See also: "Why mistresses have everything to do with marriage" from Huffington Post.Before Monica Lewinsky, Camilla Parker Bowles, or Marilyn Monroe, there was Hagar—the world's first known mistress.
Several millenniums later, the mistress remains a tenuous position, as historian Elizabeth Abbott explores in her new book, Mistresses: A History of the Other Woman, out this week. Since Hagar's era, however, a handful of women have learned to parlay their scandalous relationships into positions of power—and some have changed history in doing so.
The accompanying gallery illuminates the lives of 10 women who used their time wisely. Each won a place in the history books because of their male attachments. But without their own formidable talents and intellects, most would not have been so admired by their lovers in the first place. Beauty, for these seductresses, was only the beginning.