Colors mean differently for all walks of life. The color Scarlet is no mere orange-red hybrid hue; it's a passionate, haphazardous one. Lomography tries to understand the meaning of each complex color found in the gradient and what it means for most of us.
The word comes from several old languages: "scarlat" in Middle English, "escarlate" in Old French, "scarlatum" in Latin, and saqerlât in Persian.
Olden times have mentioned the color Scarlet in text; Christianity having a long history with the color. The Bible is one of the most affluent sources, and it said, "If your sins be as scarlet (si fuerint peccata vestra ut coccinum) they shall be made white as snow", in the Latin Vulgate version of Isaiah (1:18). The color was associated with lust, sex, and all things sinful.
True, that scarlet is a formidable, immense color of danger, but it also that of wealth and power, as to how Persians and Assyrians would associate under the name "Armenian Red" It was the second most revered color, only next to purple, and the Emperors, high-ranking officers of Rome would don robes and cloaks in that color. The Roman Catholic Church would eventually adopt this color to their robes though, letting the old, sinful connotations of the color go (yes, you should burn that red A on your clothing now).
The color continues to be a popular color for representing wealth, high power, and fearsome glory -- the militaries of Britain and Russia of then; the Soviet Union flag and the People's Republic of China's flag. Sometimes, it's also associated with high intelligence, as it is worn as a traditional academic dress in the U.K. for doctorates, theologists in the U.S.A., and high magistrates in France.