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."

   From this information it was revealed that aromatics were reaching Rome from. . .
"such distant  fig.20places as China and Ceylon, Scythia and Britain, and many other places".
 His team then took on the daunting task of retrieving "samples of the original substances from their respective countries." Complicating this task was the fact that names associated with the specific herbs had changed over time. Once this team had acquired and mixed a number of blends taken from Pliny and Dioscorides using modern methods they then employed the ancient techniques and compared the results. A full listing of ingredients used in the research are given in The Fragrant Past: Perfumes of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. pp. 23-46               

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