Fossil evidence shows that roses have existed since prehistoric times. The first cultivated roses appeared in Asian gardens more than 5,000 years ago. Roses were introduced to Europe during the Roman Empire, where they were mainly used for ornamental purposes. Cleopatra is said to have scattered rose petals before Mark Anthony's feet; Nero released roses from the ceiling during extravagant feasts and banquets.
Roses, it is said, blushed with shame as God expelled Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. According to Roman legend, a number of suitors were keen on marrying a beautiful woman named Rodanthe, but she did not care for any of them. Despite her ambivalence, the suitors continued to woo Rodanthe so zealously that they broke through the doors of her home. Angered by their actions and wanting to teach the suitors a lesson, the goddess Diana turned Rodanthe into a rose, and her suitors into thorns.
The rose is the flower emblem of England. According to English superstition, if the petals fall from a fresh-cut red rose, bad luck will soon follow. The red rose is the badge of the House of Lancaster and the flower of Eros and Cupid. In Wales, the white rose represents innocence and silence, and is thus placed on the grave of a young child. To Native Americans, the white rose symbolizes security and happiness, and is often worn during wedding ceremonies. The white rose is the badge of the House of York and the flower of the Virgin Mary.
Exquisite and radiant, the rose is the principal messenger of love. A single rose denotes perpetual love; two roses of any color taped or wired together signify a commitment or forthcoming marriage.