Top 10 Most Epic Love Stories of History

Love can be intoxicating, it can be breathtaking and much more than the words imply. There have been endless discussions on this little four letter word and every argument had been based on the person’s own experiences. The inventor and the giver of this word is unknown and has been used in many holy books since the beginning of times. We all have grown up reading about various lovers who engraved their stories in our minds and tempted us to follow them in our distant dreams. There have been a love story behind every human being who knew how to love but some of them became legends. Some were imagination of somebody’s secretive mind and some actually conquered the world with their realities. Few of the best ones are:


10) Penelope & Odysseus:

It’s a Greek love story by one of the greatest epic poets, Homer. The story is about a very faithful wife who proves her love till the end. Penelope was married to Odysseus, the king of Ithaca which is an island in Greece. Due to regal responsibilities, Odysseus had to go for Trojan War. Back home, with there only son, Penelope waited for her husband refusing all the 108 suitors who were lined up to marry her as years had passed and Odysseus never seemed to return. But as the love is crazy, this wife waited for her husband for 20 years. It is said that she used to shy away her suitors by saying that she is weaving a shroud for her husband’s father and once it would finish, only then she would be ready to get married to one of them. Also, every 3 years she would undo a part of the shroud to make it once again. Athena, who is said to be the Goddess of inspiration, courage and wisdom, wanted Penelope to go on with her life and tried to set her up with the suitors. So when Odysseus returned, he was in disguise and wanted to test the fidelity of his wife. However, unaware of the person in disguise, Penelope keeps a challenge in front of the suitors that whoever would string Odysseus’s bow and shoot an arrow through 12 axle shafts can be her lawful husband. Hence, as Odysseus was the only person capable of doing this, won. When he revealed himself, she couldn’t accept it and wanted to test his originality. Hence, she ordered one of the servants to move the bed to another room and to this, Odysseus protested saying that he had made the bed himself and it cant be moved as of the its legs is a live olive tree. It proved the whole reality of Odysseus and Penelope thanking her fate rejoices and from there on, long awaited love story comes to an end only after they had lived long lives with each other ruling over the city of Ithaca.


9) Sohni & Mahiwal:


Two lovers who couldn’t be with each other for long; sad ending of another two beautiful lives. The story revolves around a Kumhar’s daughter Sohni from Gujrat and a wealthy trader from Bukhara (Uzbekisthan). As the name suggests, Sohni had been a beautiful girl whose father was a potter and her main life course was to decorate the pots he made and then put them on for sale. Once, the life brought Mahiwal (Shahzada Izzat Baig) to this town and somehow met Sohni while buying the pots. As fate intended, he fell in love with her. Everyday passed with a small visit to the shop just to have a look at love of his life. Everyday pots were bought just to spend a little more time with her. These small sojourns somehow made her fall in love with him as well. As to stay a little longer with her, he took a job as a servant to take care of their buffalos. That’s why people called him Mahiwal which means buffalo herder. Time passed but as these little things go unnoticed in our very curious society, people started talking which was unacceptable to her father and the relatives. Hence, one day Sohni was married to another man without her consent and was sent off to her new home. Shattered, Mahiwal became a hermit and wandered over to Sohni’s new home, found a place on the other side of the river near her house and settled. Her presence across the river was all that gave him solace. Sohni, all broken been separated from her lover found out a way to meet him and get some peace that was all stolen from her. At midnight, she used to cross the river on hard baked inverted pitcher just to spend some valuable time with her lost love. It is said that he used to treat her by catching the fish and once when he was unable to do so, he cut the flesh of his thigh and unaware of this, when she ate it, she enquired about the oddity of it. After listening to the truth, she cried at the love and craziness of his mad lover. But as the good things had to last, her sister-in-law found out about there tryst and replaced the pitcher with an unbaked one in Sohni’s absence. Hence, as would have followed, once Sohni entered the river on unbaked pitcher, it dissolved in water and taking her lover’s name she died. When Mahiwal heard her cries, he jumped helplessly into the river and drowned. This is was the end of another tragic yet beautiful love story. They, as God had intended, would always be on the list of the lovers we can never take off our hearts.


8) Sassui & Punnuh:


This love story belongs to the regions of Sindh, Pakistan. Mir Punnhun Khan, the guy of this story was one of the sons of Mir Jamal Khan, the ruler of Baluchistan. Whereas the girl, Sassui was daughter of King of Bhambhore. At birth of Sassui, the astrologers had predicted that she would bring disgrace to the royal name. Hearing this, the king ordered to lock her in wooden box and be thrown in river. However she was saved by a washerman who did not have any child of his own. Sassui, while growing up, turned out to be as beautiful as queen of heavens. The story of Sassui’s beauty reached Punnhun & one day, he approached the washerman with dirty clothes so that he could catch a glimpse of Sassui. It was love at first sight. He immediately expressed his wish to marry Sassui. But it was not acceptable to the washerman for he wished Sassui to be married off to a washerman; someone from his own society. However he agreed to give Punnhun one chance. Punnhun was asked to prove himself as a good washerman. But the dilemma of a prince washing clothes was beyond imagination. Helpless, he tried but none of the clothes could stand the royal treatment. However, he knew his ways and hence, he secretly hid one gold coin in every single piece of cloth and thus gathered the testimony from all the villagers (the clothes belonged to them). So, with the consent of washerman and they got married. But this story does not have a happy ending. All this happiness was a deception. On the first night of his married life, Punnhun’s brothers made him consume sedated wines and took him away with him. When Sassui came to know of this treachery she immediately started for Punnhun’s kingdom. It was a desert that she had to cross and she was all alone. Many men tried to take advantage of her, her feet got blistered, and slowly during her journey she lost her sanity. In the end she prayed to the almighty and the earth engulfed her alive.Back at his home, when Punnhun got back his senses he started running back to Sassui. However various people told her about her fate. With a broken heart he also prayed to God and was engulfed by earth. Till this day, both their graves can be found at the exact location.


7) Abelard & Heloise:


It’s the real story of a very learned person who had been acknowledged as one of the greatest philosopher, theologian and logician. Yes I am talking about the great Peter Abelard. The girl of the story was the protege of a canon & her name was Heloise.  She was famous for her extraordinary talent for reading and writing classical letters in 3 different languages: Latin, Greek & Hebrew. She was also quoted as one of the “most renowned” for her this exceptional flair but she never considered herself at par with Abelard in case of learning. The love paid heed at their doors when Abelard sought her home as a place to live while he was on one of his journeys. As it was supposed to be, they feel in love with each other for all they had and could give. When Heloise’s uncle came to know about it, he separated both but they kept meeting secretly which impregnated Heloise. She left to a far away place to give birth to their son and once she returned, Abelard decided to marry her to placate her uncle but Heloise wasn’t in agreement of the same. So when it became public, Heloise denied the whole thing and left. Another misunderstanding in a love story ended it all. Her uncle thought that Abelard had abandoned her and that is the reason she left. Hence he got him castrated. He later became a monk and she a nun. Their love story became legendary. The French lovers who lived their lives exchanging love letters and the evidence of those love letters was found in a 15th-century manuscript which described their whole love affair. This is how their love was acknowledged once they died.


6) Thisbe & Pyramus:


Another mythical but tragic & very famous love of story is that of Thisbe & Pyramus. This story comes from a well-known poem: Metamorphoses by Roman poet Ovid. Romans, who lived next to each other and due to family feud, they weren’t allowed to meet. But fortunately they had a connecting wall from where they used to whisper their love and feelings for each other. Once they decided to meet near a mulberry tree in the forest and without knowing what lay ahead in their fates, they set out excitingly with endless things they wanted to say to each other. Thisbe was the first one to arrive that place but somehow there came a lioness with blood in her mouth passing by. Panicked, Thisbe ran to hide but in hurry, her veil drops and as fate had decided for them lioness smelled the veil and picked it up in her jaws. Pyramus who arrived the very moment saw the scene before his eyes and misinterpreted the whole situation. Broken, he killed himself with his sword the very next instant. Thisbe, unaware of the turn out of events came looking for Pyramus to state out what happened with her but when she saw the dead Pyramus, she (as the love had asked for) decided to end herself with his sword. It is said that when Pyramus fell over his sword, his blood sprayed over the nearby mulberry fruits and were stained with his blood. And in the honour of love, He forever changed the colour of mulberry fruits to blood red.


5) Shahjahan & Mumtaz:


It’s the love story of another Mughal Emperor of South Asia who supposedly was lucky enough to spend respectable amount of time which his lover but the separation after such a long time left him in more worse state. It’s the story of the Great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (Prince Khurram) in 1607 AD & Mumtaz Mahal ofAgra whose real name was Arjumand Banu Begum. As both were Persian nobilities, they were honourably married on a very auspicious date in 1612 AD. Every emperor has been known to have a harem of beauties for his pleasure and most of them are number of his wives. Banu Begum was his most beloved wife, the love of his life for 19 years. Her daintiness & her personality had prompted Shah Jahan to acknowledge her with the name: Mumtaz Mahal which meant Jewel of the Palace. Theirs was one of the perfect love stories with intense feelings for each other and they were inseparable. Mumtaz accompanied Shah Jahan on his ever endeavour and campaign despite of her 13 successful deliveries. She was by his side no matter what the situation and that is why some histrionics have quoted her to be the perfect wife. But whole of the hell broke loose when in 1631, she died delivering her last fourteenth child. It was all it took to break Shah Jahan and turn him into a moving dead body. He was inconsolable and practically went into mourning for a year. And the greatest lover of all decided to craft a proper mausoleum for his dead wife and that is how the seventh wonder of the world: Taj Mahal was built which took almost more than 22 years. At the age of 74, due to extreme illness, the greatest Emperor of the Mughals died.


4) Heer & Ranjha:

Another tragic love story that have made a very special place in the list of lovers we know and admire. Waris Shah, a very famous poet, gave their story a voice and it settled in our hearts from there on. Their story is one of those which make us laugh and cry at the tragedy of it all. The story is that ofPunjab where these two lovers lived. Heer was from Jhang district in Punjab; daughter of a wealthy Jat of Sayyal clan & Ranjha (Dheedo Ranjha) lived in Takht Hazara, a village in Punjab near river Chenab; also a Jat & belonged to Ranjha clan. Being the youngest and favorite of his father, Ranjha lived quite a comfortable life than his brothers who worked hard in fields to earn the bread & engrossed his time playing flute all the time. Once, due to intolerance over such behavior, his brothers confronted him one day leading to a heated fight between them because of which Ranjha left the house and wandered to nearby village. Unaware of what fate had decided for him, he arrived at Heer’s village and met her. Heer being an exquisite beauty was just a trigger for him to fall madly in love with her. Heer offered him a job as cow herder for her father’s cattle. As Ranjha continued to play his flute in his free time, Heer was eventually impressed by his talent and fell in love with him. The affair went on till the time they were caught by Heer’s uncle & her parents who were totally against their love and forced Heer to marry another person. This broke Ranjha and he left. On his voyage, he met a jogi who inspired him to leave the materialistic world and he became a jogi as well. He wandered further and again the fate intervened, he arrived at Heer’s village where she now lived. With great difficulty and after many efforts, Heer convinced her parents to get her married to Ranjha. But as there is a villain in almost every love story, her uncle couldn’t bear this and considered it as dishonor of family’s name, hence he poisons the sweets which Heer was supposed to eat. After the wedding, as she had already consumed the poisoned sweets, she dies that night and as expected from the mad lover, Ranjha also consumes the same sweets and ultimately dies beside her. This world couldn’t let them be together for long but as the irony goes, their names are linked which each other till the end of eternity.


3) Salim & Anarkali:


There are many famous quotes about love and one of those is – they can die for each other when the need be & this saying is analogous to the famous love story of Mughal empire. The story is that of Lahore, Punjab where Great Mughal emperor Akbar and his wife, Mariam-uz-Zamani gave birth to a boy named Saleem (who became Emperor Jahangir later). In childhood, because of his undisciplined behaviour, his father sent him away for fourteen years & when he was allowed to come back, a great Mujra (celebration) was organised for his welcome. This was headed by a beautiful dancer named Nadeera and it was said that she had exceptional exquisiteness because of which Akbar has named her Anarkali after the blossoming flower “pomegranate”. Since the time Saleem laid his eyes on her, he was in love with her and same was with Anarkali. However, after days of their secret affair, when Saleem announced to his father about his will to get married to Anarkali, he was forbidden to see her & Anarkali was sent to the dungeons inLahore. With the help of his friends, Saleem managed to liberate her and hid her. Meanwhile, he also announced a war against his father who defeated his small army quite soon. When Saleem chose death penalty over surrendering Anarkali over to Akbar, Anarkali came out of her hiding and surrendered her own life in place of Prince Saleem. Her last wish was to be able to spend a pleasant night with Saleem and once it was about to end, she drugged Saleem & put him to sleep. Then she was taken to a place which is now called Anarkali bazaar and was lowered into a ditch which was covered with a brick wall. She was buried alive.


2) Laila & Majnun:


These names are taken by every person who is trying to tease or curse the lovers in real world. Another pair of characters who were born in classic Arabic Literature & became famous with the writings of Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. Some say it’s based on real story of Thabit ibn Qays who was a Sahaba, a first generation Muslim. Others believe it to be fictitious. The story is that of a small tribe inSaudi Arabia. Majnun (sobriquet for Qays) who helplessly falls in love with Layla (sobriquet for Leyli) from the school days is forbidden any kind of contact with Layla by her father. Majnun is obsessed with Layla, which defines the origin of this byname as Majnun which means possessed. Due to unexpected separation, Majnun starts reciting poems confessing his love for Layla and this behaviour highlights him as madman in eyes of whole tribe and Layla is married to another man as her father fears blotch in his reputation by marrying his daughter to a madman. Knowing this, Majnun leaves his home and wanders into the desert reciting Layls’s name all the time. Meanwhile, Layla dies of heartbreak and after few days, Majnun is found dead in the wilderness near a woman’s grave. His poetry has been a part of literature from many decades and breaks the reader’s heart listening to the deep words.


1) Romeo & Juliet:


The epic lovers. Every child born in this world have heard about these amazing lovers who actually are imagination of a great writer i.e. William Shakespeare. True star-crossed lovers who couldn’t be together for very long due to their family feuds and died unfortunate deaths. The story is that ofVerona, a city inItaly. Romeo & Juliet belonged to two families who were sworn enemies but as the fate destined, they met in a ball organized by Juliet’s family to instigate Juliet’s consent for her marriage with Count Paris. On other hand, Romeo comes to the party in disguise with his friends in hope to meet his earlier infatuation, Roseline but helplessly falls in love with Juliet, the moment his eyes falls on her. They vow their love to each other and marry the very next day but once their families come to know of this, they banish Romeo from the city and send him far away. Depressed, Juliet takes a drug which gets her into coma for few hours and accepting her as dead, her family buries her in crypt. Meanwhile, when Romeo comes to know about the false rumour, he comes to Juliet’s crypt and drinks the poison he brought with himself. When Juliet wakes up and learns the truth, she stabs herself with a dagger. However, when their families arrive at the unfortunate place, they melt up and agree to end their feuds. So this is how ill-fated deaths of two lovers brought enemies closer and ended their feud. Their story ends with heartbreaking words: “For never was a story of more woe, than this of Romeo and Juliet”


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