The Bloody History of Valentine’s Day

This blog post contains visuals to compliment the Bad Relationship Advice podcast episode on “The Bloody History of Valentine’s Day.” You can listen along while you view the images below. If you want to play a drinking game while you listen, take a shot/drink every time I say the word “suckled.” (I do not own or have rights to any of these images.)

Happy Valentine’s Day! – xoxo, Alyssa

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Family Tree of Romulus and Remus
Retrieved from: http://bhsromanciv.pbworks.com/w/page/68935218/Romulus

Images of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and domestic life


“Mars and the Vestal Virgin” (1638) by Jacques Blanchard
Mars and Rhea Silvia (1617) by Peter Paul Rubens

In Roman legend, twins Romulus and Remus were set adrift in a basket in the Tiber River.
Image Source: click here

La Lupa Capitolina “the Capitoline Wolf” by
Antonio Pollaiuolo

Romulus and Remus by Charles de Lafosse

Image depicting Romulus and Remus being suckled by Lupa. They were then discovered and raised by the shepherd, Faustulus, and his wife, Acca Larentia.

Image depicting the initiation of the annual Lupercalia festival by placing blood from the sacrificed animals on the foreheads of two men. Image source unknown

Image depicting the fertility festival, Lupercalia, where men would whip women with goat’s flesh as a means to incite fertility


Rape of the Sabine Women by Pietro da Cortona, 1627–1629
Here we see the men of Rome capturing and raping Sabine women of a neighboring city in order to populate their own city

Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus banned marriage during his reign in order to keep his men on the battlefield – Image retrieved from https://alchetron.com/Claudius-Gothicus
Saint Valentinus
Saint Valentinus
Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin
Image retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gory-origins-valentines-day-180968156/

Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be Saint Valentine’s Day

Esther Allen Howland – The mother of the American Valentine
Women assembling the valentines of Esther Allen Howland
Image retrieved from: https://www.telegram.com/article/20131122/WORCESTERLIVING/311229961
Example of a Valentine by Esther Allen Howland
Image retrieved from https://alchetron.com/Esther-Howland#-

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