Valentine’s Day isn’t just a modern tradition. It has deep roots, leading all the way back to ancient Rome and the early Christians. Further, as an observance, Valentine’s Day dates back to the High Middle Ages.

To begin with, the day is really called Saint Valentine’s Day. It was originally (and still is) a Roman Catholic feast day, commemorating the life of a certain Valentinus, who was martyred in Rome some time in the 3rd century A.D. There is no reliable information concerning Saint Valentinus, except that he was martyred somewhere along the Via Flaminia, north of the Imperial City. In fact, there may even have been three saints with the same name, as Valentine, Valentinus or Valentinian were popular Latin names.

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