The real history of Valentine’s Day is not comprised of roses, chocolates and pretty cards. Instead, crime, imprisonment and execution are at the genesis of our modern day love fest, dating back to the man whose martyrdom may have inspired the holiday.
There were reportedly three early Christian saints named Valentine, but the one the holiday likely comes from was a Roman priest during the 3rd century A.D. under Emperor Claudius II.
The Roman Empire was experiencing massive turmoil at the time. Dubbed the ‚Crisis of the Third Century‘ by scholars, this period saw the empire divide into three competing states, with the threat of invasion all around.
Claudius made the unpopular decision to ban marriage among young people, believing that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers. With the Roman Empire hanging by a thread, Claudius needed all the brazen war power he could get.