When Did the Sky Turn Blue?

Cover Image Credit: Crater Lake, Oregon, United States

The color blue is found primarily in nature – in the light blue of the afternoon sky and in the deep variations of hue in a deep lake or the ocean. But otherwise, there are very few blue animals, and it is the rarest of human eye color. Moreover, there are very few blue flowers that are not dyed by florists.

When Did the Sky Turn Blue?

“Homer used two adjectives to describe aspects of the colour blue: kuaneos, to denote a dark shade of blue merging into black; and glaukos, to describe a sort of ‘blue-grey’, notably used in Athena’s epithet glaukopis, her ‘grey-gleaming eyes’. He describes the sky as big, starry, or of iron or bronze (because of its solid fixity). The tints of a rough sea range from ‘whitish’ (polios) and ‘blue-grey’ (glaukos) to deep blue and almost black (kuaneos, melas). The sea in its calm expanse is said to be ‘pansy-like’ (ioeides), ‘wine-like’ (oinops), or purple (porphureos). But whether sea or sky, it is never just ‘blue’. In fact, within the entirety of Ancient Greek literature you cannot find a single pure blue sea or sky.

Can We Hope to Understand How the Greeks Saw Their World

Peace • Tranquility • Relaxation

This is a color that affords peace and tranquility while it promotes both physical and mental relaxation. It is interesting to note that some people believe a person who loves this color is the rescuer of a friend in need and nurtures relationships of strength and trust, but is deeply hurt when trust is betrayed.

The Interesting History

“Blue thou art, intensely blue; Flower, whence came thy dazzling hue.”

— James Montgomery

Did you know that it is thought by historians to be the most recent color humans are able to perceive? This begs the question, when did the sky turn blue? Of course, I say that tongue-in-cheek, absolutely, but it does give pause for wonder. 👀

Seriously though, it is the general current consensus among scientists and historians that our ancient counterparts did not see the same range of colors that we see today.

“Today, no one thinks that there has been a stage in the history of humanity when some colors were ‘not yet’ being perceived. But thanks to our modern ‘anthropological gaze’ it is accepted that every culture has its own way of naming and categorizing colors. This is not due to varying anatomical structures of the human eye, but to the fact that different ocular areas are stimulated, which triggers different emotional responses, all according to different cultural contexts.”

VIA The Sea was Never Blue

Now, here is a special treat. It’s a great listen about all the colors in the rainbow…or should I say, fun and interesting facts about color history, science, and theory. Jad and Robert are both entertaining and knowledgeable. I believe you will enjoy it.


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