| January 23, 2014

Over the course of thousands of years, certain women stand out as famed seductresses. These women were intelligent, talented, and could talk anyone into whatever they wanted. They were leaders, spies, sex symbols, and cultural icons. And now, here they are for your enjoyment.


This Egyptian pharaoh seduced the likes of Julius Cesar and Mark Antony, leaders of the most powerful empire in the world at that time. Cleopatra is especially remembered for the way she met Cesar: she rolled herself inside a carpet and had herself delivered into his personal chambers. Now that takes some serious sass.

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Catherine the Great

This Russian Empress (inarguably the most famous of all the Russian women who ruled) took many lovers over the years. Her amorous appetite was so great that it gave birth to the famed horse-rumor (which has since been debunked). She was known for keeping lovers only so long as they entertained her, and then discarding them with gifts of lands, titles and serfs.

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse

This prim and proper English lady was a renowned harpsichordist … who also happened to live in a ménage-à-cinq (yeah, that's four men plus Violet, all under one roof). Her four "husbands," only one of whom was legal, were apparently a happy bunch, not at all minding sharing one woman. According to William Barrington (one of the four), the one time any of them argued was over a cricket match.

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Mata Hari

This Dutch exotic dancer became the toast of Paris in the early 1900s for her proactive dance style. The attention led her to become the mistress of many powerful men, and her travels with them took her all over Europe. As WWI broke out, she used her natural eroticism and allure to seduce secrets as a German spy, code named H-21. Unfortunately for Mata Hari, she was eventually caught, convicted and executed by the French.

Wallis Simpson

This thrice-married American socialite seduced a king away from his throne. When Simpson met Prince Edward VIII of England in the early 1930s, she was already married to her second husband. They became lovers in 1934, and his devotion to her was absolute. When Edward ascended to the throne in January of 1936, the clock began running on his reign. As he couldn't rule and be married to a twice-divorced woman, Edward chose to abdicate the throne in December of that same year. Edward abdicated after less than a year as king, and Wallis had her man. They became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Edward was succeeded by his brother George VI.

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Anaïs Nin

This legendary writer is remembered for her affairs as much as for her work. She seduced her husbands (both of them — that’s right, she was polygamous) along with Henry Miller, and it's rumored she even seduced Miller's wife June, though that is often a subject of debate. Though married in 1923 to Hugh Guiler, Nin fell in love and entered a second marriage with Rupert Pole, traveling back and forth between New York and California, lying madly to maintain the ruse.

Marilyn Monroe

And finally, we come to the most well known American seductress of the 20th century. Monroe seduced JFK with just her voice, singing Happy Birthday to him in 1962. Their affair was brief, but intense. She entranced everyone from athletes to playwrights to politicians, and is remembered for her raw sexuality.

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