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Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra

 

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     Not only Cleopatra but the ancient Romans were also obsessed with roses. Roses were strewn at public ceremonies and banquets; rose water bubbled through the emperorís fountains. Public baths were seeped in it, and in public amphitheaters, crowds sat under sun awnings drenched in rose perfume. Rose petals were used as pillow stuffing, roses adorned peopleís hair. They ate rose puddings and their love potions and aphrodisiacs all contained roses. The bacchanalia (Romeís official orgy) was inundated with an excess of roses and rose petals.

     The Emperor Nero had silver pipes installed under each guestís plate so that during dinner the guests were spritzed with scent between courses. Above them was a ceiling painted to resemble the celestial heavens. As they looked up the ceiling would open and shower them in a continuous rain of perfume and flowers. At one of his parties such an enormous amount of rose petals fell that one of the guests was smothered to death.

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