| Once Professor Donato became familiar with the
original methods of antiquity he used these methods exclusively,
only employing modern techniques to verify results obtained.
"We began our study in various museums around the world containing evidence of ancient civilizations, and noted their holdings related to perfumes and cosmetics. A through search through ancient literature yielded the means of identifying some of the main substances used in certain periods and places of antiquity, and particularly the fragrant substances of the classical world from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D."
The primary sources in Greek and Roman texts are the Historia Naturalis of Pliny the Elder, the Cosmetica of Publius Ovidius Naso, and the De Materia Medica of Dioscorides. "Combining the evidence of these three texts, we were able to come close to reconstructing ancient Roman procedures for concocting perfumes."
Professor Donato believes that between the 3rd century B.C. to the first century A.D. the perfection of classical techniques of perfumery were achieved, surpassed only in the 9th century A.D. through the
use of alcohol and the technique of distillation.
Pliny served to illuminate the types of ingredients used.
Dioscorides served as the source for quantitative measure of
components. In order to solve certain uncertainties he and his
team ". . . proceeded to draw up a chart of fragrant substances
utilized in antiquity and to trace the complex network of trade
routes in use during the classical period."
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