Sub rosa

Sub rosa

The Latin phrase sub rosa means "under the rose" and is used in English to denote secrecy or confidentiality.

The rose was the emblem of the god Horus in ancient Egypt. Later the Greeks and Romans regarded this as god of silence. This originates from a Greek/Roman misinterpretation of an Egyptian hieroglyphic adopting Horus along with Isis and Osiris as a god. The Greeks translated his Egyptian name Har-pa-khered to Harpocrates.

The rose's connotation for secrecy also dates back to Greek mythology. Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, the god of love; he, in turn, gave it to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to ensure that his mother's indiscretions (or those of the gods in general, in other accounts) were kept under wraps. Paintings of roses on the ceilings of Roman banquet rooms were also a reminder that things said under the influence of wine ("sub vino") should also remain "sub rosa". [] In the Middle Ages a rose suspended from the ceiling of a council chamber similarly pledged all present (those under the rose) to secrecy. [ Scottish Executive Official Website] ]

In Christian symbology the phrase "sub rosa" has a special place in confessions. Pictures of file-leaved roses were often carved on confessionals, indicating that the conversations will maintain secrecy. The phrase has also understood to make reference to the mysterious virginal conception of Christ, which will remain a secret to a rational mind.

In current times, the term is actually used by the Scottish Government for a specific type of "off the record" meetings. [ Scottish Government official website] ]

More recently, "sub rosa" activities have become a byword for covert operations, usually by security services. Originating primarily in the Canada and the USA special forces, this meaning has been gradually spreading to other countries and in particular the United Kingdom.Currently covert operations by the Special Boat Service uses the term in the vernacular.

In 1670, in the fort of Sàrospatak, Hungary (near the present Ukrainian border), members of the Wesselényi-conspiracy met to plot against the royal court in Vienna - the kingdom of Hungary being part of the Austo-Hungarian empire - in a small balcony room bearing a rose painted on the ceiling. The conspirators were ready to fight against the ruling court as they deemed the laws enacted by it unconstitutional, endangering religious and political freedom. Rákóczi Ferenc I., Nádasdy Ferenc, Zrínyi Péter, Frangepán Ferenc were present, the latter later revealing to the Austrians the details of the conspiracy. The Austrian court responded by putting the fort under siege. During the planning, several secret meetings took place in this small, secluded room. Since then, "sub rosa" has been used in the Hungarian language (in both the Latin form and the Hungarian translation, "A ròzsa alatt") meaning secrecy and a plot. For many Hungarians, this where the expression 'sub rosa' originated.


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  • Sub rosa — es una expresión latina que significa “bajo la rosa” y se usa para denotar secreto o confidencialidad. La rosa era el emblema del dios Horus del Antiguo Egipto. Más tarde, griegos y romanos consideraron a Horus como el dios del silencio. Esto se… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sub rosa — est une maison de disques, basée à Bruxelles, fondée à la fin des années 1980 mais qui émergea dans le milieu des années 1990 avec l exploration d une nouvelle forme de musique électronique. Le label, dirigé par Guy Marc Hinant et Frédéric… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sub Rosa — est une maison de disques, basée à Bruxelles, fondée à la fin des années 1980 mais qui émergea dans le milieu des années 1990 avec l exploration d une nouvelle forme de musique électronique. Le label, dirigé par Guy Marc Hinant et Frédéric… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sub rosa — Sub rosa, lat., wörtlich unter der Rose. Bei den Gastmahlen unserer Vorfahren wurde mitten über der Tafel an die Zimmerdecke ein Kranz aufgehangen, in dessen Mitte eine natürliche oder künstlich gefertigte Rose schwebte. Diese Blume war dem… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • sub rosa — (Latin) Under the rose; secret or confidential. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008. sub rosa under the rose ; …   Law dictionary

  • sub rosa — /sub roh zeuh/ confidentially; secretly; privately. [1920 25; < L sub rosa lit., under the rose, from the ancient use of the rose at meetings as a symbol of the sworn confidence of the participants] * * * …   Universalium

  • sub rosa — (izg. sȕb rȍza) DEFINICIJA u povjerenju, povjerljivo, zavijeno ETIMOLOGIJA lat.: pod ružom (ruža je simbol mučaljivosti) …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • sub rosa — [sub rō′zə] adv. [L, lit., under the rose, an ancient symbol of secrecy] secretly; privately; confidentially …   English World dictionary

  • Sub rosa — (lat.), d.h. unter der Rose. Einem etwas S. r. sagen, im Vertrauen, unter der Bedingung der Verschwiegenheit sagen. Schon bei den Römern war die Rose ein Bild der Verschwiegenheit; sie soll als Blume der Venus vom Amor dem Harpokrates, dem Gott… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Sub rosa — (lat., »unter der Rose«), im Vertrauen, unter dem Siegel der Verschwiegenheit, als deren Symbol die Rose an der Decke von Konventssälen in Klöstern und am Beichtstuhl angebracht wurde …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Sub rosa — (lat., »unter der Rose«), im Vertrauen …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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