Ancient cosmetics and perfumes αγγλικά/ αρχαιότητα
The ancient populations of the Mediterranean, Egyptians, Palms, Syrians and Palestinians possessed the knowledge of the production of perfumes and cosmetics which was propagated through ancient trade in Minoans and Mycenaeans who manufactured similar products, but less in number. Perfumes, poultices and ointments played an important role in the various aspects of daily life in antiquity. The ancient sources, as Homer, Archilochos, Sapfo and others report relative products. Socrates, Aristophanes and Thucydides protest for the use of perfumes by men. Alexander the Great discovered among the belongings of Dario a box with perfumes. Xenofondas also reports that Persians allocated kosmites, that is to say people who produced perfumes and with these then rubbed Persians and made them beautiful.

Generally in the Hellenic space existed many important centres for the production of perfumes, as Corinthus and the Chaeronea. However the most important centre of the Greek world for the production of cosmetics, ointments and perfumes from the Hellenistic period and on was Alexandria in Egypt.

In the Minoan and Mycenaean civilization many myrepseia existed, that is to say spaces for the production of products of embellishment, ointments and perfumes. In myrepseia mainly in those of Zakros, a majority of vessels and utensils have been found which were used for the production of extracts of aromatic herbs.

Generally the utensils that were used for the production of cosmetic products and perfumes were:

* The mortars and triptires, for the grinding of fruit or for the shattering of inorganic materials to produce colourings
* The basins to produce wine or oil
* The asaminthos, that is to say the bathtub, to soak flowers in water, oil or grease to liberateperfume
* The pots to boil the oil to produce perfume
* The myrodoxeia, the vessels in which they packed the product, which had various forms, names and decoration
* The censers, the so called pyravna or pyriatiria

The distillation with its current significance was not in acquaintance in antiquity. The methods for the production of perfumes were those of producing perfume from flowers with impregnation and elision – alum. In the first case the petals of the flowers were stretched out in animal grease or oil and then they were replaced by new ones, until the grease was satiated by their perfumes. In this oil or grease, that was likely hot, the flowers would remain in order to soak.Out of this process a perfumed ointment resulted to which they gave the form of a ball or a cone. In the elision – alum process the flowers or the seeds were placed in linen buckrams formed as a bag with loops in the two endings which were turned adversatively orfollowed the same process as in the oil or wine press.

In the whole process resin would be used, that of ladanum, of styrax, of mastich, of cedar or of pine. The materials should be mixed in suitable quantities, following the right order, at the suitable temperature, while in the mixture a colouring substance would also be added.

In antiquity perfumery constituted an independent sector that required virtuosity,inventiveness, but also the essential secrecy. Ancient people distinguished their perfumes in two categories. In those found in humid situation, the oils, and in those which were thick and solid, the ointments.

The best known ancient Greek perfumes were the irinon, olive oil with extracts of roots of iris, the nardon, the valsamon, the stakti theauthentic balm of myron, the melinio of oil from quince, therodio the famous ointment from Rhodes of the extract of rose with other ethereal oils,the tylion elaion and other.

The ancient Greeks used the perfumes for the care and the embellishment of the body, for perfuming of the living spaces, the clothes and the furniture. At the same time, ancient Greeks perfumed the wine, the oil, the lamps and in certain cases even the water. The use of aromatic oils and aromatic ointments after bathing was already something familiar in the time of Homer. Perfumes were also used during ancient symposia. The olive oil constituted a basic mean for cleaning, something like the modern soap. Beyond the body, using perfumes and aromatic oils they also perfumed their clothing and hair, a habit depicted in ancient vase painting. Perfumes and cosmetics constituted also a popular erotic gift, while their use was particularly widespread in various religious ceremonies, as well as to adore the dead.
Use of other preparations for embellishment

Ancient Greeks colored their hair black with various extracts of vegetables or with leeches in decomposition. From ancient sources we learn that they used the blue fruits of myrtle, alder-tree or the fruits of bramble or the boiled leaves of sage to produce the black colour. Blonde hair was also very popular in ancient Greece and thus the poet Menandros reports a relative recipe that presupposed remaining in the sun for certain hours so that the hair got blond, after washing it with a certain ointment.

Loose of hair was prevented by a mixture of ladanum and myrrh, while juice of tobacco was used in order to prevent the re-germination of the brows. Superfluous hair was removed with tweezers or by means of a depilatory such as the “halyconea” extracted from sea-swallows nests. Preventing hair from becoming gray frequent massage with grease of bear or with ointments from worms took place. The artificial hair was presented during the Hellenistic period, but was not very usual up to the Roman period.

Ethereal oils and various custards protected the body from wrinkles, drought, insuring a beautiful appearance. Greek ladies began to put on face masks, mainly consisting of meal, which remained on all night long and which was washed off in the morning with milk. Such masks were guaranteed to remove blemishes. Dioscurides recommends masks made of Chian or Selinan earth mixed with equal parts of rosin and telinon of rose-urgents bleached by the sun. They were said to remove freckles and spots, by using honey, white of egg, bread crumbs or dough, traganth resins and asses’ milk.

For making up their eyes they used juice from the fruits of bella donna and extract from leaves of henna to paint hands. After the removal of the mask white lead powder was put on, then rouge, eye shadows and shadows for the brows. Manicure and pedicure played also an important role, particularly as stockings were not worn in antiquity. In the toilet boxes, called pyxidae, traces of rouge have been found, which emanated from various vegetable extracts as seaweed, mulberry, focus and also from the “purple-snail”. Later on for the same reason various mineral substances were used, such as cinnabar.Eye shadows were mainly produced by galena and subnite, while spikenard or rose leaves were favoured as well. Ancient Greeks believed that eye brows grown together were the sign of a hot personality and therefore this was faked by painting.

In Greece these processes of embellishment were materialised basically by the slaves, the servants of the house, but through the years as all these preparations grew more elaborate a whole stuff of slaves – specialists in these treatments was required.

Perfumes and cosmetics were manufactured bythe so calledmyrepsoi or myropoioi and they were sold from the myropolae. In Agora of Athens, the ancient market place, there was a certain place for domestic and foreign perfumes to be sold. In the countryside of Attica various aromatic and ornamental plants as laurels, ivies, roses and violets were cultivated and after that they were sold in the Market. Finally, farmakides were those who produced perfumes, filters, medicine and plasters and afterwards they sold them from door to door.