PURPLE, BLUE, CRIMSON, SCARLET (pur'pyl, skarTet).
1. Purple. (Heb. ar-gaw-mawn occurs in Exod. xxv:4; XXVi:1, 31, 36; XXVii:16; xxviii:5, 6, 8, 15, 33; xxxv:6, 23, 25, 35; xxxvi:8, 35, 37; xxxviii: 18, 23; XXXiX:1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 24, 29; Num. iv:13; judg. viii:26; 2 Chron. li:7, 14; ill:14; Esth, i:6; viii:15; Prov. xxxi:22; Cant. iii:io; vii:5; Jer. x:9; Ezek. xxvii:7, 16; Ecclus. xlv:to; Bar. vi:12, 72; 1 iv:23; viii:14; x:2o, 62; 2 Macc. iv:38; Mark xv:i7, 20; Luke xvi:19; 16),xix:2, 5; Acts xvi:t4; Rev.
xvii:4; xviii:12, ), (compare 2 Chron. ii:7; Dan.
v:7, 16, 29).
In many of these passages, the word translated 'purple' means 'purple cloth,' or some other mate rial dyed purple, as wool, thread, etc.; hut no reference occurs to the means by which the dye was obtained, except in 1 Macc. iv :23, where we have 'purple of the sea' (comp. Diod. Sic. iii, 68 ; Joseph. De Bell. Jud. v, 3. 4). There is, however, no reason to doubt that it was obtained, like the far-famed Tyrian purple, from the juice of cer tain species of shellfish.
(1) How Obtained. The dye which was called purple by the ancients, with its various shades, was obtained from many kinds of shellfish, all of which arc, however, arranged by Pliny under two classes. one called 'buceinum,' because shaped like a horn, found. he says, in cliffs and rocks, and yielding a sullen blue dye, which he compares to the color of the angry raging sea in a tempest ; the other called 'pur pura,' or 'pelagia.' the proper purple shell, taken by fishing in the sea, and yielding the deep red color which he com pares to the rich, fresh, and bright color of deep red roses.
Both sorts were supposed to be as many years old as they had spirals round.
The juice of the whole shellfish was not used, but only a little, thin liquor called the flower, con tained in a white vein or vessel in the neck. The larger purples were broken at the top to get at this vein without injuring it, but the smaller were pressed in mills (Aristot. !list. An., V. t3. 75; Pliny, Hist. Nat. ix. 6o). The Murex trunculus has been demonstrated to be the species used by ancient Tyrians, by Wilde, who found • concrete mass of the shells in some of the ancient dye pots sunk in the rocks of Tyre (Narrative, Dub lin, 1840, vol. ii. p. 482). It is of common occur
rence now on the same coasts (Kitto's Physical History of Palestine, p. 418), and throughout the whole of the Mediterranean, and even of the At lantic. In the Mediterranean, the countries most celebrated for purple were the shores of Pelopon nesus and Sicily, and in the Atlantic, the coasts of Britain, Ireland, and France. Horace alludes to the African (Cann. 35). There is, indeed, an essential difference in the color obtained from the purples of different coasts. Thus the shells from the Atlantic are said to give the darkest juice; those of the Italian and Sicilian coast, a violet or purple; and those of the Phoenician, a crimson.
(2) Uses. Purple was employed in religious worship both among Jews and Gentiles. It was one of the colors of the curtains of the tabernacle (Exod. xxvi :I ) ; of the vail (31) ; of the curtain over the grand entrance (36) ; of the ephod of the high-priest (xxviii :5. 6), and of its girdle (8) ; of the breastplate (15) ; of the hem of the robe of the ephod (33), (comp. Ecclus. xlv :to) ; of cloths for divine service (Exod. xxxix ; comp. Num. iv:13) ; resumed when the temple was built (2 Chron. ii :7, 14 ; iii :14). Pliny records a simi lar use of it among the Romans : advocator placandis' (Hist. Nat. ix. 6o; Cicero, Epist, ad Atticunz, ii. 9). The Babylonians arrayed their idols in it (Jer. x:9; Baruch xii:72). It was at an early period worn by kings (Judg. viii :26). In the last chapter of the Proverbs it is repre sented as the dress of a matron (verse 22). It was at one time worn by Roman ladies and rich men (Livy, xxxiv, 7, and Valerius Max. ii, I). See also the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke xvi :19). In Esther i:6, it appears as part of the royal furniture of Ahasuerus; and in Cant. iii :to, as the covering of the royal chariot ; and Pliny refers to its general use, not only for clothes, but carpets, cushions, etc.