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of the curious. And if they use this no more, 'lis because they have found a way of making a dye more beautiful, and at less expense, with cochineal. They have even discovered a new purple, which, according to all appearances, was unknown to the ancients, although of the same species with theirs c.
But further, though the secret of dying purple should be lost, I do not see any reason to regret the loss of it much. It appears, from the testimony of all ancient writers d, confirmed by modern discoveries e, that stuffs dyed in this colour had a strong and disagreeable smell. Besides, to judge of the effea of purple by the descriptions we now have of it, that colour could not be very agreeable to the eye. The scarlet, such as we have now, is much above it. A few reflections will be sufficient to convince us.
They distinguish many sorts of purple colours. One was extremely deep, of a red drawing to a violet . The other was more faint, approaching to our scarlet ; this was the least esteemed 8. Lastly, that which they valued the most, wa of a deep red, of the colour of bullocks blood, 'Tis in allusion to this colour, that-Homer and Virgil give to blood the epithet of purpled i. It was this dismal colour they principally fought-for in these sorts of stuffs k. It was in this that those of Tyre excelled all others. I leave it to
c Acad. des scien, ann, 171. mem. p. 169.
d Martial. 1. 1. epigram. 50. v. 32. 1. 4. epigram. 4. v. 6. 1. 9. epigram. 63. See Turneb. adversar. 1. 9. c. 5.
• Journ. des scav. Aout 1686. p. 197.; Acad. des fcien. ann. 1711. mem.'p. 191. ann. 1736. mem. p. 55.
f Nigrantis rofae colore sublucens. Plin. 1. 9. fect. 53. P. 521. M. Huet, in the collection of Tilladet, i 2. p. 252: pretends on the contra. ry, that this species of purple approached to the colour we call dry rose, like to that which the leaves of the vines take when they are ready to fall. He adds, 'tis very nearly the same we see in the interior border of the rainbow.
I think M. Huet is mistaken ; but admitting his explication, this purple would only be more disagreeable. This yellowish colour which he means, is, never pleasant to the sight.
& Rubens color, migrante deterior. Plin. sect. 62. p. 526.
We observe in general, that the ancients only esteemed dark colours. Anacreon gives the preference to rofes which draw towards black.
i Iliad. 1. 17. V. 369.& 361.; Æneid. 1.9. v. 349.
k This is the idea Cassiodorus gives us of it; he defines perple, obfcuritas rubens, nigredo sanguinea. Variar. 1. 1. ep). 2. p. 3.
be judged whether such a colour ought to produce a very a! greeable effect on the eye.
They had yet a fourth sort of purple very different from that I have spoke of. The colour was whitish; but as this species of dye does not appear to have been known but in ages greatly posterior to those we are now upon, I do not think it necessary to speak of it *.
The ancients had so great a'n esteem for purple colour, that it was specially consecrated to the service of the Deity. I have already had an opportunity of observing that Moses often used ftuffs of this colour for the works of the tabernacle, and for the habits of the high pries. The Babylonians gave purple habits to their idols m. It was the same with most of the other people of antiquity. The Pagans were even persuaded, that the purple dye had a particular virtue, and was capable of appeasing the wrath of the gods".
Purple was also the distinguishing mark of the greatest dignities. This custom was established from the earliest times. We have seen that the King of Phoenicia, to whom tradition says they presented the first essays of this colour, had it reserved for the sovereigno. Among the presents which the Israelites made to Gideon, the scripture makes mention of purple habits found among the spoils of the Kings of Midian p. Honer gives us plainly to understand that it only belonged to princes to wear that colour a. We may remark in reality that they never used it but for this purpose; a custom observed by all the nations of antiquity.
I shall finish what I have to say of the purple, by examining the opinion of a most able naturalist on the forts of stuffs proper to receive this dye. He proposed his sentiment on account of the American purple which is made at Pana
1 Plut. in Alex. p. 686. D.
• Of this white purple, see La traduct. de Vitruy. par Perrault, 1. 7.c. 13. p. 249. note 3.
Jerem. C. 10. V.9.; Baruch, c. 6. v. 12. & 71. * Diis advocatur placandis. Plin. 1. 9. sect. 63. p. 525.; Cicero. epist. ad Attic. 1. 2. epift. 9. 1.8. p.115.
Art. 1. chap. 2. Judg. c. 8. v. 26. 9 Iliad. 1. 4. v. 144.
i mar. They get it from a species of Persian conch, called,
from the place where it is made, purple of Panama. The colour which this thell affords will not take but on cotton, and other stuffs obtained from vegetables. The author of whom I speak, in giving an account of this fact, adds, that there is nothing but the cochineal unknown to the ancients, which can ftain red, stuffs made of animal substances. He .concludes with this observation, that formerly purple stuffs could only be of cotton .
I do not think I say too much, in asserting that this sentiment is plainly contradicted by the unanimous teftimony of antiquity. We see by all the authors who have had occafion to speak of purple, that animal substances, and particularly wool, were susceptible of this colour 1 The very inanner tradition reports the discovery of this colour, isra proof of what I advance. The first time they are said to have seen the effect it had on the mouth of a dog: it was with wool that the shepherd wiped the mouth of that animal which he thought bloody. Hercules took that wool, and carried it to the King of Phoenicia ".
If the American purple will not take but on cotton, it is because the fishes which supply it, have different properties from those purple Mells which the ancients used. We may add, that probably they do not use the same preparations for this dye as they did formerly
The discussion I have just been upon leads us very na
* See les mem. de Trev. September 1703. p. 1689. Sept. 1704. p. 1773.
Mem. de M. de Jussieu the elder, read at the academy of Sciences, November 14. 1736; taken from the Mercury of December 1736. p. 2834.
* See Exod. c. 25. V. 5. C. 35. V. 6. & 23. ; Horat. carm. 1. 2. ode 16. V. 35. &c. Epod. od. 12. v. 21.; Alian. hift. animal. I. 16. c. 1.; Ovid art. amat. 1. 1. v. 251. I. 3. 7. 190.; Seneca. Hercul. Oet. act. 2.; Cicero philosophic. fragm. 4. 3. p. 424. ; Plin. 1. 9. le&t. 62. p. 526. & 527.
This author even speaks of living Theep, which they had dyed purple, 1.8. fect. 74. p:477.
Palaephat. Achil. Tatius, locis cit. If we believe Pliny, 1.7. p. 414. & Hygin. fab. 274. the art of dying wool in general was known very late, since they give the honour of this discovery to the inhabitants of the city of Sardis, built after the taking of Troy, Strabo, 1. 13. p. 928. But this fact advanced by these two authors, is denied by all antiquity.
turally to inquire into the means the ancients ufed to make their dyes folid and lasting. We see that they used a good deal of salt in these forts of operations, and they must `really do it; but all sorts of salt except the crystal of tartar or tartar of vitriol, will dissolve in water, or calcine in the sun y. We see also that the ancients on many occafions made their dyes with the blood of animals z. We know that all dyes into which they put the blood of ani. mals, without mixing mineral acids, , evaporate, change, and become black with time. It is only by the help of chymistry that we can procure such species of salts as I have now described, and the acid minerals, so necessary in dying: But chymical preparations were unknown to the ancients: we are therefore led to believe that they could only have very bad dyes.
Yet we never find the ancients complain that the colour of their stuffs was subject to alter or change. They must then have made up for these chymical operations by particular methods. They must have had some preparations, some secrets we are ignorant of. Plutarch tells us in the life of Alexander, that the conqueror found among the treasures of the Kings of Persia, a prodigious quantity of purple fluffs, which for one hundred and eighty years which they had been kept, preserved all their lustre and all their primitive freshness, because, says he, they had been prepared with honey b. "A kind of preparation absolutely unknown to us.
We find in Herodotus, that certain people on the borders of the Caspian sea, imprinted on their stuffs designs either of animals, or flowers, whose colour never changed, and lasted as long even as the wool of which their cloaths were made. They used for this business the leaves of certain trees which they bruised and diluted in water c. We know that the savages of Chili make with certain plants, dyes. which will bear washing with soap many times without losing their colourd. Laitly, Pliny describes the way which the Egyptians made painted linen, which deserves some attention. They began, says he, by laying on certain drugs on white linen, and then put it into the vat full of boiling dye. After having left it there some time, they drew it'out painted. of divers colours. Pliny observes that they had only one fort of liquor in the vat. The different colours painted on the cloth, could not be produced but by diverse preparations laid upon it. These colours were so adhesive, that it was not poffible to change them, whatever washings they afterwards gave to the cloth. Pliny even adds, that these sorts of stuffs were strengthened by it, and were better for being dyede. We may conclude from all these facts, that, in all probability, the ancients had preparations hy which they supplied the succours we draw from chymistry, to fix the colour of our stuffs. And if the particulars of these operations are at present unknown, it is because new discoveries infinitely more sure and more commodious have niade these ancient methods insensibly disapear. I have already made this observation f.
* See Plin. 1.9. sect. 62. ; Plut. t. 2. p. 433. B. y Acad. des scien. ann. 1740. H.p. 63. ann. 1741. mem. p. 42. 73. & 71. 2 See P. Calmet, t. 2. p. 348. 2 Vitruv.l. 7.C. !3. & Lucret. 1. 6. V. 1072. &c. Plut, p. 686. D. • L. I. B. 223
There should remain one question mure to propose with relation to a red colour different from purple, which is fo often mentioned in Exoduse, Opinions are divided as well as to the sense of the Hebrew word *, as on that of coccus by which the Septuagint and the Vulgate have translated it. Some think it is crimson, others, that it is scarlet. By adopting the translation of the Septuagint and the Vulgate, which I believe right, it is easy to show that the colour called Cocculs by the Greeks and Romans, is scarlet, very different from crimson. The examination of the materials proper for one and the other colour, ought to decide the question.
Voyage de Frezier, p. 72. * L. 35. sect. 42. p. 709. All ibis preparation is described by Pliny in a very embarrassed and obscure manner, according to the custom of this author : I have endeavoured to make it as clear as posible, but I would not warrant the exactness, and less still the reality of it. f 3. 2. C. 2. art. I. 8 C, 25. V. 4. *w nynin Tolaat-Scheni. VOL. II.