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The Minoan Origin of Tyrian Purple

Robert R. Stieglitz
The Biblical Archaeologist
Vol. 57, No. 1 (Mar., 1994), pp. 46-54
DOI: 10.2307/3210395
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3210395
Page Count: 9
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Abstract

Tyrian purple was the most expensive dye in the ancient world. Manufactured from the secretions of species of the Mediterranean mollusk Murex, the discovery and distribution of "royal purple" are commonly credited to the Phœnicians. Yet archaeological and epigraphic data from the Aegean suggest that the "royal purple" industry first developed on Crete. Before 1750 BCE, Minoans on Crete and some Minoanized islanders, such as those on Kythera, were already manufacturing sea-purple, generating an industry that then caught on and prospered throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

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