Although monogamy may be the societal norm for many of us now, it hasn’t always been and still isn’t in many places across the globe. Many ancient societies and religions accepted polygamy as a part of life, with women being wed to the same man on a frequent basis.
We thought we’d delve into the more offbeat side of marriage and love and concoct a list of histories’ most married men.
Wise King Solomon, of biblical fame, apparently had seven hundred wives, as well as a further three hundred concubines – which is Bible-speak for mistresses. With 1000 women to pick from, it’s surprising that the Bible only records one Naamah, the mother of Solomon’s successor Rehoboam.
Fat’h Ali Shah Qajar
Not only did Fat’h Ali Shah Qajar have mad beard-growing skills, but he was also a total ladies’ man. As the second King of Persia, he reigned for 37 years during which he managed to wed about 158 women. Every single woman is listed in the book Tarikh-e Azodi written by Soltan Ahmad Mirza Azord-ed-Dowleh. Fat’h Ali Shah Qajar also found the time to father 260 children, who went on to give him 786 grandchildren.
Asentus Ogwella Akuku
Kenyan man Asentus Ogwella Akuku was married for the first time back in 1939 at the age of seventeen. After five years of assumedly blissful, exciting marriage, he decided to become a polygamist in 1944 and went on to marry more than 100 women. Ironically, Asentus Ogwella Akuku divorced 85 wives due to infidelity and twelve of his wives have died. Still, he has around 160 children and founded two elementary schools for them to be educated in. He died at the age of 94 in 2010, due to natural causes.
Mohammed Bello Abubakar
Nigerian Islamist cleric Mohammed Bello Abubakar apparently managed to collect 86 wives and father 170 children throughout his lifetime, despite the fact many say Islam allows a man to take only four wives. Mohammed claimed that the Quran didn’t actually say what the punishment for exceeding this number was so everything was fine, chill out. Islamic authorities disagreed and tried him before a Sharia court that ordered him to divorce 82 of his wives. After refusing, Mohammed was sentenced to death. Fortunately, he eventually conceded and got a mass divorce in September 2008.
Warren Steed Jeffs
Although most of Christianity is largely founded on the idea and principles of monogamy, there is an exception: The Church of Latter-Day Saints, whose followers are otherwise known as Mormons. Former president of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church Warren Steed Jeffs very much agreed with the controversial topic of polygamy and is thought to have married 80 women, with whom he had 250 children.
In 2002, Warren succeeded his father Rulon Timpson Jeffs and married almost all of his father’s widows, as one does. A few years later in 2007, Warren was forced to step down when the FBI declared him one their most wanted criminals due to charges of rape, polygamy, tax evasion, and kidnapping. He was eventually caught, tried, and sentenced to life in prison in 2007.
Rulon Timpson Jeffs
Yup, we’re talking about Warren’s daddy. Rulon Timpson Jeffs was alive from 1909 to 2002 and married a total of 75 women. Following his death, he left behind 20 wives and 65 children.
Saudi Arabian businessman Saleh al-Sayeri was first married at the age of fourteen and has since married 58 women over a 50-year period. Saleh al-Sayeri is reported to have paid over $1.6 million in wedding expenses and divorce settlements as he divorces his fourth wife every year and gets a new one.
Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints sure do get a lot of action. Brigham Young founded Salt Lake City and served as the first governor of the Utah Territory, as well as acting as President Mormon between 1847 and his death in 1877. Throughout his 76 years of life, Brigham managed to marry 55 women, 21 of which had never been married, 16 were widows, 6 were divorced and 6 had other husbands. Brigham fathered 56 children with 16 of his wives, however, ten never reached adulthood.
A 66-year-old man in India’s remote northeast has 39 wives, 94 children, and 33 grandchildren, all living under one roof.
Finally, of course, we have to include the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith. It’s believed that Smith married 34 women in his lifetime, with an age range of 14 to 60. For a while, Smith decided to keep his wives a secret, as it took a long time for his first wife to get into the whole ‘plural marriages’ thing Smith was preaching.