The History of Perfumes

June 17th, 2016

Since ancient times, people have been scenting their bodies for various reasons ranging from covering up unpleasant body odour to preparing the dead for burial. Perfumes are fragrant solutions that contain essential oils from flowers and other types of plants along with aroma compounds and other quality ingredients. For the most part, perfumes last longer on the body than colognes do since their ingredients are purer. The history of perfumes is a long and interesting one as is evident by our following timeline.

4000 BC – 2000 BC

Archeologists uncovered proof that perfumes date back to at least, 4000 BC in a dig on the island of Cyprus. To date, this is the oldest proof found on the existence of this scented liquid, but in a simpler form than we know it today. Then, in about 2000 BC, Tapputi, the first known chemist in the world who was also a perfume maker, was written about in a cuneiform tablet in Mesopotamia. Around this time, perfume became popular in Egypt, Greece and in the Roman Empire for various uses, including paying homage to their gods.

Perfume in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries

During the sixth century, the Islamic people turned to scents for religious purposes. Scents also were written about in the seventh century in The Harshacharita, a famous Hindu text, with the specific mention of the use of agarwood oil in northern parts of India.

Perfume from the 11th to 13th Centuries

Europe actively traded for various goods with Islamic countries during the 11th century, and this is when perfume was introduced to Europe along with the return of the crusaders in the 13th century. Spices and other items were traded for the scents at this time. Let us not forget that during the 12th century, perfume went through a transformation in its formula in Hungary when alcohol was mixed with essential oils. This was the start of the modern perfume that we know today.

Move Forward to the 16th and 17th Centuries

Rene Le Florentin, a perfumer to Catherine de’ Medici in Italy, refined the perfume of the time before taking it to France. The French added their own touches and even introduced perfumed gloves in 1656 along with forming a guild for perfume makers.

The 18th Century to the Present

In France during the 18th century, King Louis XIV adapted the use of perfume to the point that he was known as the perfumed king. Napoleon also used this scented liquid in exorbitant amounts during his reign in the 19th century. Through the 19th and 20th centuries, numerous other advancements and refinements were made in perfumes, as their popularity grew worldwide, which brings the history of perfumes to the present day.

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