(2,940 words)

None of the later medieval and modern European terms for 'scarlet', for either the textile or the colour (nouns and adjectives), has any antecedents in the ancient and early-medieval worlds. The first documented use of a word related to subsequent European nouns for the textile itself is found in the Old High German text Summarium Heinrici (1007-1032). In the section De diversitate vestimentorum, the author used the Old High German word Scarlachen to define a textile term from the still widely-used Etymologiarium of Isidore of Seville (570-636): 'Ralla vel rullo quę vulgo rasilis …

Cite this page
John Munro, “Scarlet”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles. Consulted online on 21 November 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124356, 20120503

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