Thursday, September 7, 2017


When the man organized himself socially, assuring himself the daily food and the fire and when diminishing the dangers began to contemplate everything around him. Then nature revealed new pleasures in his sight and his sense of smell.

Dazzled, I admired the colors of the world under the splendor of spring and was surprised by the soft scent of flowers. He dreamed of preserving that perfume and wanted to imprison it.

 The Orientals discovered that the wood, the leaves, the herbs and the flowers, submerged in the water, yielded their colors and their fragrances. Later they learned that if they heated the products of plant origin, it was easier to extract from them scented oil essences and healing balms. In turn, Chinese, Persians, Egyptians and Arabs made similar experiments; thus began an elaboration that at the moment has acquired a remarkable technical perfection.


No one doubts that the art of perfumery evolved at the same time as civilization. The ancients were mainly interested in strong essences, such as myrrh and incense; but the poets have revealed to us that perfumes have won the favor of men.

 The scarcity of the first perfumed essences, the mystery of the methods used to obtain them and daydreams caused by certain aromatic plants contributed to a magical aura surrounding the origins of perfumery.

Because of this, at first perfumes were used only in religious ceremonies, burning them on the altars for the gods to become propitious.
 It is impossible to know when human beings began to burn aromatic substances to enjoy the smell produced in the ignition.

The first perfumes were probably developed to compensate for the lack of personal hygiene, as did the Egyptians, who produced perfumes mixed with clay or shortening to bring in small containers or placed on the head in the form of cones essences, as seen do the priestesses in numerous paintings of the time.

In Tutankhamun's tomb were thousands of bottles with different perfumes that three thousand years later still retained some of their original scent.

Plutarch tells us that in Egypt the priests of Isis and Osiris offered these divinities different aromas according to the time of day. At dawn they burned a ream, which dispels the mists of the spirit; at noon, myrrh to arrange the soul to bodily pleasures.

Odorous plumed clouds, the monstrous Bel or Baal, chief deity of the Babylonians, Chaldeans, Phoenicians and other Oriental peoples, presided over religious ceremonies and ritual dances.

The use of the sacred perfumes was forbidden to the profane ones, but the town had other essences like the estoraque and the cinnamon. The ancients already knew the procedure by which the fatty bodies absorb the perfumed essences.

It is true that the products used were mostly odoriferous oils.   In the Bible we find numerous allusions to the use of sacred aromas: Judith presented herself to Holofernes perfumed with sandalwood essence, as did Ruth when she went to see Boaz.

In the exodus we read that Moses learned from Jehovah the preparation of the holy anointing with the purest of oils. By Herodotus and Hippocrates we know that the Greeks knew the perfume industry.

The Athenian ceramists of the century of Pericles (V a.C.) modeled vessels for aromatic oils. It was also believed that the presence of the gods was announced by a smell of ambrosia. In Euripides, Hippolytus thus invokes his protector: "Oh! Divine perfumed breath ... The goddess Artemis is approaching. " Hippocrates, the famous physician Athens (460-377. J. C.), to contain an epidemic of plague that threatened to ravage the city of Athens, ordered pads with flowers and herbs were placed on the streets. It is reported that Hippocrates preserved Athens from the plague by hanging in the city pillows filled with flowers and aromatic herbs and arranging for burning odors in the streets. From Greece, the use of perfumes arrived in Rome, where it spread widely during the Empire.
Crition, doctor of Trajan ,. enumerates in a treatise twenty-five varieties of perfumed oils used in medicine, and Pliny thinks that the use of perfumes gives man one of the most lawful pleasures.

 Give us here in the Christian Era; let us remember Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus with precious essences from Cyprus and Palestine mingled with her tears which add a sacred significance to it. But the Fathers of the Church considered that the perfumes incited to the molicie and censured its use.