…ion with love in all its forms. Indeed, most public kisses involved men kissing other men for reasons that had little or nothing to do with sentiment. Multifaceted, the kiss could rep…

It’s Adam and Steve, not … cough. Sorry. A little 2006 got stuck in my throat there.

…cal and ecclesiastical sources: though Thomas Aquinas condoned certain instances, the Council of Vienne tried to condemn kissing a woman as “a mortal sin since nature does not incline one to it” —though sexual intercourse was d…

Amazing.

… oath. This act of kissing was so crucial to the legality of the traditional homage ceremony that omitting it threatened to render the pledge null and void. In a 1439 petition to King Henry VI, members of Parliament requested that the kiss be omitted due to the Black Death, an “infirmity most infective,” if the king “desir[es] the health and welfare” of his people and himself. They sought confirmation that even without the kiss to seal the deal, those performing homage could trust that “at your will the homage [would be] of the same force as though they kissed you.” This anxiety centers the kiss as the ultimate mark of legitimacy on the ritualized transaction—without which, Parliament feared, the act of homage would not hold up. Kissing Couple. From a Latin cop…

Like a signature on a document!