Ramban (Nachmanides) (1194-1270) wrote that Techeiles still existed in his time:
And the Techeiles, even today, one doesn’t wear it except for the Melech Goyim.
(רמב”ן על שמות כ״ח:ב׳:א׳)
“…והתכלת גם היום לא ירים איש את ידו ללבוש חוץ ממלך גוים…”
What is Melech Goyim? Religious Leader or Emperor?
Now it came to pass in the days of Amraphel the king of Shinar, Arioch the king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and Tidal the king of Goyim.
בראשית יד א
וַיְהִ֗י בִּימֵי֙ אַמְרָפֶ֣ל מֶֽלֶךְ־שִׁנְעָ֔ר אַרְי֖וֹךְ מֶ֣לֶךְ אֶלָּסָ֑ר כְּדָרְלָעֹ֨מֶר֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ עֵילָ֔ם וְתִדְעָ֖ל מֶ֥לֶךְ גּוֹיִֽם:
And see Ramban (Genesis 14:1) “and the Melech Goyim” – “The Melech over whom different peoples are placed over them as their head and officer, alluded to the Roman Melech, the Melech who is over a city gathered from many nations, Kittim and Edom and other Nations.”
וע’ רמב“ן (בראשית יד א) ומלך גוים – “המלך על אשר שונים עמים שמוהו עליהם לראש ולקצין , רמז למלך רומי המלך אשר על עיר מקובצת מעמים רבים, כיתים ואדום ויתר גוים.”
Rafi Hecht understands that this “ruler of many nations” could have been a) a global political leader, b) a global religious leader, or c) a local political leader. During Nachmanides’ time a) would have been Emperor Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire, b) would have been the Pope, since he lived in a Christian country, and c) would have been King James I of the Crown of Aragon. A Crown rules multiple kingdoms, and James I was the ruler where Nachmanides lived.
The following are all paintings. While paintings are subject to the whims of the artist, it’s still supporting evidence that the royalty didn’t wear orange as Techeiles!
Melech HaGoyim Candidate: PopeConsecration and coronation ceremony of the kings of Aragon. Ms. 14425, fols. 19r and 35v. Second half of 15th century. © Fundación Lázaro Galdiano. Both illuminations show the most important moment of the ceremonies; that is, when the king takes the for himself crown and when the king places the crown on the new queen’s head. Source: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0752/9/1/25
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