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Purple Pasts: Color Codification in the Ancient World

  • Charlene Elliott

Abstract

While developments in intellectual property have opened the door for trademarking color alone or color per se, it is important to observe that color codification is not a new phenomenon. This article outlines the quest to metaphorically trademark purple in antiquity and to provide it with clear “secondary meaning.” It highlights how language, literature, and sumptuary law was deployed to infuse purple with the appropriate symbolism, and it links contemporary debates to some of the historic moves to sequester color.

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Purple Pasts: Color Codification in the Ancient World

  • Charlene Elliott

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