Nº 51 - Cleopatra and the world of perfume

Cleopatra used to have the sails of her ships scented so that when the wind blew across the Nile, they would spread the perfumes she loved most as she passed by.

Thanks to numerous archaeological finds in the tombs of the pharaohs, we know a lot about perfume in ancient Egyptian times; cosmetics were highly developed and it seems that Cleopatra was the queen who made the most use of this knowledge.

She wrote several books on medicine and cosmetics, such as the Kosmeticon, a treatise of recipes for fragrances and cosmetics, to compose which she used in her nose.

Gifted with great charm and intelligence, she soon realised that in order to save her people she would have to use the power of her beauty and so she conquered first Julius Caesar and then Mark Antony. Precisely for the conquest of Mark Antony, it is said that she organised his arrival along the Nile in a wonderful boat made of gold, with silver oars of bright red streets that she had soaked in her intense and intoxicating perfume, said to be based on roses, as Shakespeare also relates in Antony and Cleopatra.

And it was thanks to his skill in the world of perfumes that Mark Antony gave Cleopatra a perfume factory south of the Dead Sea, where several bases with ancient fragrance residues have since been found.

Written by Adele

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