Alex W asked in Society & CultureRoyalty · 1 decade ago

Why is purple the color of royalty?

Why are kings and queens always dressed in purple?

20 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    The dye was very hard to make in ancient times,so only the wealthy could afford it:

    "History, Shellfish, Royalty, and the Color Purple

    Jul 1, 2002 12:00 PM, Dr. Richard M. Podhajny, Ph.D. Contributing Editor

    Understanding color is one of the keys to success in the printing industry. It also can be very interesting history.

    A dictionary defines purple as “any of a group of colors with a hue between that of violet and red” and as a “symbol of royalty or high office.” Historically, the color purple has been associated with royalty and power, but the secret of its power lies in the glands of tiny shellfish creatures.

    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. Legend credits its discovery to Herakles, or rather to his dog, whose mouth was stained purple from chewing on snails along the Levantine coast. King Phoenix received a purple-dyed robe from Herakles and decreed the rulers of Phoenicia should wear this color as a royal symbol.

    Although originating in Tyre (hence the name), man's first dye chemical industry spread throughout the world.

    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.

    The imperial purple of Rome was based on mollusk from which purpura comes. Emperor Aurelian refused to let his wife buy a purpura-dyed silk garment, as it cost its weight in gold!

    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.

    Dyes were exported extensively from Central and South America during Spain's exploration of North and South America. Among these were Cochineal from Mexico and Peru.

    The chemical birth of the synthetic dye industry can be traced to the discovery of an aniline-based purple dye, mauveine, by William H. Perkin in 1856, who accomplished this while searching for a cure for malaria. Perkin was an English chemist who changed the world of his time by making this purple color available to the masses. It became quite fashionable to wear clothing dyed with “mauve,” and Mr. Perkin became a very wealthy man.

    In 1909 Paul Friedlander determined the major chemical composition of Murex dye as 6,6'-dibromoindigo.

    Today, genuine “Tyrian Purple” remains the domain of the rich and famous. However, synthetic dyes and pigments that meet various purple color requirements have removed the mystique of the color purple."

  • felico
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Purple Color Of Royalty

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I only read the first bunch.

    It goes WAAAAAAY back before the Middle Ages or Rome, though it carried through, even, I suppose, to today. I think the coronation robe of Great Britain is Purple Velvet.

    It is all about that purple dye that came from the periwinkle, a very rare snail from the Mediterranean, and the Phoenecians traded in the dye, and it WAS rare and expensive, as has been mentioned many times.

    And it has nothing to do with Blue blood, or being indoors, and not having to work in the sun and all. That is a whole other subject.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Why is purple the color of royalty?

    Why are kings and queens always dressed in purple?

    Source(s): purple color royalty:
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  • 1 decade ago

    It was the hardest colour (and the most expensive) to acheive, therefore only Royalty could wear it. Some cultures even banned people other than Royalty wearing anything purple.

    Purple, along with black, grey and white, was also a colour used when in mourning up until the Victorian/Edwardian times.

  • 3 years ago

    Royal Purple Colour

  • 1 decade ago

    A purple/blue dye was extracted from sea shells (Haustellum brandaris) around 1000BC sometime. Because they dye was so costly, only the rich and affluent could afford it and it became associated with royalty that way. Purple dyes have remained a scarce for a long time and the association has stuck.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In ancient Rome, the royalty would wear purple because the ink used to dye clothing purple was more expensive than any other color. Wearing purple showed that they were more important and wealthier than everyone else.

  • 3 years ago

    Rome Hotelbye com today is among the most important tourist locations of the planet, due to the incalculable immensity of its archaeological and art gifts, along with for the allure of its unique traditions, the beauty of its beautiful views, and the majesty of its wonderful parks. One of many points should see en Rome is Campo de'Fiori. Campo de'Fiori is a rectangular square south of Piazza Navona used as a market place during the day, and party central for school students and tourists at night. The title suggests “area of flowers” and was initially provided through the Middle Ages when the location was actually a meadow. Yet another place worth visit is The Roman Forum. Located in the tiny area involving the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, The Roman Forum was for generations the teeming center of old Rome and today is really a sprawling damage of architectural fragments

  • 1 decade ago

    It was the Ancient Phoenicians who introduced the purple hue made from sea shells of and extinct squid like creature called a Hexalus The shells were very rare,but because the hue brought in so much money,greedy merchants hunted this animal to extinction. But purple was the color of royalty.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In medieval Europe, blue dyes were rare and expensive, so only the most wealthy or the aristocracy could afford to wear them. (The working class wore mainly green and brown.) Because of this (and also because Tyrian purple had gone out of use in western Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476), Europeans' idea of purple shifted towards this more bluish purple known as royal purple because of its similarity to the royal blue worn by the aristocracy. This was the shade of purple worn by kings in medieval Europe.

    Blue blood has nothing to do with why the colour of royalty is purple. Blue blood is an English expression for noble birth or descent. It is a translation of the Spanish phrase sangre azul, which described the Spanish royal family and other high nobility who claimed to be 'pure', free of Moorish or Jewish blood, being of Visigothic descent. A Spanish nobleman demonstrated his pedigree by holding up his sword arm to display the filigree of blue-blooded veins beneath his pale skin—proof that his birth had not been contaminated by the dark-skinned enemy.

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