Historically love took a backseat to money, territory

Gabriel Stoffa

It is simply amazing the flights of fancy Valentine’s Day brings out in people.

Somehow, people get it into their heads that the lovey-dovey tenderness of being with someone you love is the bestest thing ever. Many of them get the notion in their head that their romance will last through the ages like those famous romances of the past — well at least for a year or so, which is “ages” by today’s standards of fickle protestations of love.

But how often do people look back and realize the origins of coupling. You can think about those star-crossed lovers all you want, but if you delve into history, you find that love frequently had little to do initionally with the formation of a couple.

In man’s early days tribes were the way of life. Frequently, there were not enough women to support a tribe, so a tribe would attack another tribe in order to steal its women. The winning tribesmen would murder the men of the tribe, murder the male children and then rape the women, turning them into baby-makers for the glorious future of the winning tribe.

Fastforward to the glorious days of Rome. Love had little to do with coupling there. Women were essentially sold off from one family to another to make for business or political partners. The women had to learn to love the men in many situations, and even if they came to love them, the male head of the family could still force a divorce so that a more beneficial coupling could be made. Also, a lot of the sex involved in the marriage was essentially rape.

Let us try looking at the marvelous age of chivalry. People adore the idea of a knight in shining armor saving the lady fair and then falling head-over-heels into love. More to reality, the knight was actually a noble, and nobles were not known for actually being very nice to non-nobles. So unless the knight was saving a female noble, then the knight was just as likely to instead rape the girl.

To top it off, knights usually did not marry the lady-fair whose favor he carried. He would wed some girl for money and territory and then cheat on her.

Finally we have the Victorian age. All I can say there is that the parents frequently went along on all outtings for a potential couple, so any notion of romance was out the window.

There you have it, a quick look at the “romance” people dream about in days of yore. This Valentine’s Day, when you are all caught up in the flowers and chocolates and candle-lit events, remember that love as people like to dream of frequently had little to do with couples in the past.