Ah yes, it is that time of year again when men frantically rush into the shops to buy those last minutes cards and presents for their beloved. Sweaty palms, nervous twitches etc. I say men because lets face it, you hardly see any women in shops buying valentine’s gifts(they are clever, they would have bought stuff a week earlier).
It is the feast day of love and romance but the origin of St Valentine’s day is a brutal one.
Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns.
The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.
To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine.
A Roman priest named Valentine believing that the decree was unfair, went against the cruel emperor’s decree and continued to secretly wed young lovers. When his actions were discovered, Claudius had the defiant Roman priest arrested and put to death. Part of the legend is the priest’s farewell note for his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended. He signed it, “From Your Valentine.”
Valentine was taken to the Prefect of Rome, who sentenced him to be beaten to death and beheaded. Valentine’s execution took place on February 14, around the year 270. He was declared a saint for his service, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Although not much is actually known about this St. Valentine (as there are actually several early Christian martyrs named Valentine), and whether he actually performed his heroic deed for lovers, the world has come to regard him as a true herald of love, and has been celebrating February 14 by exchanging love letters and special gifts.
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