The power and playful character of love led the Roman poet Ovid to write a manual in which he compared love to the conquest of war. Lord Byron mocked the traditional moral hero with his characterization of Don Juan, who seduces at will. The medieval Court of Love celebrated Saint Valentine and there is an Irish tradition that suggests Saint Brigid appointed one day in the year for women to propose marriage to men, an echo of which remains in Sadie Hawkins Day.
The power and playful character of love led the Roman poet Ovid to write a manual in which he compared love to the conquest of war. Lord Byron mocked the traditional moral hero with his characterization of Don Juan, who seduces at will. The medieval Court of Love celebrated Saint Valentine and there is an Irish tradition that suggests Saint Brigid appointed one day in the year for women to propose marriage to men, an echo of which remains in Sadie Hawkins Day.

© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

“Love is a kind of warfare; avaunt, ye laggards!”
(Ovid, Ars Amatoria, II:511)

The Roman poet Ovid's Ars Amatoria is one of the earliest books describing the arts of love and seduction. Ovid divides his advice into three categories: how to find a lover (“all women can be caught”); how to win your lover (“let love find entrance veiled in friendship's name”); and how to keep your lover (“be sure she thinks you spellbound by her beauty”).
“Love is a kind of warfare; avaunt, ye laggards!”
(Ovid, Ars Amatoria, II:511)

The Roman poet Ovid's Ars Amatoria is one of the earliest books describing the arts of love and seduction. Ovid divides his advice into three categories: how to find a lover (“all women can be caught”); how to win your lover (“let love find entrance veiled in friendship's name”); and how to keep your lover (“be sure she thinks you spellbound by her beauty”).

© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Red-figured Cup with Symposium Scene

Red-figured Cup with Symposium Scene

Attributed to Brygos Painter (fl.490–470 B.C.E.)
The British Museum
c. 490–480 B.C.E.
D:32 cm. H:12.7 cm
GR 1848.6-19.7 (Vases E 68).
© The British Museum


From crowds, whom at your feet you see,
Oh, pity and distinguish me!
As I from thousand beauties more
Distinguish you, and only you adore.
(John Dryden [1631–1700], Love’s Petition)

Founded “principally upon the two virtues of humility and loyalty, to honor, praise and commend all ladies and damsels,” the Court of Love is the first known official celebration in honour of Saint Valentine’s Day. Its charter highlights many observances, echoes of which can be seen in modern celebrations: “on the day of My Lord St. Valentine…there will be sung at the church…a mass of this blessed martyr….On this feastday, each of his subjects is to compose an amorous balade on a theme of his own choosing….” (Henry Ansgar Kelly, Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1986, p.131)
From crowds, whom at your feet you see,
Oh, pity and distinguish me!
As I from thousand beauties more
Distinguish you, and only you adore.
(John Dryden [1631–1700], Love’s Petition)

Founded “principally upon the two virtues of humility and loyalty, to honor, praise and commend all ladies and damsels,” the Court of Love is the first known official celebration in honour of Saint Valentine’s Day. Its charter highlights many observances, echoes of which can be seen in modern celebrations: “on the day of My Lord St. Valentine…there will be sung at the church…a mass of this blessed martyr….On this feastday, each of his subjects is to compose an amorous balade on a theme of his own choosing….” (Henry Ansgar Kelly, Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1986, p.131)

© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Knight and Lady with Birds

Knight and Lady with Birds



In Fridrich Pfaff, Der Minnesang des 12. bis 14. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart: Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1891–1895)



The knight kneels in homage to his lady, as he receives his helmet. In the background, birds frolic in a tree, reminiscent of the medieval tradition that the pairing of the birds occurred around Saint Valentine's Day.

Artwork: Grosse Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (Codex Manesse) Cod. Pal. germ. 848, 82v
Photo Credit: Corey Chimko

Provincial Museum of Alberta
c. 1305-1340
Illumination
© Provincial Museum of Alberta


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
• Describe how romantic love has been an inspiration that has influenced literature in most cultures through the ages.
• Explain how literature has represented the ideal that love reveals and redeems the individual
• Describe how historically the notion of romance was broader than physical attraction and reached higher meanings such as courtly love in Medieval times and passionate and divine love in Biblical themes


Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans