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The Rose Beyond the Grave

Issue: Vol 13 No. 5 (2011) Issue Number 5, August 1998

Journal: Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies

Subject Areas: Religious Studies

DOI: 10.1558/pome.v13i5.48


The equation of the rose with secrecy goes back to Pagan Roman times, supposedly when Cupid gave a rose to Harpocrates, god of silence, to symbolize concealing the secrets of Venus. Hence early Christians rejected the rose as a decorative motif because of its associations with Roman depravity. Yet the rose crept back in, as in the ‘rose windows’ of many medieval churches, not to mention the rose hip’s utility as an inexpensive and ideally shaped material for making rosary beads--reinforcing its name, which comes from the Virgin Mary’s allegorical ‘crown of roses.’

Author: Evan John Johns

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