Millennium's Top 10 Love Stories

Romeo and Juliet, 16th Century, English, literary. Star-crossed lovers immortalized in Shakespeare's 1596 play. With Romeo dead, Juliet takes her own life rather than live without her young husband.

Peter Abelard and Heloise, 12th Century, French, historical. Theologian and lecturer Abelard was 17-year-old Heloise's teacher. They secretly married, but her uncle found out and had him castrated. Too late -- she had a son. Separated by their families and the church, she entered a convent, he became a monk, and their love letters still exist. They are buried together in Paris.

Shah Jahan and Arjumand Bann Begum, 17th Century, Indian, historical. Consumed with sorrow when his beloved wife died at age 39 giving birth to their 14th child, he commissioned the Taj Mahal to be built in her memory. His son later imprisoned him and he spent the rest of his life staring out the window of his room at the Taj, pining for Arjumand.

Kermit and Miss Piggy, 20th Century, American, cultural. She hogs the limelight every chance she gets, but her love springs eternal for her froggy beau. His disinterest and the cross-species problem are no deterrents to this determined pig.

Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 19th Century, English, historical. Pale little Elizabeth bucked her dogmatic family and married a fellow poet. They spent their life in Italy amid sunshine and poetry, inspiring her to write a masterpiece, "Sonnets from the Portugese."

Tristan and Isolde, 12th Century, English, French, German, literary. Based on an ancient Celtic legend as stubborn as the intertwined vines that grew over the lovers' graves, the story of the knight who gave up his true love for a king has been told in many forms. Despite duty and other marriages, the lovers remain true to each other, and are reunited in death.

Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara, 20th Century, American, literary. Their fiery romance set amid the Civil War showed the pitfalls of pride and selfishness. He really did give a damn, and so did she.

Cinderella and Prince Charming, 17th Century, French, literary. Based on Eastern European legends, this archetype of romantic love sent the message to women that if you keep your eyes open, someday your prince will come.

Dante Alighieri and Beatrice, 13th Century, Italian, historical. The writer met his muse when they were children. She inspired his greatest works although the pair never married. Beatrice is Dante's guide through Paradise in "The Divine Comedy" and was the inspiration for 31 love poems, "La Vita Nuova."

Guinevere and Lancelot, 14th Century, English, literary. Based on the Arthurian legend, the doomed love between the gallant knight and beautiful queen caused the downfall of the Round Table.

DATE: 2/15/99


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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