Love is a powerful emotion and even though we experience it in a deeply personal way, it has a history. In the past - as today - love has expressed itself in all kinds of relationships, held different meanings, and created both bliss and havoc. Love has inspired all forms of art and religion, but also caused wars and controversy. Anything we think ourselves capable of today in the love department has been tried, tested, praised, and abused by people in the past too.
In this issue we explore romantic love in various tones. First, we uncover the loving, and sometimes tragic, stories of devoted couples from long ago. Then we reveal the forgotten story of the Sacred Band of Thebes, who were not only supreme warriors but coupled lovers as well. You’ll discover the tale of a Neolithic Romeo and Juliet and swoon over the touching love stories of legendary couples.
Next, we discuss the lusty side of romance, as it is depicted in erotic ceramics created by an ancient Peruvian culture and graveyard prostitutes in ancient Rome. We also tell you which of today’s favorite aphrodisiacs come from antiquity and the truth about chastity belts.
You may be shocked by Ovid’s love advice from ancient Rome and the 31 rules that were provided for ‘courtly love’ in the Middle Ages. But those are not the only surprises this issue holds, as we also expose the dark origins of Valentine’s Day, the chilling tale of a Japanese snow spirit, and the possible solution to what all those strange containers from ancient Babylon really mean.