As St Valentine’s Day approaches, here are some more historical facts about the heart…
did you know, the heart has been associated with our feelings and will for thousands of years – just look at the ancient Egyptians who weighed the heart against a feather to see if you were worthy of the afterlife. If your heart was lighter than a feather, you were allowed through that elusive doorway. It was thought that the heart, not the brain, contained all your emotions.
The fact that the heart is in the centre of the body only re-enforced this fact, and if the heart was pierced, you could die.
An early Roman “scientist”, Galen, was the first to realise the heart beats faster in different circumstances. They linked the feeling of the quickening heart (and that funny feeling in the chest) to love. In the middle ages, artists would base their somewhat naive anatomy drawings on the written descriptions of Galen and Aristotle without actually basing it on the real thing and while it’s obvious that the heart is red to represent all that blood pumping around the body because you are in love and your heart is “all a flutter”, the heart was always depicted upside down with a small dent in its base (the dent gradually became bigger). It was gradually turned around in the 15th century and by the 1800s, this heart shape, which appeared on tabards (livery), playing cards, religious pictures and other paintings was everywhere. And started to be sent out as a message of love.