On February 14 each year, Valentine's Day sends business soaring. Flowers, chocolates, and jewelry are on this day's most wanted gift lists to be exchanged between lovers. But how did Saint Valentine came to flowers, jewels, and chocolates? Or is he actually even the patron saint of lovers? For none of this has he done any work; it all involves an unusual inheritance that fell to him late in death.
Towns are founded to succeed. Some do and grow out of all recognition. Some fail and disappear into the ground. Some few fall into a vegetative state and keep going without growing. They are the ones to visit like Palmanova in Italy. Like a time capsule, the town remains almost unchanged since the time of Napoleon. It was founded by the Republic of Venice as the ideal Renaissance town.
Queen Berta of Burgundy, formerly Princess of Swabia, Queen of Upper Burgundy, and Empress of Rome, was buried in Payerne, a small town in today's Republic and Canton of Jura, Switzerland. She was first revered as a saint there, but her story started to grow as time went by. Soon she was known as Good Queen Berta. Still later, she acquired the name Queen Berta the Spinner. Even later, she would become godmother to a newly established republican state. And her story lives on today.
San Marino is the oldest existing Republic in the world. This is not just some boast, but historical fact. The beginnings of San Marino, as befits any good story, are shrouded in legend, putting the founding of the city into the hands of a saint, St Marinus. Like most of the early and many of the later Catholic saints, he is mythical but features a nice story.
When Emperor Otto I went looking for a wife for his son, he wanted it to be a political statement. As the first Emperor from German stock, he was looking for acknowledgement by the other half of the Roman Empire. A princess of the house of Byzantium it had to be and nothing less. Once that goal was achieved, the newcomers went out of their way to show how much they appreciated the gesture.
There are Princes and Princesses, and then there are Princes and Princesses. Some are Royal or more, some are not. The problem lies in geography. Depending on where the title came from, the title of Prince does not mean the same thing. The puzzle can be solved given some knowledge of geography and history, and quite some of the muddle derived from translating foreign titles into English.