When Rome was first founded it was surrounded by a wilderness. Great packs of wolves roamed over the countryside. Among their many gods the Romans had one named Lupercus who watched over the shepherds and their flocks. In his honour they held a great feast in February of each year and called it the Lupercalia. The Lupercalia festival was an echo of the days when Rome consisted of a group of shepherd folk that lived on a hill now known as Palantine. On the calendar used back in those days, February came later than it does today, so Lupercalia was a spring festival. Some believe the festival honored Faunus, who like the Greek Pan, was a god of herds and crops, But the origin of Lupercalia is so ancient that even scholars of the last century before Christ were never sure.
There is no question about its importance. Records show, for instance, that Mark Antony, an important Roman, was master of the Luperci College of Priests. He chose the Lupercalia festival of the year 44BC as the proper time for offering the crown to Julius Caesar. Each year, on February 15, the Luperci priests gathered on the Palantine at the cave of Lupercal. Here, according to legend, Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, had been nursed by a mother wolf. In Latin, the word lupus is the word for wolf. Some of the rituals involved youths of noble birth running through the streets with goatskin thongs. Young women would crowd the street in the hope of being lashed with the sacred thongs as it was believed to make them better able to bear children. The goatskin thongs were known as the februa and the lashing the februatio, both coming from a Latin word meaning to purify.
The name of the month February comes from this meaning. Long after Rome became a walled city and the seat of a powerful empire, the Lupercalia lived on. When Roman armies invaded France and Britain, they took the Lupercalia customs there. One of these is believed to be a lottery where the names of Roman maidens were placed in a box and drawn out by the young men. Each man accepted the girl whose name he drew as his love - for a year or longer.
ST Valentine, how many?
Also known as Valentine of Terni, Valentine of Rome Confusion surrounds exactly who St Valentine was. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, at least three Saint Valentines are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as a Bishop of Interamna (now Terni in Italy) and the other lived and died in Africa. The Bishop of Interamna is most widely accepted as the basis of the modern saint. He was an early Christian martyr who lived in northern Italy in the third century and was put to death on 14 February around 270AD on the orders of emperor Claudius the Second for flouting the ban on Christianity. However, though Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome have separate entries in martyrologies and biographies, most scholars believe they are the same person.
After Christianity was firmly established the priests wanted the people to forget the old heathen gods. But they did not wish to do away with all their feasts and sports. So they kept the Lupercalia and called it Valentine's Day.
It was not until the reign of Pope Gelasius that the holiday became a "Christian" custom. " As far back as 496, Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia on February 15 to St. Valentine's Day on February 14." (p. 172 of Customs and Holidays Around the World by Lavinia Dobler).
But how did this pagan festival acquire the name of "St. Valentine's Day"? And why is the little naked Cupid of the pagan Roman so often associated today with February 14? And why do little children and young people still cut out hearts and send them on a day in honor of Lupercus the hunter of wolves? Why have we supposed these pagan customs in honor of a false god are Christians?
Who Was the Original "St. Valentine"?
Valentine was a common Roman name. Roman parents often gave the name of their children in honor of the famous man who was first called Valentine in antiquity. That famous man was Lupercus, the hunter. But who was Lupercus? - and why should he have also borne the name Valentine among the heathen Romans?
The Greeks called Lupercus by the name of "Pan". The Semites called Pan "Baul," according to the Classical Dictionaries. Baal - mentioned so often in the Bible - was merely another name for Nimrod, "the mighty hunter" ( Genesis 10:9) It was a common proverb of ancient time that Nimrod was "the MIGHTY hunter before the Lord." Nimrod was their hero - their strong man - their VALENTINE!
How plain that the original Valentine was Nimrod, the mighty hunter of wolves. Yet another of Nimrod's names was "Sanctuc" or "Santa", meaning Saint. It was a common title of any hero-god. No wonder that the Roman Lupercalia is called "St. Valentine's Day"!
But why do we associate HEARTS on a day in honor of Nimrod - the Baal of the Phoenicians and Semites?
The surprising answer is that the pagan Romans acquired the symbol of the heart from the Babylonians. In the Babylonian tongue the word for heart was "bal" (Strong's Concordance Number H1168). The heart - bal - was merely a symbol of Nimrod - the Baal! or Lord of the Babylonians!
Executed at Rome
Nimrod - the original St. Valentine - was also known as Saturn, the Roman-Babylonian god who hid from his pursuers in a secret place. The Latin word Saturn is derived from the Semiticspeaking Babylonians. It means "be hid," "hide self," "secret," "conceal." The original Semitic (Hebrew) word, from which the Latin Saturn is derived, is used 83 times in the Old Testament (see Young's Concordance under "Sathar," also "sether").
According to ancient tradition, Saturn (Nimrod) fled from his pursuers to Italy. The Apenine mountains of Italy were anciently named the mountains of Nembrod or Nimrod. Nimrod briefly hid out at the site where Rome was later built. The ancient name of Rome, before it was rebuilt in 753 B.C. was Saturnia - the site of Saturn's (Nimrod's) hiding. There he was found and slain for his crimes. Later, professing Christians in Constantine's day made Nimrod - the St. Valentine of the heathen- a Saint of the Church and continued to honor him under the name of a Christian martyr.
Why February 14?
But why should the Romans have chosen February 15 and the evening of February 14 to honor Lupercus - the Nimrod of the Bible? (Remember that day in ancient times began at sunset the evening before.)
Nimrod - Baal or sun god of the ancient pagans - was said to have been born at the winter solstice. In ancient time the solstice occurred on January 6 and his birthday therefore was celebrated on December 25 and now called Christmas. It was the custom of antiquity for, the mother of a male child to present herself for purification on the fortieth day after January 6 - Nimrod's original birthdate - takes us to February 15, the celebration of which began on the evening of February 14 - the Lupercalia or St. Valentine's Day.
On this day in February, Semiramis, the mother of Nimrod, was said to have been purified and to have appeared for the first time in public with her son as the original "mother and child."
The Roman month February, in fact, derives its name from the februa which the Roman priests used in the rites celebrated on St. Valentine's Day. The febru were thongs from the skins of sacrificial animals used in rites of purification on the evening of February 14.
Cupid Makes His Appearance
Another name for the child Nimrod was "Cupid" - meaning "desire" (Encyclopedia Britannica, article "Cupid"). It is said that when Nimrod's mother saw him, she lusted after him - she desired him. Nimrod became her Cupid - her desired one - and later her Valentine! So evil was Nimrod's mother that it is said she married her own son! Inscribed on the monuments of ancient Egypt are inscriptions that Nimrod (the Egyptians called him Osiris) was "the husband of his mother."
As Nimrod grew up, he became the child-hero of many women who desired him. He was their Cupid! In the Book of Daniel he is called the "desire of women" ( Dan. 11:37). Moffatt translates the word as Tammuz - a babylonian name of Nimrod. He provoked so many women to jealousy that an idol of him was often called the "image of jealousy" ( Ezekiel 8:5). Nimrod, the hunter, was also their Valentine - their strong or mighty her! No wonder the pagans commemorated their hero-hunter Nimrod, or Baal, by sending heartshaped love tokens to one another on the evening of February 14 as a symbol of him.
Nimrod, the son of Cush the Ethiopian, was later a source of embarrassment to the pagans of Europe. They didn't want an African to worship. Consequently, they substituted a supposed son of Nimrod, a white child named Horus, born after the death of Nimrod. This white child then became a "fair Cupid" of European tradition.
It is about time we examined these customs of the pagans now falsely labeled Christian. It is time we quit this Roman and Babylonian foolishness - this idolatry - and get back to the faith of Christ delivered once for all time.
Let's stop teaching our children these pagan customs in memory of Baal the sun god - the original St. Valentine - and teach them instead what the Bible really says!