Greek goddess of olfaction?
September 15, 2005 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Is there a greek goddess of olfaction? Or at least some sort of ancient figure associated with perfumes or odors or the nose? (Perhaps with an affiliated myth or story to go along with the association?)

Forgive the randomness of my inquiry.
posted by mowglisambo to Society & Culture (7 answers total)
Ask MetaFilter: Forgive the randomness of my inquiry.


And as far as I know, there isn't. But it's been a while since I studied the Greek pantheon in any serious depth.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:44 AM on September 15, 2005

In Greek mythology, Philyra was the shape-shifting goddess of beauty, perfume, healing, writing and divination. She was the discoverer of paper.

Google search for "greek god of perfume"
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:52 AM on September 15, 2005

Nefertem, Ancient Lord of Perfume
posted by LarryC at 10:52 AM on September 15, 2005

Philyra, Greek goddess of paper (no, really!), beauty, perfume, healing, and writing.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:44 AM on September 15, 2005

(Yes, I saw BuddhaInABucket's post. I just wanted to provide links.)
posted by cerebus19 at 11:45 AM on September 15, 2005

I don't know of anything Greek (except that posted above, which I just learned). I have some information on Venus, however.

The following is a quote from The Scented Ape: The biology and culture of human odour by D. Michael Stoddart. Cambridge University Press, 1990. ISBN 0521375118 (hardback) ; 0521395615 (paperback):

"A number of special odours are associated with Venus but the most important is that of myrtle (Myrtus communis). When she emerged from the waves and was wringing out the water from her hair she noticed many lewd satyrs watching her. To protect her nakedness from their eyes she gathered some branches of the bush and held them to her.
And so hid her bodily parts with myrtle

And was safe. Now she tells you to do the same.

(Grigson, 1976)
Today myrtle oil is extensively used as a Middle-Eastern bath preparation, and myrtle twigs are strewn on the ground where their crushed leaves release their powerful fragrance (Grigson, 1976)." [p. 131]

In case you've just been inspired to write your graduate thesis on this topic, his reference is to The Goddess of Love by G. Grigson. London: Constable, 1976.
posted by millicent friendly at 3:46 PM on September 15, 2005

Try Tom Robbin's "Jitterbug Perfume" He refers to Pan many times.
posted by goalyeehah at 9:54 PM on September 15, 2005

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