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CHAP. 1. (1.)—UNGUENTS—AT WHAT PERIOD THEY WERE FIRST INTRODUCED.

THUS far we have been speaking of the trees which are valuable for the odours they produce, and each of which is a subject for our wonder in itself. Luxury, however, has thought fit to mingle all of these, and to make a single odour of the whole; hence it is that unguents have been invented.1 Who was the first to make unguents is a fact not recorded. In the times of the Trojan war2 they did not exist, nor did they use incense when sacrificing to the gods; indeed, people knew of no other smell, or rather stench,3 I may say, than that of the cedar and the citrus,4 shrubs of their own growth, as it arose in volumes of smoke from the sacrifices; still, however, even then, the extract of roses was known, for we find it mentioned as conferring additional value on olive-oil.

We ought, by good rights, to ascribe the first use of unguents to the Persians, for they quite soak themselves in it, and so, by an adventitious recommendation, counteract the bad odours which are produced by dirt. The first instance of the use of unguents that I have been able to meet with is that of the chest5 of perfumes which fell into the hands of Alexander, with the rest of the property of King Darius, at the taking of his camp.6 Since those times this luxury has been adopted by our own countrymen as well, among the most prized and, indeed, the most elegant of all the enjoyments of life, and has begun even to be admitted in the list of honours paid to the dead; for which reason we shall have to enlarge further on that subject. Those perfumes which are not the produce of shrubs7 will only be mentioned for the present by name: the nature of them will, however, be stated in their appropriate places.

1 Fée remarks, that most of the unguents and perfumes of which Pliny here speaks would find but little favour at the present day.

2 This does not appear to be exactly the case, for in the twenty-third Book of the Iliad, 1. 186, we find "rose-scented" oil mentioned, indeed, Pliny himself alludes to it a little further on.

3 "Nidorem." This term was used in reference to the smell of burnt or roasted animal substances. It is not improbable that he alludes to the stench arising from the burnt sacrifices.

4 The "Thuya articulata." See c. 29 of the present Book.

5 "Serinium." See B. vii. c. 30.

6 The use of perfumes more probably originated in India, than among the Persians.

7 But of seeds or plants

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