Love Story Illusion: Romance


The poem you will read in the translation below is the first love poem in written history and dates back to our era. It was written in Sumerian cuneiform on a tablet from 2037 to 2029.

According to Sumerian beliefs, the sacred duty of the sovereign was to marry once a year one of the priestesses of Inanna, the goddess of love and fertility, so that the earth would remain fertile and the uterus fertile. The poem, which was probably written by the bride chosen for King Shusin, to be sung at New Year celebrations, and also to be sung at feasts and banquets, accompanied by music, songs and dances, is as follows:

Groom, my dear,
Your beauty opens my heart, sweet as honey
Leo in my soul
Your beauty is pleasant, sweet as honey.
You captivated me, let me stand before you trembling
Bridegroom, take me to the bedroom
You captivated me, let me stand before you trembling
Aslan, take me to the bedroom.
Bridegroom, let me caress you
Your love caresses are sweeter than honey
In a room full of honey
Enjoy its touching beauty,
Aslan, let me caress you,
Your lovemaking is sweeter than honey.
Bridegroom, you love me
Tell your mom she’ll treat you to sweets
Father will give you gifts
Your soul, I know where your soul rejoices
Bridegroom, sleep until dawn in our house,
Your heart, I know where your heart rejoices
Aslan, sleep in our house until dawn.
Because you love me
I beg you, give me your caresses,
Almighty God, my supreme protector,
I am Shu-sin, Enlil’s heart rejoices,
I beg you, give me your caresses.
Your honey sweetness, I beg you, put your hand on it
Put my hand on her like a gishbane suit
Cover my hand on her like a gişban-fuck dress

(This poem was translated into modern languages ​​by US Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer. It was translated into Turkish by Muazzez Ilmie Cig.)

There is no love at first sight in the poem, marriage is completely conditional, financial issues are discussed (parents give gifts for togetherness), sexuality is brought to the fore regardless of the idea of ​​love marriage. However, our recent history has coded us differently. From this we understand that love relationships have developed differently according to historical perspectives. Our approach to love, on the other hand, is fueled by the siege of 18th century romanticism. Let’s see how this is still shaping us in terms of love even though the era of romance is far behind us.

Today, love is imposed as if it were such a personal and spontaneous process that hearing about the hidden and critical influence of society and culture in its leadership can even turn into a humiliating idea for those of us who consider ourselves individuals. But the reality is very different from our inflated perception of uniqueness. Our love thrives on a cultural background that creates strong feelings about what is “normal” in love; this ground subtly guides us where to place our emotional emphasis, teaches us what to value, how to approach conflict, what to rejoice in, when to endure, and what to be justifiably angry at. Love has a history, and sometimes we are completely helpless orientated in its course.

Since the eighteenth century, we have been living in a very different era in the history of love, which could be called romanticism. Romanticism originated as an ideology in the minds of poets, artists, philosophers and some clerics, and still silently defines how the Samsun store owner approaches his son’s first love.

No relationship completely follows the default romance template, but we wouldn’t be wrong to say that the general outline of the template is present in all of them:

  • Romance carries a deep hope for marriage. This tells us that a long-term marriage can experience all the excitement of a love affair. The feeling of love we experience at the beginning of a relationship is expected to last a lifetime. Romance has taken marriage and combined it with a passionate love story to create a unique proposal: a passionate love marriage for life.
  • He combined romance, love and sexuality, elevating sexual union into a sublime expression of love. If there was no love, the partnership would be just a disaster.
  • Romance suggested that true love should mean the end of all loneliness. He promised that the right partner would understand us completely, perhaps without even having to speak to us.
  • Romance believed that the choice of a partner should allow a person to be guided by their emotions, and not by practical concerns. People should not enter into relationships and marry for their own logic and pragmatic reasons.
  • A marriage of reason was not at all suitable for romance, so in its place he put a marriage of feelings. The important thing was that these two people madly wanted this, were attracted to each other by an irresistible instinct, and in the depths of their souls knew that this was true. Indeed, it has been said that the more careless a marriage appears, the more romantic it actually is. It can be said that the prestige of instinct is the reactive legacy of humanity.
  • Romance scorned practicality and money. Since we are under the influence of romanticism, we do not like these elements to be in the foreground in a relationship, especially in the early days. When two people say they’re together because they’re perfect for each other financially or because they have the same attitude towards punctuality, most people take it beyond love.
  • Romance believed that true love should involve enjoying every aspect of the lover. True love was synonymous with accepting everything about someone. The thought that the partner or oneself might have to change was seen as a sign of an unstable relationship; “You’ll have to change” was the line that should have been used as a final threat.

This love template is a historical creation. It is very beautiful and generally interesting. The Romantics were well versed in certain aspects of the emotional life; they were extremely skillful in expressing their hopes and aspirations. Emotions existed before, but the Romantics glorified them, turned them from fleeting dreams into serious concepts that determine how to manage relationships for life.

From this point of view, the affair was actually a disaster for our relationship. This undermined the ability of ordinary people to lead a successful emotional life. This has given rise to false expectations among mankind. We are surrounded by a culture of well-meaning but deadly perversions of how relationships can work.

To be considered normal in the Romantic era, many of the following must be present:

  • We must meet a person who has both the inner and the beautiful, and immediately feel a special attraction to him, and they to us.
  • We must have a full-fledged union, not only at the beginning, but forever.
  • Our only focus should be on our partner.
  • We must understand each other intuitively.
  • We don’t need love education. Perhaps we need to study to be pilots or neurosurgeons, but not fall in love. We must learn this by following our feelings and instincts.
  • We shouldn’t have secrets and we should always spend time together.
  • We must create a family without losing either sexual or emotional intensity.
  • Our partner; be our soul mate, good friend, parent, driver, accountant and spiritual guide.

Culture is a set of ideas that tell us how we should feel about ourselves and our lives. We don’t realize it most of the time, but it happens in the background, forcing us to make decisions based on his judgment.

Knowing the history of romance is nice because it shows that most of our relationship problems are not caused by us. To save love, the assumptions of the romantic view of love must be systematically challenged.

Replacing the romantic template with a psychologically mature vision of love may be the only remedy:

  • Love and sexuality don’t always go hand in hand.
  • Discussing financial matters at an early stage is not a betrayal of love.
  • The realization that we are completely imperfect and that our partner is also imperfect does not destroy love.
  • We do not need to make efforts, which often seem completely artificial, to understand each other. This instinctive attitude cannot lead us where we need to go.

Alain de Botton is perhaps right in his suggestion: “Love is not just a passion, it’s a skill”

We want to wink at everything about a more hopeful future for love…


Erman Ertugrul / The world’s first love poem
Peter Keeble/Philosophy of Love
Helen Fisher / Romantic love is essentially an addiction
Alain de Botton / The Course of Love
School of Life / How Romanticism Killed Love

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