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(4,083 words)

Author(s): Hazel Uzzell
No account of dyes in this period can be exhaustive while new evidence is continually forthcoming from archaeological excavations and documentary analysis, and while methods of detecting mordants and dyes are continually being improved. Dyes used during this period were derived from minerals, insects, shell-fish, lichens and fungi. For the earliest period under discussion we have little idea of how the dyes were actually used and whether they were used by professionals, or if the dyeing was being carried out in a more domestic s…


(786 words)

Author(s): John Munro | Gale R. Owen-Crocker | Hazel Uzzell
Kermes is the European term derived from the medieval Arabic kirmiz, meaning a 'worm'; and in this context it is close to the late Roman Latin term vermiculus ('little worm'), used in the Vulgate bible for 'scarlet', from which is derived the English term vermilion (a bright red shade), and the equivalent French term vermeil. By Carolingian times the word vermiculatus was being used to describe scarlet-coloured garments, displacing the old Roman word for such garments, coccina, derived from the dyestuff term coccus, itself derived from the much older Greek term κοκκος, which meant 'a …