Charts & Graphs

A Kingdom for a Kiss

Sex and politics throughout history.

  • c. 1000 bc: Jerusalem
    King David
    seduces Bathsheba and sends her husband to die on the battlefield. Their child Solomon inherits the throne and presides over the construction of the First Temple in Jerusalem.
  • 41 bc: Tarsus
    Mark Antony and Cleopatra begin their affair. A lovestruck Antony returns to Alexandria with the Egyptian queen and becomes increasingly withdrawn from events in Rome, enabling his rival Octavian’s rise to power.
  • 522: Constantinople
    Justinian falls in love with Theodora, an actress notorious for her erotic performances. They marry and, two years later, they are crowned emperor and empress of Byzantium; Theodora sponsors laws protecting the rights of women.
  • 1533: London
    After the Vatican refuses to grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII founds the Anglican Church and secretly marries Anne Boleyn, whom he later executes on false charges of incest, adultery, and high treason.
  • 1679: Paris
    An inquiry uncovers several poisoning plots in Paris that implicate Madame de Montespan, the mistress of King Louis XIV, for allegedly attempting to poison a young rival for the royal affection. !e charges against her are never proven, but thirty-six people are put to death.
  • 1829: Washington, DC
    Peggy Timberlake marries Senator John Eaton after having an extramarital affair with him that allegedly caused the suicide of her husband. When Andrew Jackson appoints Eaton as his secretary of war, the scandal surrounding the marriage ultimately causes the dissolution of the president’s cabinet.
  • 1925: South Carolina
    Future segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond fathers an illegitimate child with his black maid, Carrie Butler, who may or may not have been a minor at the time.
  • 1998: Washington, DC
    The discovery of President Bill Clinton’s encounters with Monica Lewinsky sets in motion the scandal that culminates in his impeachment.
  • 2004: Trenton
    Governor of New Jersey James McGreevey resigns after admitting to his affair with a man.
  • 2006: Washington, DC
    Congressman Mark Foley resigns after it is discovered that he has made sexually explicit advances toward a sixteen-year-old male congressional page.
  • 2008: Albany
    Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer resigns after he is revealed as “Client 9” of Emperors Club VIP, an exclusive prostitution ring.