Incest: Game Of Thrones Fiction Or Historical Fact?

Who was guilty of this common practise?

The season finale of Game of Thrones certainly raised a few eyebrows as it revealed that the long anticipated coupling of Jon and Dani is in fact incestuous. And as all GoT fans know, it's not the first instance in the series, the Lannister twins have been at it since season one. But Incestuous relationships, though shocking, are hardly new historically.

Here’s a short list of some of history’s most awkward couples.

1. Zeus and Hera

Image: Jupiter and Juno - Annibale Carracci - 1597 - Farnese Gallery, Rome, Wikimedia Commons

These two aren’t so much historical as mythological but Ancient Greek stories were full of Incest. Not only were Zeus and Hera brother and sister, but their parents, Cronus and Rhea were as well.

2. Oedipus

Potentially the most famous of all tales of incest is poor Oedipus. The tale of Oedipus, a Greek King who fulfills an ancient prophecy by unwittingly murdering his father and marrying his mother. He fathered four children with his mother: Polynices, Eteocles, Antigone, and Ismene. Freud named a psychoanalytic theory after the myth known as the Oedipus complex, referring to a child’s unconscious desire for the opposite-sex parent.

3. Cleopatra VII

The practise was common in ancient Egypt. Cleopatra took two of her brothers as husbands and her mother and father, Cleopatra V and Ptolemy XII, were also brother and sister.

4. Caligula

The ancient roman emperor was said to be having sex with all of his sisters: Julia Livilla, Drusilla, and Agrippina the Younger, though the accounts of his reign are believed to be somewhat exaggerated the practise was still popular. In the Roman-Egyptian census, brother-sister marriage accounted for about 20 percent of marriages listed.

5. King Tutankhamun

Image: King Tut, Wikimedia Commons

Not only was Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun the product of an incestuous couple (his mother and father were siblings) but Tut also married his half sister. Many believe his disabilities were the result of inbreeding.

6. Albert Einstein

After his divorce from Mileva, Einstein married his cousin Elsa. Though marrying a cousin is illegal in Australia, its still legal in many parts of the world, such as Britain.

7. Charles Darwin

Ironically, Charles Darwin married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood and fathered ten children with her.  Of those ten, three died in infancy and early adolescence. There is evidence that suggests Darwin feared his children were weak due to inbreeding.

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