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Re: Garb

Poster: scheppe@hpel.cees.edu

At 12:32 PM 4/22/97 PDT, you wrote:

>True, deep, lasting purple came from a small shelled sea creature, whose name I
>can't remember.  It was very expensive - each individual creature producing one
>drop of color.  Because of it's expense and prestige, the Romans reserved that
>color for the Imperial family and other aristocrats (and senators, I think).

I believe the dye actually came from a mollusk called a Sea-hare (Aplysia
sp.) with releases a strong purple dye upon mechanical stimulation.  They
actually get rather large.  I have handled ones that where somewhere around
1 1/2 feet long and weighed about 5 lbs.  A medium sized sea-hare releases
so much purple dye that several hundred gallons of water turn the color of
dilute Kool-Aid within minutes.  Not much is known about the dye, but the
assumption is that is produced from pigments in the red algae which form the
main staple of this critter.

I hope that helped


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