The first Romans were a poor, austere and frugal people, dedicated to taking care of their gardens and flocks, while defending themselves from the attacks and aggressions of their many neighbours. Later, the assimilation of the Etruscans, its military victories and its relationship with the Greeks to the south resulted in shifting habits and customs, and by the end of the Republic and first centuries of the Roman Empire, during which they conquered half the world, Rome became a rich and prosperous city that witnessed the “boom” of the cosmetics and perfume industry. The use of these products extended to the furthest corners of the Roman Empire, much as their popularity extended throughout all social strata. The use of perfumes and ointments became both excessive and exaggerated.
In Rome it was more than just people who were perfumed: fragrances were added to the rooms of great palaces, theatres, clothes, wine, the banners of the legions when they went to war or when they returned victorious from their conquests, and even some emperors put perfume on their favourite horses. Innumerable perfumes were also used in religious ceremonies as offerings to the gods, at funerals and at family celebrations, particularly at weddings.