top cover of a bed, put on for tidiness or display rather than warmth. Use of a bedspread is an extremely ancient custom, referred to in the earliest written sources, for example, the Bible: "I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry" (Proverbs 7:16). The first bedcovers were probably of fur. Later versions included every sort of refinement that weaving or embroidery could produce. The Roman historian Livy wrote in the 1st century BC that luxury, including "valuable bed covers," was first brought to Rome by the armies of Asia. An English account of 1472 makes reference to a "counterpane cloth of gold furred with ermine," and there are many similar descriptions of bed coverings in medieval inventories.
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