How Ancient Civilization Used Incense?

Incense has been used by various civilizations for centuries. It has been an integral part of many cultures and religions. In this article, we’ll explore how ancient civilizations used incense and the significance it held for them.

The History of Incense

Incense has been used since ancient times in religious ceremonies, meditation practices, and for medicinal purposes. The word “incense” comes from the Latin word “incendere” which means “to burn”.

The earliest recorded use of incense was in ancient Egypt where it was burned as an offering to the gods. The Babylonians and Assyrians also used incense in their religious rituals.

How Was Incense Used?

There were different ways in which incense was used by ancient civilizations. One of the most common ways was burning it as an offering to the gods. In many cultures, incense was believed to have purifying properties that could ward off evil spirits and cleanse the soul.

Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, incense was an important part of religious ceremonies. They believed that the smoke from burning incense carried their prayers to the gods. They also used it in embalming practices to mask the smell of decay.

Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, incense was used in temples during rituals and as offerings to the gods. It was also burned in homes for its therapeutic properties.

Ancient Rome

Ancient Romans believed that burning incense had healing properties and could ward off evil spirits. They often burned it during funerals to honor the dead.

Ancient China

In ancient China, incense was used in Buddhist temples during meditation practices. It was also believed to have medicinal properties and was used to treat various ailments.

The Significance of Incense

Incense was not just used for its therapeutic properties but also had a symbolic significance. The smoke from burning incense was believed to represent the prayers and intentions of the person burning it. It was also believed to have a purifying effect, cleansing both the physical and spiritual realm.


In conclusion, incense has been an important part of many ancient civilizations. Its use has transcended time and continues to be used in modern-day religious practices and meditation practices. Whether it’s for its therapeutic properties or symbolic significance, incense will always hold a special place in various cultures around the world.