Wednesday 20 October, 1pm UK time
Sean Coughlin (Czech Academy of Sciences)
Alchemies of Scent: Reconstructing the Practices of Ancient Greco-Egyptian Perfumery.
Abstract: I will be introducing the central research questions of a new 5-year study funded by the Czech Science Foundation and hosted at the Institute of Philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, with a lab at our partnering institute, the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. Over the next five years, the project’s team of historians, Egyptologists, philologists and organic chemists will experimentally replicate the recipes of five Greco-Egyptian perfumes. Through these experiments, we will explore how the quest to extract, concentrate, compound and preserve the essences of plants influenced natural philosophy, medicine, art and culture in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece from the fourth through first centuries BCE. The talk will focus on the nature of our evidence for ancient Greco-Egyptian perfumery, how experimental methods can add to our understanding of it, and how our methods differ from those of previous studies of perfumes from other areas of the world.
Meeting ID: 503 410 2095