Tyrian purple

royal purplepurpleimperial purplepurple dyepurple robesroyal color6,6'-dibromoindigoancestral purpledistinctive purpledye
Tyrian purple (, porphúra; purpura), also known as Tyrian red, Phoenician purple, royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a reddish-purple natural dye.wikipedia
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Purple

purplishRoyal Purple purple
Tyrian purple (, porphúra; purpura), also known as Tyrian red, Phoenician purple, royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a reddish-purple natural dye.
The word 'purple' comes from the Old English word purpul which derives from Latin purpura, in turn from the Greek πορφύρα (porphura), name of the Tyrian purple dye manufactured in classical antiquity from a mucus secreted by the spiny dye-murex snail.

Phoenicia

PhoeniciansPhoenicianPhoenicio
Tyrian purple may first have been used by the ancient Phoenicians as early as 1570 BC.
Phoenicia is an ancient Greek term used to refer to the major export of the region, cloth dyed Tyrian purple from the Murex mollusc, and referred to the major Canaanite port towns; not corresponding precisely to Phoenician culture as a whole as it would have been understood natively.

Natural dye

vegetable dyenatural dyesdye
Tyrian purple (, porphúra; purpura), also known as Tyrian red, Phoenician purple, royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a reddish-purple natural dye.
Throughout history, people have dyed their textiles using common, locally available materials, but scarce dyestuffs that produced brilliant and permanent colors such as the natural invertebrate dyes, Tyrian purple and crimson kermes, became highly prized luxury items in the ancient and medieval world.

Dye

dyesdyestuffsynthetic dyes
The dye was greatly prized in antiquity because the colour did not easily fade, but instead became brighter with weathering and sunlight.
Scarce dyestuffs that produced brilliant and permanent colors such as the natural invertebrate dyes Tyrian purple and crimson kermes were highly prized luxury items in the ancient and medieval world.

Sumptuary law

sumptuary lawssumptuarysumptuary tax
The expense meant that purple-dyed textiles became status symbols, whose use was restricted by sumptuary laws.
The Sumptuariae Leges of ancient Rome were various laws passed to prevent inordinate expense (Latin sūmptus) in banquets and dress, such as the use of expensive Tyrian purple dye.

Status symbol

status symbolsflaunting social statusoutward signs of having "made it
The expense meant that purple-dyed textiles became status symbols, whose use was restricted by sumptuary laws.
Special colors, such as imperial yellow (in China) or royal purple (in ancient Rome) were reserved for royalty, with severe penalties for unauthorized display.

Born in the purple

porphyrogennetosporphyrogenitaporphyrogennete
Later (9th century) a child born to a reigning emperor was said to be porphyrogenitos, "born in the purple".
This color purple came to refer to Tyrian purple, restricted by law, custom, and the expense of creating it to royalty.

Toga

toga praetextatoga virilistoga picta
The most senior Roman magistrates wore a toga praetexta, a white toga edged with a stripe of Tyrian purple.
Tyrian purple was supposedly reserved for the toga picta, the border of the toga praetexta, and elements of the priestly dress worn by the inviolate Vestal Virgins.

Bolinus cornutus

These are the marine gastropods Bolinus brandaris the spiny dye-murex (originally known as Murex brandaris Linnaeus, 1758), the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus, the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma, and less commonly a number of other species such as Bolinus cornutus.
Although not as widely utilised as other murex species, such as Bolinus brandaris, Bolinus cornutus is one of the sea snail species from which a rich purple dye, generally referred to as Tyrian purple, can be extracted.

Essaouira

MogadorMogadoreMedina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador)
The Phoenicians established an ancillary production facility on the Iles Purpuraires at Mogador, in Morocco.
Around the end of the 1st century BCE or early 1st century CE, the Berber king Juba II established a Tyrian purple factory, processing the murex and purpura shells found in the intertidal rocks at Essaouira and the Iles Purpuraires.

Byzantine silk

silk industryByzantineByzantine Empire a monopoly on silk production
The production of Tyrian purple was tightly controlled in the succeeding Byzantine Empire and subsidized by the imperial court, which restricted its use for the colouring of imperial silks.
Regulations governing the use of expensive Tyrian purple dyestuffs varied over the years, but cloth dyed in these colours was generally restricted to specific classes and was used in diplomatic gifts.

Indigo dye

indigodyeIndigo carmine
The Phoenicians also made an indigo dye, sometimes referred to as royal blue or hyacinth purple, which was made from a closely related species of marine snail. The main chemical constituent of the Tyrian dye was discovered by Paul Friedländer in 1909 to be 6,6′-dibromoindigo, derivative of indigo dye that had previously been synthesized in 1903.
The Murex sea snails produce a mixture of indigo and 6,6'-dibromoindigo (red) which together produce a range of purple hues known as Tyrian purple.

Tyre, Lebanon

TyreTyrianTyrians
Archaeological data from Tyre indicate that the snails were collected in large vats and left to decompose.
It was produced from the Murex trunculus and Murex brandaris shellfishes, known as Tyrian purple.

Hercules's Dog Discovers Purple Dye

Hercules' Dog Discovers Purple Dye
This story was depicted by Peter Paul Rubens in his painting Hercules' Dog Discovers Purple Dye.
It depicts the mythical discovery of Tyrian purple by Hercules and his dog, and was one of dozens of oil on panel sketches made by Rubens for the decoration of the Torre de la Parada in Spain.

Stramonita haemastoma

Thais haemastomaThais forbesi
These are the marine gastropods Bolinus brandaris the spiny dye-murex (originally known as Murex brandaris Linnaeus, 1758), the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus, the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma, and less commonly a number of other species such as Bolinus cornutus.
The shell was one of two principal sources of Tyrian purple, a highly prized dye used in classical times for the clothing of royalty, as recorded by Aristotle and Pliny the Elder.

Hexaplex trunculus

Murex trunculusMurexMurex snail
These are the marine gastropods Bolinus brandaris the spiny dye-murex (originally known as Murex brandaris Linnaeus, 1758), the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus, the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma, and less commonly a number of other species such as Bolinus cornutus. Another dye extracted from a related sea snail, Hexaplex trunculus, produced a blue colour after light exposure which could be the one known as, used in garments worn for ritual purposes.
One of the dye's main chemical ingredients is red dibromo-indigotin, the main component of tyrian purple.

Iles Purpuraires

The Phoenicians established an ancillary production facility on the Iles Purpuraires at Mogador, in Morocco.
(Hogan, 2007) Roman occupation of western Morocco beginning in the 2nd century BC continued the use of the islets, principally for manufacture of a royal blue dye from certain marine organisms.

Organobromine compound

alkyl bromideorganobromideorganobromine
The dye is an organic compound of bromine (i.e., an organobromine compound), a class of compounds often found in algae and in some other sea life, but much more rarely found in the biology of land animals.
The naturally occurring Tyrian purple (6,6’-dibromoindigo) was a valued dye before the development of the synthetic dye industry in the late 19th century.

Natural History (Pliny)

Natural HistoryNaturalis HistoriaHistoria Naturalis
Pliny the Elder described the production of Tyrian purple in his Natural History:
The encyclopedia mentions different sources of purple dye, particularly the murex snail, the highly prized source of Tyrian purple.

Hypobranchial gland

The dye substance is a mucous secretion from the hypobranchial gland of one of several species of medium-sized predatory sea snails that are found in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
There have been studies on some species within the family Muricidae, because in those species this gland secretes the precursor to the historically important natural dye, Tyrian purple.

Bolinus brandaris

Murex brandarisHaustellum brandarismurex
These are the marine gastropods Bolinus brandaris the spiny dye-murex (originally known as Murex brandaris Linnaeus, 1758), the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus, the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma, and less commonly a number of other species such as Bolinus cornutus. Some speculate that the dye extracted from the Bolinus brandaris is known as in Biblical Hebrew.
This was the mollusc species used by the ancients to produce Tyrian purple fabric dye.

Bromine

Brbrominatedbromo
The dye is an organic compound of bromine (i.e., an organobromine compound), a class of compounds often found in algae and in some other sea life, but much more rarely found in the biology of land animals.
Other uses of organobromine compounds include high-density drilling fluids, dyes (such as Tyrian purple and the indicator bromothymol blue), and pharmaceuticals.

Paul Friedländer (chemist)

Paul FriedländerPaul FriedlaenderPaul Friedlander
The main chemical constituent of the Tyrian dye was discovered by Paul Friedländer in 1909 to be 6,6′-dibromoindigo, derivative of indigo dye that had previously been synthesized in 1903.
Paul Friedländer (29 August 1857 in Königsberg – 4 September 1923 in Darmstadt) was a German chemist best known for his research on derivates of indigo (for example thioindigo) and isolation of Tyrian purple from Murex brandaris.

Dog whelk

Nucella lapillusThais lapillusAtlantic dogwinkle
(Some other predatory gastropods, such as some wentletraps in the family Epitoniidae, seem to also produce a similar substance, although this has not been studied or exploited commercially.) The dog whelk Nucella lapillus, from the North Atlantic, can also be used to produce red-purple and violet dyes.
The dog-whelk can be used to produce red-purple and violet dyes, like its Mediterranean relations the spiny dye-murex Bolinus brandaris, the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus and the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma which provided the red-purple and violet colours that the Ancient World valued so highly.

Pigment

pigmentspigmentationnatural pigment
True Tyrian purple, like most high-chroma pigments, cannot be accurately rendered on a standard RGB computer monitor.
Tyrian Purple is a pigment made from the mucus of one of several species of Murex snail.