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Old High German also had two words for black: swartz for dull black and blach for a luminous black.
This created magnificent red figures against a glossy black background.In the 14th century, it began to be worn by royalty, the clergy, judges and government officials in much of Europe.It became the color worn by English romantic poets, businessmen and statesmen in the 19th century, and a high fashion color in the 20th century.Black was also the Roman color of death and mourning.In the 2nd century BC Roman magistrates began to wear a dark toga, called a toga pulla, to funeral ceremonies.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.The Ancient Greeks sometimes used the same word to name different colors, if they had the same intensity. The Ancient Romans had two words for black: ater was a flat, dull black, while niger was a brilliant, saturated black.Ater has vanished from the vocabulary, but niger was the source of the country name Nigeria the English word Negro and the word for "black" in most modern Romance languages (French: noir; Spanish and Portuguese: negro; Italian: nero ).In the 12th century a famous theological dispute broke out between the Cistercian monks, who wore white, and the Benedictines, who wore black.A Benedictine abbot, Pierre the Venerable, accused the Cistercians of excessive pride in wearing white instead of black.Those who had committed the worst sins were sent to Tartarus, the deepest and darkest level.