Arma virumque cano...just don't tell anyone...

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Arma virumque cano...just don't tell anyone...

Post  John on Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:55 am

Sub Rosa is a Latin phrase indicating a secretive discussion. Apparently, the Greek god of silence, Harpocrates, was a voyeur with an eye for Venus. Cupid, as any good son would, bribed the god to keep him quiet about the affair by giving Harpocrates the first rose ever created. The phrase, literally meaning "under the rose," has acquired a rather high level of popularity among diplomats, Catholic confessional priests, and lawyers. Additionally, the phrase sub vino sub rosa est is translated as "what is said under the influence of wine is secret," indicating something akin to drunken discussions being classified.

Incidently, the myth of Harpocrates was inspired by an Egyptian picture of Horus, sometimes god of silence and more often the god of everything awesome, relaxing under a rose with his finger placed at his lips. Unfortunately, since roses do not look like olives, the Greeks were unfamiliar with how they should look, and so mistook for a rose what was actually a lotus. Also, Horus was suckling his finger, a common trope in Egyptian art indicating youth.
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