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Porfira Stephanus est sadefum arabice quod est ostracum .i. limacia sed in libro de doctrina greca exponitur porfira .i. purpura.


Porfira | Poruira j
sadefum | sadefim B {'um' misread as 'im'} | sad'fij p
arabice ms. e | ara. AC | arab. B | a͠ jp | arabes f
ostracum | ostrachũ B | obstracum j
limacia B efp | limatia AC j
purpura AC jp | purpurea B ef {feminine form of the adjective purpureus}


Porfira according to Stephanus is sadefum in Arabic, which means in Latin ostracum {"mussel"}, i.e. limacia {"slug, snail"}, but in the liber de doctrina greca it is stated that Greek porfira is Latin purpura.


Greek πορφύρα /porphýra/, itacist /porfíra/, denotes originally certain sea snails and then the purple dye obtained from them; from there it came to mean "any purple garment". Due to the expensive manufacturing of the dye the word became associated with power and high status; cf. LSJ. Latin purpura is an old loan from Greek πορφύρα /porphýra/, when Greek Φ, φ was still pronounced /p + h/ {IPA [ph]} and Greek Υ, υ was still transliterated with 'U, u'.

For ostracum see Ostraka.

is the medieval Latin form limacia/limaccia for classical Latin limax meaning "slug, snail".

Stephanus in his Breviarium writes: Porfura ... sadefũ porfire [[1]]

The liber de doctrina greca has so far not been identified.

Simon is observing that Stephanus and the liber de doctrina greca are defining sadefum differently. This is due to the wide semantic range of Arabic ﺻﺪﻑ /ṣadaf/, see Lane's definition in Sadef.

Zoological remarks:

To produce the dye called 'Tyrian purple' [[2]] and other colours like violet and mauve, the mucus secreted from a gland of mainly four Mediterranean sea snails was used. These marine gastropods were Hexaplex trunculus (Linnaeus 1758), syn. Murex trunculus, "banded dye-murex" [[3]] and Bolinus brandaris (Linnaeus 1758), syn. Murex brandaris, "purple dye murex" [[4]]; the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma (Linnaeus 1767), syn. Purpura haemastoma, "red-mouthed rock shell" [[5]], and much less so Ocenebra erinacea (Linnaeus 1758), the "sting winkle" or "oyster drill" [[6]], [[7]].

For a description of how the purple dye was obtained in antiquity cf. Pliny, 9, 133-4, ed. Rackham (1938-63: III.252, 254).

WilfGunther 15:37, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

For sadefum see Sadef.

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