The Purple Cross
- for royalty, nobility, spirituality and 'courageous' animals
Roman nobleman wearing Toga
Thousands of years ago, the Phoenicians discovered a purple dye from the fermented secretions of the spiny sea snail (Murex brandaris).
Because of its rich colour, non-fading quality and general rarity, the dye was expensive and reserved almost exclusively for royalty, nobility and spiritual occasions. From these associations, the colour also became used as a mark of respect for people who had died. Even today, purple has the same connotations. For example, many Purple Crosses were erected when the widely loved Pope Paul II died in 2005.
The colour purple is created when red light and blue light are combined. Red is a 'hot' colour and blue is 'cold', therefore purple can have the mysterious quality of befuddling our senses and feelings. It can arouse special emotions, often in the form of passion or romance; both artists and commercial advertisers use this to their advantage. Too much purple can create moodiness (see Isaac Newton and the rainbow).
In nature, various purple tints are seen in delicate flowers, such as lavender, lilac and violet. And it was this latter flower that was the name of Australian stud-farmer, Mrs Violet Barry Lambert JP, who joined an animal charity during the First World War: The Purple Cross Society. This organization was supported by similar middle- and high-class ladies who spent much of their energy looking after horses used in the war. (See also the Blue Cross animal aid society.)
In memory of this, in 1993 the Australian Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals established the Purple Cross Award "to recognise the deeds of animals which have shown outstanding service to humans, particularly if they show exceptional courage in risking their own safety or life to save a person from injury or death."
RSPCA Purple Cross Award: www.rspca.org.au/...
(One might ask whether the animal makes any judgment to confront pain, fear or danger, and that the animal overcomes the fear of pain or danger to help a human.
If an animal is capable of such fortitude, then no doubt it is also capable of appreciating a Purple Cross medal for its efforts...
...and sufficiently sentient to know when it is being exploited.)
There must be some jokes close by.
Ah! Here they are.
Purple as a fine colour in the Bible: Exod. 25:4, 26:1, 31, 36, 27:16, 28:5-8, 15, 33, 35:6, 23-25, 35, 36:8, 35-37, 38:18, 23, 39:1-8, 24, 29, Num. 4:13, 15:38, Judg. 8:26, 2 Chron. 2:7, 14, 3:14, Esth. 1:6, 8:15, Prov. 31:22, Song. 3:10, Jer. 10:9, Lam. 4:5, Ezek. 27:7, 16, Dan. 5:7, 16, 29, Mark 15:17, 20, Luke 16:19, John 19:2, 5, Acts 16:14, Rev. 17:4, 18:12, 16