sub rosa

In a NYT editorial concerning America’s use of not-so-clever redefining the word “torture” to deny that America uses “extraordinary rendition” and similar tactics to cause de-facto torture:

But that doesn’t make it any less disturbing that the United States government seems to have lost its ability to distinguish between acts that may occur sub rosa in some exceptional, critical situations and the basic rules of proper international behavior.

Sub rosa means “pledged to secrecy” and is a Latin phrase (literally “under the rose”) which is a Middle Age practice that referenced a Greek myth I had not heard of.1

I first looked up the word when I wondered why SubRosaSoft, a Mac software company, got their name.

In any case, it’s a cool word. Also notice that the title of the editorial: “Secretary Rice’s Rendition” is a play on the double-meaning of the word rendition. I wasn’t aware of the legal meaning until this year—I can only guess as to how that word managed the tortuous path from its dramatic origin to the strange meaning today.

1 If Harpocrates is Horus, son of Isis (Egyptian Aphrodite) wouldn’t that imply that he is Eros or at least Eros’s brother. Why would Aphrodite give Eros a rose to give him directly? Me am confused!

One thought on “sub rosa

  1. Here is another take on the word. Sub Rosa as a secret restaurant.

    Sub Rosa started out as an HTML exercise that got out of hand. You have heard of fantasy sports teams. This is a fantasy restaurant, but the celebrity chef is my wife. This is merely a tongue and cheek snapshot of our lives in the guise of a secret eatery. The food we like. The music we listen to. The wine we drink.

    Sub Rosa is a virtual restaurant located in Dundee, Oregon. Quite underground and secret. As the name implies – what goes on here stays here.

    sub rosa suhb-ROH-zuh, adverb : Secret; private; confidential

    Sub Rosa comes from the Latin, literally “under the rose,” from the ancient association of the rose with confidentiality, in reference to the use of a rose at secret meetings as a symbol of the sworn confidence of the participants. The ceilings of Roman banquet-rooms were decorated with roses to remind guests that what was spoken sub vino (under the influence of wine) was also sub rosa.

    Here are some pages you shouldn’t miss:

    Reservations are hard to come by:

    Nude barbecue and clothing optional dining:

    Reviews and what people are saying about Sub Rosa:

    My office and wait staff:

    Here are some recipes we posted awhile back:

    Smoked Salmon Hash Рfried potatoes, smoked salmon and cr̬me frąche

    Hazelnut Zabaione Semifredo – Toasted hazelnuts, frozen custard and this elixir of chocolate, espresso and Marsala are to die for. One bite and you are whisked away to Italy.

    Venison – with rosemary potatoes and horseradish sauce. The Bambi special.

    Sub Rosa’s East Indian Thanksgiving dinner. What would happen if Bombay got ahold of our traditional holiday meal?

    Our wine list (really just what we have in our cellar at the moment)

    Our beer list (still mining our aged barleywine collection)

    As always, there are many new songs posted on our music pages.
    Songs for lunch, dinner and after hours.

    Mike Sherwood
    Linda Lausmann
    Sub Rosa
    Dundee, Oregon

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