Etymology: Romance

“Maybe, just maybe, throughout history, romance is the one aspect of humanity that has only evolved in terms of expression, but not in that of experience.”


It would appear, upon observing human behaviour through conversation and interaction, that one binding factor across an array of spheres seems to be that of romance. Typically, humans, regardless of race, creed, or colour, seem to be united in the issue of romances — both fictional and non-fictional.

Fictional in the sense of romanticization, or “idealization”. It is when one can appreciate beauty within simplicity: the sun, the sky, a clean street and so forth. Then there are non-fictional romances, the bonding of conversing over past scorched relationships, or the thrill of entering a new adventure.

Either way, romance itself is one word that seems to have been conceptualized as a term regarding the relationship of “lust and commitment”. This is, surprisingly, a modernized idea popularized by mainstream media, or so, one would think

To go back to the root of the word, romance was originally termed “romanus” in the 14th century, and reiterated in late Latin. The initial definition of the word simply meant “to be of Roman speaking”. This definition was revised in the 15th century, stated that romanus is “of or relating to languages developed from Latin”.

Prior to the Romantic Period, the word “romance” merely represented a form of linguistic expression.

As the centuries progressed and various revolutions made their ways around the planet, romance seemed to be the one “language of hope” to which people throughout history have been drawn. In the late 18th century, the word “romance” was no longer limited to languages spoken or written, but had spread its way into music and art.

Twas the era of Blake, Chopin, Beethoven, of Constable to name a few who helped shape the modern world. Despite the chaos and oppression in the extrinsic world —  the push against fascism and totalitarianism — the one binding factor was that of romance.

This period of time lasted until just after the Industrial Revolution in the mid-nineteenth century. The creation of machinery suddenly meant new jobs were available, and life became more competitive as humans flocked from various places around the land in search of a “new life”. The idea of romance slowly drifted into the wayside as humans became more engaged by inventions, by stimulation, by new discoveries.

As life progressed slowly, wars broke out and ended, the planet continued to spin, and humanity kept resisting change yet fighting for it simultaneously, romance came back into play, somehow, in the late twentieth century. For a number of reasons, romance became a post-modernized notion that enabled the general definition of “a feeling or excitement and mystery associated with love”, or alternatively, “a quality or feeling of mystery and excitement from everyday life”.


Perhaps this was what humans have unanimously craved all along — why new inventions were made, why new discoveries are fun, why mysteries leave people scratching their heads, and why taking a plunge on a roller coaster causes weird butterflies in the stomach.

Romance supposedly symbolizes all of the above, and maybe, just maybe, throughout history, it is the one aspect of humanity that has only evolved in terms of expression, but not in that of experience.





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