Saturday, March 10, 2007

Califa Vocab: Sangyn

The Alacran Regiment is the only regiment in the Army of Califa which does not wear black uniforms. In keeping with their reputation, their regimentals are sangyn colored. What color is sangyn?

Sangyn is red. But not just any red--a good true bluish blood red.

The word sangyn, of course, is a derivation or alternative spelling of sanguine, which the OED defines as "blood red." The first written record of its usage as a color came in 1500, but in 1386 Chaucer described a character "In sangwyn...he clad was al." These usages all come from a time before spelling was standardized, and people tended to write words out phonetically (how they sounded.) Different accents resulted in different spellings.

The particular spelling that I use comes from the Elizabethan era. This was a great time period for color names. The Elizabethan Costume website has a long list of fabulous colors, including popinjay, incarnate, puke, dead spaniard, and the delightfully named goose turd. (Gee--wonder what color that is?)

The Alacran Regimental uniform has argent (silver) facings, and argent aigulettes, and looks a little like this. The skirts are shorter, of course, and the weskit not so tightly cinched. The dress wig is also sangyn, and the gorget is argent, and embossed with a stylized scorpion, the animal, from which, of course, the Alacran take their name.

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