It is thought that Rosa damascena arrived in Greece from Persia, as a result of spreading across Asia Minor. This is also reflected in the etymology of the word ‘rose’. It is thought that the name of the flower stems from Old English ‘rōse’ from the Latin ‘rosa’, which in turn comes from Greek ‘rhódon’ (‘ρόδον’) meaning ‘red’, itself borrowed from Old Persian wrd- (wurdi).
Both Greek and Roman mythology is full of rose related stories. It seems that it has all started from a ‘lifeless body’ of a nymph being found by Chloris (goddess of flowers and spring), who with a bit of help from Zephyrus (the keeper of the west wind), Apollo (god of healing and medicine), Aphrodite (who added beauty), Dionysus (who added a nectar of intoxicating aroma)transformed it into a flower. Once the three Graces further bestowed upon the blossom the gifts of charm, joy, and splendour,Aphrodite named the flower Rose and dedicated it to her son, Eros, the god of love.
Undoubtedly, roses were known to Greeks almost three thousand years ago! The legendary poet, Homer (born ~ 800 B.C.), wrote in his famous ‘Iliad’ that the body of Hector (Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy) was anointed with rose before his burial.