Monday, February 13, 2012

Send a Free Valentine's Day e-card from the British Library!

The first kiss of Lancelot and Guinevere in the presence of Galehot and the Lady of Malohaut, from Le Livre de Lancelot del Lac (French, c. 1316)

Click here to get started with your card!  Who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with love-letters? There are several Saint Valentines, one of whom was a Christian priest who lived in Rome during the third century.

According to one legend, the emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with families. He therefore outlawed marriage for young soldiers. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered him to be put to death. This supposedly took place on the eve of the feast of Lupercalia (14 February).