Color is something that we see every day. Grass is green and the sky is blue. Color signifies a lot in our time, with blue being used to describe sadness, and red for anger. The significance of color has changed quite a bit, though. Today, in our society in America, social status is much less apparent than it was in Roman times, due to our dress. Sure, you can catch a wealthy businessman in a suit, but doesn’t every man own a suit? Does anyone really wear furs anymore?
In our time, we do not link color and status as the Romans did. Sure, sportscasters on ESPN may wear colorful, flamboyant suits but they wear what they do not to broadcast social status. Purple is the color of emperors! We know this. But did you know that Patricians wore red shoes? The only people I see on the streets wearing red shoes are college students. Broad stripes used to mean that someone held office as a magistrate. I’ve definitely never been approached as a senator for wearing a striped shirt. At theatres you were even seated based on what you were wearing. Sounds like a lot of pressure in front of the mirror to me. We have adopted their custom of wearing black in times of mourning though, during funerals a dark toga pulla was customary. If you were ever so lucky to win a battle at war, you even got to wear a purple toga picta! I’m sure that more than made up for all the soldiers he would have lost.
Today, color has less explicit meaning, but we are more free to dress as we like. We use color more as an artistic medium than they did with their monotone marble statues. What will color look like in the future? Will everything be a stunning burst of color? In the show Futurama, the fancy acting robot Calculon is gold. I wonder if one day we will be discriminated against based on the striping pattern of our robots.
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