Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif, aka Moulay Ismail the
Bloodthirsty, ruled Morocco as emperor from 1672 to 1727. Legend has it that,
during the latter half of his reign, from 1697 to 1727 (the year of his death
at the age of 80), he fathered 888 children.

We will likely never know the truth of this claim, but we do
know that it is, in fact, mathematically possible, thanks to the efforts of Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer of the University
of Vienna in Austria. The pair ran mathematical simulations to determine
whether, with 500 concubines and four wives, Moulay Ismail could have conceived
the maximum number of children he is said to have sired, some 1,171, including
600 sons.

Taking ovulation cycles and fertility into account, it is
possible that Moulay Ismail could have sired that many children, with a maximum
of 2.3 copulations per day over the 32-year period, and, moreover, would only
have needed a harem of 65 to 110 women to have done so.

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