Polygamists in History

Discussion in 'Real People's Stories' started by ZecAustin, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. ZecAustin

    ZecAustin Esteemed Member Male

    So two things, first off as I typed "Polygamists in History" I was reading it in my head in a big, deep echoey voice like the intro to the Muppets "Pigs in Space" segment. And the second is that I realize that this isn't my story but it is a real person's story so I put it here. Feel free to move it.

    So I have been interested for some time in finding the hidden western polygamists that I just know have existed through the ages but have flown under the radar. I have found a few , some of them I do not want to claim, like Sigmund Freud and Carl Marx. Others are quite exciting.

    My favorite so far has been John of Gaunt. Everything about this guy was amazing. He was the brother of an English king, the friend of Geoffrey Chaucer and one of the most powerful figures in Europe at the time. He was loyal too, never trying to chisel his nephew out of the throne once his brother had died.

    The most amazing thing about him though is that he was a bona fide living the life polygamist. He had two legal wives that followed in the normal course of these things but he also had a lifelong "mistress" named Katherine Swinford. He had children with all three women plus one more but Katherine taught all of the children and all of the children grew up knowing each other and were loyal to each other in later years, although the grandchildren got pretty antagonistic.

    Eventually Gaunt "married" Swinford and their children were legitimated by the church. All subsequent monarchs of England, Spain and Portugal are descended from this guy. I am sure that a perusal through the famous mistresses of history will turn up quite a few more of what we would call marriages. I'll keep looking and if anyone knows of others let me know please!
  2. GloryGirl

    GloryGirl Active Member

    Madame de Pompadour. She was the focus of an episode of Doctor Who.
  3. ZecAustin

    ZecAustin Esteemed Member Male

    I'll look into her.
  4. woman

    woman Active Member Female

    I think you will find alot of them among royals.
    Would the infamous relations of prince Charles of England and Camilla Parker Bowles count?

    Also interesting could be the colonial times when men had a wife in Europe and often one in the colony.
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  5. Jeff Ray

    Jeff Ray Member

    Not exactly "in history" (though he's certainly old enough to qualify), but my favorite "polygamist in plain sight" is Warren Buffett. Being America, he didn't legally marry the second until after the first had passed, but they otherwise has a functionally polygamous relationship. They even all signed the same Christmas card.

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  6. FollowingHim

    FollowingHim Administrator Staff Member Male

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  7. tori-moonlight

    tori-moonlight New Member Female

    Did not know about Marx...and I majored in Sociology.

    You bring up a good point - I'm sure where we hear the word "mistress" in mainstream teachings, there are many plural marriages under the surface.
  8. ZecAustin

    ZecAustin Esteemed Member Male

    Marx probably only barely fits the definition. He had a live in maid that he impregnated with his wife's knowledge. She lived with them for quite some time and I haven't found out the outcome of the relationship yet. It wouldn't pass the Biblical Families smell test anyway but it does meet some of the basic definitions.
  9. ZecAustin

    ZecAustin Esteemed Member Male

    Harald Hardrada was an amazing figure. He Is considered the last Viking king and his death is generally considered the end of the Viking age.

    As a young man he was a mercenary and fought all over the known world, eventually rising to influence imperial succession of Byzantium.

    He married a Russian princess and returned to his native Norway where he became king and started a 20 year campaign to take over Sweden as well. In order to shore up political support he married a second wife from a powerful Norwegian family. Both wives outlived him and bore him children.

    Harald was a Christian and his invasion of England just two weeks before William the Conqueror may have done much to allow the Normans to take over the country so swiftly and easily.
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