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Ancient Symbols of Love

By Editorial Staff

by Info Guru Rosemary O’Brien

There are so many symbols of love that it is difficult to pin down a few.

Here are the top ten ancient symbols of love throughout the ages. See if you agree.

10. Venus

Venus is the Roman Love and Beauty Goddess as well as the goddess of beauty, prosperity, fertility and desire. She is usually depicted as rising out of seafoam in accordance with an image taken from a fresco in Italy’s coastal town of Pompeii where she was venerated and revered. Statues of Venus, as well as plaques and tapestries, make a romantic decor statement. The Roman Venus is often compared to the Greek Goddess Aphrodite.

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9. Rose

The rose has been a symbol of love and beauty throughout the ages and throughout the world. In fact, the word ‘rose’ means red or pink in a number of Romance languages and is attributed to various goddesses such as Isis and Aphrodite. Its color is often used as a symbol of blood such as that of the Christian martyrs in Rome and the five wounds of Christ. Grow your own roses for a garden full of romantic possibilities.

8. Shell

The shell, with its hard casing inside which it protects life in form of pearls, symbolizes the protective aspect of love. It has had slightly varying symbolism in different cultures. Seashells were considered to be representative of regeneration by the Romans. The Roman Goddess of love and fertility, Venus is often depicted as emerging from a scallop shell after being made from the foam the shell carried ashore. The ancient Hindus have associated the conch shell with calling out to love-filled hearts and awakening the hearts of the faithful. The Native Americans have also used seashells to symbolize fertility and love.

7. Clasped Hands

Clasped Hands
The clasped hands is one of the love symbols used to this day. Did you ever hear someone say they asked for her hand in marriage? This was originally a business transaction, the woman being the property of the father and then the husband, but today is used more to ask the blessing of both parents on the intended marriage.

6. Heart

Where does the ubiquitous Valentine’s heart shape come from? Believe it or not, it’s from a now-extinct plant that was used as a seasoning.

5. Cupid

Who is Cupid? Originally, Cupid was a powerful god of love known to mess with the hearts of gods and mortals alike. He was known as Eros until the Romans renamed him Cupid, gave him wings, and portrayed him as a mischievous child that shot arrows causing the recipients to fall madly in love with one another. Sometimes ancient symbols of love aren’t what they seem!

4. Ribbons or lace

During the days of knights and fair maidens, knights would go into battle carrying the scarf or ribbon of his maiden tied around his neck or the back of his helmet as a good luck charm. Lace handkerchiefs were dropped in Victorian times so that a woman could get the attention of a man she was interested in without seeming too forward. She would drop it in front of the man she was interested in giving her the opportunity to speak to him when he retrieved it for her. You can add Victorian-inspired romance to your wardrobe with lace cuffs, collars, and delicate accessories.

3. Doves

Doves represent love because back in the Middle Ages, people believed birds found their mates on Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love. In truth, most birds mate in late spring and early summer, but doves tend to stay with their mate throughout mating season. As such, they are also a symbol of loyalty and monogamy.

2. Apple

One of the reasons apples are a symbol of love and fertility is due to the ancient Greek custom of tossing an apple to a woman you desire. If the woman caught it or made an attempt, it meant she loved you back. Brides customarily ate an apple on their wedding night to encourage sexual desire and fertility throughout the marriage. For a novel and romantic gift, send your sweetheart a bountiful basket of the crispest fall apples.

1. The Swan

Swans are known to mate for life, so they are an obvious choice for a symbol of love. The idea is so ensconced in history that the image of two swans facing each other forming a Valentine heart is a prevalent image of love throughout the world.

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The people in ancient times had many symbols for lots of things especially ancient symbols of love. Though very similar in their reasoning, the Romans, Greeks and even the Victorians changed things up to suit the current times. The next time you need a tried and true symbol for your Valentine’s Day sweetie, choose a symbol from this list and you can’t go wrong. Ah, love!


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