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Persian Rugs Communicate Luxury

In “The Mistress,” a story in The Deadliest Deceptions, a collection of my latest Miriam bat Isaac stories, Judah warns Miriam to have nothing to do with the proprietor of a shop selling antique Etruscan vases.

“He’s in a shady business. Sells these phony Etruscan vases—claims they’re antiques—to tourists in a fancy shop near the Street of the Soma. That’s why when I make anything for him, his payment has to come in a purse sealed with the mark of a moneychanger I trust.” Judah nodded as if in agreement with his inner voice. “So, promise me you won’t have anything to do with him.”

Miriam agrees but, of course, goes anyway and tells us what she saw:

Embraced by the shadows, the clerk was dressed entirely in green—an inner tunic with a rich flounce, a matching outer tunic, and a himation. She sat enthroned at a long narrow table, its tapered legs stabbing a Persian rug, its side table stacked with scrolls, an abacus, and a tray of reed pens with a sharpening knife.

Persian rugs have always communicated luxury and prestige. They were first mentioned by the Greek author Xenophon around 400 BCE. He described them as precious and worthy to be used as diplomatic gifts.

Unfortunately, there are no surviving Persian carpets from Miriam’s time, but her riveting stories have survived. In fact, The Deadliest Deceptions will be released soon. To read about the stories, just click here.


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