Today is Valentine’s Day. The origins of this romantic day of love are somewhat murky.
It most likely originated as a Christian Feast Day in honor of Saint Valentine living in central Italy in the third century. He was a Christian martyr and he and other Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire at the time.
One story relates to Valentine restoring the sight of his jailor’s daughter. Another story tells of Valentine writing a letter as a farewell to the same daughter, signing it “Your Valentine”, the night before his execution.
February 14 became further associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 18th century England the add-on of flowers, confectionary and cards got this day even closer to current practices.
This is a great example how stories and customs evolve over time.
Here is Homann’s map of Italy from 1753.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.