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Too many rose petals

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roses of Elagabalus, Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Roses of Elagabalus, Lawrence Alma-Tadema

According to Suetonius, during one of the feasts in Nero’s “Golden House”, one of the guests suffocated after the hall was flooded with huge amounts of rose petals.

Nero’s engineers Celer and Severus have created an amazing mechanism operated by slaves. Thanks to it, the ceiling reflected the celestial vault and guests could experience day and night. In addition, perfumes were sprayed on the revellers and rose petals were dropped.

Interestingly, the Stoic philosophers, including Seneca the Younger, were against the excessive use of roses. The Christians were even more hostile to Roman predilections. According to them, the rose was a symbol of paganism, orgies and lust. Tertullian even devoted his work to it.

Another emperor Elagabalus also did not shy away from luxury and exoticism. In his case, however, the guests were “treated” with petals of violets and other flowers. The guests, however, according to the messages, did not survive this and suffocated under the mass of flowers.

It seems that such messages come from staunch opponents of both rulers.

  • Madeleine Marsh, Compacts and Cosmetics: Beauty from Victorian Times to the Present Day
  • Suetonius, Nero

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