• Dye Recipes from the Stockholm Papyrus, c. 300-400 AD

    Modern English (post-1500)
    Published in 300
    Renaissance Dyeing Terms
    1 AD - 500 AD


84. A Dye Liquor for 3 Colors.

A dye liquor from which three dye solutions can come. Bruise and mix with water 2/3 of a part of Krimnos and 1 part of dyer's alum. Put the wool in and it becomes scarlet red. If it is to be leek green add ground sulphur with water. If, however, it is to be quince then add unadulterated natron along with water.

85. Cleaning with Soap Weed.

Cleaning with soap weed is done in the following way. Take and bruise soap weed, put it in water and heat it. Then put the wool in and shake it a little. Lift out and dry it. Then mordant it afterwards.

86. For Purple.

Boil asphodel and natron, put the wool in it 8 drachmas at a time, and rinse it out. Then take and bruise 1 mina of grape skins, mix these with vinegar and let stand 6 hours. Then boil the mixture and put the wool in.

87. Mordanting.

Boil chalcanthum and skorpiurus and employ for any desired color. These substances, however, also mordant all kinds of stones and skins.

88. The Dissolving of Alkanet

Alkanet is dissolved by oil, water, and nuts. The best of all dissolving mediums is, however, camel's urine. For this makes the Alkanet dye not only fast, but also durable.

89. Another (Recipe).

Bruise alkanet and mix natron with it until it gets blood-colored. The boiling is done with water. Then dye what you desire. Or else bruise Alkanet in the same way with safflower, afterwards put it in and let the blood color be absorbed. And if you bruise Alkanet with telis then proceed likewise. Alkanet in company with chalcanthum, however, dyes linen as well as cambric. For with chalcanthum, alkanet red changes into purple.

90. Making Purple Brilliant.

To make purple brilliant cook Alkanet with purging weed and this will dissolve it; or with wild cucumber, purgative cucumber or hellebore.

91. The Dissolving of Alkanet.

Take Alkanet and grind fine with barley malt. The barley malt should, however, be fresh. Then mix the Alkanet with vinegar and let it remain in it over night. Heat the Alkanet again in the morning, steep it in vinegar and leave it until it gives up the color. After that take the wool and put it in lime water and then in the dye liquor. After you have then put it in an extract of archil, treat it then in the same way as has been explained in detail in Passage 26.

92. The Dissolving of Comarum.

To dissolve comarum. Grind tartar with water, put it in a small dish and stir it. Pour the clear water in another vessel, put ground comarum in it, stir it and it will give up its color at once. Then let it clarify until the following day and you will find purple.

93. Mordanting for Sardian Purple.

For a mina of wool put in 4 minas of dross of iron (and) 1 choenix of sour Pomegranate; but if not this (latter) then (use) 1 chu of vinegar (and) 8 chus of water (heated) over until half of the water has disappeared. Then take the fire away from under it, put the cleaned wool in and leave it there until the water becomes cold. Then take it out, rinse it and it will be mordanted.

94. Mordanting for Silician Purple.

Put in the kettle 8 chus of water, a half a mina of alum, 1 mina of flowers of copper (and) 1 mina of gall-nuts. When it boils put in 1 mina of washed wool. When it has boiled two or three times take the wool out. For when you leave it therein a longer time then the purple becomes red. Take the wool out, however, rinse it out and you will have mordanted. In ancient times, and among the alchemists, the term flowers of copper referred to copper oxide.

95. Mordanting and Dyeing of Genuine Purple.

For a stater of wool put in a vessel 5 oboli of alum (and) 2 kotyles of water. Boil and let it (become) lukewarm. Leave it until early morning, then take it off and cool it. Then prepare a secondary mordant (in which) you put 8 drachmas of pomegranate blossoms and two kotyles of water in a vessel. Let it boil and put the wool in. However, after you have dipped the wool in several times, lift it out. Add to the pomegranate blossom water about 1 ball of alumed archil and dye the wool by judging with the eye. If you wish, however, that the purple be dark, add a little chalcanthum and let the wool remain long in it. In another passage it is in the following way: But if you wish that the purple be dark, then sprinkle natron and a little chalcanthum in the dye bath.

96. Dyeing in Purple.

Purple. Roast and boil Phrygian stone. Leave the wool therein until it becomes cold. Then lift it out, put 1 mina (each) of archil and amaranth in another vessel, boil then and let the wool cool down in it.

97. Another (Recipe).

Take the wool and clean with soap weed. Take bloodstone and put it in a kettle. Put therein previously boiled chalcanthum. Put in the wool previously mordanted in urine, alum, and misy. Lift the wool out, rinse it with salt water, let it become cold, and brighten the purple with gall-nut and hyacinthe. It has a very beautiful foreign appearance.

98. Another (Recipe).

Take and boil grain weevils, dross of iron and laurel berries. Put in 2 minas of wool, which you have previously mordanted, and now have boiled. Take it out and let it cool off. Brighten the color with limewater.

99. Another (Recipe).

Phrygian stone is roasted and boiled. The wool is put in and left there until it becomes cold. Then lift it out, place in another vessel 1 part of archil and 1 part of amaranth blossoms, boil it again, put the wool in and let it become cold there. Lift it out and rinse it with salt water.

100. Another (Recipe).

To dye with mulberries. Take and crush unripe bunches of grapes and mordant the wool therein for 3 days. On the fourth day put this grape juice in another pot and boil the wool therein, but when it boils lift it out, rinse it with water and let it become cold. Then take juice of mulberries and boil up until it boils twice. Put the wool in and let it become cold therein and it will be a fine excellent purple.

101. Cold Dyeing of Purple Which Is Done in the True Way.

Keep this as a secret matter because the purple has an extremely beautiful luster. Take scum of woad from the dyer, and a sufficient portion of foreign alkanet of about the same weight as the scum-the scum is very light-and triturate it in the mortar. Thus dissolve the alkanet by grinding in the scum and it will give off its essence. Then take the brilliant color prepared by the dyer-if from kermes it is better, or else from krimnos-heat, and put this liquor into half of the scum in the mortar. Then put the wool in and color it unmordanted and you will find it beyond all description.

102. Dyeing in Good Purple.

Take the wool and clean with soap weed. Then mordant it in filtered limewater. Boil it then in alum and water. This should, however, be sharp acetous alum. Then boil it according to the procedure for mordanting with urine. Next, unravel it. Rinse it out with water, then with salt water, and lay it aside.

103. (No Title.)

For a stater of wool take a kotyle of urine (and) put in the bowl with the urine and mix there, 4 drachmas of alkanet bark, 1 drachma of native soda (and) 1 drachma of raw Cyprian misy until it appears to you to be good. However, take away the first scum, which is white and untouched by the mixture. But when the essences of the substances appears to have gone from them, then lift the basket up and press it out properly in the basin. Throw the substances away, but put the mordanted wool in and produce (the) purple on it. Make a test beforehand (that is), put a flock of wool in underneath (the surface) with the hand and look at it. The vessel in which the boiling is done should, however, on account of the frequent boiling over, contain sixfold (the volume). When the wool is suitable then hang and drain it until you have obtained the lustre.

104. Collection of Woad.

Cut off the woad and put together in a basket in the shade. Crush and pulverize, and leave it a whole day. Air thoroughly on the following day and trample about in it so that by the motion of the feet it is turned up and uniformly dried. Put together in baskets and lay it aside. Woad, thus treated, is called charcoal.

105. Dyeing in Dark Blue.

Put about a talent of woad in a tube, which stands in the sun and contains not less than 15 metretes, and pack it in well. Then pour urine in until the liquid rises over the woad and let it be warmed by the sun, but on the following day get the woad ready in a way so that you (can) tread around in it in the sun until it becomes well moistened. One must do this, however for 3 days together.

106. Cooking of woad Charcoal.

Divide the woad charcoal into three parts including that which is above the infused urine. Mix one of the parts in a convenient manner, put it in a pot and build a fire beneath it. You will perceive whether the woad is cooked in the following manner. When it boils, stir carefully and not in a disorderly fashion, so that the woad does not sink down and ruin the kettle. When the woad cracks in the middle the cooking is perfect. You should take away the fire from the underneath, but should nevertheless stir within the pot. Cool the under surface of the pot by sprinkling with cold water. Then take and put in the vat a half a choenix of soap weed. Pour enough of the cooked woad over (it), lay poles or reeds over the edge of the vat, cover with mats and build a moderate fire under it so that it does not boil over and (yet) does not become cold. Leave it 3 days. Boil up urine with soap weed, skim off the scum, and put in boiled wool. Then rinse off in a convenient manner, press out, card it, and put the wool in the

108. Dyeing with Archil.

To dye with archil. Wash the wool as is previously described. For a mina of wool take 4 chus of urine and a half a mina of alum. Mix these, and at the same time make a fire beneath them until they boil up. Put the wool in and stir incessantly, but when the wool sinks down and the liquor subsides then rinse the wool out. Boil in drinking water three times as much archil as the weight of the wool, take the archil out, put the wool in and stir up uniformly until the wool becomes soaked. Then pulverize a quarter of a mina of chalcanthum for each mina of wool and mix them. Stir up incessantly and thereby make the wool uniform. Then take it out, rinse out and let the wool dry as in other cases.

109. Dyeing in Phoenician Color with Archil.

Roll up the wool and sift ashes over it. Separate the rolls in a convenient manner and again sift ashes over them until the wool becomes clean and branny. Shake it out on the following day and rinse it out. After the washing, boil it with 6 chus of salt water for each mina of wool, mix in half a mina of alum and mordant the wool therein in the way mentioned. Rinse it out. Then cook, in rainwater, until it boils, three times as much archil as the weight of the wool. Pour in goat's milk and stir up. Put the wool in and stir again until the color is thoroughly soaked in. Then take the wool out, rinse it and dry it, but in doing so protect it from smoke.

110. Dyeing in Bright Red Purple.

To dye in genuine bright red purple grind archil and take 5 cyathi of the juice for a mina of wool. If you wish a bright tint mix in ground natron (and) if you desire a still brighter one, chalcanthum.

111. From the Book of Africanus: Preparation of Bright Red Purple.

Take and put the mordanted wool into 1 choenix of krimnos and 4 choenixes of archil. Boil these materials, put the wool in and leave it there until later. Take it out and rinse it with salt water, then with fresh water.

112. Another (Recipe).

Pulverize and cook 4 drachmas of chalcanthum, 4 drachmas of Sinopian earth and 8 drachmas of krimnos. Put the mordanted wool in and it will become a fine deep red purple.

113. Another (Recipe).

Dyeing in purple with herbs. Take and put the wool in the juice of henbane and lupines. The juice should be brought to boiling in water, which thereby becomes sour. This is the preliminary mordant. Then take the fruit clusters of rhamus, put water in a kettle and boil. Put the wool in and it will become a good purple. Lift the wool out, rinse it with water from a forge, let it dry in the sun and it will be purple of the first quality.

114. Another (Recipe).

After the wool has been mordanted then take 20 drachmas of good Sinopian earth, boil it in vinegar and put the wool in. Add 2 drachmas of chalcanthum. Lift the wool out, put it in a kettle full of warm water and leave it there 1 hour. Lift the wool out and rinse it.

115. Dyeing of Various Colors.

To prepare Phoenician dye. Take and combine heliotrope with alkanet. Lay them in an earthen vessel and sprinkle them for 3 days with white vinegar. On the fourth day boil them, with the addition of water, until these float at the top. If you desire, however, to dye cedar color then take out the alkanet and boil lightly, but if you wish cherry-red then add krimnos soured with a little soap. Put the wool in and boil it together with the substances until it appears to you to be good.

116. Cold Dyeing in Dark Yellow.

Put 1 part of golden litharge (and) 2 parts of quicklime in a vessel and pour water in until it runs over. Stir until it is mixed and put the rinsed-out wool in, which after a time receives another color. If you mix alkanet in with it, the wool becomes better.

117. Dyeing in Scarlet.

Take the wool and mordant with woad, which dyes blue. Wash and dry it. Then take and crush kermes in water until it becomes dissolved. Then mix in rustic archil and boil thus. Put the wool in and it will become scarlet.

118. To Produce a Gold Color by Cold Dyeing.

Take safflower blossom and oxeye, crush them together and lay them in water. Put the wool in and sprinkle with water. Lift the wool out, expose it to the air, and use it.

119. To Wash Raw Wool.

The washing of raw wool is done in the following way. For a mina of wool take 9 minas of Cimolian earth, 2 kotyles of vinegar, and pour in water. Wash the wool therein and air thoroughly.

120. Examination of Dyestuffs.

  • Heavy and dark blue woad is good, but the pure white and light (kind) is not good.
  • 121. Dyeing Canusinian Wool.

    Boil, beforehand, in a leaden kettle 20 drachmas of krimnos, 8 or else 12 drachmas thistle, (and) 1 chus of water for 1 mina of unmordanted wool. Then put the wool in, a sample and it will be Canusinian wool.

    122. Dyeing of a Color.

    Take heat-dried quicklime and golden litharge, grind both substances in an earthen vessel and stir up. Put the wool in, leave it there a day and a night and the color will come up on it. You should rinse it off with soap weed. When it has been rinsed and you desire (to color) it further, then after the bath, dye it again in the aforementioned dye liquor.

    123. Dyeing in Purple.

    Bright red purple; juice of archil. If you desire a deeper shade then put in natron. If you desire a still deeper, (then put in) chalcanthum.

    124. Another (Recipe).

    One dyes an indelible purple by means of braids of seaweed with water.

    125. Another (Recipe).

    Purple which does not fade. Boil seaweed with archil and vinegar and put the wool in uniformly.

    126. Another (Recipe).

    Certain Red ochre dissolved in vinegar produces purple.

    127. Another (Recipe).

    Alkanet, madder, archil, and calves' blood dye purple.

    128. Another (Recipe).

    Purple. Phrygian stone is crushed and boiled. The wool is put in and left until it becomes cold. Then lift it out. Put in another vessel 1 part of archil and 1 part amaranth blossom, boil it again, put the wool in and leave it become cold there. Lift it and rinse it with saltwater. An excellent mordant for purple comes from Phrygian stone for a kotyle of wool (use) a kotyle of stones.

    129. Another (Recipe).

    Cold-dyed purple. Pulverize quicklime in cistern water. Pour the lye off and mordant what you wish therein from morning until evening. Then rinse it out in fresh water (and) color it in the first place in an extract of archil. Then put in chalcanthum in addition.

    130. Dyeing of Dark Yellow Wool.

    Dyeing of all kinds of dark yellow wool so that it appears as if this were its color. Grind golden litharge finely and put a little of it in a clean vessel together with four times as much lime. Pour fresh rain water upon these so that it covers them and stir thoroughly until they are well mixed. Rinse the wool out beforehand and now put it in. After a time it indeed gains another color, so that it appears as if this were natural and wonderful.

    131. Dissolving of Archil.

    Take and wash archil properly, air it and lay it aside. Then take and cook bean chips in considerable water. When they are well cooked then mix archil with the water from the bean chips. When you let the archil become cold together with this, then you will dissolve it in this manner.

    132. Dissolving of Alkanet.

    Take decorticated and pulverized alkanet and add the interior of Persian nuts. Pulverize these again and add a little lamellose alum. Grind everything together while moistening with water. Make a lump out of it, place it aside and leave it to imbibe color. Then take a vessel of water, put the lump in the water, stir up and leave it unbroken. Put your finger in and if the color is beautiful then use it.

    133. Preparing Genuine Purples.

    Iron rust, roasted misy, and pomegranate blossom adapt themselves to mordanting in water and make it possible to give the wool a good deep purple color in 4 hours.

    134. Another (Recipe).

    Let iron rust soak in vinegar for as many days as is necessary. Then mordant the wool in this liquor, which should be cold. Then boil krimnos and put the mordanted wool in.

    135. From Book 3 of Africanus.

    Mordanting for any color is done in the following way. First the animal, or else likewise only the wool is washed; then one can allow the mordanting agent upon it. One should then dissolve alum in vinegar and coat the wool, which one desires to dye, with it. After drying in the sun it is washed, and when it is freed from its moisture admit it to any coloring. One must pay attention to that which is mordanted for a day and a night during the mordanting.

    136. Dyeing of Colors.

    Lime, which is mixed and ground with litharge, produces many colors, yet in such a manner that the wool does not retain them. First, milk-white; then natural; and then deep by means of cold dyeing.

    137. Mordanting for Every Color Except Purple.

    Dissolve alum in vinegar, add raw misy, and use it.

    138. Mordanting for Purple.

    When you mordant for purple, then put in pure sulphur in lumps in addition, so that the purple (by trial) gains a brilliant shade; but in case it does not become bright (it is) because it contains something related with what one tests it with.

    139. Dyeing of Colors.

    By celandine one means a plant root. It dyes (a) gold color by cold dyeing. Celandine is costly, however. You should accordingly use the root of the pomegranate tree and it will act the same. And if wolf's milk is boiled and dried it produces yellow. If, however, a little verdigris is mixed with it, it produces green; and safflower blossom likewise.

    140. Dissolving of Alkanet.

    Alkanet is dissolved with the root of henbane. Some cook it with the root of the mulberry tree, others likewise with the root of the caper bush. Some cook alkanet with lentils, others with pellitory root.

    141. Fastness of Alkanet.

    Sheep's urine, comarum, or henbane are equally good.

    142. Fastness of Archil and Alkanet.

    Extract of leaves of the citron tree; extract of barley and navelwort; and onion. Each of these substances alone make (them) fast.

    143. Dissolving of Comarum.

    Take and soak pig manure with the urine of an uncorrupted youth. Boil up these and pour it off on the comarum.

    144. Another (Recipe).

    Dissolve calcined marble in cold water, put comarum together with it in milk and the comarum will become dissolved.

    145. Cleaning by Means of Soap Weed.

    Take and treat soap weed with hot water. Make a ball from it as if from tallow. Then steep this in hot water until it is dissolved. The water, however, should go above the wool. Then boil up the water. Put the wool in and prevent it from becoming scorched. Leave it there a little while until you see that it is clean. Lift out, rinse it and dry it.

    146. Mordanting.

    Then take lime and hot water and make a lye from it, let it stand and take away thereby the impurity existing upon it. When you see that the water has become crystal clear, then put the wool in, shake and leave it there again a little while. Lift it out and rinse it.

    147. Boiling (Wool).

    Then take two kotyles of fresh water and 8 drachmas of acetous alum for a stater of wool. Put the water, the alum in a small basket, and some barleycorn into the kettle and place it upon the fire until the barleycorn is cooked and the alum has dissolved. Take away the impurity existing in the liquid, put the wool in, dip it under and separate it with the rake. Arrange it uniformly, put on the cover and heat the kettle until you see that the wool is puffed up. Then lift it out, hang it up, again perform the same operation with the rake and heat the kettle. When it is to be taken out, then remove the kettle from the fire, hang the wool up and let it drain until you undertake the mordanting with the urine.

    148. Preparation of Tyrian Purple.

    Phrygian stone is pulverized and boiled. The wool is put in and left there until it becomes cold. Then lift it out and put a mina of archil in a vessel, boil it, put the wool in again and let it become cold there. Lift it out and rinse it with salt water.

    149. Cold Dyeing of Purple.

    Pulverize and dissolve quicklime with rain water, strain the water and mordant therein from early morning until late (in the day). Do not rinse out with salt water but with fresh water. Then dye with boiled archil. Then put in chalcanthum besides and the purple will come forth from it.

    150. Dyeing of Galatian Scarlet.

    Alkanet and archil, 1 ounce each; 2 ounces of swine's blood; 5 drachmas of chalcanthum; 2 drachmas of roasted orpiment; 8 pints of water.

    151. Dyeing of Tyrian or Guaranteed Superior Purple.

    Seven drachmas of alkanet; 5 drachmas of orpiment; 1 ounce of urine; 5 drachmas of quicklime; 1 kotyle of water.

    152. Shading Off of Colors.

    When you desire to shade off the brightness of a color then boil sulphur with cow's milk, and the color will be easily shaded off in it.

    153. Dyeing of Madder Purple.

    After bluing, sprinkle the wool with ashes and trample it down with them in a convenient manner. Then press (the) liquid out of potter's clay and wash off the blued wool therein. Rinse it in sail water and mordant it. You will know if it is sufficiently mordanted when it sinks down in the kettle and the fluid becomes clear. Then heat rain water so that you cannot put your hand in it. Mix roasted, pulverized and sifted madder root, i.e., madder, with white vinegar, a half a mina of madder to a mina of wool, and mix a quarter of a choenix of bean meal with the madder root. Then put these in a kettle and stir up. Then put the wool in, in doing so, stir incessantly and make it uniform. Take it out and rinse it in salt water. If you wish the color to take on a beautiful gloss and not to fade, then brighten it with alum. Rinse the wool out again in salt water, let it dry in the shade and in doing so protect it from smoke.

    III. Commentary

    The excellent translations of the Stockholm Papyrus into modern Greek and German by Lagercrantz leaves little to be desired in the way of a philological and etymological commentary. This translator, however, did not enter into the general and technical significance of the recipes of the collection. It is the purpose of these few paragraphs to discuss this phase of the collection in the briefest way possible, since space does not permit the extended treatment of these matters that could be given, especially in comparing them with the other authors and works in early technical arts, and in discussing their value for the early history of alchemy and technical chemistry.
    It is very evident that the recipes in the collection can be grouped into three main classes. The first few deal with the manufacture of alloys and are nearly identical with those of this type that occur in the Leyden Papyrus X. On account of this similarity no further comments are needed upon them here. The second type deals with the cleaning and imitation of gems and precious stones, while the third group includes those treating of the various arts connected with the dyeing of cloth. These two groups will now be discussed separately.
    There are exactly seventy-one recipes that deal with the cleaning and imitation of precious stones or with closely related operations. Ten of these, most of which follow immediately after the recipes for alloys, deal with cleaning genuine or making artificial pearls. The cleaning methods used were largely empirical in their nature. One method was to coat the pearl with some suitable glutinous mixture, then to peel this off again. This latter operation apparently removed the objectionable dirt. Recipe No. 61, in which lime is employed in this manner, apparently contains some rudimentary attempt at chemical theory. Various liquids were also employed in cleaning. Perhaps the most curious and the least scientific of these cleaning methods is that described in Recipes No. 25 and 60 in which the pearl is given to a fowl to eat and is afterward recovered and found to be cleaned. This set of recipes contains the first account of the manufacture of imitation pearls. Recipe No. 18 describes their preparation in which shimmering scales from mica or ground selenite were incorporated in a paste made from gum, wax, mercury, and white of eggs. This was then shaped and dried, probably yielding an inferior imitation of the real thing, although the last sentence of the recipe assures us otherwise. Recipes No. 22 and 23 detail other methods of accomplishing the same end. The remainder of the recipes of the second group deal with the imitating of emerald, ruby, beryl, amethyst, sunstone, and other valuable gem stones. The base for nearly all of these imitations is the so-called crystal. This word in Greek is generally understood to mean quartz or rock crystal. Probably, however, its meaning in the papyrus was extended to other clear stones, notably to selenite, since the processes used depended somewhat upon having more easily corroded stones than quartz. At any rate, the first step in the manufacture of imitation precious stones, as practiced in ancient Egypt, was to treat the base used in such a way as to roughen it and to make the surface of the stones porous. Various substances and methods were used for this purpose. The heated stones were generally boiled or dipped in oil, wax, or solutions of alum, native soda, common salt, vinegar, calcium sulfide, or in mixtures of these. By this means the surface of the stone used was roughened and also, probably to some degree, mordanted for the application of dyes. After corroding or mordanting the stone in this manner some kind of a dyeing material was then applied. These latter fall into two classes, the inorganic and the organic substances. Copper salts, for example, were usually applied to form imitation emeralds from the base, while alkanet was used for red stones. Recipe No. 74 is of special interest in that it gives the method of preparing verdigris for this very purpose. This is probably the first detailed laboratory direction for the preparation of a chemical salt. Many vegetable dyes and other organic substances were employed in dyeing the treated crystal, among which were alkanet, celandine, cedar oil, pitch, and various resins. In some cases the two operations were combined in one. It is to be remarked that many of the recipes carry various detailed precautions concerning the processes, showing the presence of much experience in carrying them out. We may well question the beauty and the permanency of the imitation gems prepared by these methods, but probably they satisfied the people of that period. These methods of imitating precious stones seem to imply strongly that the manufacture of colored glasses was not a developed art at the time of this collection and came at a later period.
    The remainder of the recipes in the collection deal with a subject which was equally important in ancient times as it is with us, namely, the methods of dyeing or coloring cloths. The recipes of this collection and the few of the Leyden Papyrus are the earliest specific directions for the use of dyes. A glance over the recipes on this topic shows plainly that the art of dyeing was well understood from the practical standpoint. The first step in the dyeing process was the cleaning of the cloth to free it from dirt and grease. The various cleaning agents employed included native soda, soap weed, and others. That the importance of mordanting was well recognized is evident from the many recipes on the subject. The materials used included alum, limewater, iron and copper compounds, and some vegetable substances. There is no doubt that the theory of their use was but faintly understood, but there can be no question about their understanding of their practical use. The dyes used included alkanet, archil, woad, madder, and other less common ones together with various combinations of those named. It is evident from the recipes that purple was the favorite color in ancient Egypt at the time of this collection, but it is to be remembered, however, that this term then included red and some other shades also. One thing that the recipes on purple do show, however, is that the purple of the ancients was not obtained exclusively from a certain species of shellfish as has been generally believed. Other colors mentioned include blue, yellow, and scarlet. The use of different rinsing solutions and the preparation of some of the dyes used is also described in this collection. The remarkable nature of these recipes on dyeing as practiced in ancient times is seen when we remember that the methods mentioned here were essentially the ones used for a period of fifteen hundred years after, or up until the advent of our modern coal-tar dyes.


    In a recent issue of this Journal the writer had the privilege of publishing an English translation of the famous Leyden Papyrus X together with a few brief comments and notes on its history, contents, and significance. The present article is a similar translation of the contents of the less well-known Stockholm Papyrus. This papyrus likewise has never been translated into English as far as the writer is aware, although Stiliman in his interesting "Story of Early Chemistry," has paraphrased several of the most representative recipes. It is offered here in the hope that it will prove of some interest to teachers and students of the history of chemistry. The contents of the papyrus are equally important for the early history of technical chemistry and, if anything, are more varied and comprehensive than those of the one at Leyden. As a matter of fact the two papyri are complementary and taken together they give an excellent cross-sectional view of the operations and aims of chemical technology in the beginning centuries of the Christian Era. They are the only original laboratory documents that have come down to us from that period and hence their great value for the history of chemistry, especially on account of the light they throw upon the beginnings of alchemy.
    Both of these earliest chemical manuscripts were brought to light in the early years of the last century by Johann D'Anastasy, the vice-consul of Sweden at Alexandria, Egypt. This collector sold the major portion of his invaluable collection of papyri to the Netherlands government in the year 1828. Included in this collection of papyri was the Leyden Papyrus X, first translated (into Latin) and made public by Leemans in l883. At that time it was believed by historians of chemistry thatthis was the sole original document relating to chemical technology that was dated as early as the third century. In the year 1913 however, Otto Lagercrantz, a Swedish philologist, published the Greek text with a German translation and an extended commentary of a very similar chemical papyrus. This investigations as to the source of the papyrus developed the fact that it had been presented by Johann d'Anastasy, the discoverer of the Leyden Papyrus, to the Swedish Academy of Antiquities at Stockholm. Here it had unfortunately remained unnoticed for some seventy-five years until it was transferred to the Victoria Museum at Upsala, Sweden, in the year 1906 and there brought to the attention of the above-named scholar, who first published its contents in the year 1911 giving it the title Papyrus Graecus Holmiensis, or in other words, the Stockholm Papyrus. This philologist made a very thorough study of the contents, language, and symbols of the papyrus and carefully compared it with the one at Leyden. His philological studies made it evident that the two papyri were both written at the same period and indeed in part at least by the same unknown writer. The Leyden Papyrus, however, deals chiefly with metals and alloys and makes little or no mention of some of the other phases of technical chemistry. This singular fact was remarked by Berthelot in his studies of the document. The Stockholm Papyrus, on the other hand, deals only slightly with metals and alloys and emphasizes the arts of dyeing, imitating precious stones, and other operations. Taken together they form a technical recipe book of the chemical arts as they were known and practiced about the third or fourth centuries A. D.

    The Stockholm Papyrus is formed of fifteen loose papyrus leaves measuring about thirty centimeters in length and about sixteen centimeters in width. These correspond very nearly in size with the double sheets of the Leyden Papyrus X. Like the Leyden Papyrus it is in an excellent state of preservation. There are from forty-one to forty-seven closely written lines of Greek capital letters on each page. The pages are numbered consecutively although the separate recipes are not. It is purely and simply a collection of recipes like the Leyden Papyrus with but few traces of any theoretical considerations. There are numerous duplications, abbreviations, and omissions in these recipes as though, as was probably the case, they were simply intended as reminders to those already skilled in the practice of the arts they deal with. A total of one hundred fifty-four recipes is contained in the papyrus. Only nine of these deal with metals. There are some seventy recipes treating of the art of imitating precious stones and of improving the appearance of genuine ones. The remaining recipes deal chiefly with the mordanting and dyeing of cloth. The last one is of quite a different character than the remainder and its significance will be discussed in the brief commentary following the translation.

    The translation which now follows is based, upon both the Greek text and the German translation of Lagercrantz. An endeavor has been made to give a faithful English version as far as possible although the exact nature of some of the substances mentioned in the papyrus is difficult to determine with accuracy. For these cases and for others where a little explanation is deemed necessary brief notes follow the recipe containing Berthelot, "Introduction a l'ltude de la Chimie Des Anciens et du Moyen Age," Paris, 1889.

    Words in parentheses are lacking in the original but are added to give a true meaning in English where it has been thought necessary. For purposes of greater convenience in referring to them the translator taken the liberty of numbering the recipes consecutively although neither the original nor in the German translations of Lagercrantz this done. A few short comments upon the chemical aspects and me general technical significance of the recipes will follow the translation.