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We have now said enough on the subject of the odoriferous flowers; in relation to which, luxury not only glories in having vanquished Nature in the composition of unguents, but has even gone so far as to challenge, in her fabrics, those flowers which are more particularly recommended by the beauty of their tints. I remark that the following are the three principal1 colours; the red, that of the kermes2 for instance, which, beginning in the tints of the rose, reflects, when viewed3 sideways and held up to the light, the shades that are found in the Tyrian purple,4 and the colours of the dibapha5 and Laconian cloths: the amethystine colour, which is borrowed from the violet, and to which, bordering as it does on the purple, we have given the name of "ianthinum"6—it must, however, be remembered, that we here give a general name to a colour which is subdivided into numerous tints7—and a third, properly known as the "conchyliated" colour, but which comprehends a variety of shades, such, for instance, as the tints of the heliotropium, and others of a deeper colour, the hues of the mallow, inclining to a full purple, and the colours of the late8 violet; this last being the most vivid, in fact, of all the conchyliated tints. The rival colours being now set side by side, Nature and luxury may enter the lists, to vie for the mastery.

I find it stated that, in the most ancient times, yellow was held in the highest esteem, but was reserved exclusively for the nuptial veils9 of females; for which reason it is perhaps that we do not find it included among the principal colours, those being used in common by males and females: indeed, it is the circumstance of their being used by both sexes in common that gives them their rank as principal colours.

1 "Principales." The meaning of this term is explained at the end of this Chapter. Red, yellow, and blue—or else, red, green, and violet, are probably the primary colours of light.

2 See B. ix. c. 65, and B. xvi. c. 12. He alludes to the Coccus ilicis of Linnæus.

3 See B. xxxvii. c. 40, as to the meaning of the word "Suspectus." This passage, however, as Sillig remarks, is hopelessly corrupt.

4 See B. ix. cc. 60, 63.

5 "Doubly-dyed," or "twice dipped," in purple. See B. ix. c. 63. Littré remarks here that, according to Doctor Bizio, it was the Murex brandaris that produced the Tyrian purple, and the Murex trunculus the amethystine purple.

6 Or "violet-colour." See B. xxxvii. c. 40.

7 For further information on these tints, see B. ix. cc. 64, 65.

8 Belonging, probably, Fée thinks, to the Cruciferæ of the genera Hesperis and Cheiranthus.

9 "Flammeis" The "flammeum," or flame-coloured veil of the bride, was of a bright yellow, or rather orange-colour, perhaps.

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