A perfume story

History redraws the impressive egyptian architectures, the several conquests of Alexander the Great, and the omnipotence city of Rome. But what tracks left the fragrances and perfumes of these various periods, and which roles have they played?

photo pour article une histoire de parfumPerfume in the Pharaoh country

The Egyptians started to use perfumes within the temples where the priests designed fragrances which they used during sacred rituals. At this time it concerned mainly perfumes to burn whose smoke was perceived as purificatory and in the gods’ glory.

The priests also prepared perfumed creams, flavored by floral or spices scents, which they used during divine statues toilets or mummifications.

Oils and balms were used for their scents as well as for their cutaneous beneficial effect.  To the point that no Egyptian could live without them.

Finally during the New Empire, men and women used to wear "perfume cones" placed on their head during banquets, and which allowed to polish and to perfume their hair, when these cones were melted.


The conquest of perfume

When Alexander the Great went to conquest the Orient, he could not prevent himself from bringing back unknown perfumes in Greece. Thus he introduced the sandalwood, cinnamon, nutmeg and nard fragrances, which came from India, Malaysia or China.

The arrival of these perfumes instigated the scientific curiosity towards the smelling plants, mainly used for their antiseptic, digestive and stimulating qualities. The aromatherapy is then popular.

In the meanwhile, the alchemists tempt the distillation technique to isolate the flowers’ essences, and give birth to floral perfumes with lily, iris, saffron, vine flower or henna aromas.


Perfumed Rome

The Romans couldn’t refrain themselves to envy the Athena’s scents, and decided to perfume everything!

We then talk about “scents orgy”, in particular during banquets where the guests are splashed by flower water, where cups are made in odorous wooden, where rare essences rains are released by the ivory plaques at the ceilings, etc.

At this time we say of Rome that "Everything smells excessively …"

Through this article, we notice that perfume is anchored for a long time in our daily life. Nowadays it is a distinction, and seduction product. But what will be its role in the coming years!?

Source : Le parfum by Catherine Donzel

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