On this day, around 278 A.D. a holy Roman priest named Valentine faced execution under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. Read about the legend behind this day of romance after the jump.
February 14 is a day dedicated to lovers around the world, but did you know that it had a grim and tragic legend behind it?
In 278 A.D., Emperor Claudius II sought to establish and maintain a mighty Roman army, but was having a hard time getting soldiers to join his forces. He believed men were reluctant to take part in the army because they were strongly bonded to their families and wives. So, to remedy the problem, he banned engagements and marriages in Rome.
A holy 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.
On the lighter side of the day, let’s take a look at some love-filled lomographs from the Community, perfect for the occasion!