Knot of Hercules (Love Knot, Heracles Knot)

The marriage-knot or knot of Hercules, a strong knot created by two intertwined ropes, originated as a healing charm in ancient Egypt, but is best known for it’s use in ancient Greece and Rome as a protective amulet, most notably as a wedding symbol, incorporated into the protective girdles worn by brides, which were ceremonially untied by the new groom. This custom is the likely origin of the phrase “tying the knot.”

According to Roman lore, the knot symbolized the legendary fertility of the God Hercules; it probably relates to the legendary Girdle of Diana captured from the Amazon Queen Hippolyta. In this, the marriage-knot was probably a representation of the virginity of the bride.

The symbolism of the knot survived well beyond its religious use, and was a very common symbol in medieval and Renaissance love tokens.

Greek girdle, 3rd cent. BCE

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>143. Orange Bow Knots and 24 years of Wedded Bliss | Simply Gourmet…Where friends and family gather.
June 13, 2012 at 9:46 am
Works cited – Roman Family Life
June 2, 2017 at 6:53 am


Culotte August 20, 2012 at 9:13 am

…Really? Thats the origin? Why must our species make silly phrases that mean the exact opposite of what they’re supposedly depicting?

In any event, neat. was always curious how people tied ropes together without failing, which is as close as I could ever get. Nice post, I dont usually learn things before 10 AM.

Brady February 16, 2016 at 10:32 am

I could’ve sworn “tying the knot” originated from Celtic wedding traditions in which the bride and groom tied one of their hands to the other’s…

Jennifer February 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm

That was actually a fairly universal practice in the church, but is predated by the Roman tradition. :)

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