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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The Hebrew word rendered 'rose' in , and , is not now generally understood to denote a rose, but probably a species of narcissus. But by the Greek word rendered 'rose' in the Apocryphal books (;;; ), that flower is generally allowed to be designated.

The rose was as highly esteemed among ancient, as it is among modern nations, if we may judge by the frequent references to it in the poets of antiquity. As we know that it continues to be the favorite flower of the Persians, and is much cultivated in Egypt, we might expect more frequent mention of some of its numerous species and varieties in the Jewish writings. This, however, is not the case, and probably arises from its being less common in a wild state in a comparatively dry and warm climate like that of Syria. It is, however, indigenous in some parts. Monro, as quoted in Kitto's Physical History of Palestine, 'found in the valley of Baalbek, a creeping rose of a bright yellow color in full bloom, about the end of May. About the same time, on advancing towards Rama and Joppa from Jerusalem, the hills are found to be to a considerable extent covered with white and pink roses.' Mariti found the greatest quantity of roses in the hamlet of St. John, in the desert of the same name. 'In this place the rose-plants form small forests in the gardens. The greatest part of the roses reared there are brought to Jerusalem, where rose-water is prepared from them, of which the scent is so very exquisite, that in every part of Lycia, and also in Cyprus, it is in request above all other rose-waters.' Burckhardt was struck with the number of rose-trees which he found among the ruins of Bozra beyond the Jordan. That the rose was cultivated in Damascus is well known. Indeed one species is named Rosa Damascena from being supposed to be indigenous there. 'In the gardens of the city roses are still much cultivated. Monro says that in size they are inferior to our damask rose, and less perfect in form; but that their odor and color are far more rich. The only variety that exists in Damascus is a white rose, which appears to belong to the same species, differing only in color.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Rose'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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