Beautiful True Romances from History
Couplings that should serve as inspiration, the most beautiful true romances from history are proof that love an conquer all.
There are a few universal things, no matter how far back you go into history: death, wrath, war, and love. Romances of a grand and majestic nature are often forgotten in the vast scheme of history. This is a mistake.
History has blessed us with beautiful true romances that remind us that history is not merely an account of wars fought and kingdoms rising in the wake of the dead, but a record of people and their lives. It is a reminder that mankind has loved in the past with all their hearts. It is a reminder that we need more than ever that, even in the face of horror, love keeps going on.
Hadrian and Antinous
Emperor Hadrian built a wall through England to keep the barbarians out of Roman territory. Beyond that, many forget Hadrian's life, especially not the woman who held his heart.
Antinous was no noblewoman, but a Greek scholar. She craved physical and intellectual stimulation. Hadrian was smitten with her almost immediately, craving to spend every moment he could alongside her.
While Antinous might have been overwhelmed when the Emperor of Rome requested her at her side, she did not refuse. Especially when he took her hunting through Africa, pursuing the dangers of the world alongside her emperor. Her love for him was solidified, however, when a wild lion, mad with hunger and fever, attacked her, only for Hadrian to plunge his spear through the lion's heart, killing it before the beast could carve a single gash on her person.
But there were many in court who did not approve of the marriage. There were those who craved the Emperor's attention. And, so, the Emperor and Antinous went on a hunting trip, conspirators drowned Antonius in the Nile.
But Hadrian had no clue of the plot to murder his bride. To him, the river had taken his true love. He became inconsolable... until he returned to Rome to declare that Antinous had been too good for this Earth, that the Gods had taken her to make a deity alongside them. He pointed to a star in the sky, and said that Antonius had ascended into the Heavens, and demanded that his people worshipped her.
Few men make their lovers Goddesses.
Heloise and Abelard
Immortalized by Alexander Pope's poetry, Heloise and Ablelard remains one of the most tragic love stories in history.
Heloise, in her time, was regarded as a brilliant woman, well versed in several languages and the early medical sciences. Though in low social standing, she was one of the few women of her era to rise to prominence due entirely to her brilliance.
She drew the eye of Pierre Abelard, a popular and much-older philosopher. He had been offered knighthood, but pursued higher education instead. Abelard decided to become her personal tutor, teaching her important lessons in medicine and philosophy. The two became close through their work together, first as a teacher and student, but, soon, Pierre could no longer resist Heloise's brilliant mind and smiles, nor could she resist his intellect and affection for her.
But Heloise was of low-social standing, and the two could not be publicly wed without a scandal taking place. Heloise's ward, her uncle Fulbert, consented in allowing Abelard to live in with them to help better his niece's studies... but then Heloise became pregnant.
Abelard managed to send Heloise to his sister's as she became round and full with child, giving birth to a son (who, sadly, died young). Fulbert became furious, and demanded that Heloise and her lover married. The two consented to a hidden marriage, which Fulbert, now driven to destroy Abelard, revealed to the world. Horrified by the scrutiny his now-bride faced, Abelard helped Heloise enter a nunnery, where she would become a nun.
He did this to protect her from public scrutiny.
But he could not protect himself.
Fulbert and his friends castrated Abelard through the authority given to them by the courts, ruining Abelard's reputation and noble standings. He would become a monk, and, thanks to Fulbert's constant watch, never saw his beloved again.
But they talked through letters.
Until each of their dying days.
Ines de Castro and King Peter I
Ines de Castro was a noblewoman of Portugal. At the age of fifteen, she became the maid to Constance of Castille, who had been recently married to Peter de Castro (not Ines's blood relative, but linked on the family tree), the heir apparent to Portugal's throne. The marriage was one arranged by Peter's father, Alfonso IV, in order to unify his house and the House of Castille, who they were on poor terms with.
However, Peter had none of that, and found himself enraptured by Ines. He rarely saw his lawful bride, instead spending time with Ines, whom he realized he had truly powerful feelings for.
While Peter and Constance did bare a child, he was frail. And only one. Peter had several children with Ines, and all were strong, sturdy children. Alfonso IV feared that, should Constance's son perish, Peter's heir would end up being a child of lesser birth produced out of wedlock.
Things became worse when Constance grew sick and died.
Alfonso tried to find a new political bride for his son, but Peter refused to wed anyone other than his Constance. The King banished Ines, but Peter refused to abandon her. They married in secret, thus, as far as Peter understood, making her the new Queen of Portugal.
But the King knew none of this, nor, most likely, would he have cared. Ines was imprisoned by Alfonso, but, knowing this was not enough to keep his son from her, sent assassins after her. While with her young children, killers pinned Ines to the wall, and carved off her head.
Peter did not take this kindly.
He tracked the killers down, and, dragging them in public, ripped their hearts out with bare hands for pulverizing his own heart when they killed his lover. Upon becoming King, Peter exhumed his lover's body, brought her to court, and demanded that all of nobility regard Ines de Castro as the true queen.
Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas
Oscar Wilde remains one of the most famous writers of the 19th Century. He had two children with his wife, but, for many years, felt unfulfilled in his personal life. That is, of course, until he met Lord Alfred Douglas, son of the Marquess of Queensbury. The two first lingered near one another as friends, but their secret affections toward one another could remain hidden for so long.
The two men, you see, were homosexuals in a time where homosexuality was condemnable by death or castration.
Douglas's father, upon learning of Wilde's affair with his son, sent a card to Wilde's social club "To Oscar Wilde – Posing as a Sodomite." Sodomy charges were a serious charge, as Wilde would soon learn. Wilde tried to sue for libel, but all this managed was to put rumors of his affair into the center stage of England.
In 1895, The Marquess used his connections in court to charge Wilde with public indecency, charging him to two years of hard labor. Wilde's wife took the children and left. Only Douglas remained, writing to the Queen and courts in a desperate plea to free his beloved.
When Wilde finally left prison, he had been physically and emotionally broken by the experience. He remained a vagrant for the last few years of his life, with Douglas his only form of support.
In 1900, Wilde died. His only companion was the man who loved him.
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Shah Jahan reigned as the fifth Mughal Emperor, reigning over India and nearby regions for thirty years. Many regard him as the greatest of all the Mughal Emperors. While he had many wives over the course of his life, few compared to Mumtaz Mahal, his third and dearest wife.
Mumtaz Mahal was Shah Jahan's intellectual equal, just as quick and clever as him, as well as politically astute. More than just lovers, the two governed their territory with brilliance. She was his advisor as well as his lover.
She bared him many children, but, at the age of 37, she had particularly long labor. She bled heavily, and, eventually, could bleed no more. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal's children were distraught. Their eldest daughter started giving gems to the poor, in hope that the good karma could elevate her mother's soul to a higher incarnation.
But Shah Jahan was not content with that.
For the next several years, he saw to construct the greatest tomb for his beloved. A tribute that could match the expanse of his love and affection for her.
When the Taj Mahal was completed, Shah Jahan laid Mumtaz Mahal to rest within it.
When he died, they placed his body beside hers.