What comes to mind when you picture a Harem in the Ottoman Empire? Gyration? Debauchery? Grapes? We're here to tell you that the reality was a lot more complicated, a lot less sexy, and a lot more interesting. And things really got cool in the Harem during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the court had more power and influence than ever before, and played the political game with panache. It was the Sultanate of Women, and they were kicking ass and building infrastructure!
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as Madame de Pompadour, was probably the most successful and influential "official mistress" in western history. She captured Louis XV's attention, along with everybody else's, with her wit, style, charm, and boundless energy. From theatre to architecture, gardening to philosophy, encyclopedias to politics, this busy lady had her fingers in just about everything at Versailles and beyond. You'll just swoon for this fascinating seductress!