Faeroese Postal History
Dutch Silver Stamp
A Jewel on a Stamp
Canadian Nat. Symbols
Private - Personalized
Philatelic Art Mews
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
From Persia they presumably came to the Mediterranean region and to Greece in
particular, where various references to them are found in the writings of Homer
and other poets, indicating that roses were very popular with the ancient Greeks
and had already been crowned "Queen of Flowers". By this time,
the modest wallflower had doubtless been bred into a bloom with about 60 petals
-- a flower ideally suited for taking Roman high society by storm.
Roses have been blooming for thousands of years, since long before
people began to take an interest in them. In those early days
rose blooms were very modest, with just five petals, like the wild
roses now found in hedgerows.
Rose-breeding probably began in Chinese gardens around 2700 BC.
However, compared with peonies or chrysanthemums, roses were not held
in great esteem, though it was not long before the ancient Persians
discovered they could be used to make highly valued rose oil and rose
Switzerland 2002. Special stamps for the Pro Juventute
Foundation. The stamps were issued for the Foundation's 90th birthday.
The set consists of five stamps, but only four are shown here. The
stamps measure 2.8 * 3.3 cm. From left to right:
Being Danish I am particularly proud that the Ingrid
Bergman-rose is of Danish breed, by Poulsen, in 1984. Poulsen's rose
fields are located immediately south of Elsinore, and are very impressive in
Extravagant Roman orgies did little for the image of the rose as
the "Queen of Flowers". The notorious Emperor Nero decorated his
debauched festivities with incredible quantities of roses, and Emperor
Heliogabal showered his guests with so many petals that some of them even
suffocated. Thus, in Roman times, roses came to be equated with a
dissolute life style. They were extensively planted around Rome,
ultimately reducing them to a mass product.
||The collapse of Rome and its Empire marked the end of the first Golden Age of
the rose which spent the "grey" Middle Ages in the shadows.
Without Rome's dissipated celebrations the "Queen of Flowers" was
condemned to oblivion and only survived the following centuries because its
medicinal and cosmetic properties secured it a place in some convent and
monastery gardens. The world's biggest industry of rose oils today
take place in Bulgaria in the "Valley of Roses".
Charlemagne's (742-814) edict from 794 which prescribed the
cultivation of fruit, medicinal plants, vegetables and decorative
plants in the imperial free cities gave the rose a fresh lease of life
-- and its rank as "Queen" naturally placed it at the top of
- Grenada/Grenadines 1981. Charlemagne painted by Albrecht
Dürer c. 1512-1513. Oil on Wood, 188 x 88 cm. German National
Museum in Nuremberg.
Today Bulgaria is one of the most important rose breeding countries of
Europe, and midway between the capital Sofia and The Black Sea is the Valley of
the Roses (Rozovata dolina). Being a sun baked and dusty place most
of the summer, in May and early June it's magically transformed by the blooms
that give it its name. The rose-growing area produces seventy percent of
the world's attar -- extract -- of roses. Considering that perfumers pay
more than 45 million US-dollars a year for this, it's not surprising that roses
are known as "Bulgaria's Scented Gold". Only the red and white
roses are used, not the yellow or other hybrids.
However, the true comeback of the rose was delayed until the late Middle Ages
when it became a Christian symbol. The white rose was seen as standing for
the innocence and purity of Maria, while red roses symbolized the blood of
Christ, and the thorns represented sin.
Canada 2001. This beautiful souvenir sheet was issued for
PhilaNippon2001. The special feature of the sheet is the four strange
perforations in the selvedge, symbolizing the thorns. The sheet's
background colour changes from whitish golden to dark golden, upwards and
down. The surface value of each stamp is 47 c. The names of the
However, the worldly significance of the rose as an envoy of love, beauty
and sensuality was never lost and occasionally generated some strange
phenomena. During the reign of Queen Victoria the French and English
refined this "earthly" symbolism into a complex language, which is
partly reflected on the above set of the Victorian roses from the United
In those days not only the colour and shape of the roses, but
also the way they were presented, accepted and worn were loaded with
significance. A yellow rose from an admirer told the object of his
affections that everything about her was enchanting. If she accepted the
rose with her right hand, the suitor could breathe a sign of relief, as this
meant that she looked favourably on his attentions. The British
yellow rose is shown below on the 33p-stamp, and it is not without reason that
the late Princess Diana of Wales was also called "The Rose of Britain"
-- also quoted by Elton John in his funeral hymn to her in Westminster Abbey,
Great Britain 1991.
Rosa Silver Jubilee, Rosa Mme Alfred
Carrière, Rosa Moyesii, Rosa Harvest Fayre, Rosa
At the occasion of the World Congress for Rose Breeders, France issued in
1999 a lovely sheet of Ancient Garden Roses. Rose breeding has
particularly been commercialized in the Dordogne-area, in the south-western part
of France, not far from Bordeaux.
No other flower is so universally known and admired as the rose, and
altogether there are approximately 13,000 identifiable varieties of roses in
various classes. Many varieties have been bred with beautiful varieties of
colour and delightful fragrance which vary greatly according to variety and
A less known aspect of the rose is the compass rose, an instrument that indicates direction, used by mariners, aviators, campers, hunters, and other travelers to enable them to get from one place to another. Two fundamental types of compass are used: the magnetic compass, which probably originated in ancient China; and the gyrocompass, a device developed at the beginning of the 20th century.
The compass rose was originally known as the wind rose, indicating the
direction of 32 winds blowing from the eight main points, eight
half-points, and sixteen quarter-points of the compass.
When these 32 points were inter-connected within a circle, they
resembled a traditional Chinese rose of 32 petals. Until this day the
fundamental navigation equipment is still known as the compass rose, and
North is still marked either with an arrow-head, or most often, with the
symbol for the French Lily.
- Angola 1969. Compass Rose issued for the celebration of the
500th birth anniversary of Vasco da Gama.
Equally, the prime meridian of longitude that indicates the line
from the North Pole to the South Pole through Greenwich Observatory in England,
is known as the Rose Line.
Although the equator was an obvious choice as the prime
parallel, being the largest, no one meridian was uniquely qualified as prime.
Until a single prime meridian could be agreed upon, each nation was free to choose its own, with the result that many 19th-century maps of the world lacked a standardized grid.
France had chosen a line going through the St. Sulpice Church in Paris, which
was built on the exact location of the ruins of an ancient heathen temple.
The problem was resolved in 1884, when an international prime meridian, passing through London's Greenwich Observatory, was officially designated.