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Thread: Most Famous Couples In History And Their Love Stories

  1. #1


    Most Famous Couples In History And Their Love Stories

    Antony and Cleopatra
    The last Pharaoh of Egypt and the dashing Roman general
    by David Johnson

    One of the most famous women in history, Cleopatra VII was the brilliant and beautiful last Pharaoh of Egypt. Although she is often portrayed as a femme fatale, Cleopatra was deeply religious and studied to be a nun. An accomplished mathematician and gifted linguist fluent in nine languages, Cleopatra was also skilled politician popular with her people.

    She married her younger brother, Ptolemy, and she became the mistress of the Roman general Julius Caesar. Following Caesar's death, Roman general Marc Antony went to Egypt to advance the growing power of Rome. Cleopatra captivated Antony. Their affair scandalized Roman society and bothered Roman politicians, who were suspicious of Egypt's power.

    Yet despite the risks, Antony and Cleopatra married in 36 B.C. The couple planned to conquer Rome. But in 31 B.C. the Roman general Octavian destroyed the combined forces of Antony and Cleopatra in the battle of Actium. Hearing a false report that Cleopatra was dead, Antony fell on his sword. With no hope left, Cleopatra induced a poisonous asp to bite her.

    Four thousand years of glorious Pharaonic rule was finally finished. Egypt became a Roman province. Octavian (later Augustus) became the first Roman Emperor, launching a new era in history.

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    Abelard and Heloise
    A monk and a nun whose love letters became world famous
    by David Johnson
    Abelard Loves Heloise

    The tragic story of Abelard and Heloise has resonated through the ages. Around 1100, Peter Abelard went to Paris to study at the school of Notre Dame. He gained a reputation as an outstanding philosopher.

    Fulbert, the canon of Notre Dame, hired Abelard to tutor his niece, Heloise. Abelard and the scholarly Heloise fell deeply in love, conceived a child, and were secretly married. But Fulbert was furious, so Abelard sent Heloise to safety in a convent.

    Thinking that he intended to abandon Heloise, Fulbert had his servants castrate Abelard while he slept. Abelard became a monk and devoted his life to learning. The heartbroken Heloise became a nun. Despite their separations and tribulations, Abelard and Heloise remained in love.

    Their poignant love letters were later published.

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    Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
    Grieving emperor who built the Taj Mahal for his late wife
    by David Johnson
    Shah Jahan Loves Mumtaz Mahal

    In 1612, a teenage girl, Arjumand Banu, married 15-year-old Shah Jahan, ruler of the Mughal Empire. Renamed Mumtaz Mahal, she bore Shah Jahan 14 children and became his favorite wife. After Mumtaz died in 1629, the grieving emperor resolved to create a fitting monument.

    It took 20,000 workers and 1,000 elephants nearly 20 years to complete this monument-the Taj Mahal.

    Built of white marble, the Taj sits on a sandstone platform. A 137-foot high dome tops the mausoleum. The interior is lavishly decorated in lapis lazuli, turquoise, agate, jasper, and colored marble. The exterior is paved with semiprecious stones that sparkle in the sun. The surrounding garden contains four water channels representing the four rivers of Islamic paradise.

    Shah Jahan was never able to complete a black marble mausoleum he planned for himself. Deposed by his son, Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the Red Fort of Agra, and spent lonely hours staring across the Jamuna River at the monument to his beloved queen. He was eventually buried beside her in the Taj Mahal.

  4. #4
    John Alden and Priscilla Mullins
    One of the earliest romances in the American colonies
    by David Johnson

    Immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1858 poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish, John Alden's marriage to Priscilla Mullins was one the earliest romances in the American colonies. While the story is not verifiable, many experts do believe it in fact happened.

    Alden and Mullins arrived on the Mayflower in 1630. Shortly thereafter, Standish, "a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of actions," according to Longfellow, took a liking to Mullins, "the loveliest maiden of Plymouth."

    However, although Standish was fearless in battle, he was too shy to confront Mullins directly, so he sent his young friend, Alden. The soft-spoken Alden was "Fair-haired, azure-eyed, with delicate Saxon complexion/Having the dew of his youth, and the beauty thereof. . ."

    After Alden had pleaded Standish's case, Mullins said, "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" It was clear that Alden and Mullins were in love, but the couple was afraid of offending Standish. When they received word that the captain had been killed fighting Indians, Alden and Mullins agreed to marry. At the end of the wedding, Standish, who had not been killed after all, appeared, and seeing what had transpired, gave the newlyweds his blessing and asked their forgiveness for his previous behavior.

    Alden and Mullins had 11 children and were among the founders of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts.

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    Abigail and John Adams
    A half-century love affair during the Revolutionary War
    by David Johnson

    Although she lived at a time when many women were not educated, Abigail Adams learned to read, developing an appreciation of current events. Her intellect attracted her to a young lawyer, John Adams, and they were married in 1764. It was an intellectual and romantic relationship that would last for more than 50 years.

    The Revolutionary War and other events often forced Adams to be away from home for long periods of time, so they wrote each other long affectionate letters.

    When she did join her husband, on diplomatic missions to Paris and London, and later in Washington, DC, Abigail was a valued partner, entertaining with style and observing people with interest.

    In 1801 the Adamses left the White House and retired to their farm in Quincy, Massachusetts, where they remained in contented companionship, for the next 17 years.

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    Robert and Elizabeth Browning
    A secret courtship between two legendary poets
    by David Johnson

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband, Robert Browning, led lives suited for leading Romantic poets. Their story contains all the elements-a secret courtship, elopement, love poems, and the beautiful Italian landscape.

    Writing poetry as a child, Elizabeth published a book, Poems, in 1844. The work impressed Browning, a poet himself, and he began a correspondence. The two later met and fell in love.

    Opposition from Elizabeth's father forced them to elope in 1846. They later fled to Italy, where they lived and worked for 15 years. Much of their work was inspired by their own long romance, including Elizabeth's Sonnets from the Portuguese. After Elizabeth's death in 1861, Browning returned to England, where he continued to write until his own death in 1889.

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    Marie and Pierre Curie
    Partners in love and science
    by David Johnson
    Marie Loves Pierre Curie

    Unable to continue her studies in Poland because universities did not admit women, Maria Sklodowska Curie traveled to Paris in 1891 to attend the Sorbonne.

    Known by the French "Marie," she spent every spare hour reading in the library or in the laboratory. The industrious student caught the eye of Pierre Curie, director one of the laboratories where Marie worked.

    Curie ardently wooed Marie and made several marriage proposals. They were finally married in 1895 and began their famous partnership. In 1898 they discovered polonium and radium. The Curies and scientist Henri Becquerel won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 for discovering radioactivity.

    When Curie died in 1904, Marie pledged to carry on their work. She took his place at the Sorbonne, becoming the school's first female teacher. In 1911 she became the first person to win a second Nobel Prize, this time for chemistry. She continued to experiment and lecture until her death of leukemia in 1934, driven by the memory of the man she loved.

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    Annie Oakley and Frank Butler
    Skilled rifle shots who inspired an American musical
    by David Johnson
    Annie Oakley Loves Frank Butler

    Annie Oakley (Phoebe Anne "Annie" Oakley Mozee) of Darke County, Ohio, was a tomboy from the start, and soon became known as a skilled rifle shot. In 1881, the famous Baughman and Butler shooting act was performing in Cincinnati. Star of the show, champion shot Frank E. Butler, boasted that he could beat any local marksman.

    Butler was amused when told a young woman had accepted his challenge. But Phoebe Ann won the contest. She also captured Butler's heart. They were married in 1882.

    Butler abandoned his career to manage hers. As "Annie Oakley" she joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, performing into the 1920s.

    Annie died in 1926. Her heartbroken husband died 18 days later. Their happy marriage had lasted 44 years. Irving Berlin immortalized this most American of love stories with his 1946 musical Annie Get Your Gun.

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    Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
    Broadway couple who reigned for 55 years
    by David Johnson
    Alfred Lunt Loves Lynn Fontanne

    Called the greatest husband and wife team in theater history, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne appeared in their first play together, A Young Man's Fancy, in 1919. They were married in 1922. Rarely has a theatrical love affair been so enduring, or such a creative triumph.

    For the next 55 years, the Lunts were virtually inseparable. They dazzled Broadway with their roles in sophisticated comedies by George Bernard Shaw, Terrence Rattigan, and Noel Coward, whose 1933 masterpiece, Design for Living, was written for the Lunts.

    When they left the stage in 1958, New York's venerable Globe Theater was renamed the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. They retired to their Wisconsin farmhouse.

    In 1965 the Lunts won Emmy Awards for appearing in Magnificent Yankees on TV. A few years later, Fontanne appeared in another television movie, Anastasia, the first time she had acted without her husband since 1928.

  10. #10
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