an icy place “Greenland.” He basically wanted people to go and live in his newfound, ice-covered land. So, he tricked people by naming an ice-covered island “Greenland.” He convinced people that it was a great place with lots of vegetation that holds a lot of future opportunities, so they go and live there.

Erik Thorvaldsson
Erik Thorvaldsson

Erik Thorvaldsson is also known as “Erik the Red,” was the man behind the naming of a place covered by ice as “Greenland.” During his exile, he explored the southern tip of the island later known as “Cape Farewell.” He explored the place for three years and came back.

Then, he convinced and tricked the people it is a great place full of future opportunities with lots of vegetation. He introduced that place as “Greenland.” People who had suffered from recent famine got convinced that “Greenland” holds many opportunities for them. Erik’s main idea was to lure as many possible people for a potential settlement. (source)

9. Zhuge Liang

Nearly 2,000 years ago, a Chinese general and a famous strategist, Zhuge Liang, saved his village with only a ragtag army. He just sat outside the gates sipping tea calmly. When the enemy arrived, they suspected that it was a trap and ordered a retreat.

Zhuge Liang
Image Credit:,

Zhuge Liang was a famous Chinese politician, military strategist, writer, and inventor. He was the most accomplished strategist of war at his time. He was also the author of Art of War. When an army of 150,000 people decided to attack Zhuge’s village, he had the only option to defend his town with the ragtag and unorganized army of about 100 troops.

In this life-and-death situation, he unexpectedly decided to sit outside the gates of his village and drink tea while opening his village gates wide open. He ordered his men to hide. When the enemy’s army arrived they suspected that it was a trap. The opposing general ordered his army to retreat. This way Zhuge Liang succeeded in defending his town against their enemy. (source)


10. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart didn’t like singer Adriana Ferrarese del Bene. She used to nod her head down on low and up on high notes. So he wrote a piece for her with low and high notes constantly. When she sang that song onstage, Mozart enjoyed her head bobbing like a chicken.

(Right) Mozart, (Left) Adriana Ferrarese del Bene. Image Credit: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts/

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the influential composer of the classic period. He didn’t like the singer Adriana Ferrarese del Bene because of her habit of bending her chin to her chest on low notes and flinging back her head on high notes.

Ferrarese was an opera singer, so Mozart intentionally wrote a piece for her named “Come Scoglio” with lots of jumps of high and low notes constantly. He intentionally did this to watch Ferrarese perform as her head bob like a chicken on stage. Mozart enjoyed the way Ferrarese sang. (source)


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