Bread and Thread: Tyrian Purple

Hello and welcome to bread and thread a podcast about food and domestic history i’m liz

and I’m Hazel. We are two friends, he studied archaeology together and love history and making stuff so you been making recently as the part we talk about the making things.

I don’t know why you clarified that that yes it is. I don’t think is the first time a delay confuses the way we’re just starting a history forecast by talking about cake cake good. I did make welsh rarebit are the first time in seven years, though our young some of the home-made beer man are your psychological and was forever in the local Larder. This one was very good and sounds amazing but it’s a beer portion is better. It like contrasts really well with like some sweet sharpness of cheese is its very good value having like a transcendent experience seven year old is dish of my people, literally my father’s father would have you been up to. Just working on projects really reading up a lot about dies and things because quite like to get into doing that and I been been processing and the sheep space that I have in a giant bag my room, so that’s finally getting down. I’ve been doing a lot of carding and spinning. So yeah been like a year by finally getting to so hopefully I have enough of the coat that I would make yeah. And so, just kind of continuing with a few long-term project really are. Having dipped into anything new. I did make chocolate nine cupcakes may work delicious and lime is as underrated as a combination rose great flavour combination right line is a very strong flavour and the chocolate kind of tempers the old-fashioned sweet shop mirrors does chocolate lines which are kind of like an Unite chocolate Clares would take chocolate then the toffee outside. Yeah, like that but instead of toffee at second line boiled sweet arm and hip. That sounds like time is its very good, yeah Stacey so and I did actually when you turn what I would guess my topic for today’s episode of fun so only give you some clues and this episode is about colour. It is the about arguably the most expensive colour in history and it is very associated with ancient Rome and Greece noticed that it did you do get no cutout because the sound cut out right after you said and can ask you to get a no put a message for Curnow facts I get to do that they can so this episode is in a B about a colour and possibly the most expensive colour in history and very associated with ancient Greece and Rome and and this colour is directly responsible for the decimation of a particular species of Mediterranean snail. Okay, no one is gone is my favourite colour really have you not seen my hair in the plastic side. Yeah, yet definitely I go so is Indigo, not Indigo’s Tyrian purple all ideals, probably what you were thinking was purple. Yeah, and yet so coloured Indigo, but this one, there is a deep rich purple berries, a reason why this colour was so expensive and so like. Basically, you could only afford it. If you are royalty and and that is because of the weight was made, and because of the material comes from and an also because it is very particular shade of purple and so probably fairly generally, knowing that purple is like an imperial colour and ancient Roman symmetry laws. Yeah, yeah, like Apple being restricted to like imperial use and or to officials, like being able to have scripts of purple on their robes and so like a a lot people would think of ancient Rome, unlike Roman emperors when they’re thinking of the colour purple and but actually the reason why this purple, in particular, like Tyrian or imperial purple was the Imperial one and saving quite a lot of reading up on natural dyes over the past week and tell you plants that you get purple from and you can get from log went and which is the tree that resonator and you can get from a few different other plants, but in year the trade routes for these kind of guys hadn’t really been established. Yeah, so like we didn’t really know about them and plus the other dies, you can use berries like elderberries or blackberries. Other kinds of things to get purple and bring about Tyrian purple is it’s a lot more colourfast and like fast like it doesn’t fade with age. In fact, it apparently gets even richer, brighter, yeah, so that’s why it was so prized like it was. This is really deep cut is actually kind of deep magenta colour, then it’s a very red, purple, yeah, yeah, and Sega Avenue can get some of the other credibly tone herbals from mixing other dies as well. Over dying and but you can’t. You cannot get this Reds dark red, purple colour from anything else, and an conga.purple this colour and light fast as well and think of the colour is like super synthetic lake grapes flavoured stuff. Yeah, actually, is Ribena colour partner what my thinking of like Vimto a to Vimto is more the blue purple ends okay is very how to think of something natural that start exact purple is point yeah already naturally. Yeah, Ribena is a little bit more fake location motives. Ribena love and but also like yeah I do think the closest is like the packaging of something like grapes flavoured’s is is the colour of Tyrian purple establishing really hard to pin down colour, which is either specific shade was so prized right and and its called Tyrian purple because one of the centres of manufacture was the city of Tyre tyre lawyer DY Ari liked like attire like tyre and which is in modern day Lebanon, which at the time was finisher and, and, interestingly, and Venetia is the Greek name for 11 on area and it’s possible that the name Phoenicia means land of purple, because that’s where the Greeks were getting this die from. That’s a really pretty name then wrote also that, but I know the other way round. The alphabet is named after the concept of symmetric switches. Phoenicia different podcast we do, we do drive a lot of tangential ideas, focus three. Yeah, a lot of it, or interconnect, so Phoenicia was the centre of this this purple dye industry and in the ancient world and they they had had outpost across North Africa, where this was being produced as well. And so the purple dye comes from a particular kind of sea snail that lives in the Mediterranean and the Miramax sale and there are at least three species of this snail that all produce various different shades and kinder from magenta to like a dark purple and also to make a red one of them is our Tyrian red Triston, which was also an yeah so this was our this was highly prized in the ancient world, Charlotte was buried in a shroud and make Tyrian purple. Of course Charlie so was 1/9 century believe so kind of somewhat after eating Greece and Rome, and the manufacture of this die goes back to probably before 1000 BC and what we what we have found is the evidence of this is like a lot of the of the crushed snail shells and along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean, but the earliest evidence we have actual diet cells on material was actually discovered this year, which is impressive because it’s 20, 21, yet so we’ve already had some critical discoveries. And yet, note this. Okay, so this article that I got. This was published on the 28th of January 2021 and and it’s the discovery and of researchers in Israel and having found some fragments of wool fibres and in Israel, dating back to about 1000 BC, and so fragments of wool dyed with Tyrian purple, which is incredible. I didn’t expect the bike. This is much of a recent development in the case of Tyrian purple. All I know, I know weight is enlisted, you mean like the real, 20, one outline the amount of wool that they found and an I believe this is like the actual wool they found and it still purple. It’s still like recognisably purple incredible and decimate separate first known evidence of Tyrian purple via. So, I mean that that’s critical and possible that the use of this method of creating dye was known as early as long even some treat versus just so 2031 Superman colourless actual dyed material. We have an so it is an ancient process and and it went on much until the fall of Constantinople that that’s when you see it getting the awesome archaeology holiday. Amusingly was popular in an ancient reason ancient Rome and then the business served the technique of dying with the lyrics snail. But then, after the fall of the byzantine empire and not get dates. Can you remind you when are the four Constantinople was the 1450s, something thinking I’m so good and I can proceed to like the BA proper history podcast person and just say that day as if I you start so with the full of Constantinople in 14 to defeat and no one really no one really had the money or like to be bothered to continue making Tyrian purple and and that is because being a horrifically expensive die and an same so expensive that you could only afford if you are insanely wealthy basically Imperial and that being because you needed so many of the sales to make the die and the die comes from all this leaves within the shellfish and so you have to catch thousands of the shellfish and then have to extract the die. Now there are two ways you can do this and the best way which is not the way they did it in nature. Greece and Rome. Most the time is a much kinder way. So the first way and is that you basically annoy them predatory snails and among other things, and this that this gland where the substance that has the die in it and is used for like squirting at things and in that predatory behaviour if they get agitated or like you are angry, they’ll squirt out the die and kind of yeah. So basically you can even go bothersome snail and then put unless you are specifically from your professional self about which they are in one hacker Mexico, there is still I believe is sliding situation is of an milking sales in one hacker Mexico and and there’s an amazing Mexican documentary on this on YouTube. It’s got subtitles that I found out, which is this guy basically explaining how they do it and they go out onto the rocks and they collect baby finding snails and and its it’s a different species sales is not the same one that is in the Mediterranean, but it’s so it’s a test, different species, but it still has the purple dye and so they go out onto the rocks and they have to let Their because it takes so long and to like milk or the snail sale and they milk it, like me, snail, snail and pellet and squirts out the die and they put it straight onto the yarn that I the back and go find some sales and apparently it takes at 28 days for them to like re-in every game like remake there that I like refill by glad yeah and I make and they can view a car was so certain it is a method that doesn’t harm the sale and therefore doesn’t have the populations and butts as you might expect it. You cannot produce a lot of dyed material with this like the guy in a documentary were saying that even in its heyday, when the populations of the sale was a really good and they would do. Like, maybe five or six games of yarn in each trip of like you know a weeks camping or something. So yeah, it’s like their to sell more like a traditional practice and an invite to this documentary Dyson amazing shots of backstrap weaving with some of this purple young and something to that actually will be that the setup and first rate. Like, also doing that and nature world. The second way, which is the one that they used in the industrial production. This die is that you collect all the thousands of shellfish when you crush them and you need them to ferment and, yeah, yeah, apparently smells atrocious. Like awful and I feel like people, people might be a bit more used to smoke strong smells back in history, but like apparently even people at the site were like, no, this is rank wannabe around. Yeah. And so the way that Linney, the elder describes it, set it right remembered and so the process that only the elder describes and is that they less nice words were already making garam masala. Once one barrel, cementing slippage while our yeah so they they are crush the shells and then they take them the vein. There’s like they find a gland and that has the die and extractor, and then they, like Salter, leave it to steep and toilet. And then there’s a final involved to skim the liquor takes about 10 days and then you can diet that starts the process that he describes yet and then archaeological data also indicates that that they were left to decompose to like ferment and so we we can’t actually reproduce this method like no one has managed to be able to do it. To this day. We don’t know exactly how they did it. So he said that it kind of stopped after the full Constantinople because they get. It was too depleted by that point did the Ottomans just look at it and go when can do that. Basically, yes. On both counts. Like you might expect this absolutely decimated the murex population of the Mediterranean. And so, by this point, like even to this day. The snail is extremely rare in the Mediterranean, so they kind of ruined kind of use or the snail and which is one reason the Ottomans could trade with Asia. Currently, like they have their own sources of purple. Yeah, yeah, so that that’s another reason so it was basically that after the fall of Constantinople’s business lines were doing this you as a true tradition and go back to ancient Rome, but it was falling out of favour elsewhere because it was just so expensive, ridiculously expensive because of the about 10,000 of these snails just making up die for a trim for trimming your clothing and presumably getting more and more expensive as time goes on, is all what yeah the running snails. Yeah, so vote by this point late in 53 like is getting more and more difficult to even find the snails like no one’s really got the money any more. No one can be bothered with this basically are like those there’s no point and is a purple kind of goes out of history for a bit after that and, at least in their kind of European/Middle Eastern world and until the importation of purples from Asia and which is like a couple centuries later, the silk Road stuff presumably are and how you can get access to things like Lockwood, which can give you an bright colour fast purples and and in fact the mediaeval and Western world kind of moves on to get again, I’m not sure how this is pronounced but can this means at KE are MTS, Cisco must come in okay. Also known as vermilion or Scarlet, so that that particular Scarlet red, which was a hallmark of wealth in the mediaeval world and that takes over as the fancy colour which I believe is also why cardinals were read in the Catholic Church here because catholic priests like the fancy things. Indeed yeah so that the reason it it died out and and as I mentioned, the only place they really make this today is in Mexico and and is a very small-scale thing. So it absolutely while the whole entire concept of this is ridiculous and but then you know it’s interesting that it really a completely un-reproducible shade like the is the only way you can get this particular colour & estimate sense that people would do this but am yeah and we know we will. They were doing it in these massive quantities because we we found the remains of the industry, like the discarded shells which answer, for example, at Sidon, which is another Phoenician city and bears just the quantity of discarded shells created a mountain like 40 m high all this guy was worth more than its weight in gold studs are legitimate for all you that the scale of this industry, like it was with big and so even though this was a luxury good and there was very little that round it required this massive industry to sustain it so you know that, like when you don’t have emperors with massive amounts of personal wealth, as well as like a lot of taxpayers money page. No one, so that is the relatively brief but extremely wild history of the colour Tyrian purple is indeed extremely while there is a lot more is the movie I going bit more uncertainty. Suppose subjects more relevant to us today and example of how how I think we going forward need to kind of blend. These older ways of making things with the technology we have today because when you think about yeah the demand we have to Dave clothing and the like amount of people there are. If we were to go back to using completely natural dyes that would have a terrible effect on the environment because natural dyes need a lot of quantity of material compared to the thing you’re actually gonna die. And I mean most of them are not as a significant is the key Tyrian purple and but you still need generally about twice the amount of dyestuff to the material that you and I am so and you know in the past, this did have an effect on the environment like this mail is almost extinct today because of the demand for this die, and even 2000 years ago. So, yeah, and although the process of natural dyeing itself like the process is much more environmentally friendly. In the process of creating and most synthetic dyes and the actual dyestuff itself like that can be difficult to obtain, or like it could be harmful to the environment if we were to harvest a lot of it. I guess what you really need is a an end to satisfaction, galloping more environmentally friendly synthetic dyes the same time and as soon as possible. Like I think probably the way forward is like definitely am the process of synthetic dying needs to become a lot environmentally friendly and and I definitely think that there’s a lot of things from natural dyeing that we can incorporate into an into those processes and so perhaps going forward, and that the way might be to figure out their figure out how we can use like waste products as dies and all other anything and so I like like most things, I think it’s a combination of the old stuff and the new stuff. Words surprise compromise again and so before we go onto local Larder and if you want to suggest sold or just say hi and we have an email to and we are Twitter at bread and thread so you can keep up with all the exciting things on their and take part in like the gas what the episode’s game that weekly avoids as Petrie on bread and thread if you want monthly recipes and access to a discord server and potentially at the tender, Latina, and as to make you your very own bonus episode I mod paper from polybag RPG ideas. We have a podcast if you like to hear RPG advice on how to use assorted incredibly bad ideas as actual ideas and natural game, then this is a polybag pocket available on pretty much everybody capture from bad so about some rabbit yes, so the exact origin unsurprisingly is kind of unclear and it’s thought to be a corruption of Welsh rabbits and assist recorded in 1725 and the we get rarebit by the 1780s, and a writer and mostly an antiquarian book of wonders, people does a bit of everything, called Francis, are gross, who refers to as Welsh rabbit and Welsh rarebit and two words in that case is generally agreed that rarebit is a corruption of rabbit, a, which is probably insulting the Welsh okay okay for because, like outside and I say, because as fine as I know, there’s no actual rabbit involved vegetarian bitch and the general consensus seems to be that it’s the Welsh people are either poor or stupid. So they make cheese on toast and call it rabbit because people were really mean to Welsh people for you to Welsh, so Welsh rarebit itself is generally leaks cheese, beer, mustered melt altogether poorer over toast and it is delicious. Yet there’s nowhere to go wrong with that and top tip actually does a Welsh cheese called Veni, and just why space CNN. I which has an ailing mustard already in it. So if you want to make a wet rarebit just really, really easily get the heart. I had actually we got some of my birthday and it is amazing. Would recommend like Go get yourself some installation. Yeah, and the dish itself probably developed from an and much earlier, saying don’t how early the probably mediaeval house pulled the witch is Welsh for Bates cheese and you basically you put the cheese up near the fire on the top of it melts and you scooped that off and put it on bread that is also toasted along lawyer with a toasting fork old. Wow. It’s like extreme cheese toasts Welsh fondue are an amazing, isn’t it interesting because you need quite hard cheese that a lot of Welsh cheeses are quite soft. Okay, but the some Tudor accounts of a hard use milk cheese being used, which I can imagine that being particularly good, actually, because use milk cheese can spill a bit nutty and another a map to teaser anything like the idea that like people all throughout history just been like yap toasted cheese good. There is something in the stereotype that I mentioned of whales being poor and especially. At that point, because yeah, England likes to just going to Wales and attack people and take all the good stuff. So a lot of Welsh people were very poor, and especially you know peasants who are poor everywhere, so something like that would be, especially if you can make some seasonings and endowed with like with the rarebit would just be a really nice comforting dish after a hard day likely row value working in yellow on the hills with the sheep or whatever and you go back into your little house, you get some hot cheese and some hot red and you put them together and just sit there and you eat it and everything is okay for a little bit our Hotmail QTs yeah yeah yeah so that there’s references from the late 18th-century of it being becoming a tavern meal thing that you would just wander into a pub in order something good pub food actually gets fairly simple to make and it goes good with beer. Irene Leggett said if you make it. If you make it right and start veering it and to interestingly against referred to various points and in various places as an English, Irish or Scots rabbit as well as Welsh and zoo referring to it as Welsh seems to come first came. There is also a variation called and book rarebit golden book, which is when it said was an egg interesting sounds. I can breakfast yeah, and apparently you can get in some places and especially places in the US with a large Welsh background to places like Appalachia and parts of Pennsylvania have a lot of Welsh ancestry can get rarebit source or rabbit source on a hamburger. In some places. Oh, wow, wow, that is a whole new dimension that would be quite good. Yeah, like a because the problem is like case so like the American cheese sauce, I think, is that it’s very good thing doesn’t have a lot of depth of flavour to it. Okay, another sort of the bright yellow Tex-Mex cheese sauce. I think you mean like I watch movies and I think if he thinks having it with rarebit would be really good and have to try that at some point, so that is a lot of information about what rabbit that’s basically all of the information that I could find about it and apart from that, it is mentioned in it is mentioned in a Tudor era joke book. So intertwined is one of the sort of forgotten the name and a scan of a shaggy dog story about an getting sick of living so many Welsh people in heaven. And because gods mean, I guess until simply to do something about it and he simply to goes outside the gates of heaven and says most partly is must to say is roasted cheese and another was before run out because they want to rarebit and then simply locks about heaven, so there’s that think I pick red overhead and is basically the same thing right really is all that is truly much all of the information that I can find about whilst rarebit by fantastic I love the rarebit burger idea. Oh, so yes, thank you for listening and will next time I think I will do some cherry laws. Next up, and now I realise that a lot of people properly don’t know what that is is a great idea and I like it will will have a good segue for one yeah, the Segway will be listening to the last one, and then will be back in a couple of weeks and I will tell you all about century laws by you you you

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