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1 Or "conchylium." We find that Pliny generally makes a difference between the colours of the "murex," or "conchylium," and those of the "purpura," or "purple." Cuvier says, that they were the names of different shell-fish which the ancients employed for dyeing in purple of various shades. It is not known exactly, at the present day, what species they employed; but it is a fact well ascertained, that the greater part of the univalve shell-fish, more especially the Buccini and Murices of Linnæus, distil a kind of red liquid. The dearness of it arose, Cuvier thinks, from the remarkably small quantity that each animal afforded. Since the coccus, or kermes, he says, came to be well known, and more especially since the New World has supplied us with cochineal, we are no longer necessitated to have recourse to the juices of the murex.
3 Aristotle says, that the purple consists of three parts, the upper being the τράχηλος, or neck; the middle the μήχων,, or poppy; and the lower the πυθμήν, or trunk; and that the juice lies between the first and second of these parts, or the throat. This juice, which Pliny calls "flos," "flower," "ros," "dew," and "succus," "juice," is distilled, Cuvier says, not from the fauces of the animal, but from the mantle or membranous tissue which lines the shell.
4 See B. v. c. 7. See also B. vi. c. 36.
5 Which preceded the Roman consuls, who were clothed with the toga prætexta, the colour of which was Syrian purple.
6 Hardouin seems to think that "majestate pueritia" means "children of high birth;" but it was the fact that all children of free birth wore the prætexta, edged with purple, till they attained puberty. It is much more probable that by these words Pliny means the "majesty of youth," in its simplicity and guileless nature, that commands our veneration and respect.
7 He means that the purple laticlave or broad hem of the senator's toga distinguished him from the eques, who wore a toga with an angusticlave, or narrow hem.
8 From Cicero, Epist. Ad. Attic. B. ii. Ep. 9, we learn that purple was worn by the priests when performing sacrifice. Ajasson, however, agrees with Dalechamps in thinking that this passage bears reference to the consuls, who wore purple when sacrificing to the gods.
9 The prætexta, for instance, the laticlave, the chlamys, the paludamentum, and the trabea.
10 On the occasion of a triumph, the victor was arrayed in a "toga picta," an embroidered garment, which, from the present passage, would appear to have been of purple and gold. Pliny tells us, B. xxxiii. c. 19, that Tarquinius, on his triumph over the Sabines, wore a robe of cloth of gold.
11 Aristotle says the same, Hist. Anim. B. v. c. 14, and De Partib. Anim. B. ii. c. 17. Cuvier says, that the buccinus and murex have a long neck, in which there is a tongue armed with little teeth, but very sharp, by means of which the animal is enabled to pierce other shell-fish.
12 "Conchylia;" other fish of the same kind apparently; as Pliny uses the word "conchylium" synonymously with "murex."
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