VS sez: here's one from the archives today, revised a bit...
Warrior of the Nile is my
second paranormal romance set in Ancient Egypt, Dancer of the Nile is my third and the fourth - Magic of the Nile - will be out in March.. Since I knew I would be doing a
post here on the Paranormal Romantics blog this week, I was scanning through
the manuscripts last night, to see what might inspire me as a topic to write
about, and I came up with – perfume!
loved and treasured perfume, starting with the scent of the blue Nile lotus, which
wore in garlands, as wreaths, and carried singly or in bouquets. Curiously
the flower was not often used as an ingredient for actual perfume. Perhaps the
Egyptian belief that a strong scent of lotus in the air meant a Great One was
present kept the mere mortals from usurping the concentrated lotus essence for themselves.
Khenet, the warrior in my book's title, has several
encounters with the goddess Nepthys during the novel, none of them very
comfortable. He does indeed learn to watch out for that overwhelming perfume as
a sign she’s near. Here’s the first time they meet, deep in the inner sanctum
of her temple:
you find me attractive, warrior?” she asked, her voice husky, honey sweet and
low pitched. Not waiting for an answer, she swayed across the chamber to
confront him, one hand on her hip. “It’s been many centuries since I took a
perfume surrounded him, making him dizzy. Choosing his words very carefully,
Khenet couldn’t help thinking the situation felt like a trap. “With all due
respect, Great One, such radiant splendor is too much for a mortal man to
laughed. “Well spoken, I see Pharaoh has sent me a diplomat disguised as a
opted for silence. Yeah I learned a lot in my years at Court, especially how
great ladies like to be complimented.
Perfume was so
important to the Ancient Egyptians that there was even a special deity,
Nefertum, assigned to be “…guardian and protector of the perfume and oil
makers, protector and god of the sacred lotus. Osiris is the body of the plants,
Nefertum is the soul of the plants, the plants purified. The divine perfume
belongs to Nefertum living forever.”*
He was usually depicted as a very handsome
young man, with a crown of lotus flowers. Some legends say his tears at the
dawn of time became the human race. Egyptians often carried small amulets
depicting him as good luck charms… and that was about the extent of Nefertum’s
responsibilities. Watching over the all important perfume was a full time job
Just as we have our favorite brands of
perfume today, expecting every bottle of Chanel No 5 to smell exactly the same,
the Egyptians had detailed recipes for their favorite scents, including Susinum
(lilies, myrrh & more), Cyprinum (henna) and Mendesian (myrrh, cassia,
resins & more). They conducted an international trade in this luxury. To
signify his dominion over Egypt, which was so identified with the perfume
industry, Julius Caesar is said to have scattered alabaster perfume bottles to
the crowds at his triumphal parades in Rome.
scratching the surface of this topic and I’m already out of space but I’ll take
it up again another day…there’s still the tale to tell of the sunken cargo ship
carrying blue glass, fragrant materials and a golden scarab bearing the
cartouche of Nefertiti…were they bringing exotic ingredients to be made into a
special scent just for her?
mysteries and questions when it comes to Ancient Egypt – thank goodness!
What's your favorite scent? Currently I alternate between Very Hollywood by Michael Kors and Tresor by Lancome....
you next month…
ABOUT Warrior of the Nile:
RT Book Reviews sez: “4 Stars HOT…you’re in for the most romantic desert story since Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra…”
*Hymn to Nefertem, 18th
Steve Van Toller, G. H. Todd: Fragrance: Psychology and Biology of Perfume,
1992 Springer, p.290