The world has a fascination with celebrities and the Hollywood scene, and it’s no surprise that many people know what a red carpet is. If you’ve ever been to an event or a gala and you’re walking on a red carpet, chances are the event is high-profile and respectable.

But have you ever wondered why the red carpet brings such glamour to an event? How did the red carpet become a social symbol for class and stature?

History reveals that the first reference to the red carpet was in Agamemnon, a play written in 458 BC by ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. There’s a line in the play where the titular character — the king of Argos — returned from the Trojan War and was welcomed by his wife Clytemnestra.

“Now my beloved, step down from your chariot, and let not your foot, my lord, touch the Earth. Servants, let there be spread before the house he never expected to see, where Justice leads him in, a crimson path.”

The king expressed discomfort in this gesture, knowing that only gods deserve to walk in this kind of surface.

“I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path.”

The “crimson path” sounds like a red carpet of sorts, but the wife’s welcome greeting was actually a disguise for her plans to murder Agamemnon!

During the Renaissance, several paintings depicted red Oriental carpets draped on the path to a throne or altars of sacred images.

In more recent times, then-U.S. president James Monroe was welcomed with a red carpet in 1821. Meanwhile, the New York Central Railroad led passengers to the 20th Century Limited train with red carpets, which many historians say was the origin of the term “red carpet treatment”.

Whatever the event is, placing a red carpet on the pathway not only exudes glitz and glamour but also a piece of history.

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