Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Romantic couples from history: Part 1

Cleopatra and Marc Antony - I can't say that I knew much about Cleopatra or Marc Antony before now, which is why I'm hugely excited to have written this post. William Shakespeare wrote a play, Antony and Cleopatra, dramatising the events of history and the romance between these two. Cleopatra was a very strong, beautiful and intelligent woman who was aligned to both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, both (obviously) high-ranking Roman generals. When Marc Antony and Cleopatra were wed, Marc Antony bestowed her with a huge amount of land which caused jealousy and resentment to other Romans. War broke out and Marc Antony either heard news of Cleopatra's death and fell on his sword and died or was taken prisoner and committed suicide. Cleopatra, devastated, was also taken prisoner and arranged for a poisonous snake to be brought to her in order to commit suicide. What a sad, tragic love story!

Tristan and Isolde - The story of Tristan and Isolde has been told time and time again. Even so, I only became aware of them recently. Set in medieval times, during the reign of King Arthur - Isolde is the daughter of the King of Ireland, who is betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall. When King Mark sends his nephew, Tristan, to escort his bride-to-be back to Cornwall the two fall in love. And despite Isolde's marriage to King Mark, Tristan and Isolde carry on with their affair, despite both of their strong feelings of loyalty to King Mark.

Abelard and Heloise - You know, beloved, as the whole world knows, how much I have lost in you, how at one wretched stroke of fortune that supreme act of flagrant treachery robbed me of my very self in robbing me of you; and how my sorrow for my loss is nothing compared with what I feel for the manner in which I lost you. So wrote Abelard to his Heloise. In 12th century Paris, a young, beautiful and intelligent student, Heloise and her mentor, Abelard fall in love. Despite falling pregnant and being secretly wed, Heloise's uncle interferes and Heloise and Abelard and forced into becoming a nun and a monk. Despite the separation, the two's love continues for the next 20 years with the most romantic letters possible. Absolutely heart-breaking.

Later in the week, I will be posting a more recent list of romantic couples, but for now -

Can you think of any other romantic couples from history?


  1. Good picks! I was thinking I could come up with more, but everything I keep thinking of ended in tragedy. So...

  2. John and Abigail Adams are wonderful.

    Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, also one of my favorites.

    Mary and Percy Shelley, a love story I need to read more about.

    Prince Albert and Queen Victoria

    Annie Oakley and Frank Butler! :)

    ....I could probably go on and on for quite awhile, so I'll stop there for now!

  3. How far forward in history can we go? I was going to say Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning -- they are better than Abelard and Heloise because the really alarming thing that happened to Abelard (YOU know) doesn't happen to Robert Browning. Also because they are really sweet to each other.


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