What was the scent of Europe centuries ago? Historians set out to recover the lost stench

  What was the scent of Europe centuries ago?  Historians set out to recover the lost stench

LONDON – For hundreds of years, through plague and other epidemics, people believed that the disease was not caused by diseases or flea bites, but by an unpleasant odor. To purify the air around them, they will burn rosemary and hot tar.

These scents, passing through the airy streets of London, were common in the meantime The Great Plague In the 17th century, they themselves became synonymous with the plague, historians say.

Now, the world faces Another widespread outbreak, A team of historians and scientists from six European countries is seeking to identify and classify the most common fragrances of daily life in Europe from the 16th century to the early 20th century and to study what changes in fragrance over time reveal to society.

Week .. The million-dollar “Oderopa” project, unveiled this week, will use artificial intelligence to print more than 600,000 images and thousands of texts in seven languages, including medical textbooks, novels and magazines. Researchers will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to train computers to analyze the odor references of texts such as incense and tobacco.

Once catalyzed, researchers will work with chemists and perfumers, recreating about 120 fragrances in the hope that museum curators will incorporate some of the fragrances into the exhibits to make them more immersive or memorable for visitors.

A three-year project, that is Funded by the European Union, Will include guidelines on how to use odors in exhibitions. The use of odors in the exhibition could also make the museum more accessible to people who are blind or have limited vision, historians said.

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“Museums are often unsure of how to use odors in their spaces,” said Dr. William Toulette, an assistant professor of early modern European history at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England.

Plans for the project, which will begin in January, began before the epidemic, but researchers said the coronavirus, which The scent of the cities changed And Smell can lead to loss For some people infected with it, how fragrances and societies reflect each other is illustrated.

During past epidemics, Miasma’s theory, which believed that bad fumes were markers of disease transmission, was at the center of how people view the spread of infection.

Now once again, people are particularly absorbed by the scent around them and sometimes worry that if they can smell someone standing nearby, that person is inside. Their aerosol environment And so very close, said Inger Liemens, a professor of cultural history at Bridge University in Amgerdam. “Yet, odor becomes an indicator of possible disease and infection.”

And the down-down measures have changed the smell of the city, with fewer cars on the road and less odors flowing from restaurants to the streets. The researchers said the change, highlighting how fragrances come into communities, hints at historical historical trends in disease and other cultural aspects of daily life. Semantics has largely been overlooked in pedagogy, but it has received more attention in the last decade.

“By smell, you can open up questions about national culture, global culture, differences between communities, not immediately getting into a fight,” Dr. Lee said. Limens said the scent comes from museum exhibits or classrooms, so people are open to discussions. They don’t always do that when discussing other issues of national identity. “It’s such an open topic and it has a great exploratory and communicative aspect to it.”

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Dr Liemens said researchers are not only interested in studying the good smells of past centuries, but also smells like the stench of dung or industrial industrialization and the smell of sewage in some European cities. To help people connect with the past, they, too, can be distributed to museums so they don’t scare visitors.

“What we want to do, together with disgusting artists, is think about how you can bring that story to the nose – and how you people realize what they’ve done with industrial industrialization in Europe.” “It’s a challenge.”

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