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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.

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.
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The Frozen Heart
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