History of Chivalry and Romance Over The Centuries

History of Chivalry and Romance Over The Centuries

The history of chivalry and romance has changed over the centuries according to various cultures. But February 14th still continues to be the most celebrated day for love and romance worldwide.
Valentine’s Day is one of the top ten days of the year to get engaged.
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Valentine's Day
Roses for Valentine’s Day

Make a loved one’s Valentine’s Day special! You can create joy in a person’s day in the simplest yet loving ways like giving and/or sharing:

  • a hug
  • a box of candy
  • dessert and wine
  • dinner at a favorite restaurant
  • a handmade gift
  • reservations at a hotel with dinner, roses, and wine
  • a dozen roses (first most popular Valentines flowers)
  • a single rose with baby’s breath
  • Valentine’s Tulips (second most popular Valentines flowers)
  • a romance novel
That list includes you, too, men! Yes, there are men who read romance books. Would it surprise you that 84 percent of romance novels are purchased by women (mostly between ages 30 and 54, according to Romance Writers of America (RWA))?
The book genre that earns the most money is romance/erotica ($1.438 billion in 2013). Romance novels are predominantly written by women writers, though a percentage of men write them as well (often with female pen names).
Valentine's candy
Godiva Candy for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day History Facts

How did Valentine’s Day begin? Robert Lacey & Danny Danziger, authors of The Year 1000: What Life Was Like At The Turn Of The First Millennium, indicate that February 14th celebrations go back to the third-century priest, Valentinus (St. Valentine). St. Valentine’s feast day was celebrated on the 14th day of February, but it is uncertain why this priest is considered as the patron saint of love and romance. Lacey and Danziger point out that “there is no Christian reason why St. Valentine should be the only saint in the calendar whose feast is celebrated with universal ardour today.” Other Valentine’s Day facts include:
  1. Pope Gelasius changed the Lupercalia pagan fertility festival to February 14th as Valentine’s Day.
  2. Valentine’s Day candy giving in decorative boxes was made popular by Richard Cadbury, the descendant of an aristocratic British chocolate manufacturing company.
  3. During the Middle Ages, people in France and England believed that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season.
  4. Charles, Duke of Orleans, wrote the first Valentine, a poem, to his wife while he was in prison.
  5. Valentine’s candies with the printed sayings began in 1866 by Daniel Chase.
  6. Sweethearts, the heart-shaped conversation candies will not be sold on Valentine’s Day in 2019 because the previous company, Necco, that made the candies went bankrupt. The new owner is Spangler Candy Company, and the candies will be sold again in 2020.


What is chivalry? It’s the thoughtful and kind gestures a gentleman does for a lady. The chivalry code of conduct has changed quite a lot since medieval times. The term “chivalry” comes from an old French word, chevalerie. When I think of chivalry, I envision a knight returned from defending the land to pluck a lute and sing his words of love and devotion to his lady. Of course, through the ages the themes of romance expanded into well-loved fairy tales and further into the romance-novel genre. Today our heroes’ actions reflect changes through the ages of how to please a lady.

Chivalry and courtship facts and tidbits of information:

  1. Chivalric ethics originated chiefly in France and Spain and spread rapidly to the rest of the Continent and to England. They represented a fusion of Christian and military concepts of morality and still form the basis of gentlemanly conduct.”
  2. “The chief chivalric virtues were piety, honor, valor, courtesy, chastity, and loyalty.”
  3. In the 17th century, ornately carved spoons became a tradition of a suitor showing affection to his love.
Valentine's Day
A Rose for Valentine’s Day

The “Ten Commandments of Chivalry” by French literary historian Leon Gautier:

  1. Believe the Church’s teachings and observe all the Church’s directions
  2. Defend the Church
  3. Respect and defend the weak
  4. Love your country
  5. Do not fear your enemy
  6. Show no mercy and do not hesitate to make war with the infidel
  7. Perform all your feudal duties as long as they do not conflict with the laws of God
  8. Never lie or go back on one’s word
  9. Be generous
  10. Always and everywhere be right and good against evil and injustice

Chivalry continues in the twenty-first century by gentlemen who show courtesy to ladies in ways such as:

  • opening doors for ladies
  • standing and offering their seat to a lady
  • paying for the meal when taking a lady out to dinner
  • pull out a lady’s chair for her when she is ready to sit down

Weddings oftentimes take place on Valentine’s Day.

Origin of Marriage

Marriage originated from the Creator. He created Eve for Adam as a companion. “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18, New International Version of the Bible). The King James Version says, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

Origin of the Term “Honeymoon” 

Valerie Green (read her blog about the history of chivalry and romance) explains the history of the word: “An old French custom declared that as the moon went through its phases, a couple would drink metheglin, a brew made from honey—hence the term “honeymoon” today.”
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Want to read a historical romance novel? Elizabeth Pye’s The French Connection series books Silk or Sugar and Return to Chateau Fleury are available on Amazon. Click on the photos of the books below to purchase the novels.

“Each chapter written is a step toward the completion of Mon Amour, Friend or Foe.”

                                                        – Quote by Elizabeth Pye, April 2018 (referencing the process of Book 3 of The French Connection series)

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