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Romans attached nuanced implications to color-terms which went beyond their literal meaning, using these terms as a form of cultural assessment, defining their social values and order. By analyzing the use and color words in specific contexts, we can gain greater insight into the Roman mind.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-61143-914-4
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Sep 5,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 204
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-61143-914-4
$134.00

Ancient color-terms can be difficult for us to understand because of the temporal distance between our world and that of antiquity. This study of Roman color-terms covers a great deal of territory, from the occupations that created the colors, to the people who wore them, and how they used them in public and private life. Romans attached nuanced implications to color-terms which went beyond their literal meaning, using these terms as a form of cultural assessment, defining their social values and order. By using color, they were often making judgments about social class, gender roles, and ethnic groups, and so maintaining the status quo. By analyzing the use and color words in specific contexts, we can gain greater insight into the Roman mind.


Dr. Rachael B. Goldman holds degrees from Rutgers University and The City University of New York-The Graduate Center. She has taught at Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey, Adelphi University, The College of New Jersey and Montclair State University. She has published in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship and Sexuality Volume III, The Bryn Mawr Classical Review, The Renaissance Quarterly, and the Bard Graduate Center Journal for Decorative Arts. A recipient of the New York Classical Club award, Dr. Goldman held a visiting fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.


Ancient color-terms can be difficult for us to understand because of the temporal distance between our world and that of antiquity. This study of Roman color-terms covers a great deal of territory, from the occupations that created the colors, to the people who wore them, and how they used them in public and private life. Romans attached nuanced implications to color-terms which went beyond their literal meaning, using these terms as a form of cultural assessment, defining their social values and order. By using color, they were often making judgments about social class, gender roles, and ethnic groups, and so maintaining the status quo. By analyzing the use and color words in specific contexts, we can gain greater insight into the Roman mind.


Dr. Rachael B. Goldman holds degrees from Rutgers University and The City University of New York-The Graduate Center. She has taught at Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey, Adelphi University, The College of New Jersey and Montclair State University. She has published in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship and Sexuality Volume III, The Bryn Mawr Classical Review, The Renaissance Quarterly, and the Bard Graduate Center Journal for Decorative Arts. A recipient of the New York Classical Club award, Dr. Goldman held a visiting fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.


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Contributor Biography

Rachael Goldman

Dr. Rachael Goldman is a historian of the Ancient Mediterranean and Ancient Near East. She has published on the subject of ancient color and social and cultural history. She has won awards for her work from the New York Classical Club, The College Art Association, and The Association of Greek and Latin Epigraphers. Her recent book Color-Terms in Social and Cultural Context in Ancient Rome was published by Gorgias Press, 2013. Another article, “The Multicolored World of the Romans” is forthcoming from the journal Glotta in 2015. Her current research involves the color analysis of mosaics in Galilean Synagogues.

  • Copywrite Page (page 4)
  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Acknowledgments (page 7)
  • Note on Texts, Translations, and Abbreviations (page 9)
  • Introduction (page 11)
    • Different Hues, Different Views (page 11)
    • Modern Approaches to Roman Colors (page 13)
    • A Thematic Approach to the Subject (page 17)
  • Chapter One: Aulus Gellius' Colorful Digression (page 19)
    • The Color Debate: Latin Color Terms (page 20)
    • Greek Color-Terms (page 28)
    • Fronto and the Roman Artistic Background (page 29)
    • Favorinus and Physiognomy (page 33)
    • Summary (page 34)
  • Chapter Two: Ancient Dyes: Color Me Beautiful (page 35)
    • Purple Dyers (page 37)
    • Red Dyers (page 41)
    • Other Dyers (page 42)
    • Vitruvian Colors (page 43)
    • Summary (page 47)
  • Chapter Three: Colored Clothing: You Are What You Wear (page 49)
    • Purple Colored Clothing (page 50)
    • Red Colored Clothing (page 62)
    • Blue and Green Colored Clothing (page 65)
    • Yellow Colored Clothing (page 67)
    • White, Gray, Black, and Brown (page 72)
    • Pullus (page 75)
    • Summary (page 78)
  • Chapter Four: Clothes Make the Man: Class and Color-Terms (page 81)
    • Trimalchio the Freedman (page 81)
    • The Freedman's Wife (page 86)
    • The Freedman's Feast (page 89)
    • Freedmen in Poetry (page 90)
    • Summary (page 93)
  • Chapter Five: Color Wars: Roman Chariot Teams (page 95)
    • The Setting (page 95)
    • The Teams (page 97)
    • The Greens (page 100)
    • The Blues (page 104)
    • The Reds, Whites, and Others (page 105)
    • Epilogue (page 106)
  • Chapter Six: Color Physiognomy: You Are What You Look Like (page 109)
    • Descriptions of Emperors (page 110)
    • Descriptions of Ordinary Men (page 119)
    • Descriptions of Women (page 128)
    • Descriptions of Non-Romans (page 135)
    • Gauls, Germans, and Britons (page 136)
    • Assyrians, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Etruscans, and Indians (page 140)
    • Summary (page 143)
  • Chapter Seven: The Multicolored World of the Romans (page 145)
    • Versicolor (page 145)
    • Decolor and Decolorare (page 151)
    • Discolor (page 156)
    • Bicolor (page 161)
    • Multicolor (page 162)
    • Omnicolor (page 164)
    • Unicolor and Concolor (page 165)
    • Summary (page 170)
  • Conclusions: Did Color-Terms Have an Ancient History? (page 171)
  • Bibliography (page 175)
  • Index of Latin Color-Terms (page 185)
  • Index of Classical Works Cited (page 189)
  • General Index (page 197)
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