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As the delightful Radiolab episode "Colors" describes, ancient languages didn't have a word for blue — not Greek, not Chinese, not Japanese, not Hebrew. And without a word for the color, there's evidence that they may not have seen it at all.
How we realized blue was missing
In the Odyssey, Homer famously describes the "wine-dark sea." But why "wine-dark" and not deep blue or green?
In 1858, a scholar named William Gladstone, who later became the Prime Minister of Great Britain, noticed that this wasn't the only strange color description. Though the poet spends page after page describing the intricate details of clothing, armor, weaponry, facial features, animals, and more, his references to color are strange. Iron and sheep are violet, honey is green.
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Egyptian blue, also known as calcium copper silicate (CaCuSi4O10 or CaOCuO(SiO2)4) or cuprorivaite, is a pigment used in Ancient Egypt for thousands of years. It is considered to be the first synthetic pigment. The pigment was known to the Romans by the name caeruleum. After the Roman era, Egyptian blue fell from use and the manner of its creation was forgotten.
The ancient Egyptian word wedjet signifies blue, blue-green, and green.
We use color to describe emotions. In ancient Egypt, color ( jwn) (Faulkner 1991: 13) was an integral part of the substance and being of everything in life. The Egyptian hieroglyph for color can also be translated as "being","character", "disposition", "nature" or "external appearance".
This clearly illustrates the significance of color as being an essential and integral part of the Egyptian worldview (Rankine 2006). In art, colors were clues to the nature of the beings depicted in the work. The Egyptian use of color in their art was largely symbolic. For example, when the god Amon was portrayed with blue skin, it alluded to his cosmic aspect (Dolińska 1990: 3-7).