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Black was one of the most important colors used by ancient Greek artists.In the 6th century BC, they began making black-figure pottery and later red figure pottery, using a highly original technique.
In the 2nd century BC Roman magistrates began to wear a dark toga, called a toga pulla, to funeral ceremonies.
The German and Scandinavian peoples worshipped their own goddess of the night, Nótt, who crossed the sky in a chariot drawn by a black horse.
They also feared Hel, the goddess of the kingdom of the dead, whose skin was black on one side and red on the other. They believed that Odin, the king of the Nordic pantheon, had two black ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who served as his agents, traveling the world for him, watching and listening.
Swart still survives as the word swarthy, while blaek became the modern English black. They began by using charcoal, and then made more vivid black pigments by burning bones or grinding a powder of manganese oxide.
For the ancient Egyptians, black had positive associations; being the color of fertility and the rich black soil flooded by the Nile.
Those who had committed the worst sins were sent to Tartarus, the deepest and darkest level.
In the center was the palace of Hades, the king of the underworld, where he was seated upon a black ebony throne.In black-figure pottery, the artist would paint figures with a glossy clay slip on a red clay pot.When the pot was fired, the figures painted with the slip would turn black, against a red background.In fashion, black did not have the prestige of red, the color of the nobility.It was worn by Benedictine monks as a sign of humility and penitence.In the 14th century, it began to be worn by royalty, the clergy, judges and government officials in much of Europe.