It is a motto most of us have heard at one point or another in our lives. Obviously, it is Latin and usually translated, for brevity’s sake, as “confidentially”. The direct translation is “under the rose”. It is used to bind participants with a promise of confidentiality and secrecy for the proceedings therein. The history of the practice, however, is very appropriate to courtesanry and companionship.
Aphrodite, ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sex, among others, as well as the patroness of courtesans and prostitutes, among others… she was no less randy than the great god, Zeus. The goddess had plenty of lovers and marriage certainly did not slow down this rambling rose. According to the myth, she gave a rose to her son, the god of love Eros, who gave it to Harpocrates, the god of silence– he ensured that the goddess’ numerous affairs stayed secret.
And so Aphrodite’s rose became the symbol of discretion and secrecy, initially only involving secret affairs. As pointed out in the Wikipedia article on sub rosa, the Middle Ages transferred the word to maintaining, among laymen especially, the mysticism surrounding the legends and myths of the Virgin Mary (not applicable in our case). Nowadays, sub rosa acts as a general commandment to keep the proceedings taking place behind closed doors quiet.
I have decided to take this as the model of my dedication to discretion. As I have explained before, discretion and anonymity are not synonyms. Sub rosa guarantees our mutual safety and respect.