Researchers re-create the perfume of Egyptian queen Cleopatra

Updated 12 August 2019

Researchers re-create the perfume of Egyptian queen Cleopatra

  • Team uncovers evidence of perfume industry in Thmuis
  • Fragrance reproduced with ancient formula using myrrh

DUBAI: If you have ever wondered what perfume Cleopatra used, then two professors from the University of Hawaii at Manoa may have an answer for you.

After finding ancient perfume containers in Thmuis, an ancient Egyptian city in the Nile Delta also referred to as Tell Timai, professor Robert Littman and adjunct professor Jay Silverstein approached two experts on ancient Egyptian fragrances to recreate the legendary queen’s perfume.

Researchers Dora Goldsmith and Sean Coughlin reproduced the fragrance with the help of ancient Greek formulas from myrrh, a natural gum extracted from the small and thorny tree species.

“What a thrill it is to smell a perfume that no one has smelled for 2,000 years and one which Cleopatra might have worn,” Littman said.

The perfume is part of an exhibition by the National Geographic society, titled “Queens of Egypt,” in Washington, DC, where it will remain until Sept. 15.

Littman and Silverstein stumbled upon historic evidence of the ancient fragrance industry during excavations in Thmuis. The city is considered to be the hub of some of the most famous perfumes during ancient times.

The professors uncovered a variety of kilns from the third century BCE, which were used to produce fine lekythoi, or perfume bottles. The kilns themselves were made from imported clays.

During the excavations in 2012, the professors discovered a liquid manufacturing area and a stockpile of gold and silver coins near kilns. The discovery suggests it may have been the house of a perfume merchant.

 


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”