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History of the heart symbol

The heart (❤) is a modern day representation of love. The heart symbolizes romance, affection, passion, and relationships.

But the modern day heart symbol bears little resemblance to the actual human heart. So how did the heart symbol come to represent love and why does it look so different from the actual human heart?

It started in the Middle Ages

Many scholars believe that the modern day heart symbol has its origins in the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages a large amount of scientific and medical knowledge was lost. So scientists and artists during this time relied on ancient Greek texts.

One Greek physician, named Galen, had described the shape of a human heart as similar to an inverted leaf. Hence came the popular anatomically incorrect depiction of the heart: ❤

... and grew in popularity

By the 1400s the heart symbol was depicted in numerous artwork, and by the 1500s the French had developed the modern suite of playing card which, of course, includes hearts.

Finally, the Roman Catholic Church adopted the "Sacred Heart" as a representation of Jesus Christ's divine love for humanity, solidifying the heart as a symbol of love.

Today, it's everywhere!

Today, the heart symbol has been enshrined into numerous emojis and Unicode symbols, which we present to you on this website.