This is a book for MEN (male and female!). It is an exploration of the principles of success on Planet Earth.
We begin our exploration of Man through a very curious anthropological terrain. Anthropology as you know is the social science that studies the origins and social relationships of human beings.
Our anthropological journey begins in the world of perfumes. We shall be proceeding through smoke so to speak for the word “perfume” is derived from the Latin words “per fumus.” It means “through smoke”.
But the smoke will clear away, blown as it were by the winds of knowledge and understanding.
Deep shall call unto deep.
The oldest perfumery in the world was discovered on the island of Cyprus. Excavations in 2004-2005 by an Italian archeological team unearthed evidence of an enormous factory that existed 4000 years ago during the Bronze Age. The first recorded chemist was Lafaunda, a perfume maker mentioned in a Cuneiform tablet from 200BC in Mesopotamia. The old Mesopotamia is now made up of parts of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
The most expensive perfume in the world was a brand called Nard. This particular perfume dates back to antiquity, well before the incarnation of Jesus Christ on Earth. The chief ingredient was a plant of the valerian family, Nardostachys Grandiflora.
The name “Nard” is derived from the ancient Syrian city of Naarda, so this perfume is connected with Syria in some way.
To make the perfume, Spikenard rhizomes (or underground stems) were crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic amber-coloured essential oil. Nard is a pale yellow to amber liquid with heavy, sweet woody and spicy animal odour. It is reminiscent of valerian, ginger, cardamom and Atlas cedarwood oils. The oil was part of the Indian Ayurvedic herbal tradition and was obtained as a luxury in ancient Egypt, the Near East and Rome. (The Roman brand of the perfume was called Nardinum, while the Greek franchise was Naardaus).
Ancient texts are replete with references to Nard, including the Bible! The Nard perfume is specifically mentioned in the romantic poetry collection called the Song of Solomon:
“While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof” (1:12).
The reference is not limited to the Old Testament of the Bible. It is also in the New Testament.
Mathew, Mark, Luke and John recorded a particular incidence in the life of Jesus involving a femme fatale simply known as Mary.
Mary was an extravagant and obviously wealthy high society lady. She was a “Big Girl” as some would say. Elegant, sophisticated and cosmopolitan, she was the toast of society, earning quite a reputation along the way. She was notorious! A sexy vixen, her story would have been a localised chapter on the pages of City People Magazine of Judea but for an incidence with Nard perfume. Nard catapulted Mary into global righteousness stardom!
This is how the story goes.