February 14, 270 (year is approximated)
Rome, Italy
Saint Valentine is beheaded for marrying Romans to their lovers against the Emperor’s command

Emperor Claudius the Cruel was disappointed at the lack of men willing to join his army and blamed their lack of enthusiasm on marriage, feeling the reason for low recruitment was due to men not wishing to leave their wives. He outlawed marriages and engagements in Rome, but Saint Valentine felt the decree was unjust and married lovers in secret.

When the secret marriages were found out, Claudius had Saint Valentine arrested, dragged through the streets, beaten, and beheaded.

As the legend is more than 1700 years old, some discrepancies exist — including the fact that 3 separate martyred Saint Valentines have been recorded — it’s difficult to ascertain what is fiction and what is truth, but all are associated with February 14.


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