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.

 


Turkey urges Baghdad to cooperate as operations against Kurdish militants to continue

Updated 10 min 2 sec ago

Turkey urges Baghdad to cooperate as operations against Kurdish militants to continue

  • In June, Ankara launched a new ground offensive, dubbed Operation Claw Tiger, that saw Turkish troops advance deeper into Iraq
  • The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984

ANKARA: Turkey will continue its cross-border operations against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq if Baghdad continues to overlook the militants’ presence in the region, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, urging Iraqi authorities to cooperate with Ankara.
Turkey has regularly attacked Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)militants, both in its mainly Kurdish southeast and in northern Iraq, where the group is based. In June, Ankara launched a new ground offensive, dubbed Operation Claw Tiger, that saw Turkish troops advance deeper into Iraq.
On Tuesday, a Turkish air strike in northern Iraq killed two members of Iraq’s border guard and their driver, Iraq’s military said, calling the attack a “flagrant aggression.”
Iraq’s foreign ministry then said Baghdad canceled a visit by Turkey’s defense minister to the country, and summoned the Turkish ambassador to inform him of “Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country’s attacks and violations.”
In a statement early on Thursday, Turkey’s foreign ministry said PKK presence also threatened Iraq and that it was Baghdad’s responsibility to take measures against the militants, but that Ankara will defend its borders if the PKK’s presence is allowed.
“Our country is ready to cooperate with Iraq on this issue. However, in the event PKK presence in Iraq is overlooked, our country is determined to take the measures it deems necessary for its border security no matter where it may be,” the ministry said. “We call on Iraq to take the necessary steps for this.”
The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, focused in southeast Turkey.