Ferdinand I’s Museum of Mummies
Ferdinand I of Naples was the illegitimate son of Alfonso V of Aragon and King of Naples from 1458 to 1494.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, “Ferdinand was gifted with great courage and real political ability, but his method of government was vicious and disastrous. His financial administration was based on oppressive and dishonest monopolies, and he was mercilessly severe and utterly treacherous towards his enemies.” For example, his oppressive government led, in 1485, to a revolt amongst the nobility and, after managing to crush the uprising and promising many of the nobles general amnesty he had many of them treacherously murdered.
With regards to this, Jacob Burckhardt described Ferdinand’s recreational activities as follows: “his pleasures were of two kinds: he liked to have his opponents near him, either alive in well-guarded prisons, or dead and embalmed, dressed in the costume which they wore in their lifetime.” Fearing no one, he would take great pleasure in conducting his guests on a tour of his prized “museum of mummies” [Source]. Indeed, Ferdinand had a novel way of dealing with his enemies. After having them murdered, he had their bodies mummified. He kept them in a private ‘black museum’, dressed in the clothes that they had worn in life. If he suspected one of his subjects of plotting against him, he took him to visit the ‘museum’ as a deterrent! [Source]