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The Greeks cleaned their teeth carefully with twigs and sucked aromatic gums to sweeten the breath [10]. (a) Religious festivals At all the religious festivals aromatics were consumed in large quantities. Sacrificial altars were erected in private homes as well as the temples decked with garlands of herbs and flowers where the animal consecrated to a particular deity would be burnt with frankincense and libations of wine. An ox was offered to Jupiter, a dog to Hecate, a dove to Venus, a sow to Ceres and a fish to Neptune.

The women were painted rose colour and white. The white was mostly white lead, the rouge was vermilion or vegetable substances, such as mulberry, seaweed and paederos, a root similar to alkanet. Later mercuric sulfide was used as well as white lead. Orpiment, a compound of arsenic, was used as a depilatory. Fragrant oils were used in the hair and both men and women dyed grey hair. Eyebrows were painted black and brought fairly close together. The eyes were painted with both black and green make-up.

By the early fifteenth century Indian and Arab merchants sailed through the Red Sea to Alexandria. With the Spanish exploration in America and the Portuguese arrival in India and the Far East, trade became global for the first time in human history [3]. Universities were established all over Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and, to one of these, in Montpelier in southern France, intellectuals were attracted and its law and medical schools became the foremost in Europe, even though new ideas of medicine and surgery were introduced into France from Italy in the thirteenth century.

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William Harvey by D'Arcy Power


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