The First Valentine ~ back when straight marriage was banned (OS Archives 2012)


 The legends of the beginnings of Valentine's Day are varied and confused -- some say there were actually three different men called Valentine back in the day, the days of ancient Rome, that is.

One of those stories about Valentine of which fact and legend are impossibly intertwined is this:  

It was a crime for young couples in love to marry in Rome, back in the 260s AD. 

The ban was set in place by the Emperor Claudius II, the original critic of one man, one woman, equals marriage. That marriage concept, devotion, fidelity, was one of those new-fangled Christian ideas Romans wanted nothing to do with. Claudius  preferred his young soldiers to be untangled by a marriage relationship, although sexual matches, gay and straight, were not denied or minded, even orgies were preferable in the mind of the emperor compared to this siphoning off of perfectly good Roman soldiers one by one, to commitments elsewhere other than the Empire.

Home fires burning, kids bouncing on Daddy's knee.

Dangerous stuff, this.

A good soldier ought to be a fighter with some lovin' on the side, not a committed husband, so, the ban on marriage edict was pronounced. 

Desire can be unstoppable however, as we all know, so these young lovers who wanted to marry back in ancient Rome were forced to do so in secret. One guy offered help:  an early Christian named Valentine, or more likely in Rome, Valentinius. He secretly carried out marriage ceremonies for many years for those desperate to be husband and wife, but possibly the giggling of connubial bliss grew too loud to be ignored, for eventually,Valentine was outed and arrested by the Emperor's forces.

In 269 AD, Valentine, or Valentinius, was sentenced to a three-part execution:  beating, stoning, and finally decapitation. Some say he actually did die on February 14th, the day we remember as a day to celebrate love. 

Can you imagine this strange time in the ancient world, a world where a marriage of one man, one woman, was the stone-able offense? How the world turns...

Can we start a new celebration today? 

Maybe today we can begin to celebrate all forms of love, however it occurs. Maybe this holiday made for love, begun in such a strange form, can become a true celebration of the freedom of love, a true celebration of the freedom to marry, whoever we wish.

Now that would be a Valentine's Day to celebrate.

RATE: 28

FEBRUARY 14, 2012 3:05PM

My history lesson for the day.... : )
My thanks.
I had no idea about the origins of this strange anniversary. 
The origins seem to make it even stranger.

I was happily married, for thirteen ... fourteen ? ;-) years,
& would do it again in a heartbeat,
but probably won't.

Some of us enjoy the solitude more,
the unmoved coffee cup,
the keys where we left them.

Our anniversary was yesterday.
I fulfilled my vows, fed the ducks
& watched it rain.
No war.
I needed this today ~ thanks again.
The best, most informed and informative, Valentine's piece I have read so far. Bravo! R
This should be on the cover. I had forgotten that the day was named for a saint.
Lovely thought on an appropriate day. Maybe we'll get there sometime. Let's hope.
Well, I hit publish and the best valentine of all, that grandbaby of ours, came in the door with roses for me. My oldest son is just great with that stuff...
I didn't exactly proofread this before posting, so all errors I apologize for now.
Now, to talk someone, myself even, into a canoe ride on a cold day like today!

Thanks for coming by, Kim, glad to assist. How cool a guy you are, fulfilling vows in the a canoe...roses....
You'd marry again in a heartbeat? You ARE a romantic. : ) ....and fortunate not to live in ancient Rome.
I'm not sure I would. It took forever to meet one person worth marrying and who's a good enough mix that it's worth staying that way...but that's how I feel today. 
I can be a bit mercurial.

Thank you, Gerald, I thought someone else would write about this before me, but...
Isn't this a strange beginning to Valentine's Day? 
I guess it's good it evolved into what it has, we could be parading the streets with Valentine in effigy instead!

Thanks, Sarah, nice to see you! For some reason I remember the day going from St. Valentine's to just Valentine's and feeling sorry for the guy being demoted even then...way before I knew all his troubles : ) Hope you are having a good day today.

Thanks, Lea, and yes, let's hope! Nice to have you come by : )
I say they should have stabbed him a few times for good measure. Marriage, Pffffft!:-)
Every day is Valentines Day for me.. Of course people used to say Halloween.. but thats long gone.
Many thanks for this reminder/history lesson about why we write those silly things on candy hearts. Made want to stop saying that St. Valentine's Day sucks. Pax vobiscum.
I didn't know this story though I did know he was a saint. Pretty cool. It should evolve. It would be hard to believe that someone so dedicated to love would discriminate.
Remarkable story. Thank you... r
scanner, oh no, I know you're a softy...nice try though : )

Linda, you deserve every day to be Valentine's Day : )

John, sometimes I just can't help myself and some history anecdotes spill out. Nice to have you come by!

Thanks, phyllis : ) The irony that straight marriages were banned but gay alliances were fine, is just too funny somehow...

Thanks, Christine. Nice to have you come by!
"Celebrate all forms of love." Amen. Being a saint is hard work.
Bravo! Bravo!

Hadn't heard about Valentinius for some time. Almost completely forgot. Thanks for the reminder -- and the Marriage Edict.

A great ending idea. One I would completely support. We write of love, speak of it, tell tales of it and romanticize or fantasize about it. Yet, what do we do to ensure that those who do love each other have the chance to express that, free from fear, restriction and castigation?

I'll speak up for that.

JT: Outside of Hallmark and bizarre Roman rituals, for me Valentine's Day will be a reminder that Spring is around the corner. And yes, I totally agree, V's D should mean all kinds of love celebrated!
I never knew this history JT. I hope it's true as it's a great story.
Fascinating history in spite of being messy, irrational and violent. Just like love!.
Well done. Thank you for this.
A real ball buster of a story, eh?! Though, stoning may be preferable to the lengthy, costly, bitter battles that ensue during divorce. We sure have come a long way....or have we? May be that we have a long way to go before we actually figure it all out. By then, we won't care. Great post.
Thanks, JT. Sorry for the day's delay. This is the type of post I like reading: informative and educational.
Beautiful and necessary piece, JT. Thank you and Happy belated Valentine's Day!
This was great. Thanks. Posting to FB. Amazing.
Men were choosing to marry, instead of face an enemy with clubs, arrows, and lances? Now THAT's courage.
Three part executions for love? Now, that's devotion. Sorry that I just discovered this. Never knew that this day had any such rich and insane history. Fine post -- interesting and educational.
I love this. It does give me hope that years from now our concepts of marriage will seem laughable.
Hear, hear! This was so well-written and I love the message! I do hope that someday very, very soon, we'll be able to celebrate love in all its forms for what it is: love, at the core, the most important thing in the world.
Thanks for the history lesson. Just think, I thought the day marked the Valentine's Day massacre of all those terrible gangsters in Chicago. :)
Thanks so much!
.°•.¸.•°❤ LOVE ❤°•.¸.•° •.¸¸.•*`*•❤
JT..hi, we all could use some history lessons. This was very informative. The best thing about this is all the joy we get from learning some fact of importance everyday, we never know it all.
Really enjoyed this.
Puts the cheap flowers and bad candy into perspective.
Thanks so much, everyone who has come by and commented!!
Isn't it strange how we manage to hate and judge in different ways, in different eras? 
I wish we'd frickin' evolve some day...

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