14 February draws close and while, in Catalonia, the date reserved for lovers is 23 April, in many countries throughout the world love is celebrated on St. Valentine's day.
In this article we recover the exhibition entitled, ‘T’estimo. Una història de l’amor i el matrimoni’ (I love you. A history of love and marriage)? that could be seen in the Museu d’Història de Catalunya' from December 2015 to May 2016.
If you did visit the exhibition you'd have discovered many aspects of the meaning of love throughout the ages, such as each period's customs and rituals concerning such things as gallantry, seduction, beliefs, traditions associated with weddings, and the social function of matrimony as an institution.
And talking about love, do you know about some of the most famous couples in history? Here are some of the couples that the Museu d'Història de Catalunya highlighted in its exhibition.
While the Roman soldier and politician Mark Anthony was still married to his first wife, the queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII, seduced him and they became lovers. Shortly afterwards, however, Mark Anthony opposed Octavian, Caesar's successor, in a conflict that lead to a marriage agreement between Mark Anthony and Octavian's sister.
Unsurprisingly, some years later Mark Anthony abandoned her and returned to the arms of Cleopatra, taking up residence in Alexandria and living a life of luxury. This led to war between the two enemies resulting in Octavian's victory and the death of Mark Anthony, who took his own life, falling on his sword, upon receiving the false news that Cleopatra was dead. When she realised what had happened Cleopatra also took her own life by allowing a poisonous snake to bite her. All in all, the love affair between Mark Antony and Cleopatra lasted for 13 years and they had three children together.
Towards the end of the 19th century Oscar Wilde was the most well-known writer in England. He was married to Constance Marie Lloyd, with whom he had two children. However, his meeting with the young aristocrat Alfred Douglas, changed everything.
When the homosexual relationship between two men came to light, Wilde was sentenced, after a dramatic trial, to two years in prison. Upon his release, and disenchanted with English society, which did not accept same-sex relationships, he left England for France where, some years later, and under a different name, he died as a result of meningitis.
This pair of American criminals is one of the most famous in history thanks to the 1967 film, in which they were portrayed by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, directed by Arthur Penn.
During the Great Depression, between 1931 and 1934, Bonnie and Clyde tore around the American Southwest committing to a series of crimes that struck terror into the whole country. They started by robbing banks, small establishments and rural petrol stations, but these criminal activities also lead to kidnappings and murder.
They remained on the run for a seemingly interminable two years, at the end of which they was gunned down in a stolen Ford V8 by the police.
Romeo and Juliet are surely the most famous couple of all. Theirs is a tragic love story made famous by William Shakespeare in his play of 1595, which has inspired numerous films such as the one starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in 1996, which gave the story a more modern touch.
Romeo and Juliet are passionately in love. The setting is the Italian city of Verona, and such is their love that the absence of one causes the other enormous suffering. They are condemned to live in a world dominated by the hatred of their respective and rival families, the Capuletos and the Montescos. Their relationship flies in the face of this rivalry and it ends tragically with the death of both of them.
We couldn't finish without mentioning one of the most famous couples in our own literature, the knight Tirant lo Blanc and princess Carmesina.
The protagonist of the novel, Tirant lo Blanc, the work of the Valencian writer, Joanot Martorell, falls in love with the beautiful princess the very moment he sees her arriving at Constantinople. Carmesina is the daughter of the Emperor and her handmaiden, Plaerdemavida helps Tirant lo Blanc to seduce her.
In the end, the sacred value of chastity is vanquished by desire and passion, and as can be expected in this mediaeval love story, Tirant lo Blanc and Carmesina's love affair ends tragically with the death of both of them.
If you would like to know more about love in today's world we have prepared some videos for you in which questions concerning matrimony are discussed. We are sure that none of the couples mentioned above would have considered many of these questions.