129 Records to Date

Oldest Love Poem

Writing was invented by the Sumerians around 3500 BC. Many of their clay tablets have survived, including one with history's first love poem. Archaeologists bestowed upon it the rather mundane title "Istanbul #2461," but you can't expect these guys to understand poetry. The author is unknown, but it's believed to have been recited by the chosen bride for Sumerian King Shu-Sin. Here's a sample:

Bridegroom, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey,
In the bedchamber, honey filled,
Let us enjoy your goodly beauty,
Lion, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey.

To read the poem in its entirety, click here. The author signs off with: "Your loving wife who has had a child."



Most Marriages

Bigamous
Male A man using the name Giovanni Vigliotto contracted 104 marriages from 1949 to 1981 in 27 states and 14 countries. On March 28, 1983 in Phoenix, AZ, Vigliotto received a sentence of 28 years for fraud and six for bigamy and was fined $336,000.

Female It has been recorded that Mrs. Theresa Vaughan (or Vaughn), aged 24, while on trial in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, on December 19, 1922 admitted under oath that in the past 5 years she had acquired 61 husbands in 50 cities throughout England, Germany, and South Africa, averaging a marriage a month.

Polygamous

  1. Fath-'Ali Shah of Persia (1771-1834)—1000 wives
    Taking the Scriptural assurance "Instead of thy fathers thou shalt have children, whom thou mayest make princes in all lands" to heart, the Shah wedded an extraordinary amount of women to birth his princelings. The Nasikhu't Tavarikh, a great modern Persian historical work, fixes the number of his wives at over 1,000. He distributed his colossal male progeny in every government post throughout the kingdom, much to the mortification and sorrow of its citizens. Hence the Persian proverb "Camels, fleas, and princes exist everywhere."
     
  2. King Solomon of Israel (c. 973-c. 933 BC)—700 wives
    The third king of Israel he reigned some 40 years, during which time he enjoyed 700 wives and from 60 to 300 mistresses. His women were both Israeli and foreign, taken to further political alliances and were among the most beautiful in all antiquity. Although polygamy was the matrimonial standard of the time, later rabbis claimed that Solomon's single son was proof of punishment by God for Solomon's violation of monogamy.
     
  3. Queen Kahina of the Berbers (c. 650?-702)—400 husbands
    Chief of the Berbers in Northern Africa, Kahina relied on her cunning and indomitable will to withstand the Arab invasions of her homeland. Not much can be definitively said about this enigmatic figure. She was not especially attractive—later Arab historians unflatteringly describe her as "fleshy"—but was such a intriguing figure that centuries after her passing she was still romanticized in French literature. In one account it is said she ruled over a mighty harem of men, servile and willing to accommodate her every wish.
     
  4. King Ibn Saud (1880-1953)—400 wives
    The supreme ruler of the Arabian peninsula, at any one point he had four wives, four concubines and four slaves to satisfy his desire. Whenever they ceased to amuse him he divorced them and remarried, which occurred quite frequently. He married into over 30 tribes and used these links to gain their political support. To him women were nothing more than a combination of a source of pleasure and a breeding machine, an exchangeable commodity that he kept in a windowless basement because "windows let lovers in."
     
  5. Maharaja Bhupendra Singh of Patiala (1670-1733)—365 wives
    Once said, "wine, fish, meat, alcohol and plenty of sex was good for the soul." A toweringly handsome Sikh with a colorful personality, he was famed for his sexual prowess and appetite and forever on the lookout for pretty women, even going so far as to kidnap them when they refused his overtures. Every evening he would light 365 lanterns around his palace, each with the name of one of his wives inscribed on it. The wife whose lamp went out first would be his for the night. For leap years, he'd take the night off.



Youngest Widow


Fatma Sultan, daughter of Sultan Ibrahim (r. 1640-1646), became the wife of the second vizier Yusuf Pasa when she was three years old (child marriages were not uncommon in the Ottoman empire during this period). A year later, the vizier was killed on the Sultan's orders, making Fatma a widow at the age of four. That very same year, she married again, this time to Admiral Fazil Pasa. After the lavish wedding but before their union was consummated, her husband was sent to a mission abroad, never to return. Twelve years later Fazil Pasa died, making her a second-time widow at the age of sixteen. Fatma wisely decided never to marry again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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