Sub rosa

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Sub rosa (Neo-Latin for "under the rose") denotes secrecy or confidentiality. The rose has an ancient history as a symbol of secrecy.


The Tudor rose

In Hellenistic and later Roman mythology, roses were associated with secrecy because Cupid gave a rose to Harpocrates (the Hellenistic god of silence) so that he would not reveal the secrets of Venus.[1] Banquet rooms were decorated with rose carvings, reportedly as a reminder that discussions in the rooms should be kept in confidence.[1] This was inherited in later Christian symbolism, where roses were carved on confessionals to signify that the conversations would remain secret.[1]

The phrase entered the German language (unter der Rose) and, later, the English language, both as a Latin loan phrase (at least as early as 1654) and in its English translation.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "sub rosa". Dictionary. Retrieved February 6, 2021.