What Did Blue Mean in Ancient Times?

Blue is a color that has been used for centuries by various civilizations. In ancient times, blue had different meanings depending on the culture and context in which it was used. Let’s explore some of the ways blue was interpreted in different cultures.

Ancient Egypt

In Ancient Egypt, blue was associated with the Nile River and the sky. It was believed to represent life, fertility, and rebirth.

Egyptians used a pigment called “Egyptian blue” to decorate tombs, pottery, and sculptures. The pigment was made from copper, silica, and lime and had a strikingly bright blue color.

Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, blue was associated with the gods and represented divinity. It was also thought to have healing properties and was used in medicine to treat ailments such as eye infections.

The Greeks used a pigment called “lapis lazuli” to create their blue hues. This pigment was sourced from Afghanistan and had a deep, rich color.

Medieval Europe

During Medieval times in Europe, blue represented the Virgin Mary and was considered a holy color. It was often used in religious art to depict Mary’s robes or as a background color for religious scenes. Blue pigments such as ultramarine were expensive to produce due to their sourcing from lapis lazuli.


In conclusion, blue has held many different meanings throughout history depending on the culture that used it. From representing life and fertility in Egypt to divinity in Greece and holiness in Medieval Europe, this color has been an important part of human expression for thousands of years.

  • Ancient Egypt: associated with Nile River and sky; represented life, fertility, rebirth; “Egyptian Blue” pigment.
  • Ancient Greece: associated with gods; had healing properties; “lapis lazuli” pigment.
  • Medieval Europe: represented Virgin Mary and holiness in religious art; “ultramarine” pigment was expensive to produce.

It’s fascinating to see how color can hold such significance in different cultures and contexts. Blue is just one example of how a hue can evoke different emotions and meanings based on its usage.