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"'Hyacinth color' - where referred to ?" Topic

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685 hits since 29 May 2017
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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JAFD2629 May 2017 10:34 a.m. PST

Salutations, gentlefolk !

Somewhere or other, maybe in _Armies of the Macedonian & Punic Wars_ or _Armies & Enemies of Imp Rome_, or maybe somewhere else, I remember a reference to soldiers wearing "hyacinth color" – presumably a light blue/purple.

Can anyone tell me, first, that this did exist and I ain't having 'a senior moment', and second, what volume it was in and whoyeheck was supposedly wearing these duds ?

Thanks, very much, and a glorious Memorial Day to you.

Mick in Switzerland29 May 2017 10:48 a.m. PST

Good question

I remember reading something about Alexander's Macedonians being given purple cloth after the defeat of Darius. Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars mentions Macedonian officers with purple cloaks (page 108)

As far as I can tell, the classic colour is a slightly purple shade of blue.

piper90929 May 2017 11:47 a.m. PST

Maybe it was in that Osprey MAA book on Alexander's Army? Many of the color plates in that book showed Macedonians in bright pastel colors.

GurKhan29 May 2017 12:21 p.m. PST

I can't immediately find a reference to troops in hyacinth. But according to Arrian, "Aristobulus adds that Median trousers and robes dyed the colour of hyacinth were also lying upon it, as well as others of purple and various other colours" – "it" being the coffin of Cyrus the Great, when Alexander visited his tomb.

The article at link discusses the manufacture of hyacinth dye in antiquity; it was one of several known purple dye mixes – "the highly valued so-called amethyst-purple, also called hyacinthina, amethystina or ianthina, which required two hundred pounds of ‘bucinum' juice and one hundred and eleven pounds of ‘pelagium' juice".

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2017 6:42 p.m. PST

Doesn't Xenophon's Cyropaedia mention the colour for some Persian's cloak.

(IIRC a doomed scythed chariot driver???)


GurKhan30 May 2017 1:11 a.m. PST

Quite right, David – plume not cloak, though:

"And Abradatas's chariot with its four poles and eight horses was adorned most handsomely; and when he came to put on his linen corselet, such as they used in his country, Panthea brought him one of gold, also a helmet, arm-pieces, broad bracelets for his wrists—all of gold—and a purple tunic that hung down in folds to his feet, and a helmet-plume of hyacinth dye."
(Cyropaedia 6.4)

goragrad30 May 2017 10:52 p.m. PST

Didn't find a reference in Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars.

Don't recall one in Armies and Enemies.

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