Itinerary B

[2]Oils, flowers and ointments

The smell generally associated with cemeteries is a combination of an acrid, stale smell and the tenacious and insistent scent of flowers.
However, though cemeteries now stand in the open air, when travelling back in time to the ancient underground burials of Syracuse, we must imagine environments almost without any ventilation, which, immersed in the damp, would retain all kinds of smells.
For this reason the custom of spreading oils, flowers and ointments inside the tombs was common.
The bodies were perfumed with myrrh ointment, while aromatic essences were poured into small cups or glass jars to offset the rotting smell.