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The History of Perfume in Ancient Greece

by Estefania Fuente on October 18, 2018

The History of Perfume in Ancient Greece I Blog DIVAINPerfumes have accompanied humans for all of their history. Having looked at perfume in Egypt, today we’ll discover the history of perfumes in Ancient Greece, learning about how they used the fragrances and the influence they had on their manufacture and distribution in Europe.


Perfumes in Greece

In Greece there were many gods and each one had his own myth; his own link to the divine, and perfumes were included in the Greek myths. It was the inhabitants of Olympus who first used aromas to dress themselves up and who taught men and women the use of perfumes. They say that Venus poked herself with the thorn of a rose, which was white and odourless. She stained it with her blood, turning it red, and Cupid, captivated by its beauty, kissed it, thus giving the rose its intoxicating aroma.


The development of perfume-making in Greece has its origins in Crete and other Greek colonies. The perfumers of those countries established themselves in the Greek cities, and the inhabitants were not slow to learn their art, becoming the great masters of making perfumes and ointments, and exporting them to Europe. It is believed that they were the first to create liquid perfumes, and they packaged them in precious bottles made of lead, silver, gold, or more commonly alabaster, each with its own decoration from its own culture.


The Greeks used a different fragrance for each part of the body. They used marjoram for the hair, palm oil for the chest, mint for the arms, thyme for the knees, oregano oil for the feet, etc. They perfumed themselves after bathing or before attending some special event, much like people today. Greek gymnasiums included a part dedicated to personal grooming, and there people used various fragrances to perfume themselves before leaving.


They believed that the good aromas chased away evil spirits, in fact, they buried their dead well-perfumed and accompanied by a bottle of perfume. They also believed that perfumes had healing properties.

The aromas most used by the Greeks were myrrh, mint, marjoram, thyme, oregano, myrtle, and almond blossom. Each and every one of these aromas had, of course, a divine origin.


We leave you with some fragrances from our catalogue that contain these ingredients.


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