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By Rachael Goldman

Historic color-terms may be tough for us to appreciate a result of temporal distance among our international and that of antiquity. This research of Roman color-terms covers loads of territory, from the occupations that created the colours, to the folk who wore them, and the way they used them in private and non-private existence. Romans connected nuanced implications to color-terms which went past their literal that means, utilizing those phrases as a sort of cultural overview, defining their social values and order. by utilizing colour, they have been frequently making judgments approximately social type, gender roles, and ethnic teams, and so keeping the established order. by way of reading the use and colour phrases in particular contexts, we will achieve higher perception into the Roman brain.

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In this dialogue there are no positive or negative colors, but rather simple and complex ones. Whether the dialogue is fact or fiction, Gellius chooses to report a conversation between two men who were skilled in language, probably more so than most Roman citizens. Gellius not only reported the debate, he disseminated it, showing that he and his presumed audience cared about such things as Latin color-terms, their meaning and derivation, and their use in poetry. The argument concludes with Favorinus conceding to Fronto; the implication is that the Latin language (and, by extension, Roman culture) is inferior to none.

Compare Edgeworth (1979), who argues that purpura does not mean ‘bright’ by itself. 21. 17 Mart. 31–32. ’19 Ovid also describes the process of dyeing cloth purple. 20 Explaining this technical process, Ovid offers an explanation for this diversity of hues: dyeing is not an exact science and dyes yielded more than one shade depending on the nature of the fabric. Though the fabric that is being dyed in this instance is not specified, his use of the verb texitur suggests that it was woven wool. 21 For the poet, the absence of purple dye symbolizes his isolation from civilization and his exclusion from the familiar luxuries of his native Rome.

50 Vitr. De arch. 1–2. 47 48 COLOR ME BEAUTIFUL 37 SUMMARY The industry of color making was spread all over the Roman Empire, and there were specialists in each dye. For each hue there was a variety of shades and source materials, and color-terms reflect this: for purple, purpureus, ostrinus, conchyliatus, and hysginum; for red, coccinus, minium, and sandraca. Romans were interested in all types of dyeing methods and all types of materials and did not restrict their sources; nothing was out of bounds or off limits.

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