Did You Know? Royal Purple…

Royal Purple is Found on Fabric from the Time of King David and King Solomon

Israeli archaeologists have found fabric containing purple dye. The dye is said to be considered more valuable than gold. The fragments of wool cloth have been found at a site in Timna, about 137 miles south of Jerusalem. In antiquity purple attire was associated with nobility, priests, and royalty. Purple is mentioned in the Bible as being used in garments worn by King David and King Solomon. The color is obtained from sea snails in minute quantities. To make the purple dye, thousands of sea snails were collected. They were boiled for days in large lead vats, producing a terrible odor. The snails are not purple to begin with. The craftsmen were harvesting chemical precursors from the snails that through heat and light were transformed into a valuable dye.

Garments made from this dye were exorbitantly expensive. A pound of purple wool would cost more than most people would earn in a year—so naturally it became the calling card of the rich and powerful. The Persian King Cyrus adopted a purple tunic for his royal uniform. Roman citizens were forbidden to wear purple clothing under the threat of death.

Submitted by the editor