Typically in military history, the greatest generals of all time, from Alexander the Great to Napoleon, are widely celebrated as having earned the right to do so for their brilliant warfare skills and impeccable victories that inspire generations to come. But there’s another side of the coin full of battlefield bumblers who served as excellent examples of contrast. Some were corrupt and consumed by hatred and greed, others were power-hungry but inept, and some were just downright idiotic—some of the most notorious military generals in history.

Quintus Servilius Caepio

A power-hungry opportunist, Quintus Servillius Caepio single-handedly raised himself amongst the worst of the worst Roman commanders because of his incompetence and inability to keep his greed and bigotry at bay. Born into a noble family, Caepio eased his way into the ranks and eventually became a skilled orator to effectively corrupt the public. He ultimately found himself en route to fight the Cimbri. This Germanic tribe conquered and settled in the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul for at least 12 years. Along his way, he started a pointless war to plunder a whopping 50,000 fifteen-pound gold bars and 10,000 fifteen-pound silver bars—a sum worth billions of dollars in today’s currency. He proceeded to ship the stolen wealth back to Rome.

However, the convoy was suspiciously ambushed by bandits who looted all the gold and left the silver to make it back home. His thirst for wealth was somehow an open secret, and thus many have believed that the General himself hired the brigands in exchange for splitting the stolen gold between them. Arriving at the base camp, Caepio was supposed to link his forces with Consul Gnaeus Mallius Maximus, a superior officer of a lower social class than him, which he refused to obey and shared camp with. Instead, he separated his legions from Maximus’ camp and devised a new strategy for the impending battle against the Cimbri.

While Maximus made significant progress in negotiations with the Cimbri, Caepio harshly attacked the Germanic tribe, ultimately jeopardizing the brewing peace treaty his superior officer was trying to push through, believing the tribe was weak. He overly overestimated them. Caepio and his men were utterly beaten that he merely escaped. His defeat emboldened the Cimbri to march toward Maximus’ and seize his camp. The sudden attack was so sudden that the general and his men didn’t have the time to rally defense and were easily overrun. In the end, the Romans lost an estimated 80,000 infantry and 40,000 mercenaries, and Roman cavalry, marking this as one of Rome’s worst defeats.

Unscathed, Caepio returned to Rome only to be stripped of his citizenship and sent to exile. Nonetheless, he was reportedly living a luxurious life throughout the remainder of his life because of the gold he had pocketed earlier—an awful general motivated by corruption and a notoriously exceptional thief.

Marcus Licinius Crassus

Another terrible Roman general on the list is Marcus Licinius Crassus, born in 115 BC and rose to prominence as a statesman, who later worked alongside Julius Caesar and Pompey “to challenge effectively the power of the Senate” during the last years of the Roman Republic. He later became the commander at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC.

But unlike Caepio, Crassus was not brass nor foolish. On the contrary, he was a competent general; however, more was needed to defeat Surenas, a Parthian commander with extraordinary warfare abilities. Not to mention that Crassus has been first and foremost a politician and general second, with priorities less favoring the latter.

As a young patrician, Crassus smartly utilized his family’s influence and wealth to get into the military and gain the necessary experience to further expand his Roman Republic status. As he additionally built his fortune and power, he came across Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar and togetherformed an unofficial power-sharing alliance called the “First Triumvirate,” which subsequently dominated Rome.” Crassus’ ambition to further climb the political ladder, he began leaping into more battles. His previous victories went up into his head, believing that with the supreme Roman military system, every conquest he’d embarked on would become as decisive as the last one. So, he went to embark on an unwarranted invasion of Parthia.