History teems with charismatic individuals who had the power to sway minds, gather followings, and lead their people to the promised land-or to hell and beyond. Some founded religions or empires; others left behind them trails of broken lives, scorched earth and death on a massive scale. Great figures-or psychopaths? Shepherds or wolves? This course examines narratives of such leaders and their followers from ancient to medieval times, and on to the totalitarian states and personality cults of the modern age.