Many poets and authors have tried to explain ‘love’ since a very long time. But the truth is it can only be felt not explained. Words are never enough to portray love! Love does things to us that we never knew would be possible. I have listed here 10 historical love stories that are exotic enough to spellbind you. Get romantic, explore ‘love’!
10. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler
Margaret Mitchell’s historical novel, Gone With the Wind, is an American classic. This book narrates the story of the love and hate relationship of the tempestuous pair Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Throughout the story the two of them experience a stormy passion. The flirtatious and promiscuous Scarlett was not sure about Captain Rhett Butler even though they had a lot in common. She realizes that she loves him while her fickle mindedness has already driven away Rhett who has grown tired waiting for her love. However the story ends ambiguously with Scarlett affirming, “Tomorrow is another day” hinting that she will try her best to win back Rhett. The 1939 movie version of this story which was directed by Victor Fleming is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made.
9. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Queen Victoria is the longest reigning monarch in Great Britain and longest reigning female monarch in the world. Her royal love story is memorable. Victoria married Albert who was her cousin in 1840. Even though the marriage was prearranged, Victoria fell deeply in love with him and Albert was also devoted and affectionate towards her. They truly loved each other and had nine children. Victoria was devastated when Albert died in 1861 and did not appear in public for three years. She finally resumed public life under the influence of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. But she wore black until she died indicating she was still mourning her dear prince’s death. Victoria mourned her beloved husband’s death for 40 years.
8. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of world, the magnificent monument located in the heart of India which melts the hearts of people with its beauty has a great love story behind it existence. Arjumand Banu was married to 15-year-old Shah Jahan who was the ruler of Mughal Empire when she was just a teenager. She was renamed Mumtaz Mahal and had 14 children with him. When Mumtaz was on her death bed due to complications during child birth Shah Jahan promised her that he would not remarry and build a mausoleum for her. It took nearly 22 years, 20000 workers and 1000 elephants to complete this monument called the ‘Taj Mahal’. Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son and imprisoned in the Agra fort where he spent his last years watching the monument he built for his beloved queen. He was buried next to Mumtaz after his death.
7. Pyramus and Thisbe
The love story of Pyramus and Thisbe is so heart touching. They are the epitome of selfless love. Pyramus and Thisbe were childhood friends who lived in neighboring houses. Pyramus was an attractive man and Thisbe was the fairest maiden in Babylonia. They both fell in love as they grew up. They decided to elope as their parents were against their marriage. Their plan was to meet in the nearby fields near a mulberry tree. Thisbe who reached first saw a lion with bloody jaws approaching a spring close to her to quench his thirst. Horrified, she ran to hide dropping her veil unknowingly in the hurry. The lion came to that spot and picked the veil with his blood drenched jaws. Just then Pyramus arrived at the place and was agonized at the sight of Thisbe’s veil in the bloody jaws of the lion. Heartbroken Pyramus pierced his own sword into his chest. Thisbe who came out of hiding, only more devastated to see what her lover has done to himself took the sword and killed herself. This story moves everyone who reads it!
6. Orpheus and Eurydice
This Greek tale is a story of two desperate lovers. Orpheus and Eurydice fell head over heels in love with each other. They were happily married and inseparable from each other. One unfortunate day, a serpent bit Eurydice killing her and she was descended to Hades. Sorrowful at her demise Orpheus sang very sad and grievous songs that made all the gods and nymphs to weep. He went to underworld and softened the heart of Hades who agreed to return his love to earth on a condition that he never sees her till they reach the upper world. It was a long journey to the upper world. As the hike almost finished Orpheus was overcome by passion to look whether his wife was behind him and as he turned back to see, she disappeared forever. It is believed that it is Orpheus’s spirit who guides the hands of musicians who are playing mournful music for lost love!
5. Odysseus and Penelope
This Greek pair proved that true love is worth waiting for! Odysseus, as we all know, is one of the popular heroes of Trojan War. War separated him from his wife soon after their marriage. They reconciled after 20 years when he came back for his love of life after the war was over. Only a few people understand sacrifice and faith like this twosome. Penelope resisted the numerous suitors who were enthusiastic to take her husband’s place. Odysseus was equally loyal and he rejected a beautiful sorceress’s proposal of everlasting love and eternal youth so that he can return home to his wife and son. We can see their undying love for each other through their story.
4. Napoleon and Josephine
At an age of 26 Napoleon took liking to Josephine who was a 32 year old widowed socialite with two children and married her. As the time went by, they both fell deeply in love with each other. As Napoleon’s power and wealth were increasing after his crowning as the emperor of France he wanted a son to carry on his royal lineage. But Josephine could not conceive and this eventually led to their split up. Despite having the love and passion they had to part their ways. Later he married 18-year-old Marie Louise and had a son. After overwhelming military losses he was exiled to islands of Elba. Josephine who was still miserable since their separation wrote him a letter asking him to allow her to join. He wrote back that it was impossible but she had died before receiving the letter. After escaping from Elba and returning to Paris, the first person he visited was the doctor who treated his Josephine and asked him the reason for her death. The doctor told him that he believed she died of heartbreak.
3. Tristan and Isolde
This great love story took place in the medieval times during King Arthur’s regime. Isolde was the daughter of King of Ireland and was engaged to King Mark of Cornwall. King Mark sent his nephew, Tristan, to Ireland to bring Isolde back to Cornwall. Isolde and Tristan fell in love with each other during the journey when they accidentally drank the love potion. Isolde married King Mark but still her love for Tristan would never die. They continued their affair behind King Mark’s back. When King Mark discovered their secret, Tristan left Cornwall and went to Brittany. Later Tristan married Iseult of Brittany whom he was attracted to because of her name being similar to his true love’s name. However he was not happy with his marriage because he still loved the real Isolde. When he fell ill, he sent Kaedin, Iseult’s brother and his friend to convince Isolde to return to him hoping that she would be able to cure him. He instructed Kaedin to hoist white sails if she agrees to come and black if she doesn’t. Iseult who overheard this lied that the sails were black even though she saw white sails when the ship returned. Tristan died of grief before Isolde arrived and Isolde died of broken heart when she found him dead. Both were buried side by side. This tragic adulterous love story of Tristan and Isolde has been iterated in various fables and manuscripts.
2. Cleopatra and Mark Antony
The most intriguing and touching love story of Antony and Cleopatra is a celebration of true love. It was love at first sight for them. The unison of these two powerful people established Egypt in a powerful position. Their relationship infuriated the Romans who were leery about the increasing power of Egyptians. All this could not stop Antony and Cleopatra from marrying. While fighting in a battle against Romans, Antony was given fake news that Cleopatra died. He killed himself with his sword unable to overcome the grief. Cleopatra was shocked to know about Antony’s death and took her own life. This pair epitomizes sacrifice which is the true form of love.
1. Romeo and Juliet
The most famous and tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet will be eternal in our hearts. This couple has become a synonym for love and inspired the present generation. The deep rooted differences between the Capulets and the Montagues prevented Romeo and Juliet from declaring their love openly. The two teenagers fell in love at the very first sight. They secretly married knowing that their families would never agree and risked everything for their love. Romeo, in anguish, killed Juliet’s cousin who had killed his best friend. As a result, the Prince ousted him from the city. Romeo spent the night secretly with Juliet and they made love for the first and last time. He left in the morning and kissed her passionately for one last time. Meanwhile Juliet’s marriage was fixed with Count of Paris. With the help of friar Laurence, she took a drug just before the marriage which put her into a death like coma for 42 hours. She was laid in the family crypt. Unluckily the messenger who was to tell Romeo the plan failed to reach him and Romeo believed that Juliet was dead. Heartbroken, he drank poison sitting beside his dear love to die with her. Juliet who awoke from her coma was shattered to see that her husband was dead. Unwilling to live without her love she stabbed herself with his dagger. Their deaths ended the feud between their families. Thus fate took the lives of the young and courageous star-crossed lovers!