Ancient Love Symbols

Some of the most modern images signifying love are actually ancient love symbols from around the world. The evolution of these symbols of passion and promise is an interesting story, and you might be surprised at the meanings behind of the most well-known love symbols.

Wedding Rings: The Western world has embraced the tradition of wedding rings as a symbol of love and marriage. The first recorded wedding rings appear in ancient Egypt and had a double meaning: the circle represented eternity, as well as the powerful sun and moon deities. Ancient Romans picked up the tradition, and it spread throughout Europe in the following centuries. While some cultures included precious and semi-precious stones in the rings, others chose simple bands made of metal, such as copper, iron, silver and eventually gold.

Red Rose: While most people today would identify the rose with love, the idea of this flower representing the emotion is an ancient one. The rose is associated with a variety of goddesses, such as Isis and Aphrodite. Roses were a key ingredient in love potions in ancient Europe, and the color red was a reflection of high emotions such as passion, desire and lust.

Doves: Throughout the world, doves have long symbolized love. In India, the dove was the symbol of the spirit and universal love. Aphrodite claimed the dove since her own bird did many of her matchmaking errands. In ancient Israel, the dove could be sacrificed as a gesture of love. Throughout Europe, it was noted that doves mated for life and became a frequent symbol of weddings.

Apples: From ancient Greece to China, apples have represented fertility, love and passion. Beloved of the Greek gods, apples often appeared in myths as gifts at weddings and as tokens of affection between lovers. Apples also symbolized the arrival of spring and fertility, so apple blossoms were associated with love early in Chinese legends.

Other ancient symbols of love that have appeared in various cultures are acorns (fertility), ribbons or knots (secret love), a crowned heart (love and loyalty), a heart pierced with an arrow (passionate love), a seashell (represented Aphrodite/Venus), a swan (eternal love) and a tulip (perfect love).

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