Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ancient Fragrant Lore 4: the Hellenistic Era

"A natural fragrance pervades the whole coast of Saba {i.e. South Yemen} because almost everything that excels in scent grows there unceasingly, providing a pleasure to visitors that is greater than what can be imagined or described. Along the coast balsam grows in abundance and cassia and another sort of plant which has a peculiar nature: when fresh, it's very delightful to the eye but suddenly it fades (so that the usefulness of the plant is blunted before they can send it to us). In the interior there are large, dense forests, in which tall trees grow: myrrh and frankincense, cinnamon, [date]-palm and kalamos {a reed of the genus Cymbopogon} and other such trees with similar sweet scents;"

The above excerpt from Diodorus of Sicily, fragrant with the scents of the Middle East lands, the territories that Alexander the Great conquered and hellenized, comes from my article on the fragrances and cosmetics of the Hellenistic Period which has just been published on Fragrantica.
You can read it following this link and you're welcome to comment here or there.


  1. enjoyed this article---as i do all your historical articles. the world must have seemed such a large, exotic place long ago...everything imported by one culture from another had its story. not just a provenance of a commodity, but a romance, a mytho-poetic wonder-tale. how lovely...

  2. NFS,

    glad to hear you say so! :-)

    In the distant (and not so distant) past everything seemed so fresh and exotic and full of unexplored adventures. Today's people are spoilt by progress.

  3. Admin, if not okay please remove!

    Our facebook group “selfless” is spending this month spreading awareness on prostate cancer & research with a custom t-shirt design. Purchase proceeds will go to cancer.org, as listed on the shirt and shirt design.




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