Further processing of sea-silk

Menade danzante, in abito di seta. Fresco from Pompeji, 1st century AD.  Museo archeologico nazionale, Napoli
Menade danzante, in abito di seta. Fresco from Pompeji, 1st century AD.
Museo archeologico nazionale, Napoli
In his masterpiece Delle Deliciae Tarantine, the Italian poet Tommaso Niccolò D'Aquino (1665-1721) sings about the beauty of his hometown Taranto in its heyday in the 3rd century BC. Taranto was at that time the capital of Greater Greece. Several ancient authors mention the Tarantinidion, a light, delicate, transparent fabric. Was it woven from sea-silk, as suggested by many local historians in particular? Doubts have been expressed again and again: «L'attività relativa alla lavorazione di stoffe e al confezionamento di capi di abbigliamento è indirettamente documentata dalla diffusione del Tarantinidion, termine che indica una foggia ben distinguibile di abito che non sembra connessa all'uso di una particolare fibra.» (Wuilleumier 1939, in De Juliis & Lippolis 1984).


Probably this Tarantinidion has been made from the finest Apulian sheep wool: «Wool from the latter was so fine that it could be spun into diaphanous material.» (Sebesta 1994) In the first century AD, the Roman poet Martial describes its colour as similar to the local wine sweetened with honey. Could it be that the colour of this material gave its name to the «golden sea-silk», and so that the colour lead to a false material attribution?
To be more certain, we should first answer the question whether sea-silk was ever processed to veil-like, transparent fabrics. In any case, all objects clearly identified as sea-silk are neither transparent nor similar to a veil.