How Were Identical Twins Seen Throughout History?

The Twins in History

The birth of twins isn’t something unusual and in history it was accepted in many cultures. The birth of twins could be found in many myths throughout various believes, especially in the ancient period. There are some valid example like Romulus and Remus or even Castor and Pollux. Twins were accepted in society and they weren’t something taboo.

But people back then didn’t know how human genes function and didn’t know the cause for the birth of identical twins. They thought that some higher power was involved, like the creation of god because taking a look in the past I personally would have considered that as well. Looking at two persons who are almost identical or in some cases exactly the same is something off and you must think that god intended this to be created or for some the devil. But since ancient period there were debates on how a women could carry twins. Her anatomy was studied precisely, there is a paper which I shall add in the sources regarding this topic. It’s a very solid paper with good facts in it.

What Can go Wrong?

The birth of twins was fine but sometimes the kids could be born together. These twins were not meant to survive the harsh medieval life and simply were left to die. Even though this was harsh and sometimes impossible for the parent to do it was the right thing because the kids would have been suffering it’s whole life.

In rare cases three or more children were born in the same time and that was way more off then two. But a pretty interesting theory is that if a king had twins, which one would claim the title? This is pretty serious and I personally don’t know any stories like this, but who will be considered the older one? Because if you consider the one minute first born will he hold the title claim? Also you might mix the babies as they are young, because it happens and don’t know which is which so you add them randomly.

Seen by Society

If I had a twin brother back in the middle ages it would be something of luck, I would certainly think so. Not only that you could use it to gain massive advantage because you can be in two places at once and no one would notice. Because of the low administration system it was really easy for the twins to move as one and gain the image of a single person. They could build a single character for various reasons and one might be political. Maybe because this lacks facts in many societies twins could be considered gods talking about the ancient or tribal period, while in some they could be considered devils or simple mistake and might kill the one boy and leave the other.

There is a story like this about the man in the iron mask but I only would like to stick to the facts and it’s not yet 100% sure about it. If you are interested in mysteries like this, it was considered that the king have had a twin brother and kept him in prison because it would interfere with his rule and claim on the throne. Because nobody would know which one would be the first born and who shall take the throne?

The story¬† A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare, released in 1623 and it’s a really interesting drama. It’s about two twins that were separated by birth as a mistake and many years pass by. They are located at the same place in the same time and cause serious confusion. I don’t want to spoil it but it’s such an amazing book worth reading. This shows the funny intrigue that twins can cause back in the past.

Remember the article in the sources, it has some pretty interesting facts and I don’t want to display them here in order not to steal credit.


The Significance of Twins in the Middle Ages