Ancient Rose Ceremonies Were Way Deadlier Than The Bachelor’s

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<em>The Roses of Heliogabalus</em>.
The Roses of Heliogabalus.Photo: Wikimedia

The Bachelor returned last night for its 20th season, which means viewers have been watching rose ceremonies for years now. We’ve watched various hunks stand in front of various groups of various women clad in assorted formalwear, each painstakingly handing out flowers to the ladies he would consider banging, while the eliminated exit in semi-hysterics.

Yawn. Snooze. Snore. REM sleep.

Historically, rose ceremonies haven’t always been so boring, Atlas Obscura reminds us. Just take the proceedings depicted in 1888 painting The Roses of Heliogabalus.

Heliogabalus was a Roman emperor who ruled from the age of 15 to his death at 19. Like all teen rulers, he was a little jerk (looking at you, King Joffrey). He liked to dance in “barbarian fashion,” was incredibly good-looking, and was a full-on hedonist. One day, he had a dinner party that included a special rose ceremony. And by special, we mean he drowned his dinner guests in lovely pink rose petals that rained down from the ceiling, and many of his guests were “smothered to death, being unable to crawl out to the top.”

Well. Sort of puts not receiving a rose from Ben Higgins into perspective, now doesn’t it?