Ancient Mesopotamia : a biblical presence of the world’s first olive oil, pistachio oil, laurel berry oil and almond oil soaps traded on The Silk Route, 2nd century BC -14th century AD, where the first civilisation of the world started. Ancient Mesopotamia's collection of these imported cultural soaps are skilfully made by hand, hand-cut, dried stored for months with the original ingredients unchanged for centuries, remarkably today, still being handmade from the same historical areas, as the Soapmakers continue making history. Mardin, located on The Silk Route, The Persian Royal Road, the oldest city in Upper Mesopotamia, a Unesco Tentative Listing; the open museum, 4500 BC with the most preserved architecture in the world. The Province of Mardin, Dara, where masons all over Mesopotamia built the last Roman Fortress 114 feet tall, keeping back the Persians. Mardin Soap : remarkably, still being handmade today from the same historical area. Aleppo : Soapmakers continue the more than 2300 year soap history, just miles over the border in Gaziantep (on The Silk Route). Antioch : the third largest city of The Roman Empire, after Alexandria and Rome on The Silk Route, 1,100 acres, the only Roman city illuminated at night for hundreds of years. Libanius, Antioch's celebrated Orator, born Antioch 314 AD, a Greek teacher of rhetoric of the Sophist School who tells the story of the city being illuminated each night 'People of Antioch were sleeping on the roofs at night where the summer breeze would gently stir the garments of the sleepers,' favoured by The Emperors, the centre of literature.The romantic magnet for scholars, writers, philosophers, the marriage of Antony and Cleopatra 37 BC, the park of woods at Daphne leading down to the Mediterranean waters. Antiochia Soap : centuries later, still handmade today remarkably, from the same historical area. Nablus : the world's most ancient olive groves, a Unesco World Heritage Site, Central Highland area of Nablus, Battir to Hebron. Seven natural springs, The Roman Empire channels and pools irrigate, centuries later, still worked today, continuing making history. Nablus Soap : remarkably, from the same historical area since the 10th century. Ancient Mesopotamia products contain no perfumes, artificial colours or, preservatives, 100% biodegradable and not tested on animals. Ancient Mesopotamia imports the collection of soaps traded on The Silk Route directly from the Soapmakers.
Ancient Mesopotamia : continuing the ethical and sustainable ethos, the culture and spirit of the first Soapmakers of the world remarkably, still handmade today from the original historical areas whilst supporting their families.
Soap : an ancient product, the greatest medical discovery in human history, cleans away something you cannot see, saves the life of a healthy person oblivious to the bullet they dodged, has saved more lives than penicillin, doesn't just make cities healthier it makes them possible, enabling our existence.
Apadana Palace and Throne Hall 'Hundred Column Hall' 518 BC, Darius 1,King of Kings, Archaemenid Empire, Persepolis.
Ashurbanipal, the last King of Assyria, 7th century BC, The North West Palace, Nineveh; where he establishes the great library, until the Babylonians sacked the city and palace in a rebellion 612 BC resulting in The Palace being burnt down.
1840 Austin Henry Layard assisted by Hormuzd Rassam (a Nineveh local) funded by The British Museum uncovers thousands of clay tablets written in cuneiform and Akkadian language at The North West Palace.
1872 George Smith, intrigued by history of Assyria (by profession, an apprentice bank note engraver) spent each lunch hour observing hundreds of clay tablets at The British Museum. The Museum realised his knowledge and invited him to assemble the tablets. To his amazement he married a clay tablet story about a world drowned by flood, about a man who builds a boat, about a dove released in search of dry land. His thoughts were the Noah's Ark story but, this was not the book of Genesis astonishingly, it was Gilgamesh, an epic poem inscribed into damp clay around 1800 BC. He was invited to read his translation of the tablet to an audience at The Society for Biblical Archaeology in London attended by Prime Minister Gladstone. Epic of Gilgamesh read by George Smith caused a sensation. The Daily Telegraph put up 1000 guineas for George Smith to continue his investigations and excavations; he died in Aleppo of dysentery at the age of 36 years in 1876 leaving 8 groundbreaking books on Assyria.
Hormuzd Rassam was recalled by The British Museum to continue excavations at the Babylonian city of Sippar discovering the great door of the Palace of Balawat and 70,000 cuneiform tablets.1880 was his final expedition as he was being erased from the records due to hyperbole of Sir Henry Rawlinson claiming he was just a digger who oversaw works in progress. The British Museum removed his name from plaques and visitor guide books. Hormuzd Rassam could not find one publisher for his memoirs having a good relationship with his best friend Austin Henry Layard since he was 19 years old and after spending 18 months at Oxford. He died in Hove 1910 knowing that Layard wrote 'One of the honestest and most straight forward fellows I ever knew and one whose services have never been acknowledged'.
World's largest single floor Mosaic 11,302 sq ft, observing its undulating flow, subsidence, earthquakes 4th Century AD, Antioch.
Hot room (Caldarium) flowing warm water creating steam, warm and cold rooms (Tepidarium, Frigidarium) followed by exercise, massage and food 5th Century AD, Antioch.
A Little History
Ancient Mesopotamia : Mesopotamia, ancient Greek meaning 'land between two rivers' ( Meso middle, potamos river ) the Tigris-Euphrates, the biblical land known as Ancient Mesopotamia, The Fertile Crescent, on The Silk Route, the rise of the first civilisation of the world, where time began, Sumerians : 60 parts. Babylonians: 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 360 degrees, The Map. Sumerians : Luna calendar 12 months, the wheel, weaving cloth, the cart, the chariot, the sailboat, the plough, mathematics, architecture, sun-dried bricks, astronomy, astrology, agriculture, irrigation, cuneiform writing, monarchy, copper tools, arrowheads, razors, swords, harpoons, maces, slings and clubs. First use of soap recorded on a cuneiform tablet, Girsu a city of ancient Sumer 2,500 BC used for removing lanolin from sheep, alkalis from burned wood and fats equals saponification, water absorbs the alkali from the ash 'leaching' creating impure soap. First known recipe of soap one quart of oil, six quarts of potash equals impure soap. The first evidence of soap being used to clean the skin, cuneiform tablet found in the Hittite capital Boghazkoi. The first recorded evidence of soap production written in cuneiform on a clay tablet 2800 BC, Sumerians. 2200 BC, Sumerians (where oils in soap began), a formula of soap consisting of water, alkali (ash) and cassia oil (cinnamomum) was written on a clay tablet (two thousand years before The Silk Route opened) . King Nabonidus, Neo-Babylonian 6th century BC : ashes, cypress extract, sesame oil (antibacterial, antiviral) written on clay cylinders, Ur. Babylon : the eighth gate to the inner city, The Ishtar Gate 575 BC, one of the seven wonders of the world, 2500 acres, 11 miles of wall wrapped around the most famous city of Ancient Mesopotamia. Greek historian Herodotus, declaring 'Overwhelmingly opulent the walls so broad chariots could race around them', later confirmed by Architect Callimachus of Cyrene. Antipater of Sidon, Greek writer, Poet 2nd century BC begins the official listing replacing The Ishtar Gate for The Lighthouse of Alexandria.
The first handmade olive oil, pistachio oil, laurel berry oil and almond oil soaps traded on The Silk Route at a time when Jesus was born, Roman Emperors, Kings, Queens, Princesses, Pharaohs of Egypt reigned. Galen of Pergamum : 130 AD - 200 AD, Philosopher, Greek Physician, Surgeon, Personal Physician of The Emperors (Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Septimius Severus), Chief Physician for the treating of wounds to the gladiator school in Pergamum. Discoverer, that urine was formed in the kidney (as opposed to the bladder which, was common belief) and arteries carried blood. His theories dominated medicine for 1500 years. His journeys from Corinth (medical School), Pergamum (medical school), Cilicia, Antioch, Aleppo, Smyrna (medical school) to the greatest medical school of the Ancient World, Alexandria were frequent, 44 years old summoned to Rome, declaring to his patients the importance of hygiene and the healing powers of the oils in soap (antiseptic, anti-itching, antibacterial). Soap : the greatest medical discovery in human history. Galen collected plants with healing properties for debates of their uses. Historians now believe he died aged 87 years either in Pergamum or, Sicily. Zosimos of Panopolis 3rd century AD, Greek-Egyptian Alchemist, investigates the composition and chemical changes that occurred in the water and oils. Centuries later, still handmade today, remarkably, from the same historical areas, as the Soapmakers continue making history; hand-cut, dried stored for months being traditionally produced by hand through the generations of families, with only natural ingredients, unchanged throughout the centuries.
The Silk Route : The Merchants of Antioch earned their reputation for hundreds of years from the sale of silk, soap, glass, spices, cotton, dyeing, tanning, furs, wine, oil, bread (barley for the poor, wheat for the wealthy) and copper tools, trading under 1400 Roman columns and porticoes for more than two miles, using their vegetable oil filled lamps each night to light up the colonnaded street for more than 800 years. Hedonistic Antioch, 'Queen of the East' of the known Ancient World, the City of up to 500,000 people patrolled by Roman Legionaires, where residents used their oil filled lamps outside their homes increasing the illumination of the City at night. Persian Sogdian Traders travelled and spoke the language of Sogdiana for hundreds of years from Chang'an (perpetual peace), Han Dynasty, Samarkand to Antioch the third largest city of The Roman Empire, where Hadrian was in command of the army of the East. Commissioned by the 9th Emperor Vespasian establishing The Praetorian Fleets : Classis (Fleet) Syriaca. Classis (Fleet) Mesopotamica. Patrolling Antioch (Selucia, seaport) to Alexandria, reinforced, if necessary, with 200 ships from Classes Praetoriae. Emperor Hadrian nominated by his legions of the East, Antioch 117AD (The Roman Empire, continuing Alexander the Great's expansionism of the known Ancient World).
Silk : 2696 BC Lei Zu, daughter of Xi Ling, Empress, Wife of The Yellow Emperor, the implementer of silk; by chance a silkworm cocoon fell from a tree into her tea cup unwrapping the silk and strong but, soft thread. Yellow silk : a class distinction. 552 AD : Emperor Justinian Ist sends two emissaries (Nestorian monks) to China to smuggle silkworm eggs, hidden in rods of bamboo, tired of paying exorbitant silk prices. Later, sericulture (silk farming) began.
The Museum Hotel (Antioch), Hatay Province.
Centuries Later, Still Preserved Today, 10 year project, 8.5 metres below ground level, 4 acres of Antioch (Savonerrie, where the Soapmakers made history) excavating, authenticity preserved, still today.
30,000 objects dating back to the 3rd Century BC : The Necmi Asfuroğlu Archaeology Museum, Hatay Archaeology Museum overlooking Mt. Silpius. Peter digs the foundation of the first church, Mt. Starius, Antioch (Unesco Tentative Listing). The Marble Roman Forum, public meeting place 9000 sq ft. Stone surfaced Roman Road, authenticity preserved, where a visitor was over-heard saying 'If you listen quietly you can hear their sandals on the stones'. The Pegasus mosaic, 160 shades of plant dyed stone, Frescoes of Apollo and Nine Muses 2nd century AD. Eros : marble statue 200 AD. World's largest single floor Mosaic 11,302 sq ft, observing its undulating flow, subsidence, earthquakes 4th Century AD. Wildlife Mosaic 5th Century AD. Roman Baths 5th Century AD.
Mosaics, columns and walls of ancient Antioch, the third largest City of The Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria. Favoured by The Emperors, the centre of literature, the romantic magnet for scholars, writers, philosophers. The only Roman City illuminated at night for more than 800 years. Antioch, 64 BC a Roman Province. Antioch, where The Silk Route 200BC, on The Mediterranean waters ended.
Stone surfaced Roman Road. Antioch, 64 BC a Roman Province.
Beeswax candles introduced by the Romans. One hour taper candles with cotton wicks releasing negative ions used by Byzantium churches and the wealthy Antioch,1st century AD.
The Pegasus mosaic, 160 shades of plant dyed stone, Frescoes of Apollo and Nine Muses 2nd century AD, Antioch.
Roman Villa mosaic 5th Century AD, Antioch.
Wildlife mosaic 5th Century AD, Antioch.
Ancient Mesopotamia Gifts
644 Charlton Horethorne