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In ancient Greek, lyric poetry identified the heart with love.
Greek philosophers agreed that the heart was linked to our strongest emotions, including love. Plato thought the heart was responsible for love, fear, anger, rage, and pain. Aristotle granted the heart as supreme in all human processes.
The ancient Romans believed there was a vein extending from the fourth finger of the left hand directly to the heart.
In the medieval period in Salisbury, England, the groom was told to place a ring on the bride's fourth finger during a marriage ceremony, because of that vein.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, minstrels in France celebrated a form of love that we call today courtly love. The troubadour was to pledge his whole heart to only one woman and promise to be true to her forever. He'd sing to her and the members of the court to which she belonged.
During this time, artists depicted love between a couple as a fanciful tree that rises to form the outline of a heart. It carries within it a coat of arms bearing the Latin word AMOR (love).
In 1344, the heart icon with two lobes and a point appeared in a manuscript, The Romance of Alexander. The scene containing the heart image appears in the lower border of a page decorated with sprays of foliage, perched birds and other motifs characteristic of French and Flemish illumination.
During the 15th century, the heart icon spread throughout Europe on the pages of manuscripts and luxury items like pendants. The heart appeared in coats of arms, playing cards, combs, wooden chests, and sword handles.
Saint Valentine of Rome was added to the Catholic calendar by Pope Gelasius in 496. By the mid-17th century, the celebration of Valentine's day in England was customary.
The first commercial valentines day appeared in England at the end of the 18th century. They combined traditional symbols of love - flower, hearts, cupids, birds. The Industrial Revolution obliterated handmade Valentine's Day items in favour of the mass-produced Valentine's Day card.
In 1977, the heart icon became a verb with the "I Love NY" logo that was created to boost morale for a city in crisis. The symbol extended the meaning of the heart beyond romantic love to include civic feelings, thus opening the gateway to new uses.
Once the heart sign became a verb, it could be used to connect people, places, or things.
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