The Roses of Heliogabalus is a famous painting of 1888 by the Anglo-Dutch academician Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, at present in private hands. It is based on a probably invented episode in the life of the Roman emperor Elagabalus, also known as Heliogabalus, (204–222), taken from the Augustan History. Although the Latin refers to "violets and other flowers", Alma-Tadema depicts Elagabalus attempting to smother his unsuspecting guests in rose-petals released from false ceiling panels. The original reference is this:
- Oppressit in tricliniis versatilibus parasitos suos violis et floribus, sic ut animam aliqui efflaverint, cum erepere ad summum non possent.
- In a banqueting-room with a reversible ceiling he once buried his parasites in violets and other flowers, so that some were actually smothered to death, being unable to crawl out to the top.