Warriors guard their hearts beneath a stoic resolve because emotion is often misunderstood as weakness. Leaders must weigh the needs of the many against the needs of the few to build a brighter future for their people to live and prosper. Love is an unstoppable force that can influence the influencer or conquer the conqueror. What can those in command do when love is true but the world is wrong?
They can change it.
They moved mountains—King Nebuchadnezzar II
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife Queen Amytis. He knew his queen's happiness lived in the green mountain valleys of her childhood home in Media. In order to make his wife happy, he built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world between 605 and 562 BC in what is now known as modern day Iraq.
The word 'hanging' that gave the wonder its namesake comes from trees planted on elevated balconies. Raised platforms, aqueducts, and systems of irrigation were constructed centuries before their time to water the vast collection of plants and trees.
Nebuchadnezzar literally built his wife a mountain.
Archaeologists debate whether the wonder was built in Nineveh (back then called New Babylon) as opposed to Babylon itself. The ruins shared the same fate as Cleopatra's Tomb - lost to the sands of time.
They refused concubines and consorts—Emperor Hongzhi of China
High status men in late imperial China over the age of 40 were encouraged to take on a second wife or a mistress. It was also common that your mistress would try to kill your first wife and all your children. In the case of Emperor Hongzhi, he had his mother killed by one of his father's mistresses.
The death of his murdered mother by a mistress was enough to highlight the advantages of monogamy. Hongzhi had no children outside his one marriage to his empress and had no extramarital affairs.
He loved his wife and five children so much that he did not want to risk their safety over loose women and swore them off completely. The importance he placed on monogamy was seen as out of place, since most emperors during those times had a harem with 10,000 available women, empire-wide, determined to show off the privileges of being a ruler.
Dr. Kenneth Swope, of the University of Southern Mississippi describes Hongzhi as the "most uninteresting and colorless of all the Ming emperors." He chose to have his life be viewed as a model of morality, and his morals as the centerpiece for his anti-corruption campaign. He used his love for his one and only wife to shape his empire in peace.
They changed religions—King Henry VIII of England
Marriage and religion are touchy subjects, especially when conversions are involved. Henry VIII had fallen in love with with a young woman named Anne Boleyn, but there was a problem: he was already married. He became convinced his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was cursed because she was his brother's widow. The king asked the pope to annul his marriage.
However, Catherine's nephew was the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and he urged Pope Clement VII not to annul the marriage.
The king then decided that he didn't need the pope's permission to do anything, so he declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, changed England's religion, decreed his daughter Mary illegitimate, and got a divorce. In 1533, Henry and Anne Boleyn were married. She then bore him a daughter so he had her beheaded.
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This article originally appeared on We Are The Mighty.
Featured photo: Wikimedia Commons