Adultery! Promiscuity! Debauchery! These are the words that are spicy enough to stir our daily lives. We are always curious to know what’s cooking on other people’s lives -whom she/he is dating or sleeping around – or to be precisely about their personal issues.
One may disagree, but it is a fact that we all love to hear stories that come with some degree of scandal. Since the inception of human civilization, many scandals have emerged and shaken the conscience of ordinary people.
The story become spicier if the central character of a scandal is a woman – we like to make various presumptions about that individual such as her character, family, education, background and many more – without respecting her choices or positions.
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We love to tag her as a sinister or even a slut without knowing the real reason behind it. Here, we will look into the lives of 10 Scandalous Women in History who shocked the contemporary society with their so-called sinful acts.
Who She Was: Cleopatra VII Philopator or simply known as Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt. After her death, Egypt was clubbed into the Roman Emperor. Cleopetra VII is one of the renowned names of scandalous women in history.
Her Vices: She was renowned for seduction and ruthlessness. She used sex as a weapon to become the lady of Ceaser, the King of Egypt. She rolled herself up in a Persian carpet and delivered herself to King Ceaser in order to become his mistress. Later, she became famous because of her relationship with Mark Antony. This relationship ended in a bitter way- Anthony taking his own life and Cleopatra killed herself with a snake bite.
Catherine the Great
Who She Was: Yekaterina Alexeyevna or Catherine II, renowned as Catherine the Great, was the longest – ruling female leader of Russia.
Her Vices: Apart from having many lovers, it had been rumored that Catherine’s eldest son was illegitimate. There was a myth lasted for a century that she died while having sex with a stallion only proved her as a nymphomaniac. However, later many historians thrashed this myth and opined that she died because of a heart attack. She is one of the most scandalous women in history.
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Faustina, the Younger
Who She Was: Annia Galeria Faustina Minor or popularly known as Faustina the Younger was the daughter of Roman emperor and empress, Antoninus Pius and Faustina the Elder, respectively. She was also a Roman Empress and married her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Faustina is one of the famous scandalous women in history.
Her Vices: Many historians have charged her with promiscuity, treason, adultery and even murder. It was believed that she had lots of lovers from different levels of society. It had been rumored that she had sex with sailors, gladiators, pantomime actors, etc. She also had an affair with her son-in-law Lucius Verus and also been guilty of his murder. The most bizarre incident was that once she bathed in the blood of a particular gladiator – with whom she had an affair – before lying with her husband. She is known as one of the top 10 Scandalous Women in History.
Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll
Who She Was: Wife of 11th Duke of Argyll, Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll was a renowned English socialite.
Her Vices: In 1963, at the time of her divorce proceedings with Duke Argyll, Margaret Campbell shocked the English society when she emerged with a scandalous picture showing her naked except wearing her signature pearl necklace. She was also famous for performing frequent sex stunts with a mysterious man. Although many English aristocrats rumored that it was the minister of defense, Duncan Sandys, which she always denied.
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Who She Was: Wallis Simpson, was an American socialite, married several times, whose third husband was Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor.
Vices: American divorcée Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, became famous when Edward VII gave away his thrown to marry her. The rumors were that she used some weird sex techniques to captivate the King, which she learned from prostitutes in China. It had been also rumored that Queen Mother once labeled her “The Lowest Of Low.”
Who She Was: Valeria Messalina, the third wife of mighty Roman Emperor Claudius and great-grandniece of Emperor Augustus, is undoubtedly one of the most loathed women in the history of Roman Emperor.
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Vices: She is probably the most degraded and murderous nymphomaniac in the history of Roman civilization. Roman historians claim that she used sex as a weapon to control politicians. It had been rumored that she once challenged Rome’s top class prostitutes to see who could sleep with the most number men in one night and needless to say, Messalina topped the list with 25 men. She also had a brothel under an assumed name and forced many top class women to work as prostitutes whom she blackmailed on a regular basis. She also tried to tender with her stepfather. And above all, she allied herself with Narcissus, Claudius’s secretary, to kill the Emperor.
Who She Was: Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, popularly known as Colette, was a French novelist nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.
Vices: Colette had an affair with both men & women. Her onstage kiss with Mathilde De Morny during the performance of the Pantomime almost caused a riot in France. Her notorious affair with her step-son also shocked the conscious of ordinary French people.
Who She Was: Jane Elizabeth Digby, Lady Ellenborough was an English aristocrat famous for her scandals.
Vices: This promiscuous woman is known for her long list of husbands and lovers that includes King Ludwig I of Bavaria, King Otto of Greece and a Greek Count. Eventually, she ended up marrying Syrian Sheikh Abdul Medjuel el Mezrab and spent the rest of her life in a desert disguised as a nomad.
Who She Was: Victoria Mary Sackville-West, popularly known as Vita Sackville-West, was a successful English poet, novelist, and garden designer.
Vices: Initially her unorthodox open marriage with Sir Harold Nicholson shocked the then English society. Later both of them became quite famous for having frequent affairs with many of the opposite sex. Vita Sackville-West was once fled to France with one of her lovers Violet Trefusis, which forced Sir Harold to cross the English Channel to persuade her back to England.
Who She Was: Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna or popularly known as Marie Antoinette was born as an Archduchess of Austria. Fifteenth and penultimate child of Francis I of Roman emperor and empress Theresa, she also was the queen of France and Navarre.
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Vices: Thief, lover or wife? One can accuse her in many ways. Marie Antoinette’s controversial remark “Let them eat cake”, caused a lot of uproar among the peasants and workers who eventually resulted in the French revolution. It is believed that her famous diamond necklace affair ignited the French revolution. She also had an affair with Swedish soldier named Fersen caused rumor among the French aristocrats.
Though these women are known as the most scandalous women in history, still it is for sure that they had some reasons to do these so-called sinful acts. However, before reaching any conclusions, you also need to know that some of these women play a huge role in the field of art, or some played significant parts to change the views on women in today’s society. Now it is completely up to you whether you want to consider them as a sinister or a woman with subversive ideas?