There is hardly any other flower that inspires people’s imaginations the way the rose does. It has held special significance since antiquity. According to myth, a rose sprouts from the blood of the dying Adonis. Christian iconography defines it as a symbol of paradise and of the Virgin Mary. During the period of the Crusades, precious rose varieties came to the attention of Medieval courtly society and admiration of the flower thus came to be celebrated in the love songs of the troubadours and in allegorical poetry such as the Roman de la Rose. From that time on, the same enticement pervaded Europe that had already long distinguished Arabic and Persian culture: open your eyes and hearts to poetry! When looking at the rose in poetry – for example in the works of Anacreon, Angelus Silesius, William Shakespeare, Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Rainer Maria Rilke, Christian Morgenstern, or Gertrude Stein –, we encounter verses of wisdom about the deeper meaning of life – love, beauty, transience. The rose is ephemeral, its image eternal. The rose has come to be a symbol of orientation towards enlightenment, inward and outward journeys and has also been used as a symbol of freedom.
Photos: Werner Scheuermann, Norbert Weber, Manfred Marx