In third century Rome, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, a priest, realizing the injustice of such a decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
While in prison, awaiting his death, Valentine fell in love with his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement.
Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine,"
St.Valentine was a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. By the middle ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Pictures are from Melange in Historic Folsom.
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