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Greek Version


The first detergent used by man was water. Prehistoric settlements were built near water in order to have direct access to it. The man began to use other cleaning agents over the years.

We do not know who really started making soap in antiquity, but must be discovered in Babylon around 2300 BC. Initially, the soap was used as a medicine for wounds and as a cosmetic for hair and later as a cleaning agent.

The famous baths of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt lacked soap and as a cleanser had a white sand, like lye, adding essential oils. Roman were also not using soapin their baths. The Romans later discovered its medicinal properties.

The soap came to Europe probably with the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, who had learned it from the Arab tribes of the Arabian Desert which also had subjugated. It was used by other tribes such as the Celts and Vikings.

From the 13th century we are starting to record information about the history of soap. Marseille was the first production area, whose fame lasted throughout the Middle Ages, followed by Genoa, Venice, Bari and after Castile, Spain.

These areas were rich in olive oil and a plant called Barilla from the ashes of which the lye was made. This "new" method (the blending of vegetable fat with lye) was established for the next 4-5 centuries. Later, the French chemist Nicolas Leblanc discovered a new way of making the lye using common salt.

Myths about Soap

According to Greek mythology, the soap comes from ancient Greece and specifically from Lesbos. On this island they made animal sacrifices to the goddess Artemis. The rains sway animal waste and burned fat, along with the ashes from the wood fire forming a yellow stream in the river.

When housewives were washing their clothes found that the water turned yellow and their clothes cleaned better. The soap was named in honor of the poet Sappho who lived at that time in Lesbos is a paraphrase of her name.

The Italian version of the myth says that the above scene happens on the river Tiber, at the foot of Mount Soap, where ancinet Romans washed their clothes. The soap got its name from the above  mountain.

It is said that in the 14th century France, King Louis beheaded 3 soap makers, because they had made a soap that irritated his sensitive royal skin! To save their lives the 4 remaining soap makers joined and found a new way to make soap, softer and free of harmful components. With this method required approximately one month to produce a soap bar!

Today a lot has changed in the way that we make manufactured soap. The new trend in America and Europe is the use of handmade soap by the whole family.

In Greece and some other countries of the Mediterranean we are lucky because it is quite easy to find soaps made with olive oil. We, in soap company Elaa, we produce pure soap with the traditional way, using pure Greek olive oil.