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Was a well‐established urban professional craft in the classical world and a branch of empirical chemistry, as the surviving Graeco‐Roman dye recipe‐books reveal. Wool was dyed ‘in the fleece’ before spinning; flax (for linen) was dyed (if at all) as yarn, as was silk. Dyestuffs were drawn from many sources: plants, insects, and shellfish. Most plant dyes would not ‘take’ unless the textile fibres had been pretreated with a mordant like alum or iron. See textile production.

Subjects: History — Classical Studies.

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