Black rose (symbolism)

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The anarchist symbol of the black rose

Black roses are symbols featured in fiction with many different meanings and titles such as black velvet rose, black magic, barkarole, black beauty, Tuscany superb, black jade, and baccara.[citation needed] The roses commonly called black roses are technically a very dark shade of red, purple or maroon. The color of a rose may be deepened by placing a dark rose in a vase of water mixed with black ink. Other black roses may be blackened by other methods such as burning.

Language of flowers[edit]

In the language of flowers, roses have many different meanings, with black roses specifically symbolizing ideas such as hatred, death, and despair.[1]


Anarchist anti fascists with black rose

Black Rose Books is the name of the Montreal anarchist publisher and small press imprint headed by the libertarian-municipalist/anarchist Dimitrios Roussopoulos. One of the two anarchist bookshops in Sydney is Black Rose Books which has existed in various guises since 1982.

The Black Rose was the title of a respected journal of anarchist ideas published in the Boston area during the 1970s,[2] as well as the name of an anarchist lecture series addressed by notable anarchist and libertarian socialists (including Murray Bookchin and Noam Chomsky) into the 1990s.

Black Rose Labour (organisation) is the name of a factional political organisation associated with the United Kingdom Labour Party, which defines itself as Libertarian Socialist.[3]

Black Rose Anarchist Federation is a political organization that was founded in 2014, with a few local and regional groups in the United States.[4]

Pop culture[edit]

The symbolism in many works of art or fiction is usually to contrive feelings of mystery, danger, death, or some sort of darker emotion like sorrow or obsessive love.


In the Night World series, the black rose is the symbol for made vampires, as opposed to the black iris for lamia (or born vampires).

In the Dragonlance series, the black rose is the symbol for knights who have betrayed their ideals. The most famous is known as Lord Soth, Knight of the Black Rose.

In Revenge (Season 2, Episode 18), black roses are a symbol for dying love.

"Black Rose" is the title of the background music for a level in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.[5] "Black Rose" is likely the name of the game's haunted mansion.

In the Babylon 5 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane", a black rose is given to a monk as a symbol of death, and later placed in the mouth of a murdered woman.

In American Horror Story: Murder House Tate gifts Velma a black rose stating that she doesn't like black roses.

Black Rose was a hit single by rock band Thin Lizzy and was the title of an album. Lead singer and bass player Phil Lynott had an interest in Irish mythology and claims he was inspired by it.

The artist Charli XCX composed a song entitled "Black Roses", which was included on her 2013 album, True Romance.

The Black Rose is a gift item in the video game Fable. Although most NPCs become offended if a black rose is given to them, they are needed to marry Lady Grey, a seductive villainous noblewoman.

The Black Rose is a secret organization that has existed in the world of League of Legends (known as Runeterra) for thousands of years.

In the first-person team based shooter Team Fortress 2, there exists a knife weapon for the Spy class that takes the namesake of the black rose, which was created in a cross promotion with the game, Alliance of Valiant Arms.


  1. ^ Language of Flowers: Black Rose
  2. ^ Goodway, D. (2013). For Anarchism (RLE Anarchy). Routledge Library Editions: Anarchy. Taylor & Francis. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-135-03756-7. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Black Rose". Black Rose. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  4. ^ website of the Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra (BRRN)
  5. ^ IGN staff (November 8, 2002). "Eternal Darkness CD". Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  • Wilkins, Eithne. The rose-garden game; a tradition of beads and flowers, [New York] Herder and Herder, 1969.