Download e-book for kindle: Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell by Constan Classen

By Constan Classen

Roses, musk, incense and myrrh--smells have consistently 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 background of smells: from the perfumed banquets of historic Greece to "the most sensible blueberry style ever made", from the candy "odor of sanctity" to the newest in fashion designer fragrances. A trip of discovery that occurs within the fragrance potions of the Pacific in addition to Andean aromatherapies, </b><b>Aroma maps the "smellscapes" of other cultures and explores the jobs that odors have performed all through historical past. alongside the best way, the authors open our senses to the robust cultural meaings of smells. Odors, they express, tell energy kinfolk among the sexes, among sessions 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 with the smell of cultures current and previous and to find a universe criss-crossed via the odor trails of the folks, animals and crops that inhabit it. them, unite humans or divide them, empower or disempower.

The ebook breaks the "olfactory silence" of modernity through supplying the 1st accomplished 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 United States, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity within the glossy West to the position of scent in postmodernity.

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157 Such costly funerary customs were only for the wealthy of antiquity. 159 Thus, the olfactory divide between rich and poor continued even after death. There were various reasons for the funerary use of perfumes. 160 Another was to render the gods favourable to the deceased and his surviving family. A third was to provide the deceased with sweet scents, for the dead were believed to enjoy perfumes as much as or more than the living. 162 Lucretius, for example, writes that at death ‘the breath of life is driven without…scattering abroad like smoke’.

The addition of an olfactory dimension to sacred images and shrines was appropriate not only as an offering, but as a symbol of divine presence, for fragrance was the characteristic sign of the presence of a deity in antiquity. 182 Experiencing the scent of the divine could have a profound effect on human beings. 183 More importantly, the odour of the gods was the odour of immortality. Ambrosia and nectar, in particular, are described in ancient literature as life-giving essences. 185 Although the breath of life is gone, therefore, human bodies could be kept from corruption and even revived by divine fragrance.

Incense would be burnt in the house and along the funeral procession to propitiate the gods and to ward off the ill odour of death. Nero, for example, is said to have burnt more incense than Arabia could produce in a year at his wife Poppaea’s funeral. 155 After being carried in procession through the streets, the dead were either burnt or, particularly after the first century, buried. In the former case, the funeral pyre would be made of fragrant woods to which scents were added. Martial describes the olfactory stages of cremation in the following epigram.

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