- "It has been this way ever since there has been a Ra's. You see, it is the final act of ascension, the transformation to Demon's Head. The erasure of one's former life, former home. Now, my predecessor, he wiped away Alexandria, Egypt, with cholera in 1609."
- —Ra's al Ghul on his predecessor[src]
"Ra's al Ghul" (before 1609 - before 1958) was a title wielded by an otherwise unidentified man. He was the leader of the League of Assassins and the predecessor to another unnamed man (prior to the rise of Malcolm Merlyn), who assumed the title of Ra's al Ghul.
Becoming Ra's al Ghul
As a final step into become Ra's al Ghul, the man unleashed cholera on Alexandria, Egypt sometime in 1609. At some point in the past, Ra's offered the role as leader of the League of Assassins to an unnamed man, giving him the option to either leave with no word to his family, or watch them killed before him. He told him a phrase in an ancient dialect that would soon die out, "the tale to be told begins thus", meaning that there was no choice in the matter, that the man would have to become the next Ra's al Ghul, and he eventually did. At the same time, the man recruited Damien Darhk and the two men became his horsemen. Ra's eventually chose the former as his heir, ordering him to execute the latter, though Damien managed to escape.
The man later ordered his heir to wipe out his former village.
Ra's al Ghul was described to be extremely ruthless. When his successor declined his offer to succeed him, he waited until he had enough leverage to force him to take the title. The chance came when his successor started a family and he threatened to torture his family before killing them if he did not accept the offer to succeed him.