The gods curse the sin of incest!

440px-Heraclius_tremissis_681357The Emperor Heraclius is a great man. It’s a shame most people don’t know more about him. His campaigns against the Persians in the early 7th century were truly audacious. But, he also lived long enough to witness the loss of Syria and Egypt. If you haven’t, I would highly recommend A History of the Byzantine State and Society.

In any case, I was double-checking the marriage to his niece Martina because of some comments below, and came upon this interesting passage on Wikipedia:

Martina and Heraclius had at least 10 children, though the names and order of these children are questions for debate…

Of these at least two were handicapped, which was seen as punishment for the illegality of the marriage.

The coefficient of relatedness between uncles and nieces is 1/4. Twice as close as cousins, and the same as that between half-siblings. It isn’t entirely surprising that debilities would show up at this genetic distance, though two out of ten at that extreme might be a bit high.

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