The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #3186382
Posted By: Rapparee
12-Jul-11 - 09:37 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
...Tyrian purple was expensive: the 4th-century-BC historian Theopompus reported, "Purple for dyes fetched its weight in silver at Colophon" in Asia Minor. The expense rendered purple-dyed textiles status symbols, and early sumptuary laws dictated and forbade their use. The production of shellfish purple was tightly controlled in Byzantium and subsidized by the imperial court, which restricted its use for the colouring of silks for imperial use, so that a child born to a reigning emperor was porphyrogenitos, "born in the purple", although this may also have to do with the fact that the Imperial birthing apartment was walled in the purple-red rock known as porphyry.

The dye substance consists of a mucous secretion from the hypobranchial gland of one of several medium-sized predatory sea snails found in the eastern Mediterranean. These are the marine gastropods Bolinus brandaris the spiny dye-murex, (originally known as Murex brandaris (Linnaeus, 1758)), the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus, and the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma. The dye is an organic compound of bromine (i.e. an organobromine compound), a class of compounds often found in algae and some other sea life, but much more rarely in the biology of land animals.

In Biblical Hebrew, the dye extracted from the Bolinus brandaris is known as argaman (ארגמן). Another dye extracted from a related sea snail, Hexaplex trunculus, produced an indigo colour called tekhelet (תְּכֵלֶת‎), used in garments worn for ritual purposes.

There's more on Wikipedia for you doubters!