writers, such as the Athenaeus of Naucratis (Ἀθήναιος ὁ Nαυκρατίτης or
Nαυκράτιος), Hippocrates of Kos (Ἱπποκράτης ὁ Κῷος), Xenophon (Ξενοφῶν),
Herodotus (Ἡρόδοτος), Aristotle (Ἀριστοτέλης), and others, cite details about
ancient perfumes, which took their name either from the aromatic plant from
which they were produced or from the name of their manufacturer.
- One of the most important sources of information is the text "Deipnosophistae" ("Δειπνοσοφισταί") by the Athenaeus of Naucratis (170 - 223 AD), where extensive references are made to the smells and aromas of the city of Athens.
- Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) in " Nicomachean Ethics" ("Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια") considers that the scents of Charites (Graces / Χάριτες), who followed Aphrodite (Αφροδίτη), contributed to the social contacts of people.
- In "On Sense Perception" ("Περί Αἰσθήσεων"), "Enquiry into Plants" ("Περὶ φυτῶν ἱστορίαι" / "Historia Plantarum") and "On the Causes of Plants" ("Περὶ φυτῶν αἰτιῶν" or "Περὶ αἰτιῶν φυτικῶν" / "De Causis Plantarum") by Theophrastus of Eresos (Θεόφραστος Ἐρέσιος / 371 - 287 BC) we find complete recipes and the way of making famous aromatic oils of the time.
- The references of Pedanius Dioscorides (Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης / c. 40 - 90 AD) to his surviving works are similar.
These texts and many more, contain excellent information about various substances used in the perfumes of Antiquity, so that a specialist can reproduce the composition of their scents.
Excerpts from ancient texts:
- "Στακτή, τὸ ἔλαιον τὸ κατασταλάζον ἐκ νωπῆς μύρρας ἢ κινναμώμου" ("Stacte, the oil that is dropped from fresh myrrh or cinnamomum")
- "τὸ ἀπὸ σμύρνης γινόμενον" ("that which is made from myrrh")
- "χιλίοις δὲ λιβανωτοῡ καὶ διακοσίοις τῆς λεγομένης στακτῆς" ("One thousand of frankincense and two hundreds
of what is called Stacte")
was the bitter and biting aromatic oil of the myrrh shrub, imported from the
East. It was especially well known to the Greeks of Anatolia (Asia Minor / Anadolu),
while its name suggests the way it was prepared, by dripping the precious
liquid of the myrrh, when its stem and branches were carved.
It was harvested on the hottest days of the year and lasted a long time.
The myrrh was used for liquid perfumes, ointments, lozenges, incense and aromatic wines, as well as as an ingredient in various complex aromas or for the enrichment of cheaper oils.
The Stacta / Grecian Soli Dharma will be at your disposal soon.