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Psyché et l'Amour (Cupid and Psyche), also known as Psyche Receiving Cupid's First Kiss (1798) by François Gérard.

Cupid and Psyche: True Love Conquers All

The mythological tale of Cupid and Psyche is one of the few Greek and Roman myths that has not fully become assimilated into modern consciousness. Though adapted somewhat into the better known "...
Origins of Aphrodite

Aphrodite: The True Origins of the Greek Goddess of Love, Sex, and Beauty

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, sex, and beauty and there are many tales of how she could entice both gods and mortals to lust after her. In one of the most famous images of the goddess, we...
A gold Claddagh wedding ring.

Legendary Claddagh Rings: What are the True Origins of these Symbolic Irish Wedding Rings?

The Claddagh ring design of two hands holding a crowned heart is a recognizable symbol of Ireland and enduring love. It is hugely popular as a fashion accessory and a symbolic gesture. While everyone...
Holi festival painting

Happy Holi: Ancient Legends Behind India's Colorful Celebration

Holi is an ancient Indian spring festival that celebrates love, color, and the triumph of good over evil. Traditionally, this was a major Hindu religious festival in North India, but the fun,...
Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin.

The ‘Real’ St. Valentine Was No Patron of Love

By Lisa Bitel / The Conversation On Feb. 14, sweethearts of all ages will exchange cards, flowers, candy, and more lavish gifts in the name of St. Valentine. But as a historian of Christianity, I can...
Romeo and Juliet by Ford Madox Brown, 1870

Romeo and Juliet: Not a Shakespearean Tale After All

William Shakespeare's world renowned Romeo and Juliet (written sometime between 1591 and 1595) stands in the historical record as one of the greatest love stories ever written. It has been retold...
Xochiquetzal, with flower (Codex Fejérváry-Mayer, page 29)

Xochiquetzal: Aztec Goddess of Beauty, Pleasure and Love… But Don’t Mess With Her!

According to the Aztecs, Xochiquetzal was the goddess of beauty, pleasure, and love. She is commonly associated with such beautiful things as flowers, plants, song and dance, which is quite distinct...
"Delphic Oracle" Painting by Heinrich Leutemann. Image source: art-prints-on-demand.com

Spells, Charms, Erotic Dolls: Love Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean

It was a well-kept secret among historians during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the practice of magic was widespread in the ancient Mediterranean. Historians wanted to keep the activity...
The Banquet (after Plato). second version (1874) by Anselm Feuerbach.

Plato’s Symposium: Is it Just a Joke?

When talking about love in the classical age, we would be utterly remiss to not include Plato’s Symposium in our conversation. Symposium is Plato’s recounting of a, supposedly true, ancient cocktail...
The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC).

In Ancient Mesopotamia, Sex among the Gods Shook Heaven and Earth

Sexuality was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia, an area of the Ancient Near East often described as the cradle of western civilisation roughly corresponding to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, and...
Adult couple in embrace from Siberia.

Skeletons in Love: What is Behind the Loving Embrace in the Andronovo Burials?

There is something unique about the Bronze Age tombs in the Novosibirsk region of Siberia. The Andronovo burials, as they have been called, include dozens of skeletal remains of couples clutching...
Welsh love spoon.

Spooning in Early Modern Wales: The Sweet Symbolism of a Welsh Love Spoon

Roses are red Violets are blue, Presenting a spoon Means I love you While one often thinks of presenting his/her loved ones with flowers or candy as a gesture of romance, it was once more common to...
Statue of lovers

How to Win Love and Ruin A Marriage in 5 Easy Steps: ‘Ars Amatoria’ by Ancient Love Guru, Ovid

Before Tinder and Plenty of Fish took over the dating world , men and women used to resort to meeting each other the old-fashioned way—in person, or not at all. Before the internet, dating advice...
Stalk of basil.

Sacred Plant of Eternal Love and Healing: The Mythology and Magic of Basil

In Mediterranean cuisine it is the symbol of summer and its origins are lost in the mists of time. Fragrant and delicate with its green leaves it manages to tantalize the most demanding palates, it...
'The End of the Song’ – a depiction of the lovers Tristan and Isolde.

Ancient Lovers: Five Touching and Sometimes Tragic Love Stories Before Romeo and Juliet

Do you believe in true love? Are you a romantic in constant search of the one thing that so many novels, poems, and films have been dedicated to, or are you one of those people who doesn’t have much...
The letter (Image courtesy Andong National University)

Last Words of Love Were Sealed for 500 Years in a Korean Tomb

I just want to go to you. Please take me to where you are. My feelings towards you I cannot forget in this world and my sorrow knows no limit. Where would I put my heart now and how can I live with...

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