Shocking Historical Cases of Incest

Incest is a serious taboo across many cultures around the world, but you may not believe just how much incest there has been throughout history. Cousins marrying cousins, mothers and sons, daughters and fathers, distant relatives of all sorts — incest in history is not as uncommon as one might think.

Beyond the taboo act of incest, the powerful figures who partook in incest span across all types of nobles. It's not all just incest to keep power in the family: Intellectuals and scholars participated as well, and even a US president. 

We know of a few of the cases of modern incest, including famous figures from Hollywood who were either consensual partners in incest or victims of incest, but the picture of historical incest is slightly more muddled, as there was typically no official database or record of who married whom.

All of the incest on this list is either documented in some form or strongly alleged — and none of it was written by George R.R. Martin.