Download Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell by Constan Classen PDF

By Constan Classen

Roses, musk, incense and myrrh--smells have constantly been linked to magic, therapeutic and sexual energy. but what's skilled as aromatic varies dramatically from one tradition to the opposite and from one epoch to the next.

</b><b>Aroma uncovers the key historical past of smells: from the perfumed banquets of historic Greece to "the most sensible blueberry taste ever made", from the candy "odor of sanctity" to the most recent in dressmaker fragrances. A trip of discovery that occurs within the body spray potions of the Pacific in addition to Andean aromatherapies, </b><b>Aroma maps the "smellscapes" of alternative cultures and explores the jobs that odors have performed all through background. alongside the best way, the authors open our senses to the strong cultural meaings of smells. Odors, they express, tell strength family members among the sexes, among periods and ethnic groups--the sultry femme fatale, the "sweaty operating class", the physique smell of "the foreigner" are cultural stereotypes made strikingly real.

With </b><b>Aroma Constance Classen, David Howes and Anthony Synnott invite us to stick to the smell of cultures current and earlier and to find a universe criss-crossed by means of the odor trails of the folk, animals and crops that inhabit it. them, unite humans or divide them, empower or disempower.

The booklet breaks the "olfactory silence" of modernity by means of delivering the 1st complete exploration of the cultural function of odors in Western history--from antiquity to the present--and in a wide selection of non-Western societies. Its subject matters diversity from the medieval notion of the "odor of sanctity" to the aromatherapies of South the USA, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity within the glossy West to the function of scent in postmodernity.

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These garlands could be made of many different kinds of flowers or leaves, such as roses, violets, hyacinths, apple-blossoms, thyme, rosemary, myrtle, bay and parsley. Worn around the forehead as a crown, a garland was supposed to alleviate the effects of drinking, and worn on the breast it was said to enliven the heart. In an olfactory example of gilding the lily, perfumes might be added to the wreaths to make them more odorous. Scented water would be offered to the guests in between courses for washing their sticky hands, as most foods were eaten with the fingers.

87 Other body odours also came in for their share of criticism by the ancients. The odour of stale perspiration, for example, was often described as similar to the smell of a goat. 89 32 In search of lost scents The ancients employed a variety of techniques to prevent and disguise the body odours described above. Perfumed pastilles were available, for example, as a remedy for bad breath. Martial writes mockingly of a woman who tries to mask her alcoholic breath by devouring pastilles made by the famous Roman perfumer, Cosmus.

How offensive is your smell! ’151 Embalming, mummifying and censing the corpse were means of preventing this offensive process of decay and replacing the foul odour of death with the sweet scent of immortality. Incense was thought by the Egyptians to provide the deceased with a scent similar to that of the gods, who were, in fact, believed to sweat incense. ’154 Incense therefore both made the deceased acceptable to the gods and provided the means of reaching their domain. The ancient Greeks and Romans were familiar with the Egyptian custom of embalming, but considered it a foreign The aromas of antiquity 43 practice and only occasionally made use of it themselves.

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