Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Plume/Crest Colors?
Green is no problem: You dye the material first blue with woad/indigo and then yellow with weld or any other yellow dye.
It is not complicated, you just need two runs.

Madder root comes in crumpled up bits (picture)!

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
Andreas Strassmeir
So far as I can tell, there was no 'green' dye as such. The assumption is that a green colour can be achieved by 'over dying', I.e. Dyeing first with yellow and then with blue. Two dye baths would make this an expensive way to dye a garment, though.

Just to take up a point made further back, cochineal is a dye that would not have been known to the Romans. It is derived from the dried bodies of an insect that feeds off cacti that grow in Mexico. However, a near substitute would have been kermes. This is obtained from insect eggs and, like cochineal, yields a scarlet dye. I think the two are chemically related, possibly hydroxylated anthroquinone carboxylic acids (just showing off here, hope I am correct now!)

Mike Thomas (Caratacus)
visne scire quod credam? credo orbes volantes exstare.
Although Cochineal as a dye is from Mexico, there is Armenian Cochineal that the Romans would have been able to obtain. It is related to the Mexican material.

I have a cloak dyed from Armenian cochineal. The person who dyed my cloak was researching ancient dyes and found that other than madder and kermes, Armenian cochineal was known.
"You have to laugh at life or else what are you going to laugh at?" (Joseph Rosen)

The cochineal (Dactyclopius coccus) came with the Spaniards from the New World to Europe where it replaced the Kermes (Kermes vermilio) as a dye because it was richer in content.
Both contain several anthraquinone dyes: cochineal contains carminic, kermesic and flavokermesic (laccaic) acid, kermes only kermesic and flavokermesic acid.
The results look pretty much the same, however.
Since kermes is almost impossible to obtain nowadays, cochineal is normally used to reproduce kermes dyed textiles. I think only one of the Hochdorf-textiles was reproduced with real kermes. It actually took ages to collect enough of the stuff.

Armenian cochineal on Roman textiles– I didn’t know this- very interesting!
Andreas Strassmeir
Hello Andreas,

Thanks for the info. You are correct.....kermes is difficult to find but if you do its VERY expensive.

Just to clarify.....the person who dyed my cloak did not say that the Romans used Armenian cochineal........she just mentioed that it existed during the Roman period and therefore was available.

When I decided on the color of my cloak, she looked for Kermes and found it but the cost was ridiculous. Therefore, she looked for a viable alternative that gave the same rich colors AND was available during the Roman period, Armenian cochineal popped up.
"You have to laugh at life or else what are you going to laugh at?" (Joseph Rosen)

Ok, I understand now!

Using cochineal, American, Armenian or Polish, as a substitute for kermes is in my eyes absolutely legitimate. Kermes was expensive even in ancient times; this is why it was used to dye the paludamenta of generals. The lice the dye is made from live on a certain oak-plant in the Mediterranean, the cocifera oak, which became very rare. It is impossible to tell if a fabric is dyed with cochineal or kermes just by looking at it.
Andreas Strassmeir

Forum Jump: