Show Her How Much You Care: Whip Her With Shaggy Thongs

14Feb12

Now, who is THIS gorgeous guy?

Hubba hubba!

Well that’s Saint Valentine, of course. Parts of him, anyway — the rest is in Dublin. Why? Don’t ask me, I don’t really get the whole relic thing…

Apparently the Catholic Church didn’t get it either, at least as far as Saint Valentine is concerned: they had to let him down gently when his feast day was removed from the official calendar by Vatican II (Electric Boogaloo):

“Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.”

It probably din’t help that there were FOURTEEN martyred saints of the Roman empire named Valentinus (a popular name at the time) and NONE of their biographies mention a thing about romantic love.

So that’s the problem with the whole Saint Valentine story: there really isn’t one.

Bummer. It’s so much more fun to believe the legend:

Once upon a time,  Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage, on the theory that married men did not make good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret. When Claudius found out,  he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail. While in jail, Valentine miraculously cured the jailer’s daughter of blindness. They fell in love, and before he was martyred on February 14, he wrote her a love note and signed it “from your Valentine”.

Yeah, that’s pretty much a load of hooey.

Here’s the real deal:

Just like every other successful Catholic feast day, the Feast of Saint Valentine was slapped over a pagan holiday, this one called Lupercalia, or “The Festival of the Wolf”.  The Lupercalia festival was partly in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Plutarch described Lupercalia this way:

“At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.”

So you can sort of see how Lupercalia was already doomed once the Church came to power… but it gets better.

Here’s from Wikipedia, THE UNDISPUTED SOURCE OF ALL TRUTH, thank you very much:

“The rites were directed by the Luperci, the “brothers of the wolf (lupus)”, a corporation of sacerdotes (priests) of Faunus, dressed only in a goatskin, whose institution is attributed either to the Arcadian Evander, or to Romulus and Remus. The Luperci were divided into two collegia, called Quinctiliani (or Quinctiales) and Fabiani, from the gens Quinctilia (or Quinctia) and gens Fabia; at the head of each of these colleges was a magister. In 44 BC, a third college, the Julii, was instituted…”

BORING! Get to the pagan rites! Ok, here we go:

“The festival began with the sacrifice… of two male goats and a dog. Next, two young patrician Luperci were led to the altar, to be anointed on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood, which was wiped off the bloody knife with  wool soaked in milk, after which they were expected to smile and laugh.”

“Oh, hee hee hee! You put bloody, milky wool on my forehead! You are a laugh riot, you are!”

“The sacrificial feast followed, after which the Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the victims, which were called februa, dressed themselves in the skins of the sacrificed goats and ran round the walls of the old Palatine city, the line of which was marked with stones, with the thongs in their hands in two bands, striking the people who crowded near. Girls and young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was supposed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility in women and ease the pains of childbirth.”

And really, what could be more romantic than THAT?

Oh, except a skull in a glass case.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

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One Response to “Show Her How Much You Care: Whip Her With Shaggy Thongs”

  1. Damn, gurl, why you gots ta tease me like that? You know I can’t resist a man without a body. Mmmmm mmmmm. Happy Valentine’s Day to me indeed.


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