Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Number 1 - Star Crossed Lovers

Romeo and Juliet



This is probably the most famous lovers ever. This couple has become a synonym for love itself. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Their love story is very tragic. The tale of two teenagers from two feuding families who fall in love at first sight and then marry, become true lovers and then risk it all for their love. To take your own life for your husband or wife is definitely a sign of true love. Their "untimely deaths" ultimately unite their feuding households.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Number 2 - A True Love Story

Cleopatra and Mark Antony



The true love story of Antony and Cleopatra is one of the most memorable, intriguing and moving of all times. The story of these two historical characters had later been dramatized by William Shakespeare and is still staged all over the world. The relationship of Antony and Cleopatra is a true test of love. They fell in love at first sight. The relationship between these two powerful people put the country of Egypt in a powerful position. But their love affair outraged the Romans who were wary of the growing powers of the Egyptians. Despite all the threats, Anthony and Cleopatra got married. It is said that while fighting a battle against Romans, Antony got false news of Cleopatra's death. Shattered, he fell on his sword. When Cleopatra learned about Antony 's death, she was shocked. And she took her own life. Great love demands great sacrifices.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Number 3 - Knights Make Great Stories



Lancelot and Guinevere
 
 
 
The tragic love story of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere is probably one of the best-known stories of Arthurian Legend. Lancelot fall in love with Queen Guinevere, King Arthur's wife. Their love grew slowly, as Guinevere kept Lancelot away from her. Eventually, however, her love and passion overpowered her and the pair became lovers. One night, Sir Agravain and Sir Modred, King Arthur's nephew, led a band of 12 knights to Guinevere's chamber where they burst in upon the lovers. Discovered, Sir Lancelot made a fighting escape, but poor Guinevere was not so lucky. She was seized and condemned to burn to death for her adultery. Fear not. Sir Lancelot returned several days later to rescue his beloved Guinevere from the fire. This whole sad affair divided the Knights of the Round Table and weakened Arthur's kingdom. Poor Lancelot ended his days as a lowly hermit and Guinevere became a nun at Amesbury where she died.

 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Number 4 - Dying Froom Grief

Tristan and Isolde



The tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde has been told and retold through various stories and manuscripts. It takes place during medieval times during the reign of King Arthur. Isolde of Ireland was the daughter of the King of Ireland. She was betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall. King Mark sent his nephew, Tristan, to Ireland to escort Isolde back to Cornwall. During the voyage, Isolde and Tristan fell forever in love. Isolde did marry Mark of Cornwall, but could not help but love Tristan. The love affair continued after the marriage. When King Mark finally learned of the affair, he forgave Isolde, but Tristan was banned from Cornwall. Tristan went to Brittany. There he met Iseult of Brittany. He was attracted to her because of the similarity of her name to his true love. He married her, but did not consummate the marriage because of his love for the "true" Isolde. After falling ill, he sent for Isolde in hopes that she would be able to cure him. If she agreed to come, the returning ship's sails would be white, or the sails would be black if she did not agree. Iseult, seeing the white sails, lied to Tristan and told him that the sails were black. He died of grief before Isolde could reach him. Isolde died soon after of a broken heart.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Number 5 - Beware the Trojan Horse

Paris and Helena



Recounted in Homer's Iliad, the story of Helen of Troy and the Trojan War is a Greek heroic legend, combining fact and fiction. Helen of Troy is considered one the most beautiful women in all literature. She was married to Menelaus, king of Sparta. Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, fell in love with Helen and abducted her, taking her back to Troy. The Greeks assembled a great army, led by Menelaus's brother, Agamemnon, to retrieve Helen. Troy was destroyed. Helen returned safely to Sparta, where she lived happily with Menelaus for the rest of her life.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Number 6 - Not Too Convenient

Napoleon and Josephine



A marriage of convenience, at age 26 Napoleon took a fancy to Josephine. An older, prominent, and most importantly wealthy woman. As time drew on, Napoleon fell deeply in love with Josephine, and she with him, but that didn't deter the adultery on both sides-their mutual respect for one another kept them together, and their burning passion between them didn't falter, and was genuine. They eventually split, as Napoleon deeply required something Josephine could not give him, an heir. Sadly they parted ways, both bearing the love and passion in their hearts, for all eternity.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Number 7 - It's All Greek to Me

Odysseus and Penelope



Few couples understand sacrifice quite like this Greek pair. After being torn apart, they wait twenty long years to be reunited. War takes Odysseus away shortly after his marriage to Penelope. Although she has little hope of his return, she resists the 108 suitors who are anxious to replace her husband. Odysseus is equally devoted, refusing a beautiful sorceress's offer of everlasting love and eternal youth, so that he might return home to his wife and son. This month, take a cue from Homer, and remember that true love is worth waiting for.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

The Legend of St. Valentine

 
 
The history of Valentine's Day--and the story of its patron saint--is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl--possibly his jailor's daughter--who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and--most importantly--romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
 
~  From The History Channel

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Number 8 - Frankly, my dear....

Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler



Gone with the Wind can be identified as one of the immortal pieces of literary works in this world. Margaret Mitchell's famous work has chronicled the love and hate relationship between Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. Proving that timing is everything, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler never seem to be quite in synch. Throughout the epic story, this tempestuous twosome experience passion but not permanence, and their stormy marriage reflects the surrounding Civil War battles. The flirtatious, promiscuous, and perpetually pursued Scarlett can't make up her mind between her many suitors. When she finally decides to settle on being happy with Rhett, her fickle nature has already driven him away. Hope springs eternal in our devious heroine, however, and the novel ends with Scarlett proclaiming, "Tomorrow is another day."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Number 9 - A Great Gothic Novel

Jane Eyre and Rochester



In Charlotte Bronte's famous tale, friendless characters find a cure for loneliness in each other's company. Jane is an abused orphan employed as a governess to the charge of an abrasive, but very rich Edward Rochester. The improbable pair grow close as Rochester reveals a tender heart beneath his gruff exterior. He does not, however, reveal his penchant for polygamy - on their wedding day, a horrified Jane discovers he is already married. Heartbroken, Jane runs away, but later returns after a dreadful fire has destroyed Rochester's mansion, killed his wife, and left him blind. Love triumphs, and the two reunite and live out their days in shared bliss.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Number 10 - Hang On To Those Jewels.

 
Heloise and Abelard
 
 
This is a story of a monk and a nun whose love letters became world famous. 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.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Number 11 - Darcy! Need I say more.

Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy



Jane Austen has personified two attributes of human nature, pride and prejudice in Darcy and Elizabeth. Darcy comes from a very high social hierarchy and Pemberley. He typifies the educated aristocracy; while on the other hand, Elizabeth is the second daughter of a gentleman of modest means. Mr. Bennett has five daughters who have been allowed to grow up the way they wanted.  There has been no school education for them nor has there been any governess at home. Elizabeth’s very indulgent mother and irresponsible father never gave any thought to the future of the daughters.  It is always taken for granted that they will do well for themselves. To a woman of Mrs. Bennett's understanding, doing well exclusively means finding a rich, well to do husband. For a man of Darcy's social stature, these were very serious failings of the family and totally unacceptable to his polished, educated, and refined mind. Darcy adores Pemberley, and the future mistress of that estate can only be just as polished and refined and from an equally prestigious family. He falls in love with Elizabeth only to be refused by her initially, and then much later she realized she can love no one but Darcy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Number 12 - 'Til Death Do Us Part

Salim and Anarkali



The love story of Salim and Anarkali is a story that every lover knows. The son of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, Salim, fell in love with an ordinary but beautiful courtesan Anarkali. He was mesmerized by her beauty. But the emperor could not digest the fact that his son was in love with an ordinary courtesan. He started pressurizing Anarkali and devised all sorts of tactics to make her fall in the eyes of the young, love-smitten prince. When Salim came to know of this, he declared war against his own father. But the mighty emperor's gigantic army is too much for the young prince to handle. He gets defeated and is sentenced to death. This is when Anarkali intervenes and renounces her love to save her beloved from the jaws of death. She is entombed alive in a brick wall right in front of her lover's eyes.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Number 13 - A Wonderful Gift

Shah Jahan and 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. 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.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Number 14 - Royals in Love

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert



 This love story
is about English royalty who mourned her husband's death for 40 years. Victoria was a lively, cheerful girl, fond of drawing and painting. She ascended the throne of England in 1837 after the death of her uncle, King William IV. In 1840, she married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. At first, Prince Albert was unpopular in some circles because he was German, but he came to be admired for his honesty, diligence, and his devotion to his family. The couple had nine children. Victoria loved her husband deeply. She relied on his advice in matters of state, especially in diplomacy. When Albert died in 1861, Victoria was devastated. She did not appear in public for three years. Her extended seclusion generated considerable public criticism. Several attempts were made on Victoria's life. However, under the influence of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Victoria resumed public life, opening Parliament in 1866. But Victoria never stopped mourning her beloved prince, wearing black until her death in 1901. During her reign, the longest in English history, Britain became a world power on which "the sun never set."