It is unfortunate that great men are forgotten, whilst the inconsequential live on eternally in the minds of the masses. One such person (and my favorite historical figure), is Mithradates Eupator VI. He was king of Pontus, a small country on the black sea, which itself was a nation that had broken away from the Seluceids (the primary heirs of the empire of Alexander the Great). His father died when he was young, and as was the law, his mother ruled until he came of age. She attempted to kill him once, favoring his younger brother (more apt to be a puppet than the willful Mithradates), but he managed to escape into the woods, becoming a bandit until his early adulthood. Somewhere along the line, he met the Agari, a circle of Scythian shamans, who taught him of the laws of the universe, and prepared for him a special tincture.
His mother had tried to kill him with the deadly poison Arsenic, but he was able to survive through the strength of his immune system. In an effort to combat such attempts at his life, the Agari slew some ducks from a lake nearby the palace, and used their blood as the base for an anti-poison. These were no ordinary ducks, of course; they lived by eating the leaves of plants high in arsenic, and so had developed a certain immunity towards it. The Agari mixed this blood with Arsenic itself, as well as strychnine, and a plethora of other deadly toxins, and gave the brew to the young King daily. As time went on, he built up a strong immunity, until eventually he would eat arsenic as a seasoning with no ill effects.
Once he reached adulthood, he returned home (purportedly on a horse covered in flecked gold) and deposed his mother and brother, imprisoning them both (lavishly, as befits royalty [and as was basically diplomatic law at this period]) until their deaths.
He first threw out the laws his mother had put in place, and in their stead enacted a variety of concepts from the Persian Sapistries and Greek Law. He would then improve the infrastructure substantially, as it had fallen into terrible disrepair under his mother's lax and luxurious rule.
The rest of the story, you shall have to wait to hear...but I promise you, that it is a worthy tale.