Olfaction and Lovemaking in Ancient Egypt

Date and time: Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 9 to 11 am Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Tickets here.

Love and Happiness. Love and Loss. Love and Scent. These intertwined concepts have inspired musicians, poets, painters, and sighing philosophers from the dawn of humankind. No doubt they will continue to do so in tomorrow’s world.

In ancient Egypt, loving and lovemaking were marked by a particularly strong relationship to aromatic landscapes. On the clothes and in the air, codified for posterity in relics and texts, scent was an integral part of the concept of seduction.

Join Ph.D. candidate in Egyptology Dora Goldsmith as she explores the relationships between love and smell in the ancient Egyptian world.

This is an online class. The Zoom link will be sent by email 24 hours before the class.

ABOUT DORA GOLDSMITH

Dora Goldsmith is a Ph.D. student of Egyptology at the Freie Universität Berlin. The topic of her Ph.D. project is the sense of smell in ancient Egypt, the title of her research being The Archaeology of Smell in Ancient Egypt: A Cultural Anthropological Study Based on Written Sources. Dora holds a master of arts degree in Egyptology from the Freie Universität Berlin and a bachelor of arts in archaeology (Biblical and classical archaeology) and ancient Near Eastern studies (Egyptology and Assyriology) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dora’s Ph.D. research focuses on the role the sense of smell played in ancient Egypt based on written evidence. The examination of olfaction in an ancient society belongs to the relatively new field of the archaeology of the senses. Archaeology of the senses investigates the way in which a historical culture perceived the world through the senses. Sensory perception is the basis for bodily experience. We experience our bodies – and the world – through our senses. Sensory perception is culturally shaped, therefore, the way in which people perceive the world through the senses may vary as cultures vary. The significance of the archaeology of the senses has not yet been fully recognized by Egyptologists. Some research has been done on sight and hearing, especially music, in ancient Egyptian culture. However, no comprehensive research has ever been carried out on the sense of smell, touch and taste. Through apprehending the olfactory sensation of the ancient Egyptians, which has never been investigated before, Dora’s research topic contributes to the better understanding of ancient Egyptian culture as a whole.

Photo credits: Dora Goldsmith / Michael Geiger on Unsplash

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