Love, in its myriad forms, has forever captivated humanity's imagination. It has been the muse behind timeless poetry, inspired grand gestures, and woven itself into the very fabric of history. Every epoch boasts tales of ardor that have transcended time, serving as testimonies to love's endurance amidst adversity. As women, many of us have grown up on tales of romance, each carrying its unique lesson, allure, and cautionary tales. Join us on a mesmerizing journey through time as we delve into the twelve most iconic love stories ever told. From royal rendezvous to tragic trysts, these tales aren't just stories—they are legacies of love that continue to touch hearts, reminding us of the incredible power of the human connection.
1 Cleopatra and Mark Antony ...
When: 31 BC
** Where:** Rome and Egypt
** What's So Special about Their Love:** These two had a love so strong, war was waged against them to break them up. When Mark Antony left his wife, Octavia, for the mesmerizing Cleopatra, Octavia's brother Octavian brought the army of Rome to destroy them. These two lovers were so entranced with each other that they committed suicide rather than be apart- the ultimate Romeo and Juliet true love story.
**Learn more: **about Cleopatra and Marc Antony's first meeting...
2 Napoleon and Josephine ...
** Where:** France
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Napoleon was immediately smitten when he saw the beautiful Josephine, but it took him years to woo her. Once they were together, theirs was a stormy romance full of infidelity and drama. When Josephine could not produce him an heir, Napoleon left her for another woman, and she died of a broken heart. Napoleon never got over Josephine - rumor has it that he carried violets from her garden in his locket until he died.
**Learn more: **about Napoleon and Josephine's love...
3 Juan and Evita Peron ...
** Where:** Argentina
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Juan Domingo and Evita were the ultimate political power couple. After raising herself up from poor beginnings, Evita charmed Juan Domingo and the two fell in love. They changed the entire scope of Argentinian government and became one of the most beloved political couples of the era. Just after one of their biggest political victories, Evita tragically died of cancer.
4 Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson ...
**When: ** 1900's
** Where:** England
** What's So Special about Their Love: ** Edward made big news - and big changes to the British monarchy - when he fell for the charming (and married!) Wallis Simpson. Wallis, an American who was unable to be a British queen, soon divorced her husband in 1934, and the two embarked on a wild romance. Edward became King of England in 1936, but he soon abdicated the throne to be married to the woman he loved.
Learn More: about Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson's love...
5 Voltaire and Emilie Du Chatelet ...
** Where:** France
** What's So Special about Their Love: ** Voltaire was a brilliant playwright and author who was beloved by French royal society, and Emilie was a young, intelligent socialite.
Emilie was married to the Marquis du Chatelet, but neither she nor Voltaire cared about what people thought - they went out and about together as a couple for the fifteen years until Emilie died, even living together in a house owned by her husband. These two were not only attracted to each other physically, but even more so attracted to each other's superior intellect.
6 Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra Federovna ...
**When: ** late 1800's - early 1900's
** Where:** Russia
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Nicholas, the future Czar of Russia, fell in love with the lovely German princess Alexandra. Against the wishes of both families, they were determined to be together, and were well-known for their public displays of affection! When the Bolsheviks took the Russian royal family captive, Alexandra and Nicholas were executed. Together.
7 Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor ...
** Where:** United States
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor starred together in many movies, including the story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra! Their chemistry and sexual attraction to each other could not be contained, even though they were both married to other people when their love story began.
They married, but their tumultuous relationship burned out quickly, and they divorced... only to remarry each other 16 months later in Africa!
8 Lord Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton ...
When: late 1700's
** Where: **England
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Emma is a famous beauty who was a muse to artist George Romney - her loveliness is featured in many of his paintings. Emma was married to Sir William Hamilton, while Lord Nelson was married to the Lady Fanny Nelson. When they met, the gorgeous Emma was so taken with Lord Nelson that she fainted against him, calling out, "Oh, God, is this possible?!" What a meeting! They lived together with her husband for several years in an audacious affair that captivated London.
**Learn More: **about Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton's love...
9 Tristan and Isolde ...
When: 1200's AD
** Where:** Ireland
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Tristan falls in love with his beloved uncle King Mark's wife, Isolde. Involved in a bitter love triangle where all parties have love and respect for the other, Tristan and Isolde cannot deny their passion for each other and ultimately begin an adulterous affair. When King Mark finds out, he flies into a rage and kills his nephew Tristan with a poisoned sword. When Isolde learns of his death and sees his corpse, she dies of grief and falls over upon him.
Learn More: watch a great romantic movie called Tristan and Isolde...
Pyramus and Thisbe were two of the most famous love stories of all time. The tragic tale dates back to 331 BC in Babylonia, and is one of the oldest known love stories. It is often credited as being the first romantic tragedy.
Pyramus and Thisbe were childhood friends and neighbors who were forbidden to marry by their parents. Despite this, they were deeply in love and planned to elope together. However, their plan was foiled when a mountain lion attacked Thisbe, leaving her veil in its mouth. When Pyramus saw the veil, he assumed that she had been killed and took his own life in grief. When Thisbe returned and saw Pyramus dead, she killed herself with his sword.
The story of Pyramus and Thisbe has been told and retold throughout the centuries, inspiring countless works of art, literature, and film. It is often used to illustrate the power of love and the tragedy of its loss. The tale is also a reminder of the consequences of forbidden love and the power of fate. It is an enduring story that will remain timeless for generations to come.
10 Pyramus and Thisbe ...
**When: ** 331 BC
** Where:** Babylonia
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Pyramus was the most gorgeous man and Thisbe the most beautiful maiden in Babylonia. Neighbors and childhood friends, they were forbidden to marry by their parents. One night, they planned to meet and run away together, but a mountain lion attacked Thisbe. She escaped, but the mountain lion took her veil.
When Pyramus saw her bloodied veil in the mountain loin's mouth, he believed she'd been killed, and so he stabbed himself with his sword. When Thisbe saw Pyramus dead, she picked up his sword and killed herself also. What star-crossed lovers!
11 Prince Khurram and Mumtaz Mahal Begum ...
**When: ** 1600 AD
** Where: **India
** What's So Special about Their Love: ** Prince Khurrum (who later became Shah Jahan) fell passionately in love with the beautiful, graceful Arjumand Banu Begum (who he later renamed Mumtaz Mahal) when she was only fourteen. Although he had two other wives, Mumtaz Mahal was the love of his life. They traveled everywhere together, and when she died in childbirth delivering their fourteenth child, Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal be built in her honor.
12 Prince Saleem and Anarkali ...
When: 1615 AD
** Where:** Lahore
** What's So Special about Their Love:** Prince Saleem, son of Mughal Emperor Akbar, fell in love with the lovely slave girl Anarkali. Akbar and his wife Jodha were shamed by their son's love for a common servant, and they forbid him to see her. Instead, Prince Saleem declared war on his father.
After a battle, Akbar defeated his son and demanded that Saleem either surrender Anarkali or be killed. Prince Saleem chose death, but Anarkali could not see her love killed - instead, she gave her up life in exchange for one night with Prince Saleem. After their one night together, Akbar had her buried alive in a brick tomb that still stands today.
Do you have a romance that could rival one of history's best... or did I leave off your favorite tale? Let me know!
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