Born in the Purple

(a translation of porphyrogenitus ). The infant of royal parents in opposition to born in the gutter, or child of beggars. This has nothing to do with the purple robes of royalty. It refers to the chamber lined with porphyry by one of the Byzantine empresses for her accouchement. (See Nineteenth Century, March, 1894, p. 510.)

“Zoe, the fourth wife of Leo VI., gave birth to the future Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the purple chamber of the imperial palace.” —Finlay: History of the Byzantine and Greek Empires, vol. i.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

More on Born in the Purple from Fact Monster:

  • crabgrass - crabgrass crabgrass, name for any of several grass species of the genera Digitaria, Eleusine, and ...
  • The History of Color - Learn how people in ancient times created colors for garments.

Related Content