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A rose is a flower that grows from a thorny bush. Chicks dig 'em, and they are an easy gift.

Medieval Roses

Medieval Roses are not the same as the modern roses we see - they didn't form neat buds, rather they were always open flowers, without the multiple layers of petals seen on modern roses. This can be seen by the shape of the heraldic rose which is an open flower seen from above, rather than a bud on a stem.

Roses were probably more prized for their smell in medieval times than we do today, whereas today we attribute more significance to the form of the flower. (cf. Stefan's Florilegium).

Hellibores, also called winter roses, are not a variety of rose, but are another medieval flower, which when cut from their plant do bear some simularity of appearance to the medieval rose.

Medieval Practical (non-symbolic) uses of Roses

Roses were a source of rosewater, a favourite period food sweetener, and rose hips were used in several recipes, including jam.

Medieval symbolism of roses

"What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"

Juliet's mention of this flower in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is one of its most famed literary references. Interestingly, the name of the 15th century conflict in England, between the House of York and the House of Lancaster also stems (no pun intended) from Shakespeare - he makes use of the imagery of the badges of the houses (a white and red rose respectively), although he never actually uses the phrase War of the Roses.

SCA symbolism of roses

A rose or wreath of roses is used as the badge of the queen of many kingdoms, including Lochac with a white rose. Former queens are called "ladies of the rose" and have some role in advising and helping the new queen. Tournaments of the Rose may be held in which the loser of the bout has to deliver roses to the lady of the winner's choice.

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