People love to romanticize history. It must fill a psychological need or desire. Pirates get painted as dangerous but heroic mariners, mobsters get painted as Robin Hood like upholders of the downtrodden. The truth? The first American pirates were often slave traders (Washington Post). Gangsters were hired by mining companies to use kidnapping and murder against union officials.
In the novels and movies about Muslim potentates their concubines lounge in suggestive luxury in the harem. The Sultans breed with lavish excess and produce 10’s or 100’s of princes and princesses. The regular folk were subjected to some of the most primitive sexual restrictions ever invented. This included death by stoning for adultery.
The European royalty weren’t much different. Entrancing tales of love and betrayal, intrigues of the court and mistresses of the kings are fun to read about. At the time almost everyone lived in poverty. 35% of society were serfs and 9% were slaves. The efforts of their labors went to enrich the lord of their realm. The people were expected to lead a puritan lifestyle. There’s nothing romantic about it, but dress it up sexy and it will sell.