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Ten Ancient Religious Tales of Virgins who Conceived

Updated on March 25, 2017

We all know that for a woman to conceive, the woman must participate in an act of sexual intercourse. This may lead to the formation of an embryo, then a zygote and finally a foetus. However, religion has made us believe that it is possible for a virgin to conceive, of course, through the aid of supernatural powers. Here goes the list of ten virgins who conceived and nurtured children who turned out to be epic religious leaders:

Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Mary, the Mother of Jesus

10. Mary the Mother of Jesus

Both Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus was conceived in the wiomb of his mother Mary, through the power of the Holyspirit. His mother Mary was still a virgin by then. She had not had any sexual relations with Joseph to whom she was engaged to. In this tale, an angel called Gabriel appeared to Mary and informed her that she would be expectant. Mary was greatly troubled and she wondered how that could be yet she was still a virgin. She was told by the angel that she would conceive by the power of the Holyspirit. The baby would then grow up to be the Messiah. Today, Jesus is an epic figure in Christianity which is the largest religious denomination in the world. Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary was conceived by normal biological means, but God acted upon her soul (keeping her "immaculate") at the time of her conception. This meant that she was born free from original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son Jesus.

Melchizedek, painting
Melchizedek, painting

9. Sofonim the Mother of Melchizedek

The legend of Melchizedek is well recorded in the second book of Enoch, which is an apocalypse. Melchizedek was born of a virgin called Sofonim. Sofonim was the wife of Nir, who was the brother to Noah. The apocalypse states that the child came out of his mother after she had died. Sofonim had died without having any sexual relations with her husband. The child then sat up on the bed beside her corpse, already physically developed, clothed, speaking and blessing the Lord, and marked with the badge of priesthood. It is then alleged that forty days later, after its birth, the baby was taken by the Archangel Gabriel to the Garden of Eden. This was to preserve him from the deluge without having to be in the arc of Noah. Nowadays, both Christians and Jews recognize Melchizedek as a priest of the most high God. He is compared to Jesus where both are considered kings of righteousness and peace. Some scholars also propose that Melchizedek was actually a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus.

depiction of Silvia with her twins
depiction of Silvia with her twins

8. Silvia, the Mother of Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus are twin brothers. They are the main characters of the Rome Foundation Myth. Their mother was called Rhea Silvia, daughter of Numitur who was the then king of Albalonga. The brother of Numitur, Amulius, was a thirsty villain who hungered for power. Before the conception of the twins, he had already seized power and killed all the male heirs of Numitur. Afraid that Silvia would give birth to male children who would later overthrow him, he forced her to become a vestal virgin, sworn to chastity; but she bore children anyway! It is alleged that Rhea Silvia conceived the twins through the aid of the god Mars. Once they were born, Amulius had them abandoned to die in the Tiber River. However, they were saved by a number of miraculous interventions. The river carried them to safety, a she-wolf found and suckled them and a wood-pecker fed them. Later, a shepherd and his wife adopted them and raised them to manhood as simple shepherds. Ignorant of their origin, they proved to be great leaders. They finally managed to overthrow Amulius but instead of waiting to inherit the kingdom of their father, they chose to look for a new city which turned out to be Rome (named after Remus.) Rome became a dominant force in the ancient world, having conquered many territories.

Maya with her son, the Buddha
Maya with her son, the Buddha

7. Maya the Mother of Buddha

Maya was a queen, married to King Suddhodana of the ancient Kapilavastu Kingdom. Though married, she had taken a vow of self denial hence she remained a virgin. According to legend, one full moon light, when she was sleeping in the palace, she had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four spirits to Lake Anotta in the Himalayas. The spirits bathed her in the lake, anointed her with perfumes and bedecked her with divine flowers. Then, a white elephant holding a white lotus flower in its trunk appeared. It went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally, the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke. This unnatural conception is the foundation of Buddhism. The Buddha was born on 8th April and was given the name Siddhartha. It is believed that Maya died seven days after the birth of the buddha and was then reborn in heaven. Therefore, young Siddhartha was put under the care of his aunt. When Siddhartha attained enlightenment , it is said he visited his mother in heaven for three months to pay respect and to teach the dharma.

painting of Semele being burnt to death, by painter Paul Rubens
painting of Semele being burnt to death, by painter Paul Rubens

6. Semele the Mother of Dionysius

Semele was the daughter of Cadmus, the first king of Thebes.She was well known for her extraordinary grace and beauty. When Zeus, the king of the gods, saw the princess, he was greatly attracted to her. He decided to impregnate her. One account of this tale tells us that Zeus gave Semele a heart which she ate, leading to her pregnancy. The heart was a remnant of the body part of his son Dionysius in the underworld. Zeus jealous wife Hera begrudged Semele's pregnancy and tried to destroy her. She made Semele suspicious of Zeus' divine nature. Zeus, who was then deeply in love with Semele, took an oath to give her anything she pleases. Semele asked Zeus to reveal all his glory to her. He tried to hold back, but bounded by the oath, he revealed himself! Lightning appeared and everything Zeus' thunderbolt touched was wrapped in fire. Fire was also wrapped around Semele, burning her body to death. By that time, Dionysius was still in Semele's womb. However, Zeus managed to rescue the infant by binding him in his thigh. The infant was later brought up by Semele's sister. Dionysius grew up to be a god in charge of grape harvest, ritual madness and fertility, well revered in ancient Greece.

image of Zoroaster
image of Zoroaster

5. Dudova the Mother of Zoroaster

Zoroaster was the greatest prophet among ancient Iranians. His own original writings, the Gathas, prove that he was a god-intoxicated person. He is believed to have had a miraculous birth when his mother Dudova was still a virgin. Dudova is alleged to have been impregnated by a ray of light, in form of God's glory, from heaven, which entered her womb. During her pregnancy, she fell victim to a serious illness but was miraculously cured. Also, archangels came to her and worshipped and praised the unborn child. When the prophet was born, trees, rivers and flowers expressed their delight. Nature rejoiced. The demons were frightened. Instead of the child crying like an ordinary mortal, he gave out a loud laughter. Many angels came to adore him.


4. Nana the Mother of Attis

The myth about Nana's conception is a big milestone in the religion of ancient Greece. According to this myth, Nana was the daughter of the River Sangarius. Zeus, the king of the gods, fell asleep and by mistake, he let his seed fall upon the ground. The seed, in the course of time, sent up a demon, with two sexual organs, male and female. The demon was called Kybele. The gods, fearing the demon, cut off the male organ. From the male organ, there grew up an almond tree which had ripe fruits. Nana, who was by then still a virgin, picked one of the fruits and laid it in her bosom. The tree immediately disappeared, but Nana had already conceived. A boy was born and he was named Attis. Attis was considered a divine saviour in ancient Greece. He was a god in charge of vegetation. It is said that his self mutilation, death and resurrection represented the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in spring.

depiction of Oympias
depiction of Oympias

3. Olympias the Mother of Alexander

Philip was engaged to Olympias who was by then still a virgin. On the night before the marriage was consummated, Olympias had a strange dream. There was a crash of thunder, then her womb was struck by a thunderbolt and there followed a blinding flash from which a great sheet of flame blazed up and spread far and wide before it finally died away. A soothsayer was called to interpret the dream who declared that Olympias had conceived. It is also claimed that Philip saw a serpent stretched out on Olympias' side as she slept. This weakened Philip's passion and cooled his affection for her. From then on, he seldom came to sleep with her. This was because he was afraid she would cast some evil spell upon him. He also believed that she was the consort of some higher being. As a result of the miraculous conception, Alexander was born. He turned out to be a great king, his kingdom ranging from the Mediterranean to the border of India. He is regarded as one of history's brilliant military leaders and most powerful rulers.

Plato, image
Plato, image

2. Perictione the Mother of Plato

Perictione married Ariston when she was still a virgin. However, legend claims that she got pregnant from divine vision. The deity responsible for her pregnancy was god Apollo. It is also said that the ancient Greek god Apollo appeared to Ariston in a vision warning him not to have sexual intercourse with his wife. When she had given birth to Plato, only then did her husband lie with her. Another legend relates that when Plato was sleeping as an infant on Mount Hymettus, bees had settled on his lips, an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse philosophy. Plato grew up to be a well known philosopher in classical Greece and the founder of The Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy.

Laozi, image
Laozi, image

1. Empress the Mother of Laozi

Laozi was the founder of the Chinese philosophical 'School of the Tao.' He is also a deity in religious Taoism and in traditional Chinese religions. He is known to be a contemporary of the great and the most revered Chinese teacher and philosopher 'Confucius.' However, some scholars believe that they both were the same person, but according to some he existed before Confucius. According to legend, Laozi was born to a virgin mother whose name was Empress. She is said to have conceived him through the power of a polar star which had holy rays. The virgin mother carried him for 62 years in her womb. She then gave birth to him out of her left armpit while leaning against a plum tree. The baby was born with white hair and a long white beard hence his name Laozi which meant 'old master.' The mother died after giving birth, but it is believed that her soul merged with that of her son and became one.

Well, those are the various historical myths we have heard on virgins who conceived. Believing them or not, according to me, is a question of faith. What do you think of these tales? Be free to engage with me in the comments capsule here below.

© 2017 Mikal Christine


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      You go girl

    • profile image

      Victor Musamali 

      2 years ago

      Nice article....atleast our minds now expanded

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Such a marvelous me back to my bible in a long while. Thanks

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 

      3 years ago

      Virginity in a women was important historically as a means of insuring the legitimacy of offspring. It was equally important, especially in wealthy or Royal households, that this "virtue" was taken in a manner that left no doubt regarding the "Taker".

      So it stands to reason that an immaculate conception would suggest supernatural fertilization. It also explains why such an occurrence appears in the history of many cultures.

      I have a fundamental incapacity for Faith in any application. But I do know that one, some, or all of these accounts are true because Evolution is simply not possible.

      Nice presentation by the way.


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