Valentines and Vampires. That old Devil….
Painting Andrea Camassei 1635, Museo del Prado
Once upon a time there was a fertility festival called The Lupercalia. Men in wolf masks ran about the streets of Rome, and in honour of the fertility god Lupercus and in memory of the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, would symbolically thrash (lightly touching) any women they met of child-bearing age. Any woman not wanting to be fertile had better stay indoors. But some would deliberately loiter in the streets, hoping to encounter the wolf men.
Later Christianity claimed the festival, originally held on February 15th, renaming it in memory of poor Valentine, a physician who was cruelly beheaded in Rome after doing many a good turn to other people, including the daughter of his jailer, whom he apparently cured of blindness.
The violent death of a well-disposed person on religious grounds. What could be less romantic?
Valentine’s Day is nowadays…
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