Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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A Scent of Choice…

December 17, 2013

Myropolist – definition: a perfume dealer


The word perfume, describes scented mixtures and is derived from the Latin word, “per fumus“, meaning through smoke. Although, perfumery, (the art of making perfumes) began in ancient Egypt, it was subsequently developed and refined by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs. Perfumery also existed in East Asia, but most of its fragrances were incense based.  Pliny the Elder described the basic ingredients and methods of making perfumes  in his Naturalis Historia.  Today, it seems every celebrity ‘develops’ their own perfume to entice followers to ‘smell like me’! The shops are bursting with choices from super sweet ‘candy’ scents to earthy tones in a plethora of colored and uniquely shaped bottles.

When we watch adverts for perfume they promise romance, love and an allure of fantastic fun filled days and nights. However, scent is a very personal thing. One can be pleasing while another can be gag making. The bottles are art forms in their own right, from its beginnings in humble pottery vials to fantastic colored glass shapes, the bottles are almost more important that the scent they contain.

Smell is one of the important parts of our descriptions within our narratives. They help our readers immerse themselves into the scene. Gun smoke assists a battle scene to come to life, floral scents conjure up a walk in a meadow or garden and body odor the character’s physical state. All the scents -pardon the pun – need to be present to give our readers a complete sensation of what is happening.

I ‘found’ my favorite scent decades ago and it is the only one I ever wear – Obsession by Calvin Klein. I would be heart broken if it was ever discontinued. Musty scents are much more pleasing to me.

Naturalis Historia, 1669 edition, title page. ...

Naturalis Historia, 1669 edition, title page. The title at the top reads: “Volume I of the Natural History of Gaius Plinius Secundus.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you have a favorite perfume or cologne?

If you are interested in the history of perfume this Wiki link is good.

Czech-Perfume-Bottlegreen bottle_??????????French perfume

Celestial Wonder Still Exists…

November 4, 2013

Celestial – definition: pertaining to the sky or heavens

Celestial Map 1515

The heavens have always fascinated humans throughout our evolution. Monoliths around the globe are evidence of our attempts to connect to whatever power we envisage resides there. My Greek and Roman literature course showed me a world full of complex relationships and deeds of good and bad. Gods sat in Olympus showering the population with favors or disasters.

This map shows a celestial map in 1515.

Modern day astrology utilizes the star signs to predict our live’s path. For some these ‘readings’ are believed while others choose only the ‘good’ predictions detailed in the newspaper.

Whatever religion you follow in some part there will be a celestial component. This belief is deeply rooted from our earliest ancestors worshiping the sun arriving each morning and the moon standing guard in the night.

There has been a shift since the first moon landings and the many deep space missions launched since, which have given us more information regarding the ‘heavens’ than ever before. We now know stars are actually planets or massive moons exploding and we are witnessing the last moment of glory as light travelling to us. However, we still enjoy the globe that is our moon on night’s it is a splendid full sphere. There is still magic in the sky above us. It is now crowded with satellites for communication and debris from our previous explorations but there is a wonder there. Our planet is only one of billions…something that is hard to comprehend.

Take a look at the multitude of missions in operation now. Link:


Ambrosia of the Gods…

July 11, 2013

Ambrosial – definition: exceptionally pleasing to taste or smell


I was taken back to my school days with this word. I studied ancient Greek mythology as well as Roman mythology in my last couple of years of school.

Ambrosia was depicted as food or drink of the Greek gods (or demigods) and had the effect of making them immortal. In the words of Homeric tradition, the ambrosia was taken to Olympus by doves. However, ancient art depicts a nymph, called Ambrosia, delivering the delight.

The myth of King Lycurgus tells us he attacked Ambrosia because she served  Dionysis. This resulted in her being turned into a grapevine. In turn Dionysis brought about Lycurgus’ demise in a rather disgusting way.

Why someone would attack the God who brought such merriment is beyond me! Dionysis was surely the party animal of Olympus. God of wine, winemaking, the grape harvest, ritual madness and ecstasy!

I certainly praise him…nothing like a glass or two – especially as I am enjoying a wonderful vacation.

A Philistine or a Derogatory Term that Stuck..?

June 19, 2013

Category:Ancient Greek buildings and structure...

I Category:Ancient Greek buildings and structures in Athens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philistine – definition: a person who is lacking in or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement

In my last couple of years of school, I studied Greek and Roman mythology. It was an extra course for my ‘A’ level exams (English school) Our teacher was the sweetest woman and she made the course so much fun! Trying to keep the Gods and their off spring correct as well as ensuring we used the correct name for each region was; at times, challenging but interesting. Apart from the occasional quiz or crossword, I don’t really use this knowledge on a day to day basis. Some school coursework is for pure enjoyment after all. I did join an archeology group later on and still love historical sites, so some of the enthusiasm has endured.

My latest book, Ockleberries to the Rescue actually has a goddess in it – so maybe all that knowledge is not lost.

Procession of Philistine Captives At Medinet-habu.

Procession of Philistine Captives At Medinet-habu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I saw today’s word and its meaning, I wondered how to approach it. Once I began researching and found the ancient civilization of  Philistine, I questioned why this societies name could be linked to such a derogatory word in modern times. As you can see from this link – there is a ream of explanations:  It is interesting to see when these people were living and trading they were actually more advanced than their neighbors. It is possible other societies ‘bad-mouthed’ them and the word became common usage.

If you would like more information on them here is a link :

The origin of words is so interesting and also how their meaning and usage change.

Have you found words that have surprised you? Their origins, meaning or how they have changed in modern times.

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