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The finest and most costly dye of the ancients, a discovery of the Phoenicians; already known to the Greeks in the Homeric age. [This may be inferred from the frequent epithet porphyreos applied to robes, rugs, etc.] It was also known to the Romans in the time of their kings. It was obtained from two kinds of shells in the Mediterranean Sea: (1) from the trumpet-shell (Gr. keryx; Lat.bucinum, murex) [=buccinium lapillus]; (2) from the true purple-shell (Gr. porphyra; Lat. purpara, pelagia) [=murex brandaris or tribulus]. These shells respectively contained in a diminutive bladder a small quantity of (1) scarlet coloured, (2) black and red coloured juice. The juice collected from a number of these shells was placed in salt [in the proportion of about one pint of salt to every seventy-five pounds avoirdupois of juice], and heated in metal vessels by the introduction of warm vapours; then the raw material, wool and silk, was dyed in it. The best and dearest purple was always the Phoenician, especially that of Tyre, although it was prepared by other inhabitants of the Mediterranean. As the colour of the bucinum was not lasting, it was not used by itself, but only in combination with the true purpura for producing certain varieties of purple dye. By mixing bucinum with black pelagium, the juice of the true purple-shell, the fashionable violet, called the "amethyst" purple was produced; and, by a double process of dyeing, first in half-boiled pelagium, and then in bucinum, Tyrian purple was produced. This had the colour of clotted blood, and when looked at straight appeared black, when held to the light it glowed with colour. A pound of violet wool cost in Caesar's time 100 denarii (£4 7s.), Tyrian purple wool above 1,000 denarii (£43 10s.). By mixing pelagium with other matter, water, urine, and orchilla, the bright purple dyes, heliotrope-blue, mauve-blue, an violet-yellow, were obtained. Other colours were produced by the combination of the different methods of dyeing; first dyeing the material with violet colour, purple dye, and scarlet (produced by kermes [from the coccus ilicis]; then by using the Tyrian method, they obtained the tyrianthinum, the Tyrian shell-purple, and the variety called the hysginum [from Gr. hysge =a variety of prinos, or quercus coccifera. (Pliny, N.H. ix 124-141.) For further details, see Blumner's Technologie, i 224-240]. Purple robes were used at an early date by the Greeks as a mark of dignity. Even the Athenian archons wore purple mantles officially. In Rome at one time broad, at another narrow, stripes of purple on the toga and tunic served as marks of distinction for senators, magistrates, and members of the equestrian order. The robes of the general were dyed in purple (see PALUDAMENTUM); so also was the gold-embroidered mantle worn by one who celebrated a triumph. For a long time home-purple was used; Tyrian purple was not introduced till the middle of the 1st century B.C., and from that time it became a luxury. In spite of repeated attempts to check by imperial decrees the use of real purple among private individuals, robes trimmed with purple, or altogether dyed with it, became more and more used. Only a complete robe of blatta, the finest kind of purple, of which there were five varieties, was reserved as an imperial privilege, and any private persons who wore it were punished as being guilty of high treason. [Codex Theodosianus iv 40, I: purpura quoe blatta vel oxyblatta vel hyacinthina dicitur.] From the 2nd century A.D. the emperors took part in this lucrative industry, and from the end of the 4th century A.D. the manufacture of the blatta became an imperial monopoly.
Type: Standard
gutter splint
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gutter splint