Monday, 31 January 2011

Romantic Roman flowers for the month of Valentine's Day

As a forerunner to Valentine's Day, and with my Roman books in mind, I thought I'd talk about some romantic Roman flowers. Some are surprising. Some are popular even today.
Sweet violet is a pretty, sweet-smelling flower used, like the anemone and the madonna lily, in garlands at Roman banquets. The scent was believed to ward off drunkenness! The Romans loved the scent of violets and even drank wine infused with violets and honey.

Vervain is a dull-looking plant but one which the Romans believed held magical proprieties. Believed to bring good luck, it was used in love potions.

Roman brides used mint for their garlands, and their faces may have been cleansed with a facepack made from the juice of yellow elecampane, because it was believed that Helen of Troy was collecting the flower when Paris abducted her.
Then as now however, the most popular romantic flower was the rose. Roses were grown in Campania for sale and the streets in Rome were red with rose garlands. They were known as flowers of seduction - Cleopatra was rumoured to have seduced Mark Anthony with rose petals. I'll leave it to your imagination as to how!

Bookstrand have Flavia's Secret on offer as a free ebook from today until Valentine's Day. If you haven't tried one of my books yet, here's a chance!
For details of the book and the free download, go to: .
Update (December 7): Many of my other Bookstrand titles are now available for a mere $2.99.
Best wishes, Lindsay Townsend
(Painting by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and drawings of sweet violet, elecampane and mint from Wikimedia Commons.)


Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Lindsay, flowers are definitely expressions of love. What a wonderful blog.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Lovely blog, Lindsay. I would have liked being a Roman lady, with all these gorgeous flower meanings, especially the roses! ;-)

Jane x

Celia Yeary said...

Lovely descriptions of magical flowrers. I wonder why the rose has almost universally been the flower of love, of seduction, and of friendship, too. Ineresting. who doesn't like the rose?
Very nice and romantic post--Celia

StephB said...

Lindsay, Flowers are so much more than pretty smells aren't they? I love violets. Thanks so much for sharing. I don't know much about Rome, but after watching the HBO series, I really got interested in their times and cultures.


LK Hunsaker said...

Mint wedding garlands, how interesting! I've planted mint in a large container by my front entrance. A refreshing, welcoming smell; same idea, I guess.