On February 14, around the year 278A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.
Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.
To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the 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. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.
Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine.”
For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.
In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.” One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.
Legends vary on how the martyr’s name became connected with romance. The date of his death may have become mingled with the Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan festival of love. On these occasions, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to the Feast of Lupercalia, and he declared that February 14 be celebrated as St Valentine’s Day.
Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.
Lived: Nov 07, 1728 – Feb 14, 1779 (age 50)
Education: Postgate School, Great Ayton
Children: Joseph Cook (Son) · Nathaniel Cook (Son) · Elizabeth Cook (Daughter) · George Cook (Son) · Hugh Cook (Son)
Siblings: Margaret Cook (Sister) · John Cook (Brother) · William Cook (Brother) · Jane Cook (Sister) · Christiana Cook (Sister) · Mary Cook (Sister) · Elizabeth Cook · Nathaniel Cook · George Cook
Parents: Grace Pace Cook (Mother) · Elizabeth Batts (Mother)
Awards: Copley Medal (1776)Highlights
- 1762: Cook married Elizabeth Batts (1742–1835), the daughter of Samuel Batts, keeper of the Bell Inn, Wapping and one of his mentors, on 21 December 1762 at St Margaret’s Church, Barking, Essex.
- 1771: He returned to England via Batavia (modern Jakarta, Indonesia where many in his crew succumbed to malaria), the Cape of Good Hope, and arriving on the island of Saint Helena on 12 July 1771.
- 1771: Shortly after his return from the first voyage, Cook was promoted in August 1771, to the rank of commander.
- 1776: It was for presenting a paper on this aspect of the voyage to the Royal Society that he was presented with the Copley Medal in 1776.
- 1778: After dropping Omai at Tahiti, Cook travelled north and in 1778 became the first European to begin formal contact with the Hawaiian Islands.
- 1779: Cook was attacked and killed in a confrontation with Hawaiians during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779.
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