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Love, Ancient Style. A Valentine’s Myth/History Lesson. The Lupercalia. Romans celebrated the Lupercalia on February 15. It was a purification and fertility ritual. februare : to purify February gets its name from that month. The Lupercalia.

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love ancient style

Love, Ancient Style

A Valentine’s Myth/History Lesson

the lupercalia
The Lupercalia
  • Romans celebrated the Lupercalia on February 15.
  • It was a purification and fertility ritual.
  • februare: to purify
  • February gets its name from that month.
the lupercalia1
The Lupercalia
  • It honored a god called Lupercus (god of shepherds) as well as the she-wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus (lupa).
  • It was originally held in a cave called the Lupercal where R/R were said to have been suckled by the she-wolf.
  • Cave mystery…
the lupercalia2
The Lupercalia
  • During the Lupercalia, 2 male goats and a dog were sacrificed.
  • The priests smeared the blood on the heads of two young noble men, then wiped it clean with wool dipped in milk.
  • The two men then had to laugh. ?!?!?!?!
the lupercalia3
The Lupercalia
  • Then the men were dressed in loin cloths and given leather thongs made from the goat hide.
  • They ran a course around the city, slapping people with the leather thongs.
  • Women would hold their hands out

to be struck with the thongs, believing

that it would cure infertility and also

ease the pain of childbirth.


'Mythical Roman cave' unearthed Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 20:20 GMT

Italian archaeologists say they have found the long-lost underground grotto where ancient Romans believed a female wolf suckled the city's twin founders.

The cave believed to be the Lupercal was found near the ruins of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine hill.

The 8m (26ft) high cave decorated with shells, mosaics and marble was found during restoration work on the palace...

"You can imagine our amazement - we almost screamed," said Professor Giorgio Croci, the head of the archaeological team working on the restoration of the Palatine, told reporters.

"It is clear that Augustus... wanted his residence to be built in a place which was sacred for the city of Rome," he added.

so is this valentine s day
So…is this Valentine’s Day?
  • Although many people claim that Valentine’s Day began with the ancient Lupercalia, it probably didn’t.
  • There were at least 3 Christian martyrs named “Valentine” (Valentinus) who died during the Roman Empire.
  • None of them had anything to do with romantic love…though there are some modern legends that connect them.
roman weddings
Roman Weddings
  • Girls married anywhere from early teens to early 20’s…usually upper-class girls married younger.
  • Boys were usually late teens to early twenties.
  • Roman marriage was defined as the intent to live together as man and wife.
  • Ceremonies were optional, especially

for the lower classes.

roman weddings1
Roman Weddings
  • The bride and groom had a betrothal ceremony.
  • Pick a good-luck day for the wedding!
  • Sacrifice to Jupiter and declare “ubitu Gaius, ego Gaia.” (the wedding vow)
  • Procession to the groom’s house---fun for all!
  • Toss the nuts and torch…don’t trip!
say yes to the tunica
Say “Yes” To the… Tunica!

Roman wedding dress:

woven white tunic

flame-colored veil/shoes

flowers for the hair

“Knot of Hercules” tied

into the sash

  • Cupid (Greek: Eros) was the son of Venus/Aphrodite.
  • 2 arrows: lead and gold
  • Lead arrows made you repel love.
  • Gold arrows made you fall in love.
  • “Cupid” is often shown

as a fat baby with wings.

  • “Eros” is shown as a

young, handsome man.

daphne and apollo well just apollo
Daphne and Apollo (well, just Apollo)
  • Don’t tick off Cupid!
  • Gold arrow vs. lead arrow
  • That’s a fast nymph!
  • Daddy rescues

his little girl, kind of…

If changing into a laurel

Tree is “rescue”

pygmalion and galatea
Pygmalion and Galatea
  • No girl is good enough for me!
  • Wow, what a statue!
  • Aphrodite, help me please!
  • Love conquers all!
orpheus and eurydice
Orpheus and Eurydice
  • The most awesome musician ever
  • Woops…gotta hate snakebites
  • Making a deal with the devil…or Hades
  • Don’t peek!
cupid and psyche
Cupid and Psyche

Mom said “no,” but I fell in love

Secret husband

Nosy sisters

Oil lamps = accidents

Worst mom-in-law ever

Happily ever after…at last!