More on the color purple......
The earliest archaeological evidence for the origins of purple dyes points to the Minoan civilization in Crete, about 1900 B.C. The ancient land of Canaan (its corresponding Greek name was Phoenicia, which means “land of the purple”) was the center of the ancient purple dye industry.
“Tyrian Purple,” the purple dye of the ancients mentioned in texts dating back to about 1600 B.C., was produced from the mucus of the hypobranchial gland of various species of marine mollusks, notably Murex. It took some 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye.
Although originating in Tyre (hence the name)....
Rome, Egypt, and Persia all used purple as the imperial standard. Purple dyes were rare and expensive; only the rich had access to them. The purple colorants used came from different sources, most from the dye extraction from fish or insects.
Insect and snail animal-based colors were mentioned in the Bible for use in textile furnishings of the Tabernacle and for the sacred vestments for the High Priest Aaron, and they also were used in King Solomon's and King Herod's temples in Jerusalem.
With the decline of the Roman Empire, the use of “Tyrian Purple” also declined, and large-scale production ceased with the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D. It was replaced by cheaper dyes such as lichen purple and madder.
Pope Paul II in 1464 introduced the so-called “Cardinal's Purple,” which was really scarlet extracted from the Kermes insect. This became the first luxury dye of the Middle Ages.
Today, genuine “Tyrian Purple” remains the domain of the rich and famous.