Why is the War of the Scarlet and White Roses called that?

War of the Scarlet and White Rose — civil wars of feudal clans for the English throne. Participants of the confrontation — two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty * – Lancaster (coat of arms with a scarlet rose) and York (arms with a white rose). 

As a result of a military conflict that lasted thirty years (1455–1485) came to power distant relative of the Lancasters Henry VII Tudor**. By marrying the York heiress Elizabeth, he combined the scarlet and white roses in his coat of arms and founded the ruling Tudor dynasty.

Representation of the legendary scene in the Temple garden in the first part of the play “Henry VI”, where the supporters of the warring parties choose red and white roses. Photo: reproduction

Why conflict got the name "War of the Scarlet and White Rose"?

The name of the conflict first appeared in 1762 by philosopher David Humein "History of England". During the war itself, it was not called that, and no one went into battle under banners with flower emblems. Hume proposed to use this phraseological unit. In his book, he wrote: “These civil wars were known throughout Europe as the War of the Two Roses.” 

Although the term he used did not catch on, the writer Walter Scott drew attention to it . In the novel «Anna Geiershteinskaya, virgin of darkness» (in Russia the book is known as «Karl the Bold") he called the political upheavals of the 15th century the “wars of the Scarlet and White Roses”; (“wars of the White and Red Roses”). Since then the struggle of the aristocratic families of England Yorks and Lancasters and their adherents and relatives for the title of the English king was called the war of the Scarlet and White Rose.

Using the term "War of the Scarlet and White Rose», Scott was guided by the scene 4 parts of the first historical chronicle William Shakespeare “Henry VI”:


If you are so stubborn in your silence,
Open your mind to us with dumb signs.
Let the one who is a true nobleman
And value his birth,
If he thinks that I stand for the truth ,
Pick a white rose here with me.


Let him who is a stranger to cowardice and flattery,
But he wants to sincerely stand for the truth,
With me he will pick a scarlet rose.

The Lancasters indeed had a red rose as one of their emblems, while the Yorks had a — white, although in the late Middle Ages each aristocratic family had a whole heraldic bouquet — five, seven, or even ten emblems, which were used depending on the circumstances. 

After the wedding of Henry VII Tudor and Elizabeth of York, the famous Tudor rose with a combination of scarlet and white petals appeared, which became the heraldic emblem of the Tudor dynasty (1485–1603).

*Plantagenets — a royal dynasty of French origin, one of the branches of the house of Gatinet-Anjou, whose main possessions were originally in France, but subsequently expanded significantly. As a result, the Plantagenets turned out to be the rulers of England, Normandy, as well as Gascony and Guienne.

**Tudor — the royal dynasty of England in 1485-1603. The first monarch of the Tudor dynasty — Henry VII. His reign, which lasted 24 years, turned out to be one of the most peaceful eras in the history of the country.

Source: https://iq.hse.ru, https://postnauka.ru/

Источник aif.ru

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