So, you see, they judge all Italians, Saxons, Franks, Bavarians, Swabians--in fact all other nations--unworthy to go about clothed in this way. Is it not indecent and insulting that these soft, effeminate, long-sleeved, bejewelled and begowned liars, eunuchs and idlers should go about in purple, while our heroes, strong men trained to war, full of faith and charity, servants of God, filled with all virtues, may not! If this is not an insult, what is?R.W. Southern's gloss on the passage: "Of course, anyone might write like this after a brush with customs officers."
- Liudprand of Cremona, quoted in R.W. Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages. London: Hutchinson's University Library, 1953. (33-34)
14 July 2011
Liudprand was the Bishop of Cremona from 961 to 972. He made a journey to Byzantium in 968 and tried to bring back some of Byzantium's fine purple silk, but his silk was confiscated by customs officials. Here is the letter he sent to Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor in Germany: