Vampires don’t send valentines. If they did, however, the sentiments would be classical, not contemporary. That’s because, no matter their age, love means something far different to a vampire than it does to a modern human.
“The dream couples of ancient love poetry are hardly the stuff of today’s romantic. They inhabit a world of playful and elegant poetry far removed from the false sincerity of contemporary Hallmark romance,” notes Barbara Gold, Professor of Classics at Hamilton College in New York. “But the depth of the feelings expressed by the ancients is also far removed from the superficial and hyperbolic lovebites found in contemporary commercial expressions of love.”
Today’s valentines focus on sharing, caring, love and friendship. These are noble sentiments and should not be disdained. At the same time, this sentimental love has been softened since the passionate days and nights of Rome. Modern love, like the current cartoon of Cupid, has become a fat baby shooting blunted arrows. In ancient Rome, Cupid’s arrows were far more pointed.
“Love for them was interesting, both to live and to write about, because it was painful, like a disease,” Gold said, explaining that Roman lovers described themselves as “wounded, wretched, enslaved by their lovers, having their bone marrow on fire and suffering from double vision.”
“They melded coarse obscenities with deepest expressions of sexual, erotic longing,” said Gold. “Above all, there was no sharing or caring and no real idea of friendship among equals.”
Sound like any vampires you know?