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It was produced from the secretion of a fish called ostrum, and differed in tint according to the country from whence it came; being deeper and more violet when brought from the northern, redder when from the southern coasts of the Mediterranean.
"ostrum" because it is taken from the shells of marine shellfish.
_ -- The ancients had several kinds of purple, purpurissimum, ostrum, hysginum, and various compound colors.
The Roman ostrum was a compound of red ochre and blue oxide of copper.
'We call _est_ or _oft_ the place in the house, where the smoke ariseth; and in some manors _austrum_ or _ostrum_ is that, where a fixed chimney or flew anciently hath been,' Ley, in Hearne's Cur.