August 28, 2011
Aromatics (coming soon) in Print
I happened across this abstract on the web while browsing around searching for future posts for the aromaconnection blog:
The Scents of Larsa: A Study of the Aromatics Industry in an Old Babylonian Kingdom by Robert Middeke-Conlin | Papers by Robert
Revision of M.A. Thesis Submitted March, 2010. Cuneiform Digital Library Journal (CDLJ) In press,2011
Full version of this paper was removed on January 4, 2011 in preparation for its publication by CDLJ later this year.
The aromatics trade is a luxury trade with origins in distant antiquity. Ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian techniques at perfume production are the roots of the Arabic perfume industry so famous in the Middle Ages. The south Arabian incense trade, so important to the Greeks and Romans, seemingly appears fully grown with the domestication of the camel. However, this trade and the production of perfumes arose from a much older tradition of which the sources are difficult to grasp. There are no texts which describe perfume production before the Middle Assyrian period, nor did the ancient Mesopotamians state where many of the raw materials they imported came from.
This work sheds light on some of the origins of this trade by examining the aromatics industry as it existed in the Old Babylonian Kingdom of Larsa. Section one lays the groundwork for this discussion, starting with a history of aromatic scholarship, moving on to a textual discussion; and ending by stating both the modern and ancient terms used to describe aromatics and perfumes, as well as defining the use and non use of the šim determinative. Section two describes the manufacture of aromatic products; beginning with an examination of the materials used in production, moving on to an overview of the methods involved in perfume manufacture, then describing the perfumer, and finishing by exploring the places of aromatic production. Section three discusses how aromatics and fragrances fit into the society and economy of the Kingdom of Larsa. This section investigates the sources of aromatic raw materials, the people involved in the aromatics trade, and the availability and uses of aromatics in the Kingdom of Larsa’s society.
I’ve been unable to determine exactly when this will be published, but this will be in an online journal that is available for free. So we’ll plan on a review here once it is out.