Mae Leonard traces the history of the rose and the role it played in ancient civilisations

The Queen of Egypt is hopelessly in love and not at all sure if her feelings are reciprocated. A high dose of seduction is required. She calls for her bath of ass’s milk, she calls for her jewels, she calls for her hairdresser and beautician.

She checks her image in her copper hand mirror and smiles. Yes. She looks wonderful. But is that enough? Perhaps something more is needed. But what? Roses. Ah yes, it has to be roses. Every rose in the gardens is plucked and Mark Anthony is lured into a room, knee deep in rose petals, where Cleopatra, Queen of The Nile, awaits his pleasure. And the rest, as the fella said, is history.

Legend tells us that the rose was born somewhere in the East. When God created the world the first rays of the sun to touch the earth brought forth a white rose. Legend continues to say that the white roses turned to red when a nightingale fell to the ground and its blood spilled on white roses turning them to red.

And once upon a time there was a Persian Princess at her wedding feast and on the table before her was a bowl of water with rose petals floating on top. The sun beamed down on the scene getting hot and hotter during the long ceremony and the water evaporated leaving the rose petals stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own