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  1. #1

    Default University Classics project.

    Hey everyone, my name is David and I am a new member so sorry if this is posted in the wrong place, or been touched on before.
    I'm currently in my 2nd year at the University of Nottingham studying classics, and I am currently undergoing a project to recreate/replicate an ancient perfume, before trying to market it in a modern way.
    I have done a lot of research and there is a huge variety of ingredients used in Antiquity, and I was wondering if you could help me choose some of the more 'quirky' ones to make. Ingredients such as myrrh, frankincense, lotuses, quince, laurel, saffron and amber were commonly used, and I was wondering if you knew if these ingredients were used commonly today, and if so do you know of any ingredient that is?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated, and If you want to know more just ask.
    Cheers guys.

  2. #2

    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Very interesting project!

    Pretty much everything is used today, although many notes are synthetic rather than natural. In your list, quince and lotus are probably the least common today. One less used ingredient that has gathered some attention recently is spikenard (or jatamansi).

    You are probably aware of a reconstruction of an Egyptian perfume that gathered attention some time ago, that of Kyphi, which I think was sold at the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

    Finally, you can check here and there (or ask) the blog perfumeshrine by Elena Vosniaki. She's a very knowledgeable Greek perfume specialist who often makes references to classical Greece.

    cacio

  3. #3
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
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    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Dear Cacio, excellent response and suggestions. I didn't know about those two instances you referrred to. I'll check them out too. Can't get much more "classical" than Egypt and Greece!!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pliny the youngest View Post
    and if so do you know of any ingredient that is?
    Perhaps Oud.

  5. #5

    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Thank you very much Cacio for your help!! I think that is definitely going to be one of my main arguments for the creation, as I will try to make it from completely natural resources and use no synthetics. The problem with it is the 100’s of different ingredients that were used in antiquity and I’m struggling to settle on a recipe with at least one quirky ingredient. Pliny states the ingredients for the regal unguent: 'myrobalanus, costus, amomum, cinnamon, comacum, cardamum, spikenard, marum, myrrh, cassia, storax, ladanum, apobalsamum, syrian calamus, sweet rush, oenanthe, malobathrum, serichatum, aspralathus, panax, saffron, cypirus, sweet marjoram, lotus, honey and wine.” I’m a complete novice with perfumes so I have no idea what the majority of these are, but any advice on how obtainable or affordable these ingredients are would be greatly appreciated I like this recipe as it was created from ingredients all around the Roman Empire and therefore is able to give an overview of the differing areas, as well as ultimately showing the power and togetherness of the Empire. I find this whole subject so interesting as with Classics you only get to see antiquity through their writings or any surviving ruins, but by attempting to replicate one of their scents it has helped me to see antiquity from a completely different perspective.

  6. #6

    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Interesting project you have there!

    Some time back I made a reconstruction of kyphi, based on comparison of a number of different ancient formulas, so you might want to read about that. Since you are in the UK, I hope others will chime in with local sources of materials for you. Whatever you decide to do, post here (preferably in the DIY section where there's likely to be a lot of interest) and let us know what you come up with.
    Blog: www.perfumenw.blogspot.com
    Website: Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes http://orchidscents.com.

  7. #7

    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Great project, I am interested in this topic.

    You will find this book to be very interesting:

    The Fragrant Past: Perfumes of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
    by Giuseppe Donato and Monique Seefried
    Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology with Istituo Poligrafico e Zecca Della Stato
    1989

    Also this:

    Sacred Luxuries: Fragrance, Aromatherapy and Cosmetics in Ancient Egypt
    by Lise Manniche
    Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999

    What may add to the complexity of your project is that the modern names, e.g., "Balm (of Gilead)" may refer to notes/plants we know... or the ancients may have used rather different plants. See Nigel Groom, The Perfumer's Handbook. Blackie Academic.

    Let us know how you do on this project! Cheers, ody
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  8. #8

    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Well, young Pliny, your letters are a valuable source of information for my field, especially XCVII.66 :-)

    For your project, see also: http://www.scentsoftime.co.uk/

    And
    Cosmetics and Perfumes in the Roman World
    Susan Stewart
    Tempus Publishing, 2007
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  9. #9

    Default Re: University Classics project.

    sounds like a very interesting project...

    you should watch this film to get ideas!!?
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
    LOST! in scent and music

  10. #10
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
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    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Quote Originally Posted by LOST! View Post
    sounds like a very interesting project...

    you should watch this film to get ideas!!?
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
    Hmmm...well...maybe. You should also read the reviews of this film on Netflix first. I think for your purposes for the project this film would not be of much help. It goes to a very different place.
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

  11. #11
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: University Classics project.

    Pliny states the ingredients for the regal unguent: 'myrobalanus, costus, amomum, cinnamon, comacum, cardamum, spikenard, marum, myrrh, cassia, storax, ladanum, apobalsamum, syrian calamus, sweet rush, oenanthe, malobathrum, serichatum, aspralathus, panax, saffron, cypirus, sweet marjoram, lotus, honey and wine.

    Boy! talk about the proverbial "kitchen sink"! I have read a few books on modern perfumery and from those know that some fragrances have been concocted from this many individual "notes", and more. But it still amazes me that any "nose" can take a roster this long and of elements this different from each other, and come up with something that doesn't smell like a confusion.

    This list will certainly keep you busy researching what some of these things are in today's language. Some I recognize either from the books on fragrance I've read (such as some by or about Turin) or from my own background in botany. But as for marum, oenanthe, serichatum and aspralathus...! Sheesh! Then you will have to find them after you figure out what they are! Bon chance.

    Keep us appraised please! BB
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

  12. #12

    Default Re: University Classics project.

    Hmmm...well...maybe. You should also read the reviews of this film on Netflix first. I think for your purposes for the project this film would not be of much help. It goes to a very different place.
    haha!! I didn't mean literally!! I found it to be a very interesting film, full of deep meaning and themes about perfume and the lengths people go to, to obtain their ultimate prized scent. It's also set in the 18th century, so is very much about the history of perfume.
    LOST! in scent and music

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