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Power Heist: Meet The Scandalous Women Who Seduced Their Way To Power

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Some women are known to recognise their potential and use it to their advantage damning what others have to say about it.

Some women are known to recognise their potential and use it to their advantage damning what others have to say about it. Here are women from history who became powerful and famous through cunning ways. 

Harriette Wilson Blackmailed Her Ex-Lovers

Harriette Wilson was one of Georgian England’s most prolific very clever writers. Born and bred in London, she began her career at the tender age of 15, when she became mistress to an earl. She quickly became a fixture of London high society, even as she was publicly shunned – but privately enjoyed – by its leading members.

Wilson got a lots of lovers including prime ministers, war heroes, and royals: the Duke of Wellington, George IV, Lord Canning, and Lord Palmerston, among dozens of others, and these powerful men counted her as a mistress at various points in time. Her numerous trysts built her a network of powerful men to whom she could turn when in need.

Eventually, when she was at her low, she devised a way of blackmailing her former lovers to get what she wanted. All she needed to do was pen a memoir which was incriminating and ask them to pay or their names would be published in the text which worked like magic for her. 

Agrippina Seduced Her Uncle Into Marriage

As a daughter of Rome’s famed Julio-Claudian dynasty, Julia Agrippina the Younger was born into a life of privilege. She was directly connected by blood and marriage to five Roman emperors: Caesar Augustus, her great-grandfather; Tiberius, her great-uncle; Caligula, her brother; Claudius, her uncle; and Nero, her son. She wasn’t satisfied with being an appendage and living life on the sidelines, as elite Roman women were expected to do.

She was casted out once for plotting against her brother, Caligula. She managed to seduce her uncle into marriage and became the Empress of Rome even though it was considered forbidden. She used her power to convince her uncle into making her son, Nero from her previous marriage to become his heir.  

Conveniently, Claudius passed in 54 AD, and many suspected Agrippina of foul play. Nero became the new emperor and, recognizing his mother’s thirst for power, eventually ordered her execution.

Agnès Sorel, First Official Royal Mistress Of France, Always Exposed One Breast

As the first official royal mistress of France from 1444–50, Agnès Sorel  commanded power and influence in the court of King Charles VII. The brazenness of Charles’s affection for Sorel scandalized the French court and earned her many enemies. 

Agnes wore a dress in a way that it will always expose one of her breast. Probably this fashion of her got her what she wanted and Charles spoilt her with jewelries and almost everything she asked. She secured positions for her family in the court and advanced their standards in the society. 

She died at age 28 after ingesting mercury. Some believe there was a foul play in her early demise. 

Eva Perón Sought To Be The Only Woman In Juan Perón’s Life

The iconic, controversial First Lady of Argentina began life in a small town in 1919 as Eva Duarte, an illegitimate daughter with dreams of stardom. She moved to Buenos Aires as a teen and landed several acting and modeling jobs. Though few consider her a great actress, she managed her career well enough to emit the illusion of success.

Eva’s film career was boosted once Perón allegedly funded her production company. Such favors were not one-sided, however: she also supported his political agenda and was a glossy, charismatic social ambassador for his politics. Eva and Juan married in 1945 and moved into the Casa Rosada the next year as Argentina’s President and First Lady.

Thanks to Eva’s influence, women benefited from Perón’s working-class reforms. Critics of the Peróns dismissed her, claiming she had no business in politics, but her influence in her husband’s government never truly diminished, and she has since been regarded as an influential female figure in 20th-century politics.

Eva’s tenure as First Lady was brief: she passed from cervical cancer at the age of 33. Though Perón’s third wife, Isabel Martínez de Perón, would eventually become the official first female President of Argentina in 1974, Eva Perón’s role first as a mistress and then as a wife nonetheless afforded her great power.

Empress Theodora Rose From Bear Trainer’s Daughter To Constantinople

Born to an actress and a bear trainer, Theodora began life as far from political power as possible. Much of her early history remains obscure, but historians generally agree she was a courtesan, actress, and Christian ascetic before the age of 20, and was engaged as a mistress to men of power and influence.

In 522 AD, when she was in her early 20s, Theodora met Justinian, heir to the Byzantine Empire. Though Justinian fell madly in love with Theodora, he could not marry her, as unions between public officials and actresses were forbidden. His solution was somewhat unorthodox: change the law. Justinian assumed the throne in 527 AD with Theodora at his side.

Theodora was her husband’s most trusted advisor and used that position to privilege her own interests, including protections for women and children. Though her rivals and critics may have painted her as a so-called “wh0re in Christendom,” Theodora eventually became an Eastern Orthodox saint, leaving her with the final word in her own story.

Cleopatra Seduced Powerful Men To Protect Her Kingdom

Historically, Cleopatra is cast as a seductive female whose influence supposedly ruined a good man’s career and resulted in his demise and hers. In reality, Cleopatra was a shrewd politician whose primary objective was to preserve the autonomy of Egypt in the face of Roman aggression and expansion. To that end, she strove to make Roman allies through the only means accessible to a woman of the era.

Cleopatra first engaged in an affair with the great Julius Caesar, and even bore him a son. After Caesar’s murder at the hands of senators in 44 BC, Cleopatra took as her lover and eventual husband one of his devoted comrades, Marc Antony. 

Their love affair produced three children, but did not safeguard Egypt as she had hoped. By 30 BC, Caesar’s great nephew, adopted son, and heir, Octavian, defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s forces on land and sea, annexing Egypt into the Roman Empire.

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About author
Ngere Ikenna is a passionate learner and freelancer writer, blogger and a lover of good reads.
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