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an abbreviated form of the hieroglyphic 'Scarabee;' the hieratic contraction of which contains precisely the same elements, under trifling varieties of arrangement, as the modern sign—namely, two curves or hooks placed transversely. The Greeks, in adopting the zodiac, may either have mistaken the insect for a crab, to which, on some of the monuments, it bears a close enough resemblance; and on the gems of Abraxas, the scarabee, crab, and other shell-fish are frequently confounded; or possibly, as they did not attach the same veneration as the Egyptians to its symbolic character, they may have converted the reptile of the land into the reptile of the sea, as a figure more congenial to their ideas and taste, as a maritime people. There is, however, in one respect, a remarkable enough analogy between the two symbols, which may tend still further to show that the one is the Egyptian original; the other the Greek copy. Classical authors have asserted that the crab was chosen to represent the solstice, because of the correspondence of its proverbially retrogade motion to the sun's course about the tropic; an interpretation which has been adopted by the greater number of modern expositors.” In the ruins of the temple marking the site of the Ombite nome, Hamilton describes a sun as worshipped under the mysterious emblems of the crocodile and the beetle. Dr. Young conceives that the scarabæi represented in the zodiac at Denderah, have more of a mythological than an astronomical interpretation; and this brings us to the second type under which this curious creature was adored-that of reproduction. But in this character it may likewise have reference to that under which we first considered it, for its rolling the ball containing its eggs, where after a time they are hatched, may be symbolic of the vivifying or generative power of the luminary. Another cause assigned for this reproductive symbol is, that it is one of the first animals that appear on the subsidence of the inundation; but the very extraordinary instinct and apparent foresight of the animal in providing for the continuance of the species, and the marvellous care and solicitude it exhibits in the formation of the nidus or womb that it constructs, in which to deposit its eggs, and then to assist in their incubation in the manner I have described, were all no doubt attended to in the days of its deification, and formed the grounds of its sacred character. According to De Peau, it would appear that the scarabæus was held sacred in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa even before Egypt was peopled, if we are able to draw the line of distinction between the date of the inhabiting of these two countries. In the holy cricket of Madagascar, we can perceive traces of the beetle worship of Egypt; and a similar reverence for some of this tribe of insects is evinced by the Hottentots, and other southern Africans.
Being the substance of a Paper read before the Royal Irish Academy, May, 1839.
There are few subjects possessing a greater degree of interest than the study of the arts and manufactures of the ancients. They are not only useful and instructive to the scholar and the antiquary, by explaining much of the obscurity existing in the writings of ancient classic authors, as well as by elucidating the manners and customs, and state of society of our ancestors, but because they afford a practical lesson to the manufacturer and the artizan in the present day.
The exact origin of the art of dyeing, or the precise period when it was discovered, is still involved in obscurity. Like most other arts, it must be referred to a period far beyond the date of any authentic record upon the subject; but authors generally agree in assigning it to Egypt. It is, however, remarkable that, in the pictorial language of the Egyptians, we do not find a single instance of the actual manufacture illustrated, although dyes similar to the Tyrian were common among them. I do not allude to the dyes obtained from the preparations of copper, with which their different porcellaneous substances were stained, but to those used in the dyeing of linen or woollen fabrics.
If such were an art peculiar to Egypt, and not obtained from other places, as Tyre, and the coast of Phænicia, (to which opinion I am inclined,) and which places were, we know, in great commercial intercourse with the Egyptians, the secret was in possession of the priests, who were unwilling to make it known.
The fables related of the discovery of the Tyrian dye, are too well known to require insertion here.
Pliny, the naturalist, who must himself have witnessed the process, has given a lengthened and a detailed account of it in his ninth book, from chapter xxxvi. to lxi. inclusive; from which, as it is the only suoh account in existence, I shall give a few extracts in the translation of Dr. Holland, merely substituting a somewhat plainer idiom for the quaint language of 1634. Of late years it has been too much the fashion, not only to decry the deficiencies, but totally to discredit the assertions of this celebrated author. True it is, that his writings contain many fabulous, many miraculous accounts; but such, it should be remembered, were the popular or vulgar errors of his day, such as, in times to come, another generation shall discover in our own systems. Pliny, like too many writers of the present day, gave insertion to a mixture of parole evidence, and actual personal knowledge
and observation-and it requires some discrimination to draw the line of distinction between the two. We quote the following:
“THE NATURE OF PURPLE FISHES AND THE MUREX OR BURRET.
“Purples live ordinarily seven years. They lie hidden for thirty days' space, about the dog-days, like as the murices or burrets do. They meet together by troops in the spring, and by rubbing one against the other, they gather and yield a clammy substance and moisture, in the manner of
The murices do the like. But that beautiful colour so much in request for dyeing fine cloth, the purples have in the midst of the neck and jaws. And nothing else it is, but a little thin liquor within a white vein; and that it is which maketh that rich, fresh, and bright colour of deep red purple roses. As for all the rest of this fish it yieldeth nothing. Fishers strive to get them alive, for when they die they cast up and shed that precious tincture and juice, together with their life. Now the Tyrians when they light upon any great purples, they take the flesh out of their shells, for to get the blood out of the said vein, but the lesser they press and grind in certain mills, and so gather that rich humour which issueth from them. The best purple colour in Asia is this thus gotten at Tyros. But in Africa, within the island Meninx, and the coast of the ocean, by Getulia ; and in Europe, that of Laconica. This is that glorious colour, so full of state and majesty, that the Roman lictors with their rods, halbards, and axes, make way for ; this it is which graceth and setteth out the children of princes and noblemen ; this makes the distinction between a knight and a councillor of state ; this is called for and put on when they offer sacrifice to pacify the gods ; this giveth a lustre to all sorts of garments. To conclude, our generals in the field, and victorious captains in their triumphs, wear this purple in their mantles, interlaced and embroidered with gold. No marvel, therefore, if purples be so much sought for, and men are to be held excused if they run a-madding after purples.
“ But how should the other shell-fish, called Conchylia, be so dear and high-priced, considering the tincture of them carries so strong and stinking a savour; so sullen and melancholy a colour, inclining to a blue or watchet, and resembling rather the angry and raging sea in a tempest ?
“Now, if I should lay a straw here, and proceed no further in this discourse of purples and such like, surely our luxurious and riotous spend. thrifts would think they had great wrong, and were defrauded of their right; they might, I say, complain of me, and condemn me of idleness and negligence. Therefore, I care not much to put my head within the dyer's shops and work-houses, that like as every man, for the necessity of this life, knows how the price of corn goes; even so our fine folks and brave dandies, who ta ke such pleasure and delight in these colours may be perfect,
what is the reason of this, their only life. In the first place, these shellfish that serve either for purple colours, or other lighter dyes of the Conchylia, are all one in matter; the difference only is in temperature, more or less. And indeed they may all be reduced into two principal sorts; for the less shell, called Buccinum, fashioned like unto that horn or cornet wherewith they used to wind and sound, whereupon it took that name, hath a round back, and is cut like a saw in the edges. The other is named Purpura, shooteth out a long back, like a gutter, and within the one side it doth writhe and turn hollow, in form of a pipe, out of which the fish puts forth a tongue. Moreover, this purple is shaded, as it were, even as far as to the sharp top or turbant thereof, round about with sharp knobs, pointed lightly, seven in number, which the sea-cornet buccinum, hath not.” (This seems to be the murex.) “ But this is common to both, that look how many roundles they have, like tendrils clasping about them, so many years old are they. As for the cornet Buccinum, it sticketh always to great rocks and stones, and therefore is ever found and gathered about them.
"HOW MANY SORTS THERE BE OP PURPLES.
“ Purples have another name, and are called Pelagiæ, as one would say, fishes of the deep sea. But in truth there are many sorts of them, and those differing either in place where they keep, or in food whereon they live. The first, Lutense, i. e. muddy, because it is nourished of the corrupt and rotten mud; the second, Algense, (the worst of all,) feeding upon reits or sea-weeds named alga; the third, Tæniense, (better than the former two,) for that it is gathered and taken up about the brims and borders of the sea, called, for the resemblance to fillets or lists in a cloth, Tæniæ.' (Probably a species of serpula.) “And yet this kind yieldeth but a light colour, and nothing deep. There are of them also which they term Calculosæ, of the sea gravel, which is wondrous good for all these kind of wilkes and shell fishes. And, last of all, which simply are the very best, the Purples Dialetæ, i. e. wandering to and fro, changing their pasture and feeding in sundry soils of the sea (the muddy, the weedy, and the gravelly). Now these purples are taken with small nets, and thinly wrought, cast into the deep. Within which, for a bait to bite at, there must be certain winkles and cockles, that will shut and open, and be ready to snap such as are without ; these limpids are called Mituli. Half dead they should be first, that being now put into the sea again, and desirous to revive and live, they might gape for water; and then the purples make at them with their pointed tongue, which they thrust out to annoy them, but the others feeling themselves pricked therewith, presently shut their shells together, and bite hard. Thus the purples, for their greediness, are caught and taken up hanging by their tongues.
THE FISHING-TIME FOR PURPLES.
“ The best time to take purples is after the dog-star is risen, and before the spring ; for, when they have made that viscous mucilage in manner of wax, their juice and humour for colour is over liquid, thin, and waterish. And yet the purple-dyers know not so much, nor take heed thereof; whereas, indeed, the skill thereof is a special point of their art, and wherein lieth all in all. Well, when they are caught, as is above said, they take forth that vein before- mentioned, and they lay it in salt, or else they do not do well, with this proportion ordinarily, namely, to every hundred-weight of the purple liquor a sestier, or pint and a half of salt. Full three days, and no more, it must thus lie soaking in powder; for the fresher that the colour is, so much is it accounted richer and better. This done, they seethe it in leads, and to every amphore (containing about eight wine gallons) they put one hundred pounds and a half just of the colour so prepared. It ought to boil with a soft and gentle fire, and therefore the tunnel, or mouth of the furnace, must be a good way off from the lead and cauldron ; during which time the workmen that tend the lead must often skim off and cleanse away the fleshy substance, which cannot choose but stick to the veins which contain the juice or liquor of purple aforesaid. And thus they continue ten days, by which time, ordinarily, the lead or vessel will show the liquor clear, as if it were sufficiently boiled; and to make a trial thereof they dip into it a fleece of wool, well rinsed, and washed out of one water into another; and, until such time that they see it give a perfect dye, they still ply the tire, and give it a higher seething.
“ That which staineth red is nothing so rich as that which giveth the deep and sad blackish colour. When it is come to the perfection, they let the wool lie, to take the liquor, five hours. Then they have it forth, touse and card it, and put it in again, until it hath drunk up all the liquor as much as it will.
“Now this is to be observed, that the sea-cornet Buccinum makes no good colour by itself, for their dye will shed, and lose the lustre; and therefore they join it usually to the sea purple Pelagium, which maketh too deep and brown a colour, unto which it giveth a fresh and lively tincture, as it were in grain, and so make that sad purple which they desire. Thus, by mixing and medling the force of both together, they mend one another, whilst the lightness or sadness of the one doth quicken and raise, or else dim or take down, the colour of the other. To the dyeing of a pound of wool they use this proportion of two hundred Buccina, or seacornets, joined with a hundred and eleven Pelagian purples; and so cometh that rich amythist, or purple violet colour, so highly commended