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Crimson, properly fo called, is of a deep red, and is made with cochineal, an ingredient abfolutely unknown to antiquity. Scarlet is of a lively and bright red. To make this dye, they ufe a fort of little reddish grains which they gather from a fort of French or holm oak, a dwarf-tree com mon in Palestine, in the ifle of Crete, and in many other countries. They find on the leaves and on the bark of this fhrub, little nuts or bladders about the fize of a juniper-berry. Thefe excrefcences are occafioned by the eating of little worms i. The Arabians have given them the name of kermes; we call them the fearlet grain, or vermilion, because they use it to make the most beautiful and lively red. Let us apply these principles to the question in hand.
It is certain, that the ancients had a red colour much efteemed, called coccus, which they diftinguished from purple. The coccus differed from the purple, as well by its preparation, as by its fhade and the effect of the colour. Purple, as we have feen, was of a deep red approaching to coagulated blood, and was dyed with the liquor of certain fhell-fishes. The coccus, on the contrary, was of a gay red, lively, bright, approaching to the colour of fire. This dye was made with a fort of little grains which they ga thered on the holm oak ". The ancients even called thefe grains, which at prefent we call Scarlet grain, fruits of the bolm oak . Neither were they ignorant, that these pretended fruits inclosed worms P. After this expofition, it clear
Voyage de la Terre-Sainte du P. Roger, recollet. 1. 1. c. 2.; Voyage de Monconys, part 1. p. 179.; Bellon, obfervat. I. 1. c. 17. 1. 2. c. 88.; Acad. des fcien. ann. 1714. mem. p. 435. ann. 1741. mem. p. 50.
i Acad. des fcien. an. 1714. Mem. p. 13.
1 Exod. c. 25. v. 4.; Plin. 1. 9. fect. 65. p. 528.; Quintil. inftit. orat. 1. I. c. 2. At Rome fearlet was allowed to every body, but the purple was referved for the higheft dignities.
Plin. 1. 9. fe&. 65. p. 528.1. 21. fect. 22. p. 240.
Theophraft. hiftor. plant. I. 3. c. 16.; Plin. l. 16. fect. 12. p. 6.; Diofcorid. 1. 4. c. 48.; Pauf. 1. 10. c. 36.
pive xapor. Plut. in Thef. p. 7.; Plin. 1. 16. fect. 12. p. 6. calls these little grains cufculia, from the Greek coxxx, which fignifies to cat little exsrefsences; because in effect they cut and scrape thefe fmall grains off the bark and the leaves of the holm oak.
P Coccum ilicis celerrime in vermiculum fe mutans fays Pliny, 1. 24. fect. 4. 337,
ly appears, that the colour named coccus by the ancients, was our fcarlet *. The Septuagint and Vulgate having tranflated by that word, the Hebrew term ufed by Mofes to design a red colour, other than purple, it follows, that they believed he meant the fcarlet. But independently of the authority and confideration which these interpreters deserve, the etymology of the terms of the original text proves the truth of the fentiment which I propofe. We fee there plainly intended a dye made with worms 9.
But I do not think, that this colour was as brilliant as that which we now call fine fcarlet. I even doubt whether the ancients could approach towards it. Let us not forget, that, before chymical discoveries, the art of dying must have been very imperfect. Without the preparations which chymiftry affords, we could not dye ftuffs fine fcarlet. This is the most bright and beautiful colour in dying; but one of the most difficult to bring to its point of perfection .
Of the variety and richness of fluffs.
E have feen in the first part of this work, that the invention of embroidering stuffs, and varying the tissue with different colours, was very ancient. It was not poffible, for want of monuments at that time, to enter into any detail of the progress of these two arts. The ages we are now treating of, give us a better opportunity of judging. We here fee great magnificence and great tafte in drefs. To read fome chapters in Exodus, is fufficient to convince us of
This is alfo the opinion of Mathiolus on Diofcorides.
Exod. c. 39. v. 1. & 28, See le P. Calmet, t. 2. p. 350. & 351.
At prefent they make very little ufe of coccus or kermes in dying. The cochineal, far fuperior to all drugs heretofore used to dye red, has made them leave it off. Acad. des fcien. ann. 1741. mem. p. 69,
See Senac, nouveau cours de Chymie, pref. p. -ɔ.
Pliny gives us to understand, that the colour of stuffs formerly dyed fearlet was not fufficiently durable nor adhesive, 1. 22. fect. 3. p. 266. Sec alfo the remarks of P. Hardouin, note 5.
Acad des fcien. ann. 1741 mem. p. 6.
this. What moft deferves our attention, is the manner they could then employ the colours in the making of ftuffs. It is certain, that they were not one and the fame colour, Scripture speaks of works where there were many colours 1. But in what way did they diftribute them? were these stuffs ftriped or fhaded? The firft of these operations does not require much art; the other requires much more fkill and ability. Yet it is very probable, that they then knew the fecret of fhading stuffs, Mofes fpeaks of works in embroidery with a tiffue of different colours with an agreeable variety ", The expreffion agreeable variety, which he ufes to diftinguish these forts of stuffs, leads us to think, that the colours were not uniform, but that they had obferved a gradation. But what completes the confirmation of this fentiment, is the force of the Hebrew word ufed to defign embroidered stuffs. To a tittle, this word fignifies works of embroidered feathers. Yet it does not appear, that the Hebrews then made ufe of the feathers of birds. It is not mentioned in the enumeration of the things used for the ornament of the tabernacle, and for the dresses of the high prieft. The relation between the feathers of birds and the effect of embrodieries, expreffed by the term of the original text, appears to me to fhew an imitation of the manner in which the colours are graduated in the plumage of birds, and confequently of fhaded stuffs.
It was not only among the Hebrews, that the art of working embroidery was then in ufe. This art was equally known to many other people of Afia. Homer defcribing the occupations of Helen at Troy, fays, that this princefs worked a wonderful piece of embroidery. She there represented the bloody fights fought between the Greeks and the Trojans 2. He fpeaks alfo of another work of the fame kind, to which Andromache applied herself when he heard of the death of Hector. The fubject of it was many forts of flowers. Before the war of Troy, the women of Sidon were famous
Exod. c. 26. v. 1. & 31. c. 39. v. 2.
"Exod c. 26. v. 1. & 31.
*, Rakamah, v. 36.
Ezekiel, c. 17. v. 3. speaking of the wings of the great eagle, ufes the word Rakamah.
z Iliad. 1. 3. V. 125.
a Ibid. 1. 22. v. 442. .
for their addrefs and dexterity in working embroidery, and' ftuffs of different colours .
At that time, they alfo knew the fecret of putting gold into the tiflue of ftuffs and in embroideries. The scripture obferves, that they used much gold in the habits of the high priest, and in the vails defigned for the tabernacle. How did they then prepare that metal for the making of stuffs? was it, as at prefent, drawn into wire, beaten, wound, and wrapt round other threads? or was it merely gold hammered into very thin leaves, afterwards cut with a chifel into little plates, or long and small fhreds, which they put into the texture of their stuffs? Mofes fays, "And they did beat the "gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the "blue, and in the purple, and in the fcarlet, and in the fine "linen." The fenfe of thefe expreffions does not appear to me fufficiently determinate, abfolutely to decide in favour of the first of thefe methods which I have fhewn. I even think, that the paffage in queftion gives us no idea of gold wire drawn as at prefent with a drawing-iron. The most natural interpretation, is to fay, that they twifted the plates of gold about fome of the different ftuffs of which the ephod and the vails of the tabernacle muft have been compofed. They made, by this means, a fort of gold thread refembling ours, except that the bafis of this thread was of pure gold cut into fhreds, whereas ours is only filver gilt drawn by the drawing-iron.
We might perhaps raife a difficulty, and fay, that the ftuffs in queftion were made only of pure plates of gold interwoven there is mention made of fuch habits in Pliny . We also know, that they fometimes adorned the images of the gods in dreffes of this fort. But the text of Mofes is abfolutely repugnant to this notion: he fays exprefsly, that the gold was reduced into very thin plates, that it might be
Iliad. 1. 6. v. 289. &c.
• Exod. c. 28. v. 8. c. 39. v. 3. & Ibid c. 39. v. 3. L. 33. fect. 19. p. 616. f Arift. de cura rei famil, 1.2. t. 2. p. 511.; Alian. var, hift. 1. 1. c. 20. ; Cicero, de nat. deor. 1. 3. n. 34.; Valer. Max. 1. 1. c. 1. fect. 3. externa.; Pauf. 1.5.c. 11.
wound and twisted to put it into the tiffue of the other threads of divers colours. This detail removes all the difficulty.
The art of putting gold into the tiffue of stuffs, must have been known in many countries in the ages we are now exaventions in mining. Homer fpeaks of the girdle of Calypfo, and of that of Circes. We might likewise believe, that this poet mentions filver ftuffs. But all interpreters agree to understand the expreffions which Homer ufes in this paffage, of white habits. The ancients did not use to put filver into their ftuffs. We find in reality, fince Mofes and Homer, an uninterrupted tradition in antiquity about gold stuffs, whereas we find nothing like it as to filver ones. We cannot bring one fingle paffage, that is clear and precife, of any ancient author, where mention is made of filver wire. Pliny, who has exprefsly spoken of gold wire, would he have forgot or neglected to remark that they did the fame work in filver? His fubject, his ends, his method, all required that he fhould fpeak of it, if that art had been known in his time. The fame author, in a particular chapter, treats at large of the use they made of filver for divers ornaments 1. Yet in all the enumeration he gives of the many uses to which they put this metal, there is not one word of filver wire.
I fhall finish what I have at prefent to say on the habits of the ancients, by an obfervation I think very important. We perceive a very fenfible difference between the stuffs the ancients used, and those we use at prefent. All the dreffes anciently might be washed and bleached daily". The greatest part of ours would be spoiled by fuch an operation. I only juft mentioned this. The fear of falling into details, which, in the end, might become tiresome, hinders me from farther inquiring into them.
b Ibid. 1. 5. v. 230. 1. 10. v. 23. & 24.
Ody. 1. 5. v. 232. I. 10. v. 543. &c.
See Vopifc. in Aurelian. p. 224. &c. and the notes of Saumaise, p. 394,
Sce Iliad, 1. 22. V, 154. & 155. ; Odyff. 1, 6. v. 91. & 92.; Herod. 1. 2.