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Title: The Natural History of Pliny, Volume 6 of 6 - by Pliny, the Elder
Author: Pliny, the Elder
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Natural History of Pliny, Volume 6 of 6 - by Pliny, the Elder" ***

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Transcriber’s Notes:—

The spelling, hyphenation, punctuation and accentuation are as the
original, except for apparent typographical errors which have been

See further notes at the end of the book.









  H. T. RILEY, ESQ., B.A.,


  VOL. VI.









  CHAP.                                                           Page

  1. The power of Nature as manifested in antipathies. The
      echeneïs: two remedies                                         1

  2. The torpedo: nine remedies                                      4

  3. The sea-hare: five remedies                                 _ib._

  4. Marvels of the Red Sea                                          5

  5. The instincts of fishes                                         6

  6. Marvellous properties belonging to certain fishes               8

  7. Places where fish eat from the hand                         _ib._

  8. Places where fish recognize the human voice. Oracular
      responses given by fish                                    _ib._

  9. Places where bitter fish are found, salt, or sweet              9

  10. When sea-fish were first eaten by the people of Rome. The

  11. Coral: forty-three remedies and observations               _ib._

  12. The antipathies and sympathies which exist between certain
        objects. The hatreds manifested by certain aquatic
        animals. The pastinaca: eight remedies. The galeos:
        fifteen remedies. The sur-mullet: fifteen remedies          12

  13. Amphibious animals. Castoreum: sixty-six remedies and
        observations                                                13

  14. The tortoise: sixty-six remedies and observations             15

  15. Remedies derived from the aquatic animals, classified
        according to the respective diseases                        18

  16. Remedies for poisons, and for noxious spells. The dorade:
        four remedies. The sea-star: seven remedies                 19

  17. Remedies for the stings of serpents, for the bites of dogs,
        and for injuries indicted by venomous animals. The
        sea-dragon: three remedies. Twenty-five remedies derived
        from salted fish. The sarda: one remedy. Eleven remedies
        derived from cybium                                         20

  18. The sea-frog: six remedies. The river-frog: fifty-two
        remedies. The bramble-frog: one remedy. Thirty-two
        observations on these animals                               21

  19. The enhydris: six remedies. The river-crab: fourteen remedies.
        The sea-crab: seven remedies. The river-snail:
        seven remedies. The coracinus: four remedies. The sea-pig:
        two remedies                                                23

  20. The sea-calf: ten remedies. The muræna: one remedy. The
        hippocampus: nine remedies. The sea-urchin: eleven
        remedies                                                    24

  21. The various kinds of oysters: fifty-eight remedies and
        observations. Purples: nine remedies                        25

  22. Sea-weed: two remedies                                        28

  23. Remedies for alopecy, change of colour in the hair, and
        ulcerations of the head. The sea-mouse: two remedies.
        The sea-scorpion: twelve remedies. The leech: seven
        remedies. The murex: thirteen remedies. The conchylium:
        five remedies                                               29

  24. Remedies for diseases of the eyes and eyelids. Two remedies
        derived from the fat of fishes. The callionymus: three
        remedies. The gall of the coracinus: one remedy. The
        sæpia: twenty-four remedies. Ichthyocolla: five
        remedies                                                 _ib._

  25. Remedies for diseases of the ears. The batia: one remedy.
        The bacchus or myxon: two remedies. The sea-louse: two
        remedies                                                    33

  26. Remedies for tooth-ache. The dog-fish: four remedies.
        Whale’s flesh                                               34

  27. Remedies for lichens, and for spots upon the face. The
        dolphin: nine remedies. Coluthia or coryphia: three
        remedies. Halcyoneum: seven remedies. The tunny: five
        remedies                                                    35

  28. Remedies for scrofula, imposthumes of the parotid glands,
        quinzy, and diseases of the fauces. The mæna; thirteen
        remedies. The sea-scolopendra: two remedies. The saurus:
        one remedy. Shell-fish: one remedy. The silurus: fifteen
        remedies                                                    37

  29. Remedies for cough and diseases of the chest                  38

  30. Remedies for pains in the liver and side. The elongated
        conch: six remedies. The tethea: five remedies              39

  31. Remedies for diseases of the bowels. Sea-wort: one remedy
        The myax: twenty-five remedies. The mitulus: eight
        remedies. Pelorides: one remedy. Seriphum: two remedies.
        The erythinus: two remedies                              _ib._

  32. Remedies for diseases of the spleen, for urinary calculi,
        and for affections of the bladder. The sole: one remedy.
        The turbot: one remedy. The blendius: one remedy. The
        sea-nettle; seven remedies. The pulmo marinus: six
        remedies. Onyches: four remedies                            42

  33. Remedies for intestinal hernia, and for diseases of the
        rectum. The water-snake: one remedy. The hydrus: one
        remedy. The mullet: one remedy. The pelamis: three
        remedies                                                    44

  34. Remedies for inflamed tumours, and for diseases of the
        generative organs. The sciæna: one remedy. The perch:
        four remedies. The squatina: three remedies. The smaris:
        three remedies                                           _ib._

  35. Remedies for incontinence of urine. The ophidion: one
        remedy                                                      46

  36. Remedies for gout, and for pains in the feet. The beaver:
        four remedies. Bryon: one remedy                         _ib._

  37. Remedies for epilepsy                                         47

  38. Remedies for fevers. The fish called asellus: one remedy.
        The phagrus: one remedy                                  _ib._

  39. Remedies for lethargy, cachexy, and dropsy                    49

  40. Remedies for burns and for erysipelas                      _ib._

  41. Remedies for diseases of the sinews                           50

  42. Methods of arresting hæmorrhage and of letting blood. The
        polyp: one remedy                                        _ib._

  43. Methods of extracting foreign bodies from the flesh           51

  44. Remedies for ulcers, carcinomata, and carbuncle               52

  45. Remedies for warts, and for malformed nails. The glanis:
        one remedy                                                  53

  46. Remedies for female diseases. The glauciscus: one
        remedy                                                   _ib._

  47. Methods of removing superfluous hair. Depilatories            55

  48. Remedies for the diseases of infants                          56

  49. Methods of preventing intoxication. The fish called rubellio:
        one remedy. The eel: one remedy. The grape-fish: one
        remedy                                                      57

  50. Antaphrodisiacs and aphrodisiacs. The hippopotamus: one
        remedy. The crocodile: one remedy                        _ib._

  51. Remedies for the diseases of animals                       _ib._

  52. Other aquatic productions. Adarca or calamochnos: three
        remedies. Reeds: eight remedies. The ink of the sæpia       58

  53. The names of all the animals that exist in the sea, one
        hundred and seventy-six in number                           59

  54. Additional names of fishes found in the poem of Ovid          65



  1. Metals                                                         68

  2. Gold                                                           69

  3. What was the first recommendation of gold                      71

  4. The origin of gold rings                                    _ib._

  5. The quantity of gold possessed by the ancients                 75

  6. The right or wearing gold rings                                76

  7. The decuries of the judges                                     82

  8. Particulars connected with the equestrian order                83

  9. How often the name of the equestrian order has been changed    85

  10. Gifts for military services, in gold and silver               86

  11. At what period the first crown of gold was presented       _ib._

  12. Other uses made of gold, by females                           87

  13. Coins of gold. At what periods copper, gold, and silver,
        were first impressed. How copper was used before gold
        and silver were coined. What was the largest sum of money
        possessed by any one at the time of our first census. How
        often, and at what periods, the value of copper and of
        coined money has been changed                               88

  14. Considerations on man’s cupidity for gold                     91

  15. The persons who have possessed the greatest quantity of gold
        and silver                                                  93

  16. At what period silver first made its appearance upon the arena
        and upon the stage                                          94

  17. At what periods there was the greatest quantity of gold and
        silver in the treasury of the Roman people                  95

  18. At what period ceilings were first gilded                  _ib._

  19. For what reasons the highest value is set upon gold           96

  20. The method of gilding                                         98

  21. How gold is found                                             99

  22. Orpiment                                                     104

  23. Electrum                                                     105

  24. The first statues of gold                                  _ib._

  25. Eight remedies derived from gold                             106

  26. Chrysocolla                                                  107

  27. The use made of chrysocolla in painting                      108

  28. Seven remedies derived from chrysocolla                      110

  29. The chrysocolla of the goldsmiths, known also as
        santerna                                                 _ib._

  30. The marvellous operations of nature in soldering metallic
        substances, and bringing them to a state of perfection     111

  31. Silver                                                     _ib._

  32. Quicksilver                                                  113

  33. Stimmi, stibi, alabastrum, larbasis, or platy-ophthalmon     115

  34. Seven remedies derived from stimmi                         _ib._

  35. The scoria of silver. Six remedies derived from it           116

  36. Minium: for what religious purposes it was used by the
        ancients                                                   119

  37. The discovery and origin of minium                           120

  38. Cinnabaris                                                 _ib._

  39. The employment of cinnabaris in painting                     121

  40. The various kinds of minium. The use made of it in
        painting                                                 _ib._

  41. Hydrargyros. Remedies derived from minium                    124

  42. The method of gilding silver                               _ib._

  43. Touchstones for testing gold                                 125

  44. The different kinds of silver, and the modes of testing
        it                                                       _ib._

  45. Mirrors                                                      126

  46. Egyptian silver                                              128

  47. Instances of immense wealth. Persons who have possessed
        the greatest sums of money                                 129

  48. At what period the Roman people first made voluntary
        contributions                                              131

  49. Instances of luxury in silver plate                        _ib._

  50. Instances of the frugality of the ancients in reference
        to silver plate                                            132

  51. At what period silver was first used as an ornament for
        couches                                                    134

  52. At what period silver chargers of enormous size were first
        made. When silver was first used as a material for
        sideboards. When the sideboards called tympana were first
        introduced                                               _ib._

  53. The enormous price of silver plate                           135

  54. Statues of silver                                            136

  55. The most remarkable works in silver, and the names of the
        most famous artists in silver                              138

  56. Sil: The persons who first used it in painting and the
        method they adopted                                        140

  57. Cæruleum                                                     141

  58. Two remedies derived from cæruleum                           143



  1. The ores of brass                                             147

  2. The different kinds of copper                                 148

  3. The Corinthian brass                                          149

  4. The Delian brass                                              151

  5. The Æginetan brass                                          _ib._

  6. Stands for lamps                                              152

  7. Ornaments of the temples made of brass                        153

  8. Couches of brass                                            _ib._

  9. Which was the first statue of a god made of brass at Rome.
        The origin of statues, and the respect paid to them        154

  10. The different kinds and forms of statues. Statues at Rome
        with cuirasses                                             155

  11. In honour of whom public statues were first erected: in
        honour of whom they were first placed on pillars: when
        the rostra were first erected                              156

  12. In honour of what foreigners public statues were erected at
        Rome                                                       159

  13. The first equestrian statues publicly erected at Rome, and
        in honour of what females statues were publicly erected
        there                                                      160

  14. At what period all the statues erected by private
        individuals were removed from the public places          _ib._

  15. The first statues publicly erected by foreigners             161

  16. That there were statuaries in Italy also at an early
        period                                                     162

  17. The immoderate prices of statues                             163

  18. The most celebrated colossal statues in the city             164

  19. An account of the most celebrated works in brass, and of
        the artists, 366 in number                                 168

  20. The different kinds of copper and its combinations. Pyropus.
        Campanian copper                                           189

  21. The method of preserving copper                              191

  22. Cadmia                                                     _ib._

  23. Fifteen remedies derived from cadmia. Ten medicinal effects
        of calcined copper                                         193

  24. The scoria of copper                                         194

  25. Stomoma of copper: forty-seven remedies                    _ib._

  26. Verdigris: Eighteen remedies                                 195

  27. Hieracium                                                    197

  28. Scolex of copper: eighteen remedies                        _ib._

  29. Chalcitis: seven remedies                                    198

  30. Sory: three remedies                                         199

  31. Misy: thirteen remedies                                    _ib._

  32. Chalcanthum, or shoemakers’ black: sixteen remedies          200

  33. Pompholyx                                                    202

  34. Spodos: five remedies                                      _ib._

  35. Fifteen varieties of antispodos                              203

  36. Smegma                                                       204

  37. Diphryx                                                    _ib._

  38. Particulars relative to the Servilian triens                 205

  39. Iron ores                                                  _ib._

  40. Statues of iron; chased works in iron                        206

  41. The different kinds of iron, and the mode of tempering
        it                                                       _ib._

  42. The metal called live iron                                   209

  43. Methods of preventing rust                                 _ib._

  44. Seven remedies derived from iron                             210

  45. Fourteen remedies derived from rust                          211

  46. Seventeen remedies derived from the scales of iron.
        Hygremplastrum                                           _ib._

  47. The ores of lead                                             212

  48. Stannum. Argentarium                                         214

  49. Black lead                                                   215

  50. Fifteen remedies derived from lead                           216

  51. Fifteen remedies derived from the scoria of lead             218

  52. Spodium of lead                                            _ib._

  53. Molybdæna: fifteen remedies                                _ib._

  54. Psimithium, or ceruse; six remedies                          219

  55. Sandarach: eleven remedies                                   220

  56. Arrhenicum                                                 _ib._



  1. The honour attached to painting                               223

  2. The honour attached to portraits                              224

  3. When shields were first invented with portraits upon them;
        and when they were first erected in public                 227

  4. When these shields were first placed in private houses      _ib._

  5. The commencement of the art of painting. Monochrome
       paintings. The earliest painters                            228

  6. The antiquity of painting in Italy                            229

  7. Roman painters                                                230

  8. At what period foreign paintings were first introduced at
       Rome                                                        232

  9. At what period painting was first held in high esteem at Rome,
       and from what causes                                      _ib._

  10. What pictures the Emperors have exhibited in public          233

  11. The art of painting                                          234

  12. Pigments other than those of a metallic origin. Artificial
        colours                                                    235

  13. Sinopis: eleven remedies                                   _ib._

  14. Rubrica; Lemnian earth: four remedies                        236

  15. Egyptian earth                                               237

  16. Ochra: remedies derived from rubrica                       _ib._

  17. Leucophoron                                                _ib._

  18. Parætonium                                                   238

  19. Melinum: six remedies. Ceruse                              _ib._

  20. Usta                                                         239

  21. Eretria                                                    _ib._

  22. Sandarach                                                  _ib._

  23. Sandyx                                                       240

  24. Syricum                                                    _ib._

  25. Atramentum                                                 _ib._

  26. Purpurissum                                                  242

  27. Indicum                                                    _ib._

  28. Armenium: one remedy                                         243

  29. Appianum                                                   _ib._

  30. Anularian white                                              244

  31. Which colours do not admit of being laid on a wet
        coating                                                  _ib._

  32. What colours were used by the ancients in painting           245

  33. At what time combats of gladiators were first painted
        and publicly exhibited                                     246

  34. The age of painting; with the names of the more celebrated
        works and artists, four hundred and five in number       _ib._

  35. The first contest for excellence in the pictorial art        248

  36. Artists who painted with the pencil                          249

  37. Various other kinds of painting                              268

  38. An effectual way of putting a stop to the singing of
        birds                                                      272

  39. Artists who have painted in eucaustics or wax, with
        either the cestrum or the pencil                         _ib._

  40. The first inventors of various kinds of painting. The
        greatest difficulties in the art of painting. The
        several varieties of painting. The first artist that
        painted ceilings. When arched roofs were first painted.
        The marvellous price of some pictures                    _ib._

  41. Encaustic painting                                           282

  42. The colouring of tissues                                   _ib._

  43. The inventors of the art of modelling                        283

  44. Who was the first to mould figures in imitation of the
        features of living persons, or of statues                  284

  45. The most famous modellers                                  _ib._

  46. Works in pottery                                             286

  47. Various kinds of earth. The Puteolan dust, and other
        earths of which cements like stone are made                288

  48. Formacean walls                                              289

  49. Walls of brick. The method of making bricks                  290

  50. Sulphur, and the several varieties of it: fourteen
        remedies                                                   291

  51. Bitumen, and the several varieties of it: twenty-seven
        remedies                                                   293

  52. Alumen, and the several varieties of it: thirty-eight
        remedies                                                   294

  53. Samian earth: three remedies                                 298

  54. The various kinds of eretria                               _ib._

  55. The method of washing earths for medicinal purposes        _ib._

  56. Chian earth: three remedies. Selinusian earth: three
        remedies. Pnigitis: nine remedies. Ampelitis: four
        remedies                                                   299

  57. Cretaceous earths used for scouring cloth. Cimolian earth:
        nine remedies. Sardinian earth. Umbrian earth. Suxum     _ib._

  58. Argentaria. Names of freedmen who have either risen to
        power themselves, or have belonged to men of influence     301

  59. The earth of Galata; of Clypea; of the Baleares; and of
        Ebusus                                                     303



  1. Luxury displayed in the use of various kinds of marble        305

  2. Who was the first to employ marble in public buildings        306

  3. Who was the first to erect columns of foreign marble at Rome  307

  4. The first artists who excelled in the sculpture of marble,
        and the various periods at which they flourished. The
        Mausoleum in Caria. The most celebrated sculptors and
        works in marble, two hundred and twenty-five in number     308

  5. At what period marble was first used in buildings             323

  6. Who were the first to cut marble into slabs, and at what
        period                                                     324

  7. Who was the first to encrust the walls of houses at Rome with
        marble                                                   _ib._

  8. At what period the various kinds of marble came into use at
        Rome                                                       325

  9. The method of cutting marble into slabs. The sand used in
        cutting marble                                           _ib._

  10. Stone of Naxos. Stone of Armenia                             327

  11. The marbles of Alexandria                                  _ib._

  12. Onyx and alabastrites: six remedies                          329

  13. Lygdinus; corallitic stone; stone of Alabanda; stone of
        Thebais; stone of Syene                                    330

  14. Obelisks                                                     331

  15. The obelisk which serves as a dial in the Campus Martius     334

  16. Marvellous works in Egypt. The pyramids                      335

  17. The Egyptian Sphinx                                          336

  18. The Pharos                                                   339

  19. Labyrinths                                                 _ib._

  20. Hanging gardens. A hanging city                              343

  21. The Temple of Diana at Ephesus                             _ib._

  22. Marvels connected with other temples                         344

  23. The fugitive stone. The seven-fold echo. Buildings erected
        without the use of nails                                 _ib._

  24. Marvellous buildings at Rome, eighteen in number             345

  25. The magnet: three remedies                                   355

  26. Stone of Scyros                                              357

  27. Sarcophagus, or stone of Assos: ten remedies               _ib._

  28. Chernites                                                  _ib._

  29. Osseous stones. Palm stones. Corani. Black stones            358

  30. Molar stones. Pyrites: seven remedies                        359

  31. Ostrocites: four remedies. Amianthus: two remedies           360

  32. Geodes: three remedies                                     _ib._

  33. Melitinus: six remedies                                    _ib._

  34. Gagates: six remedies                                        361

  35. Spongites: two remedies                                      362

  36. Phrygian stone                                             _ib._

  37. Hæmatites: five remedies. Schistos: seven remedies         _ib._

  38. Æthiopic hæmatites. Androdamas: two remedies. Arabian
        hæmatites. Miltites or hepatites. Anthracites              363

  39. Aëtites. Taphiusian stone. Callimus                          364

  40. Samian stone: eight remedies                                 365

  41. Arabian stone: six remedies                                _ib._

  42. Pumice: nine remedies                                        366

  43. Stones for mortars used for medicinal and other purposes.
        Etesian stone. Thebaic stone. Chalazian stone              367

  44. Stone of Siphnos. Soft stones                                368

  45. Specular stones                                            _ib._

  46. Phengites                                                    369

  47. Whetstones                                                   370

  48. Tophus                                                       371

  49. The various kinds of silex                                 _ib._

  50. Other stones used for building                               372

  51. The various methods of building                            _ib._

  52. Cisterns                                                     373

  53. Quick-lime                                                 _ib._

  54. The various kinds of sand. The combinations of sand with
        lime                                                     _ib._

  55. Defects in building. Plasters for walls                      374

  56. Columns. The several kinds of columns                      _ib._

  57. Five remedies derived from lime                              375

  58. Maltha                                                     _ib._

  59. Gypsum                                                       376

  60. Pavements. The Asarotos œcos                               _ib._

  61. The first pavements in use at Rome                           377

  62. Terrace-roof pavements                                     _ib._

  63. Græcanic pavements                                           378

  64. At what period mosaic pavements were first invented. At
        what period arched roofs were first decorated with
        glass                                                    _ib._

  65. The origin of glass                                          379

  66. The various kinds of glass, and the mode of making it        380

  67. Obsian glass and Obsian stone                                381

  68. Marvellous facts connected with fire                         383

  69. Three remedies derived from fire and from ashes            _ib._

  70. Prodigies connected with the hearth                          384



  1. The first use of precious stones                              386

  2. The jewel of Polycrates                                     _ib._

  3. The jewel of Pyrrhus                                          387

  4. Who were the most skilful lapidaries. The finest specimens
        of engraving on precious stones                            389

  5. The first dactyliothecæ at Rome                               390

  6. Jewels displayed at Rome in the triumph of Pompeius
        Magnus                                                   _ib._

  7. At what period murrhine vessels were first introduced at
        Rome. Instances of luxury in reference to them             392

  8. The nature of murrhine vessels                                393

  9. The nature of crystal                                         394

  10. Luxury displayed in the use of crystal. Remedies derived
        from crystal                                               395

  11. Amber: the many falsehoods that have been told about it      397

  12. The several kinds of amber: the remedies derived from it     402

  13. Lyncurium: two asserted remedies                             404

  14. The various precious stones, classified according to their
        principal colours                                          405

  15. Adamas: six varieties of it. Two remedies                  _ib._

  16. Smaragdus                                                    408

  17. Twelve varieties of the smaragdus                            410

  18. Defects in the smaragdus                                     411

  19. The precious stone called tanos. Chalcosmaragdos             413

  20. Beryls: eight varieties of them. Defects in beryls           414

  21. Opals: seven varieties of them                               415

  22. Defects in opals: the modes of testing them                  416

  23. Sardonyx; the several varieties of it. Defects in the
        sardonyx                                                   417

  24. Onyx: the several varieties of it                            419

  25. Carbunculus: twelve varieties of it                          420

  26. Defects in carbunculus, and the mode of testing it           422

  27. Anthracitis                                                  423

  28. Sandastros. Sandaresos                                     _ib._

  29. Lychnis: four varieties of it                                424

  30. Carchedonia                                                  425

  31. Sarda: five varieties of it                                _ib._

  32. Topazos: two varieties of it                                 426

  33. Callaina                                                     427

  34. Prasius: three varieties of it                               429

  35. Nilion                                                     _ib._

  36. Molochitis                                                 _ib._

  37. Iaspis: fourteen varieties of it. Defects found in iaspis    430

  38. Cyanos: the several varieties of it                          432

  39. Sapphiros                                                  _ib._

  40. Amethystos: four varieties of it. Socondion. Sapenos.
        Pharanitis. Aphrodites blepharon, anteros, or hæderos    _ib._

  41. Hyacinthos                                                   434

  42. Chrysolithos: seven varieties of it                        _ib._

  43. Chryselectrum                                                435

  44. Leucochrysos: four varieties of it                         _ib._

  45. Melichrysos. Xuthon                                          436

  46. Pæderos, sangenon, or tenites                              _ib._

  47. Asteria                                                      437

  48. Astrion                                                    _ib._

  49. Astriotes                                                  _ib._

  50. Astrobolos                                                   438

  51. Ceraunia: four varieties of it                             _ib._

  52. Iris: two varieties of it                                  _ib._

  53. Leros                                                        439

  54. Achates: the several varieties of it. Acopos: the remedies
        derived from it. Alabastritis: the remedies derived from
        it. Alectoria. Androdamas. Argyrodamas. Antipathes.
        Arabica. Aromatitis. Asbestos. Aspisatis. Atizöe.
        Augetis. Amphidanes or chrysocolla. Aphrodisiaca.
        Apsyctos. Ægyptilla                                      _ib._

  55. Balanites. Batrachitis. Baptes. Beli oculus. Belus.
        Baroptenus or barippe. Botryitis. Bostrychitis.
        Bucardia. Brontea. Bolos                                   443

  56. Cadmitis. Callais. Capnitis. Cappadocia. Callaica.
        Catochitis. Catoptritis. Cepitis or Cepolatitis.
        Ceramitis. Cinædia. Ceritis. Circos. Corsoïdes.
        Coralloachates. Corallis. Crateritis. Crocallis.
        Cyitis. Chalcophonos. Chelidonia. Chelonia. Chelonitis.
        Chloritis. Choaspitis. Chrysolampis. Chrysopis. Ceponides  444

  57. Daphnea. Diadochos. Diphyes. Dionysias. Draconitis           447

  58. Encardia or ariste. Enorchis. Exebenus. Erythallis.
        Erotylos, amphicomos, or hieromnemon. Eumeces. Enmithres.
        Eupetalos. Eureos. Eurotias. Eusebes. Epimelas             448

  59. Galaxias. Galactitis, leucogæa, leucographitis, or
        synnephitis. Gallaica. Gassinade. Glossopetra. Gorgonia.
        Goniæa                                                     449

  60. Heliotropium. Hephæstitis. Hermuaidoion. Hexecontalithos.
        Hieracitis. Hammitis. Hammonis cornu. Hormiscion.
        Hyænia. Hæmatitis                                          450

  61. Idæi dactyli. Icterias. Jovis gemma. Indica. Ion             452

  62. Lepidotis. Lesbias. Leucophthalmos. Leucopœcilos.
        Libanochrus. Limoniatis. Liparea. Lysimachos.
        Leucochrysos                                             _ib._

  63. Memnonia. Media. Meconitis. Mithrax. Morochthos.
        Mormorion or promnion. Murrhitis. Myrmecias. Myrsinitis.
        Mesoleucos. Mesomelas                                      453

  64. Nasamonitis. Nebritis. Nipparene                             454

  65. Oica. Ombria or notia. Onocardia. Oritis or sideritis.
        Ostracias. Ostritis. Ophicardelon. Obsian stone          _ib._

  66. Panchrus. Pangonus. Paneros or panerastos. Pontica: four
        varieties of it. Phloginos or chrysitis. Phœnicitis.
        Phycitis. Perileucos. Pæanitis or gæanis                   455

  67. Solis gemma. Sagda. Samothracia. Sauritis. Sarcitis.
        Selenitis. Sideritis. Sideropœcilos. Spongitis.
        Synodontitis. Syrtitis. Syringitis                         456

  68. Trichrus. Thelyrrhizos. Thelycardios or mule. Thracia:
        three varieties of it. Tephritis. Tecolithos               457

  69. Veneris crines. Veientana                                    458

  70. Zathene. Zmilampis. Zoraniscæa                             _ib._

  71. Precious stones which derive their names from various parts
        of the human body. Hepatitis. Steatitis. Adadunephros.
        Adaduophthalmos. Adadudactylos. Triophthalmos            _ib._

  72. Precious stones which derive their names from animals.
        Carcinias. Echitis. Scorpitis. Scaritis. Triglitis.
        Ægophthalmos. Hyophthalmos. Geranitis. Hieracitis.
        Aëtitis. Myrmecitis. Cantharias. Lycophthalmos. Taos.
        Timictonia                                                 459

  73. Precious stones which derive their names from other objects.
        Hammochrysos. Cenchritis. Dryitis. Cissitis. Narcissitis.
        Cyamias. Pyren. Phœnicitis. Chalazias. Pyritis.
        Polyzonos Astrapæa. Phlogitis. Anthracitis. Enhygros.
        Polythrix. Leontios. Pardalios. Drosolithos. Melichrus.
        Melichloros. Crocias. Polias. Spartopolias. Rhoditis.
        Chalcitis. Sycitis. Bostrychitis. Chernitie. Anancitis.
        Synochitis. Dendritis                                    _ib._

  74. Precious stones that suddenly make their appearance.
        Cochlides                                                  461

  75. The various forms of precious stones                         462

  76. The methods of testing precious stones                       463

  77. A comparative view of Nature as she appears in different
        countries. The comparative values of things                464

  GENERAL INDEX                                                    469





Following the proper order of things, we have now arrived at the
culminating point of the wonders manifested to us by the operations of
Nature. And even at the very outset, we find spontaneously presented
to us an incomparable illustration of her mysterious powers: so
much so, in fact, that beyond it we feel ourselves bound to forbear
extending our enquiries, there being nothing to be found either equal
or analogous to an element in which Nature quite triumphs over herself,
and that, too, in such numberless ways. For what is there more unruly
than the sea, with its winds, its tornadoes, and its tempests? And yet
in what department of her works has Nature been more seconded by the
ingenuity of man, than in this, by his inventions of sails and of oars?
In addition to this, we are struck with the ineffable might displayed
by the Ocean’s tides, as they constantly ebb and flow, and so regulate
the currents of the sea as though they were the waters of one vast

And yet all these forces, though acting in unison, and impelling in the
same direction, a single fish, and that of a very diminutive size—the
fish known as the “echeneïs”[2]—possesses the power of counteracting.
Winds may blow and storms may rage, and yet the echeneïs controls their
fury, restrains their mighty force, and bids ships stand still in their
career; a result which no cables, no anchors, from their ponderousness
quite incapable of being weighed, could ever have produced! A fish
bridles the impetuous violence of the deep, and subdues the frantic
rage of the universe—and all this by no effort of its own, no act of
resistance on its part, no act at all, in fact, but that of adhering
to the bark! Trifling as this object would appear, it suffices to
counteract all these forces combined, and to forbid the ship to pass
onward in its way! Fleets, armed for war, pile up towers and bulwarks
on their decks, in order that, upon the deep even, men may fight from
behind ramparts as it were. But alas for human vanity!—when their
prows, beaked as they are with brass and with iron,[3] and armed for
the onset, can thus be arrested and rivetted to the spot by a little
fish, no more than some half foot in length!

At the battle of Actium, it is said, a fish of this kind stopped the
prætorian ship[4] of Antonius in its course, at the moment that he was
hastening from ship to ship to encourage and exhort his men, and so
compelled him to leave it and go on board another. Hence it was, that
the fleet of Cæsar gained the advantage[5] in the onset, and charged
with a redoubled impetuosity. In our own time, too, one of these fish
arrested the ship of the Emperor[6] Caius in its course, when he was
returning from Astura to Antium:[7] and thus, as the result proved,
did an insignificant fish give presage of great events; for no sooner
had the emperor returned to Rome than he was pierced by the weapons
of his own soldiers. Nor did this sudden stoppage of the ship long
remain a mystery, the cause being perceived upon finding that, out of
the whole fleet, the emperor’s five-banked galley was the only one
that was making no way. The moment this was discovered, some of the
sailors plunged into the sea, and, on making search about the ship’s
sides, they found an echeneïs adhering to the rudder. Upon its being
shown to the emperor, he strongly expressed his indignation that such
an obstacle as this should have impeded his progress, and have rendered
powerless the hearty endeavours of some four hundred men. One thing,
too, it is well known, more particularly surprised[8] him, how it was
possible that the fish, while adhering to the ship, should arrest its
progress, and yet should have no such power when brought on board.

According to the persons who examined it on that occasion, and who
have seen it since, the echeneïs bears a strong resemblance to a
large slug.[9] The various opinions entertained respecting it we
have already[10] noticed, when speaking of it in the Natural History
of Fishes. There is no doubt, too, that all fish of this kind are
possessed of a similar power; witness, for example, the well-known
instance of the shells[11] which are still preserved and consecrated
in the Temple of Venus at Cnidos, and which, we are bound to believe,
once gave such striking evidence of the possession of similar
properties. Some of our own authors have given this fish the Latin
name of “mora.”[12] It is a singular thing, but among the Greeks we
find writers who state that, worn as an amulet, the echeneïs has the
property,[13] as already mentioned, of preventing miscarriage, and of
reducing procidence of the uterus, and so permitting the fœtus to reach
maturity: while others, again, assert that, if it is preserved in salt
and worn as an amulet, it will facilitate parturition; a fact to which
it is indebted for another name which it bears, “odinolytes.”[14] Be
all this as it may, considering this most remarkable fact of a ship
being thus stopped in its course, who can entertain a doubt as to the
possibility of any manifestation of her power by Nature, or as to
the effectual operation of the remedies which she has centred in her
spontaneous productions?


And then, besides, even if we had not this illustration by the agency
of the echeneïs, would it not have been quite sufficient only to cite
the instance of the torpedo,[15] another inhabitant also of the sea,
as a manifestation of the mighty powers of Nature? From a considerable
distance even, and if only touched with the end of a spear or staff,
this fish has the property of benumbing even the most vigorous arm, and
of rivetting the feet of the runner, however swift he may be in the
race. If, upon considering this fresh illustration, we find ourselves
compelled to admit that there is in existence a certain power which,
by the very exhalations[16] and, as it were, emanations therefrom, is
enabled to affect the members of the human body,[17] what are we not to
hope for from the remedial influences which Nature has centred in all
animated beings?


No less wonderful, too, are the particulars which we find stated
relative to the sea-hare.[18] Taken with the food or drink, it is a
poison to some persons; while to others, again, the very sight of it
is venomous.[19] Indeed, if a woman in a  state of pregnancy so much
as looks upon one of these fishes, she is immediately seized with
nausea and vomiting—a proof that the injury has reached the stomach—and
abortion is the ultimate result. The proper preservative against these
baneful effects is the male fish, which is kept dried for the purpose
in salt, and worn in a bracelet upon the arm. And yet this same fish,
while in the sea, is not injurious, by its contact even. The only
animal that eats it without fatal consequences, is the mullet;[20] the
sole perceptible result being that its flesh is rendered more tender
thereby, but deteriorated in flavour, and consequently not so highly

Persons when poisoned[21] by the sea-hare smell strongly of the
fish—the first sign, indeed, by which the fact of their having been so
poisoned is detected. Death also ensues at the end of as many days as
the fish has lived: hence it is that, as Licinius Macer informs us,
this is one of those poisons which have no definite time for their
operation. In India,[22] we are assured, the sea-hare is never taken
alive; and, we are told that, in those parts of the world, man, in his
turn, acts as a poison upon the fish, which dies instantly in the sea,
if it is only touched with the human finger. There, like the rest of
the animals, it attains a much larger size than it does with us.


Juba, in those books descriptive of Arabia, which he has dedicated to
Caius Cæsar, the son of Augustus, informs us that there are mussels[23]
on those coasts, the shells of which are capable of holding three
semisextarii; and that, on one occasion, a whale,[24] six hundred feet
in length and three hundred and sixty feet broad,[25] made its way up a
river of Arabia, the blubber of which was bought up by the merchants
there. He tells us, too, that in those parts they anoint their camels
with the grease of all kinds of fish, for the purpose of keeping off
the gad-flies[26] by the smell.


The statements which Ovid has made as to the instincts of fish, in the
work[27] of his known as the “Halieuticon,”[28] appear to me truly
marvellous. The scarus,[29] for instance, when enclosed in the wicker
kype, makes no effort to escape with its head, nor does it attempt to
thrust its muzzle between the oziers; but turning its tail towards
them, it enlarges the orifices with repeated blows therefrom, and so
makes its escape backwards. Should,[30] too, another scarus, from
without, chance to see it thus struggling within the kype, it will take
the tail of the other in its mouth, and so aid it in its efforts to
escape. The lupus,[31] again, when surrounded with the net, furrows[32]
the sand with its tail, and so conceals itself, until the net has
passed over it. The muræna,[33] trusting in the slippery smoothness[34]
of its rounded back, boldly faces the meshes of the net, and by
repeatedly wriggling its body, makes its escape. The polyp[35] makes
for the hooks, and, without swallowing the bait, clasps it with its
feelers; nor does it quit its hold until it has eaten off the bait, or
perceives itself being drawn out of the water by the rod.

The mullet,[36] too, is aware[37] that within the bait there is a hook
concealed, and is on its guard against the ambush; still however,
so great is its voracity, that it beats the hook with its tail, and
strikes away from it the bait. The lupus,[38] again, shows less
foresight and address, but repentance at its imprudence arms it with
mighty strength; for, when caught by the hook, it flounders from side
to side, and so widens the wound, till at last the insidious hook falls
from its mouth. The muræna[39] not only swallows the hook, but catches
at the line with its teeth, and so gnaws it asunder. The anthias,[40]
Ovid says, the moment it finds itself caught by the hook, turns its
body with its back downwards, upon which there is a sharp knife-like
fin, and so cuts the line asunder.

According to Licinius Macer, the muræna is of the female sex only, and
is impregnated by serpents, as already[41] mentioned; and hence it is
that the fishermen, to entice it from its retreat, and catch it, make
a hissing noise in imitation of the hissing of a serpent. He states,
also, that by frequently beating the water it is made to grow fat, that
a blow with a stout stick will not kill it, but that a touch with a
stalk of fennel-giant[42] is instantly fatal. That in the case of this
animal, the life is centred in the tail, there can be no doubt, as
also that it dies immediately on that part of the body being struck;
while, on the other hand, there is considerable difficulty in killing
it with a blow upon the head. Persons who have come in contact with the
razor-fish[43] smell of iron.[44] The hardest of all fishes, beyond a
doubt, is that known as the “orbis:”[45] it is spherical, destitute[46]
of scales, and all head.[47]


Trebius Niger informs us that whenever the loligo[48] is seen darting
above the surface of the water, it portends a change of weather: that
the xiphias,[49] or, in other words, the swordfish, has a sharp-pointed
muzzle, with which it is able to pierce the sides of a ship and send
it to the bottom: instances of which have been known near a place in
Mauritania, known as Cotte, not far from the river Lixus.[50] He says,
too, that the loligo sometimes darts above the surface, in such vast
numbers, as to sink the ships upon which they fall.


At many of the country-seats belonging to the Emperor the fish
eat[51] from the hand: but the stories of this nature, told with such
admiration by the ancients, bear reference to lakes formed by Nature,
and not to fish-preserves; that at Elorus, a fortified place in
Sicily, for instance, not far from Syracuse. In the fountain, too, of
Jupiter, at Labranda,[52] there are eels which eat from the hand, and
wear ear-rings,[53] it is said. The same, too, at Chios, near the Old
Men’s Temple[54] there; and at the Fountain of Chabura in Mesopotamia,
already mentioned.[55]


At Myra, too, in Lycia, the fish in the Fountain of Apollo, known
as Surium, appear and give oracular presages, when thrice summoned
by the sound of a flute. If they seize the flesh thrown to them with
avidity, it is a good omen for the person who consults them; but if,
on the other hand, they flap at it with their tails, it is considered
an evil presage. At Hierapolis[56] in Syria, the fish in the Lake of
Venus there obey the voice of the officers of the temple: bedecked
with ornaments of gold, they come at their call, fawn upon them while
they are scratched, and open their mouths so wide as to admit of the
insertion of the hands.

Off the Rock of Hercules, in the territory of Stabiæ[57] in Campania,
the melanuri[58] seize with avidity bread that is thrown to them in the
sea, but they will never approach any bait in which there is a hook


Nor is it by any means the least surprising fact, that off the island
of Pele,[59] the town of Clazomenæ,[60] the rock[61] [of Scylla]
in Sicily, and in the vicinity of Leptis in Africa,[62] Eubœa,
and Dyrrhachium,[63] the fish are bitter. In the neighbourhood of
Cephallenia, Ampelos, Paros, and the rocks of Delos, the fish are so
salt by nature that they might easily be taken to have been pickled in
brine. In the harbour, again, of the last-mentioned island, the fish
are sweet: differences, all of them, resulting, no doubt, from the
diversity[64] of their food.

Apion says that the largest among the fishes is the sea-pig,[65] known
to the Lacedæmonians as the “orthagoriscos;” he states also that it
grunts[66] like a hog when taken. These accidental varieties in the
natural flavour of fish—a thing that is still more surprising—may,
in some cases, be owing to the nature of the locality; an apposite
illustration of which is, the well-known fact that, at Beneventum[67]
in Italy, salted provisions of all kinds require[68] to be salted over


Cassius Hemina informs us that sea-fish have been in use at Rome from
the time of its foundation. I will give his own words, however, upon
the subject:—“Numa ordained that fish without[69] scales should not
be served up at the Festivals of the Gods; a piece of frugality, the
intention of which was, that the banquets, both public and private, as
well as the repasts laid before the couches[70] of the gods, might be
provided at a smaller expense than formerly: it being also his wish to
preclude the risk that the caterers for the sacred banquets would spare
no expense in buying provisions, and so forestall the market.”


In the same degree that people in our part of the world set a value
upon the pearls of India—a subject on which we have already spoken[71]
on the appropriate occasion at sufficient length—do the people of India
prize coral: it being the prevailing taste in each nation respectively
that constitutes the value of things. Coral is produced in the Red Sea
also, but of a more swarthy hue than ours. It is to be found also in
the Persian Gulf, where it is known by the name of “iace.” But the
most highly-esteemed of all, is that produced in the vicinity of the
islands called Stœchades,[72] in the Gallic Gulf, and near the Æolian
Islands and the town of Drepana in the Sea of Sicily. Coral is to be
found growing, too, at Graviscæ, and off the coast of Neapolis in
Campania: as also at Erythræ, where it is intensely red, but soft, and
consequently little valued.

Its form is that of a shrub,[73] and its colour green: its berries are
white and soft while under water, but the moment they are removed from
it, they become hard and red, resembling the berries of cultivated
cornel in size and appearance. They say that, while alive, if it is
only touched by a person, it will immediately become as hard as stone;
and hence it is that the greatest pains are taken to prevent this, by
tearing it up from the bottom with nets, or else cutting it short with
a sharp-edged instrument of iron: from which last circumstance it is
generally supposed to have received its name of “curalium.”[74] The
reddest coral and the most branchy is held in the highest esteem; but,
at the same time, it must not be rough or hard like stone; nor yet, on
the other hand, should it be full of holes or hollow.

The berries of coral are no less esteemed by the men in India than are
the pearls of that country by the females among us: their soothsayers,
too, and diviners look upon coral as an amulet endowed with sacred
properties,[75] and a sure preservative against all dangers: hence
it is that they equally value it as an ornament and as an object of
devotion. Before it was known in what estimation coral was held by
the people of India, the Gauls were in the habit of adorning their
swords, shields, and helmets with it; but at the present day, owing to
the value set upon it as an article of exportation, it has become so
extremely rare, that it is seldom to be seen even in the regions that
produce it. Branches of coral, hung at the neck of infants,[76] are
thought to act as a preservative against danger. Calcined, pulverized,
and taken in water, coral gives relief to patients suffering from
griping pains in the bowels, affections of the bladder, and urinary
calculi. Similarly taken in wine, or, if there are symptoms of fever,
in water, it acts as a soporific. It resists the action of fire a
considerable time before it is calcined.

There is also a statement made that if this medicament is frequently
taken internally, the spleen will be gradually consumed. Powdered
coral, too, is on excellent remedy for patients who bring up or spit
blood. Calcined coral is used as an ingredient in compositions for the
eyes, being productive of certain astringent and cooling effects: it
makes flesh, also, in the cavities left by ulcers, and effaces scars
upon the skin.


In reference to that repugnance which exists between certain things,
known to the Greeks as “antipathia,” there is nothing more venomous[77]
than the pastinaca, a sea-fish which kills trees even with its sting,
as already[78] stated. And yet, poisonous as it is, the galeos[79]
pursues it; a fish which, though it attacks other marine animals as
well, manifests an enmity to the pastinaca in particular, just as on
dry land the weasel does to serpents; with such avidity does it go in
pursuit of what is poisonous even! Persons stung by the pustinaca find
a remedy in the flesh of the galeos, as also in that of the sur-mullet
and the vegetable production known as laser.[80]


The might of Nature, too, is equally conspicuous in the animals
which live upon dry land as well;[81] the beaver, for instance, more
generally known as “castor,” and the testes[82] of which are called
in medicine “castorea.” Sextius, a most careful enquirer into the
nature and history of medicinal substances, assures us that it is not
the truth that this animal, when on the point of being taken, bites
off its testes: he informs us, also, that these substances are small,
tightly knit, and attached to the back-bone, and that it is impossible
to remove them without taking the animal’s life. We learn from him that
there is a mode of adulterating them by substituting the kidneys of the
beaver, which are of considerable size, whereas the genuine testes are
found to be extremely diminutive: in addition to which, he says that
they must not be taken to be bladders, as they are two in number, a
provision not to be found in any animal. Within these pouches,[83] he
says, there is a liquid found, which is preserved by being put in salt;
the genuine castoreum being easily known from the false, by the fact
of its being contained in two pouches, attached by a single ligament.
The genuine article, he says, is sometimes fraudulently sophisticated
by the admixture of gum and blood, or else hammoniacum:[84] as the
pouches, in fact, ought to be of the same colour as this last, covered
with thin coats full of a liquid of the consistency of honey mixed with
wax, possessed of a fetid smell, of a bitter, acrid taste, and friable
to the touch.

The most efficacious castoreum is that which comes from Pontus and
Galatia, the next best being the produce of Africa. When inhaled, it
acts as a sternutatory. Mixed with oil of roses and peucedanum,[85]
and applied to the head, it is productive of narcotic effects—a result
which is equally produced by taking it in water; for which reason
it is employed in the treatment of phrenitis. Used as a fumigation,
it acts as an excitant upon patients suffering from lethargy: and
similarly employed, or used in the form of a suppository, it dispels
hysterical[86] suffocations. It acts also as an emmenagogue and as an
expellent of the afterbirth, being taken by the patient, in doses of
two drachmæ, with pennyroyal,[87] in water. It is employed also for the
cure of vertigo, opisthotony, fits of trembling, spasms, affections
of the sinews, sciatica, stomachic complaints, and paralysis, the
patient either being rubbed with it all over, or else taking it as an
electuary, bruised and incorporated with seed of vitex,[88] vinegar,
and oil of roses, to the consistency of honey. In the last form,
too, it is taken for the cure of epilepsy, and in a potion, for the
purpose of dispelling flatulency and gripings in the bowels, and for
counteracting the effects of poison.

When taken as a potion, the only difference is in the mode of mixing
it, according to the poison that it is intended to neutralize; thus,
for example, when it is taken for the sting of the scorpion, wine is
used as the medium; and when for injuries inflicted by spiders or by
the phalangium,[89] honied wine where it is intended to be brought
up again, and rue where it is desirable that it should remain upon
the stomach. For injuries inflicted by the chalcis,[90] it is taken
with myrtle wine; for the sting of the cerastes[91] or prester[92]
with panax[93] or rue in wine; and for those of other serpents, with
wine only. In all these cases two drachmæ of castoreum is the proper
dose, to one of the other ingredients respectively. It is particularly
useful, also, in combination with vinegar, in cases where viscus[94]
has been taken internally, and, with milk or water, as a neutralizer of
aconite: as an antidote to white hellebore it is taken with hydromel
and nitre.[95] It is curative, also, of tooth-ache, for which purpose
it is beaten up with oil and injected into the ear, on the side
affected. For the cure of ear-ache, the best plan is to mix it with
meconium.[96] Applied with Attic honey in the form of an ointment, it
improves the eyesight, and taken with vinegar it arrests hiccup.

The urine, too, of the beaver, is a neutralizer of poisons, and for
this reason is used as an ingredient in antidotes. The best way of
keeping it, some think, is in the bladder of the animal.


The tortoise,[97] too, is an animal that is equally amphibious with the
beaver, and possessed of medicinal properties as strongly developed;
in addition to which, it claims an equal degree of notice for the
high price which luxury sets upon its shell,[98] and the singularity
of its conformation. Of tortoises, there are various kinds, land
tortoises,[99] sea tortoises,[100] tortoises[101] which live in muddy
waters, and tortoises[101] which live in fresh; these last being
known to some Greek authors by the name of “emydes.” The flesh of
the land-tortoise is employed for fumigations more particularly, and
we find it asserted that it is highly salutary for repelling the
malpractices of magic, and for neutralizing poisons. These tortoises
are found in the greatest numbers in Africa; where the head and feet
being first cut off, it is said, they are given to persons by way of
antidote. Eaten, too, in a broth made from them, they are thought to
disperse scrofula, diminish the volume of the spleen, and effect the
cure of epilepsy. The blood of the land-tortoise improves the eyesight,
and removes cataract: it is kept also, made up with meal into pills,
which are given with wine when necessary, to neutralize the poison of
all kinds of serpents, frogs, spiders, and similar venomous animals. It
is found a useful plan, too, in cases of glaucoma, to anoint the eyes
with gall of tortoises, mixed with Attic honey, and, for the cure of
injuries inflicted by scorpions, to drop the gall into the wound.

Ashes of tortoiseshell, kneaded up with wine and oil, are used for the
cure of chaps upon the feet, and of ulcerations. The shavings of the
surface of the shell, administered in drink, act as an antaphrodisiac:
a thing that is the more surprising, from the fact that a powder
prepared from the whole of the shell has the reputation of being a
strong aphrodisiac. As to the urine of the land-tortoise, I do not
think that it can be obtained otherwise than by opening it and taking
out the bladder; this being one of those substances to which the adepts
in magic attribute such marvellous properties. For the sting of the
asp, they say, it is wonderfully effectual; and even more so, if bugs
are mixed with it. The eggs of the tortoise, hardened by keeping, are
applied to scrofulous sores and ulcers arising from burns or cold: they
are taken also for pains in the stomach.

The flesh of the sea-tortoise,[102] mixed with that of frogs, is an
excellent remedy for injuries caused by the salamander;[103] indeed
there is nothing that is a better neutralizer of the secretions of the
salamander than the sea-tortoise. The blood of this animal reproduces
the hair when lost through alopecy, and is curative of porrigo and all
kinds of ulcerations of the head; the proper method of using it being
to let it dry, and then gently wash it off. For the cure of ear-ache,
this blood is injected with woman’s milk, and for epilepsy it is eaten
with fine wheaten flour, three heminæ of the blood being mixed with one
hemina of vinegar. It is prescribed also for the cure of asthma; but
in this case in combination with one hemina of wine. Sometimes, too,
it is taken by asthmatic patients, with barley-meal and vinegar, in
pieces about the size of a bean; one of these pieces being taken each
morning and evening at first, but after some days, two in the evening.
In cases of epilepsy, the mouth of the patient is opened and this blood
introduced. For spasmodic affections, when not of a violent nature, it
is injected, in combination with castoreum, as a clyster. If a person
rinses his teeth three times a year with blood of tortoises, he will be
always exempt from tooth-ache. This blood is also a cure for asthmatic
affections, and for the malady called “orthopnœa,” being administered
for these purposes in polenta.

The gall of the tortoise improves the eye-sight, effaces scars, and
cures affections of the tonsillary glands, quinsy, and all kinds of
diseases of the mouth, cancers of that part more particularly, as well
as cancer of the testes. Applied to the nostrils it dispels epilepsy,
and sets the patient on his feet: incorporated in vinegar with the
slough of a snake, it is a sovereign remedy for purulent discharges
from the ears. Some persons add ox-gall and the broth of boiled
tortoise-flesh, with an equal proportion of snake’s slough; but in
such case, care must be taken to boil the tortoise in wine. Applied
with honey, this gall is curative of all diseases of the eyes; and for
the cure of cataract, gall of the sea-tortoise is used, in combination
with blood of the river-tortoise and milk. The hair, too, of females,
is dyed[104] with this gall. For the cure of injuries inflicted by the
salamander, it will be quite sufficient to drink the broth of boiled

There is, again, a third[105] kind of tortoise, which inhabits mud
and swampy localities: the shell on its back is flat and broad, like
that upon the breast, and the callipash is not arched and rounded, the
creature being altogether of a repulsive appearance. However, there
are some remedial medicaments to be derived even from this animal.
Thus, for instance, three of them are thrown into a fire made with
wood cuttings, and the moment their shells begin to separate they are
taken off: the flesh is then removed, and boiled with a little salt,
in one congius of water. When the water has boiled down to one third,
the broth is used, being taken by persons apprehensive of paralysis
or of diseases of the joints. The gall, too, is found very useful for
carrying off pituitous humours and corrupt blood: taken in cold water,
it has an astringent effect upon the bowels.

There is a fourth kind of tortoise, which frequents rivers. When used
for its remedial properties, the shell of the animal is removed,
and the fat separated from the flesh and beaten up with the plant
aizoüm,[106] in combination with unguent and lily seed: a preparation
highly effectual, it is said, for the cure of quartan fevers, the
patient being rubbed with it all over, the head excepted, just before
the paroxysms come on, and then well wrapped up and made to drink hot
water. It is stated also, that to obtain as much fat as possible, the
tortoise should be taken on the fifteenth day of the moon, the patient
being anointed on the sixteenth. The blood of this tortoise, dropt, by
way of embrocation, upon the region of the brain, allays head-ache;
it is curative also of scrofulous sores. Some persons recommend that
the tortoise should be laid[107] upon its back and its head cut off
with a copper knife, the blood being received in a new earthen vessel;
and they assure us that the blood of any kind of tortoise, when thus
obtained, will be an excellent liniment for the cure of erysipelas,
running ulcers upon the head, and warts. Upon the same authority, too,
we are assured that the dung of any kind of tortoise is good for the
removal of inflammatory tumours. Incredible also as the statement is,
we find it asserted by some, that ships[108] make way more slowly when
they have the right foot of a tortoise on board.


We will now proceed to classify the various remedies derived from the
aquatic animals, according to the several diseases; not that we are
by any means unaware that an exposition of all the properties of each
animal at once, would be more to the reader’s taste, and more likely
to excite his admiration; but because we consider it more conducive
to the practical benefit of mankind to have the various recipes thus
grouped and classified; seeing that this thing may be good for one
patient, that for another, and that some of these remedies may be more
easily met with in one place and some in another.


We have already[109] stated in what country the honey is venomous: the
fish known as the dorade[110] is an antidote to its effects. Honey,
even in a pure state, is sometimes productive of surfeit, and of
fits of indigestion, remarkable for their severity; the best remedy
in such case, according to Pelops, is to cut off the feet, head, and
tail, of a tortoise, and boil and eat the body; in place, however, of
the tortoise, Apelles mentions the scincus, an animal which has been
described elsewhere.[111] We have already mentioned too, on several
occasions,[112] how highly venomous is the menstruous fluid: the
surmullet, as already[113] stated, entirely neutralizes its effects.
This last fish, too, either applied topically or taken as food, acts
as an antidote to the venom[114] of the pastinaca, the land and sea
scorpion, the dragon,[115] and the phalangium.[116] The head of this
fish, taken fresh and reduced to ashes, is an active neutralizer of all
poisons, that of fungi more particularly.

It is asserted also, that if the fish called the sea-star[117] is
smeared with a fox’s blood, and then nailed to the upper lintel of the
door, or to the door itself, with a copper nail, no noxious spells will
be able to obtain admittance, or, at all events, to be productive of
any ill effects.


Stings inflicted by the sea-dragon[118] or by the sea-scorpion, are
cured by an application[119] of the flesh of those animals to the
wound; the bites, too, of spiders are healed by the same means. In
fine, as an antidote to every kind of poison, whether taken internally
or acting through the agency of a sting or bite, there is considered
to be nothing in existence more effectual than a decoction of the
sea-dragon and sea-scorpion.

There are also certain remedies of this nature derived from preserved
fish. Persons, for instance, who have received injuries from serpents,
or have been bitten by other venomous animals, are recommended to eat
salt fish, and to drink undiluted wine every now and then, so as,
through its agency, to bring up the whole of the food again by vomit:
this method being particularly good in cases where injuries have been
received from the lizard called “chalcis,”[120] the cerastes,[121] the
reptile known as the “seps,”[122] the elops,[123] or the dipsas.[124]
For the sting of the scorpion, salted fish should be taken in larger
quantities, but not brought up again, the patient submitting to any
amount of thirst it may create: salt fish, too, should be applied, by
way of plaster, to the wound. For the bite of the crocodile there is
no more efficient remedy known. For the sting of the serpent called
“prester,” the sarda[125] is particularly good. Salt fish is employed
also as a topical application for the bite of the mad dog; and even in
cases where the wound has not been cauterized with hot iron, this is
found to be sufficiently effectual as a remedy. For injuries, also,
inflicted by the sea-dragon,[126] an application is made of salt fish
steeped in vinegar. Cybium,[127] too, is productive of similar effects.
As a cure for the venomous sting inflicted with its stickle by the
sea-dragon, the fish itself is applied topically to the wound, or else
its brain, extracted whole.


The broth prepared from sea-frogs,[128] boiled in wine and vinegar,
is taken internally as a neutralizer of poisons and of the venom
of the bramble-frog,[129] as also for injuries inflicted by the
salamander.[130] For the cure of injuries caused by the sea-hare
and the various serpents above mentioned, it is a good plan to eat
the flesh of river-frogs, or to drink the liquor in which they have
been boiled: as a neutralizer, too, of the venom of the scorpion,
river-frogs are taken in wine. Democritus assures us that if the
tongue is extracted from a live frog, with no other part of the body
adhering to it, and is then applied—the frog being first replaced in
the water—to a woman while asleep, just at the spot where the heart is
felt to palpitate, she will be sure to give a truthful answer to any
question that may be put to her.

To this the Magi[131] add some other particulars, which, if there is
any truth in them, would lead us to believe that frogs ought to be
considered much more useful to society than laws.[132] They say, for
instance, that if a man takes a frog and transfixes it with a reed,
entering the body at the sexual parts and coming out at the mouth, and
then dips the reed in the menstrual discharge of his wife, she will
be sure to conceive an aversion for all paramours. That the flesh of
frogs, attached to the kype or hook, as the case may be, makes a most
excellent bait, for purples more particularly, is a well-known fact.
Frogs, they say, have a double[133] liver; and of this liver, when
exposed to the attacks of ants, the part that is most eaten away is
thought to be an effectual antidote to every kind of poison.

There are some frogs, again, which live only among brakes and thickets,
for which reason they have received the name of “rubetæ,”[134]
or “bramble-frogs,” as already[135] stated. The Greeks call them
“phryni:” they are the largest in size of all the frogs, have two
protuberances[136] like horns, and are full[137] of poison. Authors
quite vie with one another in relating marvellous stories about them;
such, for instance, as that if they are brought into the midst of a
concourse of people, silence will instantly prevail; as also that by
throwing into boiling water a small bone that is found in their right
side, the vessel will immediately cool, and the water refuse to boil
again until it has been removed. This bone, they say, may be found by
exposing a dead bramble-frog to ants, and letting them eat away the
flesh: after which the bones must be put into the vessel,[138] one by

On the other hand, again, in the left side of this reptile there
is another bone, they say, which, thrown into water, has all the
appearance of making it boil, and the name given to which is
“apocynon.”[139] This bone, it is said, has the property of assuaging
the fury of dogs, and, if put into the drink, of conciliating love
and ending discord and strife. Worn, too, as an amulet, it acts as an
aphrodisiac, we are told. The bone, on the contrary, which is taken
from the right side, acts powerfully as a refrigerative upon boiling
liquids, it is said: attached to the patient in a piece of fresh
lamb’s-skin, it has the repute of assuaging quartan and other fevers,
and of checking amorous propensities. The spleen of these frogs is used
as an antidote to the various poisons that are prepared from them; and
for all these purposes the liver is considered still more efficacious.


There is also a snake[140] which lives in the water, the fat and
gall of which, carried about them by persons when in pursuit of
the crocodile, are said to be marvellously efficacious, the beast
not venturing, in such case, to make an attack upon them. As such
preservative, they are still more effectual if mixed with the
herbaceous plant known as potamogiton.[141] River-crabs,[142] taken
fresh and beaten up and drunk in water, or the ashes of them, kept for
the purpose, are useful in all cases of poisoning, as a counter-poison:
taken with asses’ milk they are particularly serviceable as a
neutralizer of the venom of the scorpion; goats’ milk or any other
kind of milk being substituted where asses’ milk cannot be procured.
Wine, too, should also be used in all such cases. River-crabs, beaten
up with ocimum,[143] and applied to scorpions, are fatal to them. They
are possessed of similar virtues, also, for the bites of all other
kinds of venomous animals, the scytale[144] in particular, adders, the
sea-hare, and the bramble-frog. The ashes of them, preserved, are good
for persons who give symptoms of hydrophobia after being bitten by a
mad dog, some adding gentian as well, and administering the mixture
in wine. In cases, too, where hydrophobia has already appeared, it is
recommended that these ashes should be kneaded up into boluses with
wine, and swallowed. If ten of these crabs are tied together with a
handful of ocimum,[145] all the scorpions in the neighbourhood, the
magicians say, will be attracted to the spot. They recommend, also,
that to wounds inflicted by the scorpion, these crabs, or the ashes of
them, should be applied, with ocimum. For all these purposes, however,
sea-crabs, it should be remembered, are not so useful. Thrasyllus
informs us that there is nothing so antagonistic to serpents as crabs;
that swine, when stung by a serpent, cure themselves by eating them;
and that, while the sun is in the sign of Cancer,[146] serpents suffer
the greatest tortures.

The flesh, too, of river-snails, eaten either raw or boiled, is an
excellent antidote to the venom of the scorpion, some persons keeping
them salted for the purpose. These snails are applied, also, topically
to the wound.

The coracinus[147] is a fish peculiar to the river Nilus, it is true,
but the particulars we are here relating are for the benefit of all
parts of the world: the flesh of it is most excellent as an application
for the cure of wounds inflicted by scorpions. In the number of the
poisonous fishes we ought to reckon the sea-pig,[148] a fish which
causes great suffering to those who have been pierced with the pointed
fin upon its back: the proper remedy in such case is the slime taken
from the other parts of the body of the fish.


In cases of hydrophobia resulting from the bite of the mad dog, the
practice is to rub the patient’s face with the fat of the sea-calf; an
application rendered still more efficacious by the admixture of hyæna’s
marrow, oil of mastich, and wax. Bites inflicted by the muræna are
cured by an application of the head of that fish, reduced to ashes. The
pastinaca,[149] also, is remedial for its own bite, the ashes of the
same fish, or of another of the same genus, being applied to the wound
with vinegar. When this fish is intended for food, every portion of the
back that is of a saffron colour should be removed, as well as the
whole of the head: care, too, should be taken not to wash it over much;
an observation equally applicable to all kinds of shell-fish, when
intended for food, the flavour being deteriorated[150] thereby.

The hippocampus,[151] taken in drink, neutralizes the poison of the
sea-hare. As a counter-poison to dorycnium,[152] sea-urchins are
remarkably useful; as also in cases where persons have taken juice of
carpathum[153] internally; more particularly if the urchins are used
with the liquor in which they are boiled. Boiled sea-crabs, too, are
looked upon as highly efficacious in cases of poisoning by dorycnium;
and as a neutralizer of the venom of the sea-hare they are particularly


Oysters, too, neutralize the venom of the sea-hare—and now that we
are speaking of oysters, it may possibly be thought that I have not
treated of this subject at sufficient length in the former part[154]
of my work, seeing that for this long time past the palm has been
awarded to them at our tables as a most exquisite dish. Oysters love
fresh water and spots[155] where numerous rivers discharge themselves
into the sea; hence it is that the pelagia[156] are of such small size
and so few in number. Still, however, we do find them breeding among
rocks and in places far remote from the contact of fresh water, as in
the neighbourhood of Grynium[157] and of Myrina,[158] for example.
Generally speaking, they increase in size with the increase of the
moon, as already stated by us when[159] treating of the aquatic
animals: but it is at the beginning of summer, more particularly, and
when the rays of the sun penetrate the shallow waters, that they are
swollen with an abundance of milk.[160] This, too, would appear to be
the reason why they are so small when found out at sea; the opacity of
the water tending to arrest their growth, and the moping consequent
thereon producing a comparative indisposition for food.

Oysters are of various colours; in Spain they are red, in Illyricum of
a tawny hue, and at Circeii[161] black, both in meat and shell. But
in every country, those oysters are the most highly esteemed that are
compact without being slimy from their secretions, and are remarkable
more for their thickness than their breadth. They should never be taken
in either muddy or sandy spots, but from a firm, hard bottom; the
meat[162] should be compressed, and not of a fleshy consistence; and
the oyster should be free from fringed edges, and lying wholly in the
cavity of the shell. Persons of experience in these matters add another
characteristic; a fine purple thread, they say, should run round the
margins of the beard, this being looked upon as a sign of superior
quality, and obtaining for them their name of “calliblephara.”[163]

Oysters are all the better for travelling and being removed to new
waters; thus, for example, the oysters of Brundisium, it is thought,
when fed in the waters of Avernus, both retain their own native juices
and acquire the flavour of those of Lake Lucrinus.[164] Thus much with
reference to the meat of the oyster; we will now turn to the various
countries which produce it, so that no coast may be deprived of the
honours which properly belong to it. But in giving this description
we will speak in the language of another, using the words of a writer
who has evinced more careful discernment in treating of this subject
than any of the other authors of our day. These then are the words of
Mucianus, in reference to the oyster:—“The oysters of Cyzicus[165] are
larger than those of Lake Lucrinus,[166] fresher[167] than those of
the British coasts,[168] sweeter[169] than those of Medulæ,[170] more
tasty[171] than those of Ephesus, more plump than those of Lucus,[172]
less slimy than those of Coryphas,[173] more delicate than those of
Istria,[174] and whiter than those of Circeii.”[175] For all this,
however, it is a fact well ascertained that there are no oysters
fresher or more delicate than those of Circeii, last mentioned.

According to the historians of the expedition of Alexander, there
were oysters found in the Indian Sea a foot[176] in diameter: among
ourselves, too, the nomenclature of some spendthrift and gourmand has
found for certain oysters the name of “tridacna,”[177] wishing it to
be understood thereby, that they are so large as to require three
bites in eating them. We will take the present opportunity of stating
all the medicinal properties that are attributed to oysters. They are
singularly refreshing[178] to the stomach, and tend to restore the
appetite. Luxury, too, has imparted to them an additional coolness by
burying them in snow, thus making a medley of the produce of the tops
of mountains and the bottom of the sea. Oysters are slightly laxative
to the bowels; and boiled in honied wine, they relieve tenesmus, in
cases where it is unattended with ulceration. They act detergently also
upon ulcerations of the bladder.[179] Boiled in their shells, unopened
just as they come to hand, oysters are marvellously efficacious for
rheumatic defluxions. Calcined oyster-shells, mixed with honey,
allay affections of the uvula and of the tonsillary glands: they are
similarly used for imposthumes of the parotid glands, inflamed tumours,
and indurations of the mamillæ. Applied with water, these ashes are
good for ulcerations of the head, and impart a plumpness to the skin in
females. They are sprinkled, too, upon burns, and are highly esteemed
as a dentifrice. Applied with vinegar, they are good for the removal of
prurigo and of pituitous eruptions. Beaten up in a raw state, they are
curative of scrofula and of chilblains upon the feet.

Purples, too, are useful[180] as a counterpoison.


According to Nicander, sea-weed is also a theriac.[181] There are
numerous varieties of it, as already[182] stated; one, for instance,
with an elongated leaf, another red, another again with a broader leaf,
and another crisped. The most esteemed kind of all is that which grows
off the shores of Crete, upon the rocks there, close to the ground:
it being used also for dyeing wool, as it has the property[183] of
so fixing the colours as never to allow of their being washed out.
Nicander recommends it to be taken with wine.


Ashes of the hippocampus,[184] mixed with nitre[185] and hog’s lard, or
else used solely with vinegar, are curative of alopecy; the skin being
first prepared for the reception of the necessary medicaments by an
application of powdered bone of sæpia.[186] Alopecy is cured also with
ashes of the sea-mouse,[187] mixed with oil; ashes of the sea-urchin,
burnt, flesh and all together; the gall of the sea-scorpion;[188] or
else ashes of three frogs burnt alive in an earthen pot, applied with
honey, or what is still better, in combination with tar. Leeches left
to putrefy for forty days in red wine stain the hair black. Others,
again, recommend one sextarius of leeches to be left to putrefy the
same number of days in a leaden vessel, with two sextarii of vinegar,
the hair to be well rubbed with the mixture in the sun. According
to Sornatius, this preparation is naturally so penetrating, that if
females, when they apply it, do not take the precaution of keeping
some oil in the mouth, the teeth even will become blackened thereby.
Ashes of burnt shells of the murex or purple are used as a liniment,
with honey, for ulcerations of the head; the shells, too, of other
shell-fish,[189] powdered merely, and not calcined, are very useful
for the same purpose, applied with water. For the cure of head-ache,
castoreum is employed, in combination with peucedanum[190] and oil of


The fat of all kinds of fish, both fresh-water as well as sea fish,
melted in the sun and incorporated with honey, is an excellent
improver of the eye-sight;[191] the same, too, with castoreum,[192] in
combination with honey. The gall of the callionymus[193] heals marks
upon the eyes and cauterizes fleshy excrescences about those organs:
indeed, there is no fish with a larger quantity of gall than this, an
opinion expressed too by Menander in his Comedies.[194] This fish is
known also as the “uranoscopos,”[195] from the eyes being situate in
the upper part of the head.[196] The gall, too, of the coracinus[197]
has the effect of sharpening the eyesight.

The gall of the red sea-scorpion,[198] used with stale oil or Attic
honey, disperses incipient cataract; for which purpose, the application
should be made three times, on alternate days. A similar method is
also employed for removing indurations[199] of the membrane of the
eyes. The surmullet, used as a diet, weakens the eyesight, it is said.
The sea-hare is poisonous itself, but the ashes of it are useful as
an application for preventing superfluous hairs on the eyelids from
growing again, when they have been once pulled out by the roots. For
this purpose, however, the smaller the fish is, the better. Small
scallops, too, are salted and beaten up with cedar resin for a similar
purpose, or else the frogs known as “diopetes”[200] and “calamitæ,”
are used; the blood of them being applied with vine gum to the eyelids,
after the hairs have been removed.

Powdered shell[201] of sæpia, applied with woman’s milk, allays
swellings and inflammations of the eyes; employed by itself it removes
eruptions of the eyelids. When this remedy is used, it is the practice
to turn up the eyelids, and to leave the medicament there a few moments
only; after which, the part is anointed with oil of roses, and the
inflammation modified by the application of a bread-poultice. Powdered
bone of sæpia is used also for the treatment of nyctalopy, being
applied to the eyes with vinegar. Reduced to ashes, this substance
removes scales upon the eyes: applied with honey, it effaces marks upon
those organs: and used with salt and cadmia,[202] one drachma of each,
it disperses webs which impede the eyesight, as also albugo in the eyes
of cattle. They say, too, that if the eyelids are rubbed with the small
bone[203] taken from this fish, a perfect cure will be experienced.

Sea-urchins, applied with vinegar, cause epinyctis to disappear.
According to what the magicians say, they should be burnt with vipers’
skins and frogs, and the ashes sprinkled in the drink; a great
improvement of the eyesight being guaranteed as the sure result.

“Ichthyocolla”[204] is the name given to a fish with a glutinous skin;
the glue made from which is also known by the same name, and is highly
useful for the removal of epinyctis. Some persons, however, assert that
it is from the belly of the fish, and not the skin—as in the case of
bull glue—that the ichthyocolla is prepared. That of Pontus[205] is
highly esteemed: it is white, free from veins or scales, and dissolves
with the greatest rapidity. The proper way of using it, is to cut it
into small pieces, and then to leave it to soak in water or vinegar
a night and a day, after which it should be pounded with sea-shore
pebbles, to make it melt the more easily. It is generally asserted that
this substance is good for pains in the head and for tetanus.

The right eye of a frog, suspended from the neck in a piece of cloth
made from wool of the natural colour,[206] is a cure for ophthalmia in
the right eye; and the left eye of a frog, similarly suspended, for
ophthalmia in the left. If the eyes, too, of a frog are taken out at
the time of the moon’s conjunction, and similarly worn by the patient,
enclosed in an eggshell, they will effectually remove indurations of
the membrane of the eyes. The rest of the flesh applied topically,
removes all marks resulting from blows. The eyes, too, of a crab, worn
attached to the neck, by way of amulet, are a cure for ophthalmia, it
is said. There is a small frog[207] which lives in reed-beds and among
grass more particularly, never croaks, being quite destitute of voice,
is of a green colour, and is apt to cause tympanitis in cattle, if
they should happen to swallow it. The slimy moisture on this reptile’s
body, scraped off with a spatula and applied to the eyes, greatly
improves the sight, they say: the flesh, too, is employed as a topical
application for the removal of pains in the eyes.

Some persons take fifteen frogs, and after spitting them upon as many
bulrushes, put them into a new earthen vessel: they then mix the juices
which flow from them, with gum of the white vine,[208] and use it as
an application for the eye-lids; first pulling out such eye-lashes
as are in the way, and then dropping the preparation with the point
of a needle into the places from which the hairs have been removed.
Meges[209] used to prepare a depilatory for the eyelids, by killing
frogs in vinegar, and leaving them to putrefy; for which purpose
he employed the spotted frogs which make their appearance in vast
numbers[210] during the rains of autumn. Ashes of burnt leeches, it
is thought, applied in vinegar, are productive of a similar effect;
care must be taken, however, to burn them in a new earthen vessel.
Dried liver, too, of the tunny,[211] made up into an ointment, in
the proportion of four denarii, with oil of cedar, and applied as
a depilatory for nine months together, is considered to be highly
effectual for this purpose.


For diseases of the ears, fresh gall of the fish called “batia”[212]
is remarkably good; the same, too, when it has been kept in wine. The
gall, also, of the bacchus,[213] by some known as the “myxon,” is
equally good; as also that of the callionymus,[214] injected into the
ears with oil of roses, or else castoreum,[215] used with poppy-juice.
There are certain animals too, known as “sea-lice,”[216] which are
recommended as an injection for the ears, beaten up with vinegar.
Wool, too, that has been dyed with the juice of the murex, employed
by itself, is highly useful for this purpose; some persons, however
moisten it with vinegar and nitre.[217]

Others, again, more particularly recommend for all affections of the
ears one cyathus of the best garum,[218] with one cyathus and a half
of honey, and one cyathus of vinegar, the whole gently boiled in a new
pot over a slow fire, and skimmed with a feather every now and then:
when it has become wholly free from scum, it is injected lukewarm into
the ears. In cases where the ears are swollen, the same authorities
recommend that the swellings should be first reduced with juice of
coriander. The fat of frogs, injected into the ears, instantly removes
all pains in these organs. The juice of river-crabs, kneaded up with
barley-meal, is a most effectual remedy for wounds in the ears. Shells
of the murex, reduced to ashes, and applied with honey, or the burnt
shells of other shell-fish,[219] used with honied wine, are curative of
imposthumes of the parotid glands.


Tooth-ache is alleviated by scarifying the gums with bones of the
sea-dragon, or by rubbing the teeth once a year with the brains of a
dog-fish[220] boiled in oil, and kept for the purpose. It is a very
good plan too, for the cure of tooth-ache, to lance the gums with
the sting of the pastinaca[221] in some cases. This sting, too, is
pounded, and applied to the teeth with white hellebore, having the
effect of extracting them without the slightest difficulty. Another of
these remedies is, ashes of salted fish calcined in an earthen vessel,
mixed with powdered marble. Stale cybium,[222] rinsed in a new earthen
vessel, and then pounded, is very useful for the cure of tooth-ache.
Equally good, it is said, are the back-bones of all kinds of salt fish,
pounded and applied in a liniment. A decoction is made of a single frog
boiled in one hemina of vinegar, and the teeth are rinsed with it, the
decoction being retained in the mouth. In cases where a repugnance
existed to making use of this remedy, Sallustius Dionysius[223] used
to suspend frogs over boiling vinegar by the hind legs, so as to make
them discharge their humours into the vinegar by the mouth, using
considerable numbers of frogs for the purpose: to those, however, who
had a stronger stomach, he prescribed the frogs themselves, eaten with
their broth. It is generally thought, too, that this recipe applies
more particularly to the double teeth, and that the vinegar prepared as
above-mentioned, is remarkably useful for strengthening them when loose.

For this last purpose, some persons cut off the legs of two frogs,
and then macerate the bodies in two heminæ of wine, recommending this
preparation as a collutory for strengthening loose teeth. Others attach
the frogs, whole, to the exterior of the jaws:[224] and with some it is
the practice to boil ten frogs, in three sextarii of vinegar, down to
one-third, and to use the decoction as a strengthener of loose teeth.
By certain authorities, too, it has been recommended to boil the hearts
of six-and-thirty frogs beneath a copper vessel, in one sextarius of
old oil, and then to inject the decoction into the ear on the same side
of the jaw as the part affected: while others again have used, as an
application for the teeth, a frog’s liver, boiled, and beaten up with
honey. All the preparations above described will be found still more
efficacious if made from the sea-frog.[225] In cases where the teeth
are carious and emit an offensive smell, it is recommended to dry some
whale’s[226] flesh in an oven for a night, and then to add an equal
quantity of salt, and use the mixture as a dentifrice. “Enhydris”[227]
is the name given by the Greeks to a snake that lives in the water.
With the four upper teeth of this reptile, it is the practice, for the
cure of aching in the upper teeth, to lance the upper gums, and with
the four lower teeth, for aching in the lower. Some persons, however,
content themselves with using an eyetooth only. Ashes, too, of burnt
crabs are used for this purpose; and the murex, reduced to ashes, makes
an excellent dentifrice.


Lichens and leprous spots are removed by applying the fat of the
sea-calf,[228] ashes of the mæna[229] in combination with three oboli
of honey, liver of the pastinaca[230] boiled in oil, or ashes of the
dolphin or hippocampus[231] mixed with water. After the parts have
been duly excoriated, a cicatrizing treatment ought to be pursued.
Some persons bake dolphin’s liver in an earthen vessel, till a grease
flows therefrom like oil[232] in appearance: this they use by way of
ointment for these diseases.

Burnt shells of the murex or purple, applied with honey, have a
detergent effect upon spots on the face in females: used as an
application for seven consecutive days, a fomentation made of white
of eggs being substituted on the eighth, they efface wrinkles, and
plump out the skin. To the genus “murex” belong the shell-fish known
by the Greeks as “coluthia” or “coryphia,” equally turbinated, but
considerably smaller: for all the above purposes they are still more
efficacious, and the use of them tends to preserve the sweetness of
the breath. Fish-glue[233] effaces wrinkles and plumps out the skin;
being boiled for the purpose in water some four hours, and then
pounded and kneaded up till it attains a thin consistency, like that
of honey. After being thus prepared, it is put by in a new vessel for
keeping; and, when wanted for use, is mixed, in the proportion of four
drachmæ, with two drachmæ of sulphur, two of alkanet, and eight of
litharge; the whole being sprinkled with water and beaten up together.
The preparation is then applied to the face, and is washed off at the
end of four hours. For the cure of freckles and other affections of
the face, calcined bones of cuttle-fish are also used; an application
which is equally good for the removal of fleshy excrescences and the
dispersion of running sores.

(8.) For the cure of itch-scab, a frog is boiled in five semisextarii
of sea-water, the decoction being reduced to the consistency of honey.
There is a sea production called “halcyoneum,” composed, as some
think, of the nests[234] of the birds known as the “halcyon”[235] and
“ceyx,” or, according to others, of the concretion of sea-foam, or of
some slime of the sea, or a certain lanuginous inflorescence thrown
up by it. Of this halcyoneum there are four different kinds; the
first, of an ashy colour, of a compact substance, and possessed of a
pungent odour; the second, soft, of a milder nature, and with a smell
almost identical with that of sea-weed; the third, whiter, and with
a variegated surface; the fourth, more like pumice in appearance, and
closely resembling rotten sponge. The best of all is that which nearly
borders upon a purple hue, and is known as the “Milesian” kind: the
whiter it is, the less highly it is esteemed.

The properties of halcyoneum are ulcerative and detergent: when
required for use, it is parched and applied without oil. It is quite
marvellous how efficiently it removes leprous sores, lichens, and
freckles, used in combination with lupines and two oboli of sulphur.
It is employed, also, for the removal of marks upon the eyes.[236]
Andreas[237] has recommended for the cure of leprosy ashes of burnt
crabs, with oil; and Attalus,[238] fresh fat of tunny.


Ulcerations of the mouth are cured by an application of brine in
which mænæ[239] have been pickled, in combination with calcined heads
of the fish, and honey. For the cure of scrofula, it is a good plan
to prick the sores with the small bone that is found in the tail
of the fish known as the sea-frog;[240] care being taken to avoid
making a wound, and to repeat the operation daily, until a perfect
cure is effected. The same property, too, belongs to the sting of the
pastinaca, and to the sea-hare, applied topically to the sores: but in
both cases due care must be taken to remove them in an instant. Shells
of sea-urchins are bruised, also, and applied with vinegar; shells
also of sea-scolopendræ,[241] applied with honey; and river-crabs
pounded or calcined, and applied with honey. Bones, too, of the sæpia,
triturated and applied with stale axle-grease, are marvellously useful
for this purpose. This last preparation is used, also, for the cure of
imposthumes of the parotid glands; a purpose for which the liver of the
sea-fish known as the “saurus”[242] is employed. Nay, even more than
this, fragments of earthen vessels in which salt fish have been kept
are pounded with stale axle-grease, and applied to scrofulous sores and
imposthumes of the parotid glands; as also calcined murex, incorporated
with oil. Stiffness in the neck is allayed by taking what are known as
sea-lice,[243] in doses of one drachma in drink, taking castoreum[244]
mixed with pepper in honied wine, or making a decoction of frogs in oil
and salt, and taking the liquor.

Opisthotony, too, and tetanus are treated in a similar manner; and
spasms, with the addition of pepper. Ashes of burnt heads of salted
mænæ are applied externally, with honey, for the cure of quinsy; as
also a decoction of frogs, boiled in vinegar, a preparation which is
equally good for affections of the tonsillary glands. River-crabs,
pounded, one to each hemina of water, are used as a gargle for the cure
of quinsy; or else they are taken with wine and hot water. Garum,[245]
put beneath the uvula with a spoon, effectually cures diseases of that
part. The silurus,[246] used as food, either fresh or salted, improves
the voice.


Surmullets act as an emetic, dried and pounded, and taken in drink.
Castoreum, taken fasting, with a small quantity of hammoniacum[247]
in oxymel, is extremely good for asthma: spasms, too, in the stomach
are assuaged by taking a similar potion with warm oxymel. Frogs stewed
in their own liquor in the saucepan, the same way in fact that fish
are dressed, are good for a cough, it is said. In some cases, also,
frogs are suspended by the legs, and after their juices[248] have been
received in a platter, it is recommended to gut them, and the entrails
being first carefully removed, to preserve them for the above purpose.
There is a small frog,[249] also, which ascends trees, and croaks aloud
there: if a person suffering from cough spits into its mouth and then
lets it go, he will experience a cure, it is said. For cough attended
with spitting of blood, it is recommended to beat up the raw flesh of a
snail, and to drink it in hot water.


For pains in the liver, a sea-scorpion is killed in wine, and the
liquid is taken. The meat, too, of the elongated conch[250] is taken
with honied wine and water, in equal quantities, or, if there are
symptoms of fever, with hydromel. Pains in the side are assuaged
by taking the flesh of the hippocampus,[251] grilled, or else the
tethea,[252] very similar to the oyster, with the ordinary food. For
sciatica, the pickle of the silurus is injected, by way of clyster.
The flesh of conchs, too, is prescribed, for fifteen days, in doses of
three oboli soaked in two sextarii of wine.


The silurus,[253] taken in its broth, or the torpedo,[254] used as
food, acts as a laxative upon the bowels. There is a sea-wort,[255]
also, similar in appearance to the cultivated cabbage: it is injurious
to the stomach, but acts most efficiently as a purgative, requiring
to be cooked with fat meat for the purpose, in consequence of its
extreme acridity. The broth, too, of all boiled fish is good for
this purpose; it acting, also, as a strong diuretic, taken with wine
more particularly. The best kind of all is that prepared from the
sea-scorpion, the iulis,[256] and rock-fish in general, as they are
destitute of all rankness and are free from fat. The proper way of
cooking them is with dill, parsley, coriander, and leeks, with the
addition of oil and salt. Stale cybium,[257] too, acts as a purgative,
and is particularly useful for carrying off crudities, pituitous
humours, and bile.

The myax[258] is of a purgative nature, a shell-fish of which we shall
take this opportunity of giving the natural history at length. These
fish collect together in masses, like the murex,[259] and are found
in spots covered with sea-weed. They are the finest eating in autumn,
and are found in the greatest perfection in places where fresh-water
streams discharge themselves into the sea; for which reason it is that
those of Egypt are held in such high esteem. As the winter advances,
they contract a bitter flavour, and assume a reddish hue. The liquor
of these fish, it is said, acts as a purgative upon the bowels and
bladder, has a detergent effect upon the intestines, acts aperiently
upon all the passages, purges the kidneys, and diminishes the blood
and adipose secretions. Hence it is that these shell-fish are found of
the greatest use for the treatment of dropsy, for the regulation of
the catamenia, and for the removal of jaundice, all diseases of the
joints, and flatulency. They are very good, also, for the reduction
of obesity, for diseases of the bile and of the pituitous secretions,
for affections of the lungs, liver, and spleen, and for rheumatic
defluxions. The only inconvenience resulting from them is, that they
irritate the throat and impede the articulation. They have, also, a
healing effect upon ulcers of a serpiginous nature, or which stand in
need of detergents, as also upon carcinomatous sores. Calcined, the
same way as the murex, and employed with honey, they are curative of
bites inflicted either by dogs or human beings, and of leprous spots or
freckles. The ashes of them, rinsed, are good for the removal of films
upon the eyes, granulations of those organs and indurations of the
membrane, as also for diseases of the gums and teeth, and for pituitous
eruptions. They serve, also, as an antidote to dorycnium[260] and to
opocarpathon.[261] There are two species of this shell-fish, of a
degenerate kind: the mitulus,[262] which has a strong flavour, and a
saltish taste; and the myisca,[263] which differs from the former in
the roundness of its shell, is somewhat smaller, and is covered with
filaments, the shell being thinner, and the meat of a sweeter flavour.
The ashes, also, of the mitulus, like those of the murex, are possessed
of certain caustic properties, and are very useful for the removal of
leprous spots, freckles, and blemishes of the skin. They are rinsed,
too, in the same manner as lead,[264] for the removal of swellings
of the eyelids, of indurations of the membranes, and of films upon
the eyes, as also of sordid ulcers upon other parts of the body, and
of pustules upon the head. The meat of them, also, is employed as an
application for bites inflicted by dogs.

As to pelorides,[265] they act as a gentle laxative upon the bowels, an
effect equally produced by castoreum, taken in doses of two drachmæ,
in hydromel: where, however, a more drastic purgative is required,
one drachma of dried garden-cucumber root is added, and two drachmæ
of aphronitrum.[266] The tethea[267] is good for griping pains in the
bowels and for attacks of flatulency: they are generally found adhering
to the leaves of marine plants, sucking their nutriment therefrom, and
may be rather looked upon as a sort of fungus than as a fish. They
are useful, also, for the removal of tenesmus and of diseases of the

There grows also in the sea a kind of absinthium, known by some persons
as “seriphum,”[268] and found in the vicinity of Taposiris,[269] in
Egypt, more particularly. It is of a more slender form than the land
absinthium, acts as a purgative upon the bowels, and effectually
removes intestinal worms. The sæpia, too, is a laxative; for which
purpose these fish are administered[270] with the food, boiled with a
mixture of oil, salt, and meal. Salted mænæ,[271] applied with bull’s
gall to the navel, acts as a purgative upon the bowels.

The liquor of fish, boiled in the saucepan with lettuces, dispels
tenesmus. River-crabs,[272] beaten up and taken with water, act
astringently upon the bowels, and they have a diuretic effect, if
taken with white wine. Deprived of the legs, and taken in doses of
three oboli with myrrh and iris, one drachma of each, they disperse
urinary calculi. For the cure of the iliac passion and of attacks of
flatulency, castoreum[273] should be taken, with seed of daucus[274]
and of parsley, a pinch in three fingers of each, the whole being mixed
with four cyathi of warm honied wine. Griping pains in the bowels
should be treated with castoreum and a mixture of dill and wine. The
fish called “erythinus,”[275] used as food, acts astringently upon the
bowels. Dysentery is cured by taking frogs boiled with squills, and
prepared in the form of boluses, or else hearts of frogs beaten up with
honey, as Niceratus[276] recommends. For the cure of jaundice, salt
fish should be taken with pepper, the patient abstaining from all other
kinds of meat.


For the cure of spleen diseases, the fish known as the sole[277]
is applied to that part; the torpedo,[278] also, or else a
live turbot;[279] it being then set at liberty in the sea. The
sea-scorpion,[280] killed in wine, is a cure for diseases of the
bladder and for urinary calculi; the stone, also, that is found in the
tail[281] of this last fish, taken in drink, in doses of one obolus;
the liver of the enhydris;[282] and the ashes of the fish called
“blendius;”[283] taken with rue. In the head, too, of the fish called
“bacchus,”[284] there are found certain small stones, as it were:
these, taken in water, six in number, are an excellent cure for urinary
calculi. They say, too, that the sea-nettle,[285] taken in wine, is
very useful for this purpose, as also the pulmo marinus,[286] boiled
in water. The eggs of the sæpia have a diuretic effect, and carry off
pituitous humours from the kidneys. Ruptures and convulsions are very
effectually treated by taking river-crabs,[287] bruised in asses’ milk
more particularly; and urinary calculi by drinking sea-urchins pounded,
spines and all, in wine; the due proportion being one semisextarius of
wine for each urchin, and the treatment being continued till its good
effects are visible. The flesh, too, of the sea-urchin, taken as food,
is very useful as a remedy for the same malady.

Scallops[288] also, taken as food, act detergently upon the bladder:
the male fish is by some persons called “donax,” and by others “aulos,”
the female being known as “onyx.”[289] The male scallop has a diuretic
effect: the flesh of the female is sweeter than that of the male, and
of an uniform colour. The eggs, too, of the sæpia promote the urinary
secretions, and act detergently upon the kidneys.


For the cure of intestinal hernia the sea-hare is applied, bruised with
honey. The liver of the water-snake,[290] and that of the hydrus,[291]
bruised and taken in drink, are remedial for urinary calculi. Sciatica
is cured by using the pickle of the silurus[292] as a clyster, the
bowels being first thoroughly purged. For chafing of the fundament,
an application is made of heads of mullets and surmullets, reduced
to ashes; for which purpose they are calcined in an earthen vessel,
and must be applied in combination with honey. Calcined heads, too,
of the fish known as mænæ[293] are useful for the cure of chaps and
condylomata; as also heads of salted pelamides,[294] reduced to ashes,
or calcined cybium,[295] applied with honey.

The torpedo,[296] applied topically, reduces procidence of the rectum.
River-crabs,[297] reduced to ashes, and applied with oil and wax, are
curative of chaps of the fundament: sea-crabs, too, are equally useful
for the purpose.


The pickle of the coracinus[298] disperses inflammatory tumours; an
effect which is equally produced by using the calcined intestines
and scales of the sciæna.[299] The sea-scorpion,[300] too, is used
for the same purpose, boiled in wine, and applied as a fomentation to
the part affected. Shells of sea-urchins, bruised and applied with
water, act as a check upon incipient inflammatory tumours. Ashes of
the murex, or of the purple, are employed in either case, whether it
is wanted to disperse inflammatory tumours in an incipient state, or
to bring them to a head and break them. Some authorities prescribe
the following preparation: of wax and frankincense twenty drachmæ, of
litharge forty drachmæ, of calcined murex ten drachmæ, and of old oil,
one semisextarius. Salt fish, boiled and applied by itself, is highly
useful for the above purposes.

River crabs, bruised and applied, disperse pustules on the generative
organs: the same, too, with calcined heads of mænæ,[301] or the flesh
of that fish, boiled and applied. Heads of salted perch,[302] reduced
to ashes, and applied with honey, are equally useful for the purpose;
or else calcined heads of pelamides,[303] or skin of the squatina
reduced to ashes.[304] It is the skin of this fish that is used, as
already[305] stated, for giving a polish to wood; for the sea even, we
find, furnishes its aid to our artificers. For a similar purpose the
fishes called “smarides”[306] are applied topically; as also ashes of
the shell of the murex or of the purple, applied with honey; which last
are still more efficacious when the flesh has been burnt with the shell.

Salt fish, boiled with honey, is particularly good for the cure of
carbuncles upon the generative organs. For relaxation of the testes,
the slime[307] of snails is recommended, applied in the form of a


The flesh of hippocampi,[308] grilled and taken frequently as food,
is a cure for incontinence of urine; the ophidion,[309] too, a little
fish similar to the conger in appearance, eaten with a lily root; or
the small fry found in the bellies of larger fish that have swallowed
them, reduced to ashes and taken in water. It is recommended, too, to
burn[310] African snails, both shells and flesh, and to administer the
ashes with wine[311] of Signia.


For the cure of gout and of diseases of the joints, oil is useful
in which the intestines of frogs have been boiled. Ashes, too, of
burnt bramble-frogs[312] are similarly employed, with stale grease;
in addition to which, some persons use calcined barley, the three
ingredients being mixed in equal proportions. It is recommended too,
in cases of gout, to rub the parts affected with a sea-hare,[313]
fresh caught, and to wear shoes made of beaver’s skin, Pontic beaver
more particularly, or else of sea-calf’s[314] skin, an animal the fat
of which is very useful for the purpose: the same being the case also
with bryon, a plant of which we have already spoken,[315] similar to
the lettuce in appearance, but with more wrinkled leaves, and destitute
of stem. This plant is of a styptic nature, and, applied topically, it
tends to modify the paroxysms of gout. The same, too, with sea-weed, of
which we have also spoken already;[316] due precaution being taken not
to apply it dry.

Chilblains are cured by applying the pulmo marinus;[317] ashes of
sea-crabs with oil; river crabs,[318] bruised and burnt to ashes and
kneaded up with oil; or else fat of the silurus.[319] In diseases of
the joints, the paroxysms are modified by applying fresh frogs every
now and then: some authorities recommend that they should be split
asunder before being applied. The liquor from mussels[320] and other
shell-fish has a tendency to make flesh.


Epileptic patients, as already[321] stated, are recommended to drink
the rennet of the sea-calf,[322] mixed with mares’ milk or asses’
milk, or else with pomegranate juice, or, in some cases, with oxymel:
some persons, too, swallow the rennet by itself, in the form of
pills. Castoreum[323] is sometimes administered, in three cyathi of
oxymel, to the patient fasting; but where the attacks are frequent,
it is employed in the form of a clyster, with marvellous effect. The
proper proportions, in this last case, are two drachmæ of castoreum,
one sextarius of oil and honey, and the same quantity of water. At
the moment that the patient is seized with a fit, it is a good plan
to give him castoreum, with vinegar, to smell. The liver, too, of
the sea-weasel[324] is given to epileptic patients, or else that of
sea-mice,[325] or the blood of tortoises.


Recurrent fevers are effectually checked by making the patient
taste the liver of a dolphin, just before the paroxysm comes on.
Hippocampi[326] are stifled in oil of roses, and the patients are
rubbed therewith in cold agues, the fish, also, being worn as an amulet
by the patient. In the same way, too, the small stones that are found
at full moon in the head of the fish called “asellus”[327] are worn,
attached in a piece of linen cloth to the patient’s body. A similar
virtue is attributed to the longest tooth of the river-fish called
phagrus,[328] attached to the patient with a hair, provided he does not
see the person who attaches it to him for five days. Frogs are boiled
in oil in a spot where three roads meet, and, the flesh being first
thrown away, the patients are rubbed with the decoction, by way of cure
for quartan fever. Some persons, again, suffocate frogs in oil, and,
after attaching them to the patient without his knowing it, anoint him
with the oil. The heart of a frog, worn as an amulet, modifies the
cold chills in fevers; the same, too, with oil in which the intestines
of frogs have been boiled. But the best remedy for quartan fevers, is
to wear attached to the body either frogs from which the claws have
been[329] removed, or else the liver or heart of a bramble-frog,[330]
attached in a piece of russet-coloured cloth.

River-crabs,[331] bruised in oil and water, are highly beneficial in
fevers, the patient being anointed with the preparation just before
the paroxysms come on: some authorities recommend the addition of
pepper to the mixture. Others prescribe for quartan fevers a decoction
of river-crabs in wine, boiled down to one fourth, the patient taking
it at the moment of leaving the bath: by some, too, it is recommended
to swallow the left eye of a river-crab. The magicians engage to
cure a tertian fever, by attaching as an amulet to the patient,
before sunrise, the eyes of river-crabs, the crabs when thus blinded
being set at liberty in the water. They say, too, that these eyes,
attached to the body in a piece of deer’s hide, with the flesh of a
nightingale,[332] will dispel sleep and promote watchfulness. In cases
where there are symptoms of lethargy, the rennet of the balæna[333] or
of the sea-calf[334] is given to the patient to smell; some persons,
too, use the blood of tortoises as a liniment for lethargic patients.

Tertian fevers, it is said, may be cured by wearing one of the
vertebræ[335] of a perch attached to the body, and quartan fevers by
using fresh river snails, as an aliment. Some persons preserve these
snails in salt for this purpose, and give them, pounded, in drink.


Strombi,[336] left to putrefy in vinegar, act as an excitant upon
lethargic patients by their smell; they are very useful, too, for the
cure of cardiac diseases. For cachectic patients, where the body is
wasting with consumption, tetheæ[337] are considered beneficial, mixed
with rue and honey. For the cure of dropsy, dolphin’s fat is melted and
taken with wine, the repulsive taste of it being neutralized by first
touching the nostrils with unguent or some other odoriferous substance,
or else by plugging the nostrils in some way or other. The flesh of
strombi, pounded and given in three heminæ of honied wine and the same
quantity of water, or, if there is fever, in hydromel, is very useful
for dropsy: the same, too, with the juice of river-crabs, administered
with honey. Water frogs, too, are boiled with old wine and spelt,[338]
and taken as food, the liquor in which they have been boiled being
drunk from the same vessel: or else the feet, head, and tail of a
tortoise are cut off, and the intestines removed, the rest of the flesh
being seasoned in such a manner as to allow of its being taken without
loathing. River-crabs, too, eaten with their broth, are said to be very
good for the cure of phthisis.


Burns are cured by applying ashes of calcined sea-crabs or river-crabs
with oil: fish-glue, too, and calcined frogs are used as an application
for scalds produced by boiling water. The same treatment also restores
the hair, provided the ashes are those of river-crabs: it is generally
thought, too, that the preparation should be applied with wax and
bears’ grease. Ashes, too, of burnt beaver-skin are very useful for
these purposes. Live frogs act as a check upon erysipelas, the belly
side being applied to the part affected: it is recommended, too, to
attach them lengthwise by the hinder legs, so as to render them more
beneficial by reason of their increased respiration.[339] Heads, too,
of salted siluri[340] are reduced to ashes and applied with vinegar.

Prurigo and itch-scab, not only in man but in quadrupeds as well, are
most efficaciously treated with the liver of the pastinaca[341] boiled
in oil.


The exterior callosity with which the flesh of purples is covered,
beaten up, unites the sinews, even when they have been severed
asunder. It is a good plan, for patients suffering from tetanus,
to take sea-calf’s rennet in wine, in doses of one obolus, as also
fish-glue.[342] Persons affected with fits of trembling find much
relief from castoreum,[343] provided they are well anointed with oil.
I find it stated that the surmullet,[344] used as an article of diet,
acts injuriously upon the sinews.


Fish, used as an aliment, it is generally thought, make blood. The
polyp,[345] bruised and applied, arrests hæmorrhage, it is thought: in
addition to which we find stated the following particulars respecting
it—that of itself it emits a sort of brine, in consequence of which,
there is no necessity to use any in cooking it—that it should always
be sliced with a reed—and that it is spoilt by using an iron knife,
becoming tainted thereby, owing to the antipathy[346] which naturally
exists [between it and iron]. For the purpose also of arresting
hæmorrhage, ashes of burnt frogs are applied topically, or else the
dried blood of those animals. Some authorities recommend the frog to
be used, that is known by the Greeks as “calamites,”[347] from the
fact that it lives among reeds[348] and shrubs; it is the smallest
and greenest of all the frogs, and either the blood or the ashes
of it are recommended to be employed. Others, again, prescribe, in
cases of bleeding at the nostrils, an injection of the ashes of young
water-frogs, in the tadpole state, calcined in a new earthen vessel.

On the other hand, again, in cases where it is required to let blood,
the kind of leech is used which is known among us by the name of
“sanguisuga.[349]” Indeed, the action of these leeches is looked upon
as pretty much the same as that of the cupping-glasses[350] used in
medicine, their effect being to relieve the body of superfluous blood,
and to open the pores of the skin. Still, however, there is this
inconvenience attending them—when they have been once applied, they
create a necessity[351] for having recourse to the same treatment at
about the same period in every succeeding year. Many physicians have
been of opinion also, that leeches may be successfully applied in cases
of gout. When gorged, they fall off in consequence of losing their hold
through the weight of the blood, but if not, they must be sprinkled
with salt[352] for the purpose.

Leeches are apt, however, to leave their heads buried in the flesh;
the consequence of which is an incurable wound, which has caused death
in many cases, that of Messalinus,[353] for example, a patrician of
consular rank, after an application of leeches to his knee. When this
is the case, that which was intended as a remedy is turned into an
active poison;[354] a result which is to be apprehended in using the
red leeches more particularly. Hence it is that when these last are
employed, it is the practice to snip them with a pair of scissors while
sucking; the consequence of which is, that the blood oozes forth,
through a siphon, as it were, and the head, gradually contracting as
the animal dies, is not left behind in the wound. There is a natural
antipathy[355] existing between leeches and bugs, and hence it is that
the latter are killed by the aid of a fumigation made with leeches.
Ashes of beaver-skin burnt with tar, kneaded up with leek-juice, arrest
bleeding at the nostrils.


To extract pointed weapons which have pierced the flesh, ashes of
calcined shells of the sæpia are used, as also of the purple, the meat
of salted fish, bruised river-crabs, or flesh of the silurus[356] (a
river-fish that is found in other streams as well as the Nilus[357]),
applied either fresh or salted. The ashes also of this fish, as
well as the fat, have the property of extracting pointed bodies,
and the back-bone, in a calcined state, is used as a substitute for


Ulcers of a serpiginous nature, as also the fleshy excrescences which
make their appearance in them, are kept in check by applying ashes
of calcined heads of mænæ,[359] or else ashes of the silurus.[360]
Carcinomata, too, are treated with heads of salted perch, their
efficacy being considerably increased by using some salt along
with the ashes, and kneading them up with heads of cunila[361] and
olive-oil. Ashes of sea-crabs, calcined with lead, arrest the progress
of carcinomatous sores; a purpose for which ashes of river-crabs, in
combination with honey and fine lint, are equally useful: though there
are some authorities which prefer mixing alum and barley with the
ashes. Phagedænic ulcers are cured by an application of dried silurus
pounded with sandarach;[362] malignant cancers, corrosive ulcers, and
putrid sores, by the agency of stale cybium.[363]

Maggots that breed in sores are removed by applying frogs’ gall; and
fistulas are opened and dried by introducing a tent made of salt fish,
with a dossil of lint. Salt fish, kneaded up and applied in the form
of a plaster, will remove all proud flesh in the course of a day, and
will arrest the further progress of putrid and serpiginous ulcers.
Alex,[364] applied in lint, acts detergently, also, upon ulcers; the
same, too, with the ashes of calcined shells of sea-urchins. Salted
slices of the coracinus[365] disperse carbuncles, an effect equally
produced by the ashes of salted surmullets.[366] Some persons, however,
use the head only of the surmullet, in combination with honey or
with the flesh of the coracinus. Ashes of the murex, applied with
oil, disperse tumours, and the gall of the sea-scorpion makes scars


To remove warts, the liver of the glanis[367] is applied to the part;
ashes also of heads of mæmæ[368] bruised with garlic—substances which
should be used raw where it is thyme-warts[369] that require to be
removed—the gall of the red sea-scorpion,[370] smarides[371] pounded
and applied, or alex[372] thoroughly boiled. Ashes of calcined heads of
mænæ[373] are used to rectify malformed nails.


The milk is increased in females by eating the glauciscus[374] in its
own liquor, or else smarides[375] with a ptisan, or boiled with fennel.
Ashes of calcined shells of the murex or purple, applied with honey,
are an effectual cure for affections of the mamillæ; river-crabs,
too, and sea-crabs, applied topically, are equally good. The meat
of the murex, applied to the mamillæ, removes hairs[376] growing
upon those parts. The squatina,[377] applied topically, prevents the
mamillæ from becoming too distended. Lint greased with dolphin’s[378]
fat, and then ignited, produces a smoke which acts as an excitant
upon females suffering from hysterical suffocations; the same, too,
with strombi,[379] left to putrefy in vinegar. Heads of perch or
of mænæ,[380] calcined and mixed with salt, oil, and cunila,[381]
are curative of diseases of the uterus: used as a fumigation, they
bring away the afterbirth. Fat,[382] too, of the sea-calf, melted by
the agency of fire, is introduced into the nostrils of females when
swooning from hysterical suffocations; and for a similar purpose, the
rennet of that animal is applied as a pessary, in wool.

The pulmo marinus,[383] attached to the body as an amulet, is an
excellent promoter of menstruation; an effect which is equally
produced by pounding live sea-urchins, and taking them in sweet wine.
River-crabs,[384] bruised in wine, and taken internally, arrest
menstruation. The silurus,[385] that of Africa[386] more particularly,
used as a fumigation, facilitates parturition, it is said. Crabs, taken
in water, arrest menstruation; but used with hyssop, they act as an
emmenagogue, we are told. In cases, too, where the infant is in danger
of suffocation at the moment of delivery, a similar drink, administered
to the mother, is highly efficacious. Crabs, too, either fresh or
dried, are taken in drink, for the purpose of preventing abortion.
Hippocrates[387] prescribes them as a promoter of menstruation, and
as an expellent of the dead fœtus, beaten up with five[388] roots of
lapathum and rue and some soot, and administered in honied wine. Crabs,
boiled and taken in their liquor, with lapathum[389] and parsley,
promote the menstrual discharge, and increase the milk. In cases of
fever, attended with pains in the head and throbbing of the eyes, crabs
are said to be highly beneficial to females, given in astringent wine.

Castoreum,[390] taken in honied wine, is useful as a promoter of
menstruation: in cases of hysterical suffocation, it is given to the
patient to smell at with pitch and vinegar, or else it is made up into
tablets and used as a pessary. For the purpose also of bringing away
the afterbirth it is found a useful plan to employ castoreum with
panax,[391] in four cyathi of wine; and in cases where the patient is
suffering from cold, in doses of three oboli. If, however, a female in
a state of pregnancy should happen to step over castoreum, or over the
beaver itself, abortion, it is said, will be the sure result: so, too,
if castoreum is only held over a pregnant woman’s head, there will be
great danger of miscarriage.

There is a very marvellous fact, too, that I find stated in reference
to the torpedo:[392] if it is caught at the time that the moon is
in Libra, and kept in the open air for three days, it will always
facilitate parturition, as often as it is introduced into the apartment
of a woman in labour. The sting, too, of the pastinaca,[393] attached
to the navel, is generally thought to have the property of facilitating
delivery: it must be taken, however, from the fish while alive; which
done, the fish must be returned to the sea. I find it stated by some
authorities that there is a substance called “ostraceum,” which is also
spoken of as “onyx”[394] by others; that, used as a fumigation, it is
wonderfully beneficial for suffocations of the uterus; that in smell it
resembles castoreum, and is still more efficacious, if burnt with this
last substance; and that in a calcined state it has the property of
healing inveterate ulcers, and cancerous sores of a malignant nature.
As to carbuncles and carcinomatous sores upon the secret parts of
females, there is nothing more efficacious, it is said, than a female
crab beaten up, just after full moon, with flower of salt[395] and
applied with water.


Depilatories are prepared from the blood, gall, and liver of the tunny,
either fresh or preserved; as also from pounded liver of the same fish,
preserved with cedar resin[396] in a leaden box; a recipe which we
find given by the midwife Salpe[397] for disguising the age of boys on
sale for slaves. A similar property belongs to the pulmo marinus,[398]
to the blood and gall of the sea-hare, and to the sea-hare itself,
stifled in oil. The same, too, with ashes of burnt crabs or sea
scolopendræ,[399] mixed with oil; sea-nettles,[400] bruised in squill
vinegar; and brains of the torpedo[401] applied with alum on the
sixteenth day of the moon. The thick matter emitted by the small frogs,
which we have described when treating[402] of eye-diseases, is a most
efficient depilatory, if applied fresh: the same, too, with the frog
itself, dried and pounded, and then boiled down to one-third in three
heminæ of water, or else boiled in a copper vessel with oil in a like
proportion. Others, again, prepare a depilatory from fifteen frogs, in
manner already[403] stated under the head of remedies for the eyes.
Leeches, also, grilled in an earthen vessel, and applied with vinegar,
have the same property as a depilatory; the very odour, too, which
attaches to the persons who thus burn them is singularly efficacious
for killing bugs.[404] Cases are to be found, too, where persons have
used castoreum with honey, for many days together, as a depilatory.
In the case, however, of every depilatory, the hairs should always be
removed before it is applied.


Dentition in infants is promoted, and the gums greatly relieved, by
rubbing them with ashes of a dolphin’s teeth, mixed with honey, or
else by touching the gums with the tooth itself of that fish. One of
these teeth, worn as an amulet, is a preventive of sudden frights;[405]
the tooth of the dog-fish[406] being also possessed of a similar
property. As to ulcers which make their appearance in the ears, or in
any other parts of the body, they may be cured by applying the liquor
of river-crabs,[407] with barley-meal. These crabs, too, bruised in
oil and employed as a friction, are very useful for other kinds of
maladies. A sponge moistened with cold water from time to time,[408]
or a frog applied, the back part to the head, is a most efficacious
cure for siriasis[409] in infants. When the frog is removed, it will be
found quite dry, they say.


A surmullet[410] stifled in wine; the fish called “rubellio;”[411] or a
couple of eels similarly treated; or a grapefish,[412] left to putrefy
in wine, all of them, produce an aversion to wine in those who drink


In the number of antaphrodisiacs, we have the echeneïs;[413] the skin
from the left side of the forehead of the hippopotamus,[414] attached
to the body in lamb-skin; and the gall of a live torpedo,[415] applied
to the generative organs.

The following substances act as aphrodisiacs—the flesh of river-snails,
preserved in salt and given to drink in wine; the erythinus[416] taken
as food; the liver of the frog called “diopetes” or “calamites”[417]
attached to the body in a small piece of crane’s skin; the eye-tooth
of a crocodile, attached to the arm; the hippocampus;[418] and the
sinews of a bramble-frog,[419] worn as an amulet upon the right arm.
A bramble-frog, attached to the body in a piece of fresh sheep-skin,
effectually puts an end to love.


A decoction of frogs in water, reduced to the form of a liniment, is
curative of itch-scab in horses; indeed, it is said, that a horse, when
once treated in this manner, will never again be attacked with the
disease. Salpe says that if a live frog is given to dogs in their mess,
they will lose the power of barking.


Among the aquatic productions ought also to be mentioned calamochnos,
in Latin known as “adarca,”[420] a substance which collects about
small reeds, from a mixture of the foam of fresh and of sea water.
It possesses certain caustic properties, and hence it is that it is
so useful as an ingredient in “acopa”[421] and as a remedy for cold
shiverings; it is used too, for removing freckles upon the face of
females. And now we are speaking of adarca, the reed ought equally to
be mentioned. The root of that known as the “phragmites,”[422] pounded
fresh, is curative of sprains, and, applied topically with vinegar,
removes pains in the spine. The calcined bark, too, of the Cyprian[423]
reed, known as the “donax,” is curative of alopecy and inveterate
ulcers; and its leaves are good for the extraction of foreign bodies
adhering to the flesh, and for the cure of erysipelas: should, however,
the flower of the panicle happen to enter the ears, deafness[424] is
the consequence.

The ink of the sæpia[425] is possessed of such remarkable potency,
that if it is put into a lamp, Anaxilaüs tells us, the light will
become entirely changed,[426] and all present will look as black as
Æthiopians. The bramble-frog, boiled in water, and given to swine with
their drink, is curative of the maladies with which they are affected;
an effect equally produced by the ashes of any other kind of frog.
If wood is rubbed with the pulmo marinus,[427] it will have all the
appearance of being on fire; so much so, indeed, that a walking-stick,
thus treated, will light the way like a torch.[428]


Having now completed our exposition of the properties which belong to
the aquatic productions, it would appear by no means foreign to my
purpose to give a list of the various animated beings which inhabit
the seas; so many as these are in number, of such vast extent, and not
only making their way into the interior of the land to a distance of so
many miles, but also surrounding the exterior of it to an extent almost
equal to that of the world itself. These animals, it is generally
considered, embrace one hundred and seventy-six different[429] species,
and it will be my object to set them forth, each by its distinct name,
a thing that cannot possibly be done in reference to the terrestrial
animals and the birds.

For, in fact, we are by no means acquainted with all the wild beasts
or all the birds that are to be found in India, Æthiopia, Scythia, or
the desert regions of the earth; and even of man himself there are
numerous varieties, which as yet we have been unable[430] to make
ourselves acquainted with. In addition, too, to the various countries
above mentioned, we have Taprobane[431] and other isles of the Ocean,
about which so many fabulous stories are related. Surely then, every
one must allow that it is quite impossible to comprise every species
of animal in one general view for the information of mankind. And yet,
by Hercules! in the sea and in the Ocean, vast as it is, there exists
nothing that is unknown to us,[432] and, a truly marvellous fact, it is
with those things which Nature has concealed in the deep that we are
the best acquainted!

To begin then with the monsters[433] that are found in this
element. We here find sea-trees,[434] physeters,[435] balænæ,[436]
pistrices,[437] tritons,[438] nereids,[439] elephants,[440] the
creatures known as sea-men,[441] sea-wheels,[442] orcæ,[443]
sea-rams,[444] musculi,[445] other fish too with the form of rams,[446]
dolphins,[447] sea-calves,[448] so celebrated by Homer,[449]
tortoises[450] to minister to our luxury, and beavers, so extensively
employed in medicine,[451] to which class belongs the otter,[452] an
animal which we nowhere find frequenting the sea, it being only of
the marine animals that we are speaking. There are dog-fish,[453]
also, drinones,[454] cornutæ,[455] swordfish,[456] saw-fish,[457]
hippopotami[458] and crocodiles,[459] common to the sea, the land, and
the rivers; tunnies[460] also, thynnides, siluri,[461] coracini,[462]
and perch,[463] common to the sea only and to rivers.

To the sea only, belong also the acipenser,[464] the dorade,[465]
the asellus,[466] the acharne,[467] the aphye,[468] the alopex,[469]
the eel,[470] the araneus,[471] the boca,[472] the batia,[473] the
bacchus,[474] the batrachus,[475] the belonæ,[476] known to us as
“aculeati,”[477] the balanus,[478] the corvus,[479] the citharus, the
least esteemed of all the turbots, the chalcis,[480] the cobio,[481]
the callarias,[482] which would belong to the genus of the aselli[483]
were it not smaller; the colias,[484] otherwise known as the fish of
Parium[485] or of Sexita,[486] this last from a place of that name
in Bætica its native region, the smallest, too, of the lacerti;[487]
the colias of the Mæotis, the next smallest of the lacerti; the
cybium,[488] (the name given, when cut into pieces, to the pelamis[489]
which returns at the end of forty days from the Euxine to the Palus
Mæotis); the cordyla[490]—which is also a small pelamis, so called
at the time when it enters the Euxine from the Palus Mæotis—the
cantharus,[491] the callionymus[492] or uranoscopus, the cinædus, the
only[493] fish that is of a yellow colour; the cnide, known to us as
the sea-nettle;[494] the different kinds of crabs,[495] the striated
chemæ,[496] the smooth chemæ, the chemæ belonging to the genus of
pelorides,[497] all differing in the variety of their colours and
in the roundness of the shells; the chemæ glycymarides,[498] still
larger than the pelorides; the coluthia or coryphia;[499] the various
kinds of shellfish, among which we find the pearl oysters,[500] the
cochleæ,[501] (belonging to which class are the pentadactyli,[502]) the
helices,[503] by some known as actinophori, the spokes[504] on whose
shells are used for musical purposes;[505] and, in addition to these,
the round cochleæ, the shells of which are used in measuring oil, as
also the sea-cucumber,[506] the cynopos,[507] the cammarus,[508] and
the cynosdexia.[509]

Next to these we have the sea-dragon,[510] a fish which, according
to some, is altogether distinct from the dracunculus,[511] and
resembles the gerricula in appearance, it having on the gills a
stickle which points towards the tail and inflicts a wound like that
of the scorpion[512] when the fish is handled—the erythinus,[513] the
echeneïs,[514] the sea-urchin,[515] the sea-elephant, a black kind of
crayfish, with four forked legs, in addition to two arms with double
joints, and furnished, each of them, with a pair of claws, indented
at the edge; the faber,[516] also, or zæus, the glauciscus,[517] the
glanis,[518] the gonger,[519] the gerres,[520] the galeos,[521] the
garos,[522] the hippos,[523] the hippuros,[524] the hirundo,[525]
the halipleumon,[526] the hippocampus,[527] the hepar,[528] the
ictinus[529] and the iulis.[530] There are various kinds also of
lacerti,[531] the springing loligo,[532] the crayfish,[533] the
lantern-fish,[534] the lepas,[535] the larinus, the sea-hare,[536] and
the sea-lion,[537] with arms like those of the crab, and in the other
parts of the body like the cray-fish.

We have the surmullet[538] also, the sea black-bird,[539] highly
esteemed among the rock-fish; the mullet,[540] the melanurus,[541]
the mæna,[542] the mæotis,[543] the muræna,[544] the mys,[545] the
mitulus,[546] the myiscus,[547] the murex,[548] the oculata,[549] the
ophidion,[550] the oyster,[551] the otia,[552] the orcynus—the largest
of all the pelamides[553] and one that never returns to the Palus
Mæotis, like the tritomus[554] in appearance, and best when old—the
orbis,[555] the orthagoriscus,[556] the phager,[557] the phycis[558]
a rock-fish, the pelamis,[559] (the largest kind of which is called
“apolectum,”[560] and is tougher than the tritomus) the sea-pig,[561]
the phthir,[562] the sea-sparrow,[563] the pastinaca,[564] the several
varieties of the polyp,[565] the scallop,[566] which is larger and more
swarthy in summer than at other times, and the most esteemed of which
are those of Mitylene,[567] Tyndaris,[568] Salonæ,[569] Altinum,[570]
the island of Chios, and Alexandria in Egypt; the small scallop,[571]
the purple,[572] the pegris,[573] the pinna,[574] the pinnotheres,[575]
the rhine[576] or squalus of the Latins, the turbot,[577] the
scarus,[578] a fish which holds the first rank at the present day;
the sole,[579] the sargus,[580] the squilla,[581] the sarda[582]—such
being the name of an elongated pelamis[583] which comes from the Ocean;
the scomber,[584] the salpa,[585] the sorus,[586] the scorpæna,[587]
the sea-scorpion,[588] the solas,[589] the sciæna,[590] the
sciadeus,[591] the scolopendra,[592] the smyrus,[593] the sæpia,[594]
the strombus,[595] the solen,[596] otherwise known as the aulos,
donax, onyx or dactylus; the spondylus,[597] the smaris,[598] the
starfish,[599] and the sponges.[600] There is the sea-thrush[601] also,
famous among the rock-fish, the thynnis,[602] the thranis, by some
writers known as the xiphias;[603] the thrissa,[604] the torpedo,[605]
the tethea,[606] the tritomus, a large kind of pelamis,[607] which
admits of being cut into three cybia;[608] the shells of Venus,[609]
the grape-fish,[610] and the xiphias.[611]


To the above enumeration we will add some names given in the poem of
Ovid,[612] which are not to be found in any other writer: species,
however, which are probably peculiar to the Euxine, on the shores[613]
of which he commenced that work towards the close of his life. The
fishes thus mentioned by him are the sea-ox, the cercyrus, that
dwells among the rocks, the orphus,[614] the red erythinus,[615] the
iulus,[616] the tinted mormyr, the chrysophrys[617] a fish of a golden
colour, the parus,[618] the tragus,[619] the melanurus[620] remarkable
for the beauty of its tail, and the epodes,[621] a flat fish.

In addition to these remarkable kinds of fishes, the same poet tells
us that the channes[622] conceives of itself, that the glaucus[623]
never makes its appearance in summer, that the pompilus[624] always
accompanies vessels in their course, and that the chromis[625] makes
its nest in the water. The helops, he says, is unknown to our waters;
from which it would appear that those are in error who look upon it
as identical with our acipenser.[626] Many persons have given the
preference to the helops before all other fish, in point of flavour.

There are several fishes also, which have been mentioned by no author;
such, for instance, as the one called “sudis” by the Latins, and
“sphyrene” by the Greeks, names which indicate the peculiar form of its
muzzle.[627] It is one of the very largest kinds, but rarely found,
and by no means of inferior flavour. “Perna,” too, is the name given
to a kind of shell-fish, found in vast numbers in the vicinity of the
islands of the Euxine. These fish are found firmly planted in the sand,
resembling in appearance the long shank[628] of a hog. Opening wide
their shells, where there is sufficient space, they lie in wait for
their prey; this opening being not less than a foot in breadth, and the
edges of it garnished around with teeth closely set, much resembling
the teeth of a comb in form. Within the shell, the meat consists of a
vast lump of flesh. I once saw, too, a fish called the “hyæna,”[629]
which had been caught off the island of Ænaria.[630]

In addition to these animals, there are certain excretions thrown up
by the sea, which do not merit any further notice, and indeed ought to
be reckoned among the sea-weeds, rather than looked upon as animated

SUMMARY.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, nine hundred and

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Licinius Macer,[631] Trebius Niger,[632] Sextius
Niger[633] who wrote in Greek, the Poet Ovid,[634] Cassius Hemina,[635]
Mæcenas,[636] Iacchus,[637] Sornatius.[638]

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Juba,[639] Andreas,[640] Salpe,[641]
Apion,[642] Pelops,[643] Apelles,[644] Thrasyllus,[645] Nicander.[646]



CHAP. 1. (1.)—METALS.

We are now about to speak of metals, of actual wealth,[648] the
standard of comparative value, objects for which we diligently search,
within the earth, in numerous ways. In one place, for instance, we
undermine it for the purpose of obtaining riches, to supply the
exigencies of life, searching for either gold or silver, electrum[649]
or copper.[650] In another place, to satisfy the requirements of
luxury, our researches extend to gems and pigments, with which to adorn
our fingers[651] and the walls of our houses: while in a third place,
we gratify our rash propensities by a search for iron, which, amid wars
and carnage, is deemed more acceptable even than gold. We trace out
all the veins of the earth, and yet, living upon it, undermined as it
is beneath our feet, are astonished that it should occasionally cleave
asunder or tremble: as though, forsooth, these signs could be any
other than expressions of the indignation felt by our sacred parent!
We penetrate into her entrails, and seek for treasures in the abodes
even of the Manes,[652] as though each spot we tread upon were not
sufficiently bounteous and fertile for us!

And yet, amid all this, we are far from making remedies the object of
our researches: and how few in thus delving into the earth have in
view the promotion of medicinal knowledge! For it is upon her surface,
in fact, that she has presented us with these substances, equally
with the cereals, bounteous and ever ready, as she is, in supplying
us with all things for our benefit! It is what is concealed from our
view, what is sunk far beneath her surface, objects, in fact, of no
rapid formation,[653] that urge us to our ruin, that send us to the
very depths of hell. As the mind ranges in vague speculation, let us
only consider, proceeding through all ages, as these operations are,
when will be the end of thus exhausting the earth, and to what point
will avarice finally penetrate! How innocent, how happy, how truly
delightful even would life be, if we were to desire nothing but what is
to be found upon the face of the earth; in a word, nothing but what is
provided ready to our hands!


Gold is dug out of the earth, and, in close proximity to it,
chrysocolla,[654] a substance which, that it may appear all the more
precious, still retains the name[655] which it has borrowed from
gold.[656] It was not enough for us to have discovered one bane for
the human race, but we must set a value too upon the very humours
of gold.[657] While avarice, too, was on the search for silver, it
congratulated itself upon the discovery of minium,[658] and devised a
use to be made of this red earth.

Alas for the prodigal inventions of man! in how many ways have we
augmented the value of things![659] In addition to the standard value
of these metals, the art of painting lends its aid, and we have
rendered gold and silver still more costly by the art of chasing them.
Man has learned how to challenge both Nature and art to become the
incitements to vice! His very cups he has delighted to engrave with
libidinous subjects, and he takes pleasure in drinking from vessels
of obscene form![660] But in lapse of time, the metals passed out of
fashion, and men began to make no account of them; gold and silver, in
fact, became too common. From this same earth we have extracted vessels
of murrhine[661] and vases of crystal,[662] objects the very fragility
of which is considered to enhance their value. In fact, it has come
to be looked upon as a proof of opulence, and as quite the glory of
luxury, to possess that which may be irremediably destroyed in an
instant. Nor was even this enough;—we now drink from out of a mass of
gems,[663] and we set our goblets with smaragdi;[664] we take delight
in possessing the wealth of India, as the promoter of intoxication, and
gold is now nothing more than a mere accessory.[665]


Would that gold could have been banished for ever from the earth,
accursed by universal report,[666] as some of the most celebrated
writers have expressed themselves, reviled by the reproaches of the
best of men, and looked upon as discovered only for the ruin of
mankind. How much more happy the age when things themselves were
bartered for one another; as was the case in the times of the Trojan
war, if we are to believe what Homer says. For, in this way, in my
opinion, was commerce then carried on for the supply of the necessaries
of life. Some, he tells us, would make their purchases by bartering
ox-hides, and others by bartering iron or the spoil which they had
taken from the enemy:[667] and yet he himself, already an admirer of
gold, was so far aware of the relative value of things, that Glaucus,
he informs us, exchanged his arms of gold, valued at one hundred oxen,
for those of Diomedes, which were worth but nine.[668] Proceeding upon
the same system of barter, many of the fines imposed by ancient laws,
at Rome even, were levied in cattle,[669] [and not in money].


The worst crime against mankind was committed by him who was the
first to put a ring upon his fingers: and yet we are not informed, by
tradition, who it was that first did so. For as to all the stories told
about Prometheus, I look upon them as utterly fabulous, although I am
aware that the ancients used to represent him with a ring of iron: it
was their intention, however, to signify a chain thereby, and not an
ornament. As to the ring of Midas,[670] which, upon the collet being
turned inwards, conferred invisibility upon the wearer, who is there
that must not admit, perforce, that this story is even still more
fabulous? It was the hand, and a sinister[671] hand, too, in every
sense, that first brought gold into such high repute: not a Roman hand,
however, for upon that it was the practice to wear a ring of iron only,
and solely as an indication of warlike prowess.

As to the usage followed by the Roman kings, it is not easy to
pronounce an opinion: the statue of Romulus in the Capitol wears no
ring, nor does any other statue—not that of L. Brutus even—with the
sole exception of those of Numa and Servius Tullius. I am surprised
at this absence of the ring, in the case of the Tarquinii more
particularly, seeing that they were originally from Greece,[672] a
country from which the use of gold rings was first introduced; though
even at the present day the people of Lacedæmon are in the habit of
wearing rings made of iron. Tarquinius Priscus, however, it is well
known, was the first who presented his son with the golden bulla,[673]
on the occasion of his slaying an enemy before he had laid aside the
prætexta;[674] from which period the custom of wearing the bulla has
been continued, a distinction confined to the children of those who
have served in the cavalry, those of other persons simply wearing a
leather thong.[675] Such being the case, I am the more surprised that
the statue of this Tarquinius should be without a ring.

And yet, with reference to the very name of the ring, I find that there
has been considerable uncertainty. That given to it originally by the
Greeks is derived from the finger;[676] while our ancestors styled it
“ungulus;”[677] and in later times both Greeks and Latins have given
it the name of “symbolum.”[678] For a great length of time, it is
quite clear, not even the Roman senators wore rings of gold: for rings
were given, and at the public expense, to those only who were about to
proceed on an embassy to foreign nations, the reason being, I suppose,
because men of highest rank among foreign nations were perceived to
be thus distinguished. Nor was it the practice for any person to wear
these rings, except those who for this reason had received them at the
public expense; and in most instances, it was without this distinction
that the Roman generals celebrated their public triumphs.[679] For
whereas an Etruscan crown[680] of gold was supported from behind over
the head of the victor, he himself, equally with the slave probably,
who was so supporting the crown, had nothing but a ring of iron upon
his finger.[681] It was in this manner that C. Marius celebrated his
triumph over Jugurtha; and he never assumed[682] the golden ring, it
is said, until the period of his third consulship.[683] Those, too,
who had received golden rings on the occasion of an embassy, only wore
them when in public, resuming the ring of iron when in their houses. It
is in pursuance of this custom that even at the present day, an iron
ring[684] is sent by way of present to a woman when betrothed, and
that, too, without any stone in it.

For my own part, I do not find that any rings were used in the days of
the Trojan War; at all events, Homer nowhere makes mention of them;
for although he speaks of the practice of sending tablets[685] by way
of letter,[686] of clothes and gold and silver plate being kept laid
up in chests,[687] still he gives us to understand that they were kept
secure by the aid of a knot tied fast, and not under a seal impressed
by a ring. He does not inform us too, that when the chiefs drew lots
to ascertain which one of them should reply to the challenge[688] of
the enemy, they made any use of rings[689] for the purpose; and when
he enumerates the articles that were manufactured at the forge[690] of
the gods, he speaks of this as being the origin[691] of fibulæ[692] and
other articles of female ornament, such as ear-rings for example, but
does not make any mention of rings. [693] Whoever it was that first
introduced the use of rings, he did so not without hesitation; for he
placed this ornament on the left hand, the hand which is generally
concealed,[694] whereas, if he had been sure of its being an honourable
distinction, it would have been made more conspicuous upon the right.
And if any one should raise the objection that this would have acted
as an impediment to the right hand, I can only say that the usage in
more recent times fortifies my opinion, and that the inconvenience of
wearing rings on the left hand would have been still greater, seeing
that it is with the left hand that the shield is held. We find mention
made too, in Homer,[695] of men wearing gold plaited with the hair;
and hence it is that I am at a loss to say whether the practice first
originated with females.


At Rome, for a long period of time, the quantity of gold was but very
small. At all events, after the capture of the City by the Gauls, when
peace was about to be purchased, not more than one thousand pounds’
weight of gold could be collected. I am by no means unaware of the
fact that in the third[696] consulship of Pompeius there was lost from
the throne of Jupiter Capitolinus two thousand pounds’ weight of gold,
originally placed there by Camillus; a circumstance which has led most
persons to suppose, that two thousand pounds’ weight was the quantity
then collected. But in reality, this excess of one thousand pounds was
contributed from the spoil taken from the Gauls, amplified as it was by
the gold of which they had stripped the temples, in that part of the
City which they had captured.

The story of Torquatus,[697] too, is a proof that the Gauls were in the
habit of wearing ornaments of gold when engaged in combat;[698] from
which it would appear that the sum taken from the Gauls themselves, and
the amount of which they had pillaged the temples, were only equal to
the amount of gold collected for the ransom, and no more; and this is
what was really meant by the response given by the augurs, that Jupiter
Capitolinus had rendered again the ransom twofold.[699] As we were
just now speaking on the subject of rings, it may be as well to add,
by way of passing remark, that upon the officer[700] in charge of the
Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus being arrested, he broke the stone of his
ring between his teeth,[701] and expired upon the spot, thus putting an
end to all possibility of discovering the perpetrator of the theft.

It appears, therefore, that in the year of the City 364, when Rome was
captured by the Gauls, there was but two thousand pounds’ weight of
gold, at the very most; and this, too, at a period when, according to
the returns of the census, there were already one hundred and fifty-two
thousand five hundred and seventy-three free citizens in it. In this
same city, too, three hundred and seven years later, the gold which
C. Marius the younger[702] conveyed to Præsneste from the Temple of
the Capitol when in flames, and all the other shrines, amounted to
thirteen thousand pounds’ weight, such being the sum that figured in
the inscriptions at the triumph of Sylla; on which occasion it was
displayed in the procession, as well as six thousand pounds’ weight of
silver. The same Sylla had, the day before, displayed in his triumph
fifteen thousand pounds’ weight of gold, and one hundred and fifteen
thousand pounds’ weight of silver, the fruit of all his other victories.


It does not appear that rings were in common use before the time of
Cneius Flavius, the son of Annius. This Flavius was the first to
publish a table[703] of the days for pleading,[704] which till then the
populace had to ascertain each day from a few great personages.[705]
The son of a freedman only, and secretary to Appius Cæcus,[706] (at
whose request, by dint of natural shrewdness and continual observation,
he had selected these days and made them public),[707] he obtained
such high favour with the people, that he was created curule ædile; in
conjunction with Quintus Anicius Prænestinus, who a few years before
had been an enemy to Rome,[708] and to the exclusion of C. Pœtilius and
Domitius, whose fathers respectively were of consular rank.[709] The
additional honour was also conferred on Flavius, of making him tribune
of the people at the same time, a thing which occasioned such a degree
of indignation, that, as we find stated in the more ancient Annals,
“the rings[710] were laid aside!”

Most persons, however, are mistaken in the supposition that on this
occasion the members of the equestrian order did the same: for it is
in consequence of these additional words, “the phaleræ,[711] too,
were laid aside as well,” that the name of the equestrian order was
added. These rings, too, as the Annals tell us, were laid aside by the
nobility, and not[712] by the whole body of the senate. This event
took place in the consulship of P. Sempronius and P. Sulpicius.[713]
Flavius made a vow that he would consecrate a temple to Concord,
if he should succeed in reconciling the privileged orders with the
plebeians: and as no part of the public funds could be voted for the
purpose, he accordingly built a small shrine of brass[714] in the
Græcostasis,[715] then situate above the Comitium,[716] with the fines
which had been exacted for usury. Here, too, he had an inscription
engraved upon a tablet of brass, to the effect that the shrine was
dedicated two hundred and three years after the consecration of the
Capitol. Such were the events that happened four hundred and forty-nine
years after the foundation of the City, this being the earliest period
at which we find any traces of the common use of rings.

A second occasion, however, that of the Second Punic War, shows that
rings must have been at that period in very general use; for if such
had not been the case, it would have been impossible for Hannibal
to send the three[717] modii of rings, which we find so much spoken
of, to Carthage. It was through a dispute, too, at an auction about
the possession of a ring, that the feud first commenced between
Cæpio[718] and Drusus,[719] a dispute which gave rise to the Social
War,[720] and the public disasters which thence ensued. Not even in
those days, however, did all the senators possess gold rings, seeing
that, in the memory of our grandsires, many personages who had even
filled the prætorship, wore rings of iron to the end of their lives;
Calpurnius,[721] for example, as Fenestella tells us, and Manilius, who
had been legatus to Caius Marius in the Jugurthine War. Many historians
also state the same of L. Fufidius, he to whom Scaurus dedicated the
history of his life.

In the family of the Quintii,[722] it is the usage for no one, not the
females even, ever to wear a ring; and even at the present day, the
greater part of the nations known to us, peoples who are living under
the Roman sway, are not in the habit of wearing rings. Neither in the
countries of the East,[723] nor in Egypt, is any use made of seals, the
people being content with simple writing only.[724]

In this, as in every other case, luxury has introduced various
fashions, either by adding to rings gems of exquisite brilliancy, and
so loading the fingers with whole revenues, as we shall have further
occasion to mention in our Book on Gems;[725] or else by engraving them
with various devices: so that it is in one instance the workmanship,
in another the material, that constitutes the real value of the ring.
Then again, in the case of other gems, luxury has deemed it no less
than sacrilege to make a mark[726] even upon them, and has caused
them to be set whole, that no one may suppose that the ring was ever
intended to be employed as a signet. In other instances, luxury has
willed that certain stones, on the side even that is concealed by the
finger, should not[727] be closed in with gold, thus making gold of
less account than thousands of tiny pebbles. On the other hand again,
many persons will admit of no gems being set in their rings, but
impress their seal with the gold[728] itself, an invention which dates
from the reign of Claudius Cæsar. At the present day, too, the very
slaves even, incase their iron rings with gold (while other articles
belonging to them, they decorate with pure gold),[729] a licence which
first originated in the Isle of Samothrace,[730] as the name given to
the invention clearly shows.

It was the custom at first to wear rings on a single finger[731] only,
the one, namely, that is next to the little finger; and this we see the
case in the statues of Numa and Servius Tullius. In later times, it
became the practice to put rings on the finger next to the thumb, even
in the case of the statues of the gods; and more recently, again, it
has been the fashion to wear them upon the little finger[732] as well.
Among the peoples of Gallia and Britannia, the middle finger, it is
said, is used for this purpose. At the present day, however, among us,
this is the only finger that is excepted, all the others being loaded
with rings, smaller rings even being separately adapted for the smaller
joints of the fingers. Some there are who heap several rings upon the
little finger alone; while others, again, wear but one ring upon this
finger, the ring that sets a seal upon the signet-ring itself, this
last being kept carefully shut up as an object of rarity, too precious
to be worn in common use, and only to be taken from the cabinet[733]
as from a sanctuary. And thus is the wearing of a single ring upon the
little finger no more than an ostentatious advertisement that the owner
has property of a more precious nature under seal at home!

Some, too, make a parade of the weight of their rings, while to others
it is quite a labour[734] to wear more than one at a time: some,
in their solicitude for the safety of their gems, make the hoop of
gold tinsel, and fill it with a lighter material than gold, thinking
thereby to diminish the risks of a fall.[735] Others, again, are in
the habit of inclosing poisons beneath the stones of their rings, and
so wear them as instruments of death; Demosthenes, for instance, that
greatest of the orators of Greece.[736] And then, besides, how many
of the crimes that are stimulated by cupidity, are committed through
the instrumentality of rings![737] How happy the times, how truly
innocent, in which no seal was ever put to anything! At the present
day, on the contrary, our very food even and our drink have to be
preserved from theft[738] through the agency of the ring: a result
owing to those legions of slaves, those throngs of foreigners which are
introduced into our houses, multitudes so numerous that we require the
services of a nomenclator[739] even, to tell us the names of our own
servants. Very different was it in the times of our forefathers, when
each person possessed a single servant only, one of his master’s own
lineage, called Marcipor or Lucipor,[740] from his master’s name, as
the case might be, and taking all his meals with him in common; when,
too, there was no occasion for taking precautions at home by keeping a
watch upon the domestics. But at the present day, we not only procure
dainties which are sure to be pilfered, but hands to pilfer them as
well; and so far is it from being sufficient to have the very keys
sealed, that the signet-ring is often taken from off the owner’s finger
while he is overpowered with sleep or lying on his death-bed.[741]

Indeed the most important transactions of life are now made to depend
upon this instrument, though at what period this first began to be
the case, I am at a loss to say. It would appear, however, so far
as foreign nations are concerned, that we may admit the importance
attached to it, from the days of Polycrates,[742] the tyrant of Samos,
whose favourite ring, after being thrown in the sea, was recovered
from a fish that was caught; and this Polycrates, we know, was put
to death[743] about the year of our City, 230. The use of the ring
must, of necessity, have become greatly extended with the increase of
usury; one proof of which is, the usage still prevalent among the lower
classes, of whipping off the ring[744] the moment a simple contract is
made; a practice which takes its date, no doubt, from a period when
there was no more expeditious method of giving an earnest on closing a
bargain. We may therefore very safely conclude, that though money was
first introduced among us, the use of rings was introduced very shortly
after. Of money, I shall shortly have occasion to speak further.[745]


Rings, as soon as they began to be commonly worn, distinguished the
second order from the plebeians, in the same manner as the use of the
tunic[746] distinguished the senate from those who only wore the ring.
Still, however, this last distinction was introduced at a later period
only, and we find it stated by writers that the public heralds[747]
even were formerly in the habit of wearing the tunic with the purple
laticlave; the father of Lucius Ælius Stilo,[748] for instance, from
whom his son received the cognomen of “Præconinus,” in consequence
of his father’s occupation as a herald. But the use of rings, no
doubt, was the distinguishing mark of a third and intermediate order,
between the plebeians and the senators; and the title of “eques,”
originally derived from the possession of a war-horse,[749] is given
at the present day as an indication of a certain amount of income.
This, however, is of comparatively recent introduction; for when the
late Emperor Augustus made his regulations for the decuries,[750] the
greater part of the members thereof were persons who wore iron rings,
and these bore the name, not of “equites,” but of “judices,” the
former name being reserved solely for the members of the squadrons[751]
furnished with war-horses at the public charge.

Of these judices, too, there were at first but four[752] decuries only,
and in each of these decuries there was hardly one thousand men to be
found, the provinces not having been hitherto admitted to the office;
an observance which is still in force at the present day, no one newly
admitted to the rights of citizenship being allowed to perform the
duties of judex as a member of the decuries.

(2.) These decuries, too, were themselves distinguished by several
denominations—“tribunes[753] of the treasury,” “selecti,”[754] and
“judices:” in addition to whom, there were the persons styled the “nine
hundred,”[755] chosen from all the decuries for the purpose of keeping
the voting-boxes at the comitia. From the ambitious adoption, however,
of some one of these names, great divisions ensued in this order, one
person styling himself a member of the nine hundred, another one of the
selecti, and a third a tribune of the treasury.


At length, however, in the ninth[756] year of the reign of the Emperor
Tiberius, the equestrian order was united in a single body; and a
decree was passed, establishing to whom belonged the right of wearing
the ring, in the consulship of C. Asinius Pollio and C. Antistius
Vetus, the year from the foundation of the City, 775. It is a matter
for surprise, how almost futile, we may say, was the cause which led
to this change. C. Sulpicius Galba,[757] desirous in his youth to
establish his credit with the Emperor by hunting[758] out grounds for
prosecuting[759] the keepers of victualling-houses, made complaint in
the senate that the proprietors of those places were in the habit of
protecting themselves from the consequences of their guilt by their
plea of wearing the golden ring.[760] For this reason, an ordinance
was made that no person whatsoever should have this right of wearing
the ring, unless, freeborn himself as regarded his father and paternal
grandfather, he should be assessed by the censors at four hundred
thousand sesterces, and entitled, under the Julian Law,[761] to sit in
the fourteen tiers of seats at the theatre. In later times, however,
people began to apply in whole crowds for this mark of rank; and
in consequence of the diversities of opinion which were occasioned
thereby, the Emperor Caius[762] added a fifth decury to the number.
Indeed to such a pitch has conceit now arisen, that whereas, under the
late Emperor Augustus, the decuries could not be completed, at the
present day they will not suffice to receive all the members of the
equestrian order, and we see in every quarter persons even who have
been but just liberated from slavery, making a leap all at once to the
distinction of the golden ring: a thing that never used to happen in
former days, as it was by the ring of iron that the equites and the
judices were then to be recognized.

Indeed, so promiscuously was this privilege at last conferred, that
Flavius Proculus, one of the equites, informed against four hundred
persons on this ground, before the Emperor Claudius, who was then
censor:[763] and thus we see, an order, which was established as a mark
of distinction from other private individuals of free birth, has been
shared in common with slaves!

The Gracchi were the first to attach to this order the separate
appellation of “judices,” their object being at the same moment a
seditious popularity and the humiliation of the senate. After the
fall of these men, in consequence of the varying results of seditious
movements, the name and influence of the equestrian order were lost,
and became merged in those of the publicani,[764] who, for some time,
were the men that constituted the third class in the state. At last,
however, Marcus Cicero, during his consulship, and at the period of the
Catilinarian troubles, re-established the equestrian name, it being his
vaunt that he himself had sprung from that order, and he, by certain
acts of popularity peculiar to himself, having conciliated its support.
Since that period, it is very clear that the equites have formed the
third body in the state, and the name of the equestrian order has been
added to the formula—“The Senate and People of Rome.” Hence[765] it is,
too, that at the present day even, the name of this order is written
after that of the people, it being the one that was the last instituted.


Indeed, the name itself of the equites even, has been frequently
changed, and that too, in the case of those who only owed their name
to the fact of their service on horseback. Under Romulus and the
other kings, the equites were known as “Celeres,”[766] then again as
“Flexuntes,”[767] and after that as “Trossuli,”[768] from the fact of
their having taken a certain town of Etruria, situate nine miles on
this side of Volsinii, without any assistance from the infantry; a name
too which survived till after the death of C. Gracchus.

At all events, in the writings left by Junius, who, from his affection
for C. Gracchus, took the name of Gracchanus,[769] we find the
following words—“As regards the equestrian order, its members were
formerly called ‘Trossuli,’ but at the present day they have the
name of ‘Equites;’ because it is not understood what the appellation
‘Trossuli’ really means, and many feel ashamed at being called by
that name.”[770]—He[771] then goes on to explain the reason, as above
mentioned, and adds that, though much against their will, those persons
are still called “Trossuli.”


There are also some other distinctions connected with gold, the
mention of which ought not to be omitted. Our ancestors, for
instance, presented torcs[772] of gold to the auxiliaries and foreign
troops, while to Roman citizens they only granted silver[773] ones:
bracelets[774] too, were given by them to citizens, but never to


But, a thing that is more surprising still, crowns[775] of gold were
given to the citizens as well. As to the person who was first presented
with one, so far as I have enquired, I have not been able to ascertain
his name: L. Piso says, however, that the Dictator[776] A. Posthumius
was the first who conferred one: on taking the camp of the Latins at
Lake Regillus,[777] he gave a crown of gold, made from the spoil, to
the soldier whose valour had mainly contributed to this success. L.
Lentulus, also, when consul,[778] presented one to Servius Cornelius
Merenda, on taking a town of the Samnites; but in his case it was five
pounds in weight. Piso Frugi, too, presented his son with a golden
crown, at his own private expense, making[779] it a specific legacy in
his will.


To honour the gods at their sacrifices, no greater mark of honour has
been thought of than to gild the horns of the animals sacrificed—that
is, of the larger victims[780] only. But in warfare, this species of
luxury made such rapid advances, that in the Epistles of M. Brutus
from the Plains of Philippi, we find expressions of indignation at the
fibulæ[781] of gold that were worn by the tribunes. Yes, so it is, by
Hercules! and yet you, the same Brutus, have not said a word about
women wearing gold upon their feet; while we, on the other hand, charge
him with criminality[782] who was the first to confer dignity upon gold
by wearing the ring. Let men even, at the present day, wear gold upon
the arms in form of bracelets—known as “dardania,” because the practice
first originated in Dardania, and called “viriolæ” in the language of
the Celts, “viriæ”[783] in that of Celtiberia, let women wear gold upon
their arms[784] and all their fingers, their necks, their ears, the
tresses of their hair; let chains of gold run meandering along their
sides; and in the still hours of the night let sachets filled with
pearls hang suspended from the necks of their mistresses, all bedizened
with gold, so that in their very sleep even they may still retain the
consciousness that they are the possessors of such gems: but are
they to cover their feet[785] as well with gold, and so, between the
stola[786] of the matrons and the garb of the plebeians, establish
an intermediate[787] or equestrian[788] order of females? Much more
becomingly do we accord this distinction to our pages,[789] and the
adorned beauty of these youths has quite changed the features of our
public baths.

At the present day, too, a fashion has been introduced among the
men even, of wearing effigies upon their fingers representing
Harpocrates[790] and other divinities of Egypt. In the reign of
Claudius, also, there was introduced another unusual distinction, in
the case of those to whom was granted the right of free admission,[791]
that, namely, of wearing the likeness of the emperor engraved in
gold upon a ring: a circumstance that gave rise to vast numbers of
informations, until the timely elevation of the Emperor Vespasianus
rendered them impossible, by proclaiming that the right of admission to
the emperor belonged equally to all. Let these particulars suffice on
the subject of golden rings and the use of them.


The next[792] crime committed against the welfare of mankind was on the
part of him who was the first to coin a denarius[793] of gold, a crime
the author of which is equally unknown. The Roman people made no use
of impressed silver even before the period of the defeat[794] of King
Pyrrhus. The “as” of copper weighed exactly one libra; and hence it is
that we still use the terms “libella”[795] and “dupondius.”[796] Hence
it is, too, that fines and penalties are inflicted under the name of
“æs grave,”[797] and that the words still used in keeping accounts are
“expensa,”[798] “impendia,”[799] and “dependere.”[800] Hence, too, the
word “stipendium,” meaning the pay of the soldiers, which is nothing
more than “stipis pondera;[801] and from the same source those other
words, “dispensatores”[802] and “libripendes.”[803] It is also from
this circumstance that in sales of slaves, at the present day even, the
formality of using the balance is introduced.

King Servius was the first to make an impress upon copper. Before his
time, according to Timæus, at Rome the raw metal only was used. The
form of a sheep was the first figure impressed upon money, and to this
fact it owes its name, “pecunia.”[804] The highest figure at which one
man’s property was assessed in the reign of that king was one hundred
and twenty thousand asses, and consequently that amount of property
was considered the standard of the first class.

Silver was not impressed with a mark until the year of the City 485,
the year of the consulship of Q. Ogulnius and C. Fabius, five years
before the First Punic War; at which time it was ordained that the
value of the denarius should be ten libræ[805] of copper, that of the
quinarius five libræ, and that of the sestertius two libræ and a half.
The weight, however, of the libra of copper was diminished during the
First Punic War, the republic not having means to meet its expenditure:
in consequence of which, an ordinance was made that the as should in
future be struck of two ounces weight. By this contrivance a saving
of five-sixths was effected, and the public debt was liquidated. The
impression upon these copper coins was a two-faced Janus on one side,
and the beak of a ship of war on the other: the triens,[806] however,
and the quadrans,[807] bore the impression of a ship. The quadrans,
too, had, previously to this, been called “teruncius,” as being three
unciæ[808] in weight. At a later period again, when Hannibal was
pressing hard upon Rome, in the dictatorship of Q. Fabius Maximus,
asses of one ounce weight were struck, and it was ordained that the
value of the denarius should be sixteen asses, that of the quinarius
eight asses, and that of the sestertius four asses; by which last
reduction of the weight of the as the republic made a clear gain of one
half. Still, however, so far as the pay of the soldiers is concerned,
one denarius has always been given for every ten asses. The impressions
upon the coins of silver were two-horse and four-horse chariots, and
hence it is that they received the names of “bigati” and “quadrigati.”

Shortly after, in accordance with the Law of Papirius, asses were
coined weighing half an ounce only. Livius Drusus, when[809] tribune
of the people, alloyed the silver with one-eighth part of copper. The
coin that is known at the present day as the “victoriatus,”[810] was
first struck in accordance with the Clodian Law: before which period,
a coin of this name was imported from Illyricum, but was only looked
upon as an article of merchandize. The impression upon it is a figure
of Victory, and hence its name.

The first golden coin was struck sixty-two years after that of silver,
the scruple of gold being valued at twenty sesterces; a computation
which gave, according to the value of the sesterce then in use, nine
hundred sesterces to each libra of gold.[811] In later times, again, an
ordinance was made, that denarii of gold should be struck, at the rate
of forty denarii[812] to each libra of gold; after which period, the
emperors gradually curtailed the weight of the golden denarius, until
at last, in the reign of Nero, it was coined at the rate of forty-five
to the libra.


But the invention of money opened a new field to human avarice, by
giving rise to usury and the practice of lending money at interest,
while the owner passes a life of idleness: and it was with no slow
advances that, not mere avarice only, but a perfect hunger[813] for
gold became inflamed with a sort of rage for acquiring: to such a
degree, in fact, that Septimuleius, the familiar friend of Caius
Gracchus, not only cut off his head, upon which a price had been set
of its weight in gold, but, before[814] bringing it to Opimius,[815]
poured molten lead into the mouth, and so not only was guilty of the
crime of parricide, but added to his criminality by cheating the state.
Nor was it now any individual citizen, but the universal Roman name,
that had been rendered infamous by avarice, when King Mithridates
caused molten gold to be poured into the mouth of Aquilius[816] the
Roman general, whom he had taken prisoner: such were the results of

One cannot but feel ashamed, on looking at those new-fangled names
which are invented every now and then, from the Greek language, by
which to designate vessels of silver filagreed[817] or inlaid with
gold, and the various other practices by which such articles of luxury,
when only gilded,[818] are made to sell at a higher price than they
would have done if made of solid gold: and this, too, when we know that
Spartacus[819] forbade any one of his followers to introduce either
gold or silver into the camp—so much more nobleness of mind was there
in those days, even in our runaway slaves.

The orator Messala has informed us that Antonius the triumvir made
use of golden vessels when satisfying the most humiliating wants of
nature, a piece of criminality that would have reflected disgrace upon
Cleopatra even! Till then, the most consummate instances of a similar
licentiousness had been found among strangers only—that of King Philip,
namely, who was in the habit of sleeping with a golden goblet placed
beneath his pillows, and that of Hagnon of Teos, a commander under
Alexander the Great, who used to fasten the soles of his sandals with
nails of gold.[820] It was reserved for Antonius to be the only one
thus to impart a certain utility to gold, by putting an insult upon
Nature. Oh how righteously would he himself have been proscribed! but
then the proscription should have been made by Spartacus.[821]


For my own part, I am much surprised that the Roman people has always
imposed upon conquered nations a tribute in silver, and not in gold;
Carthage, for instance, from which, upon its conquest under Hannibal,
a ransom was exacted in the shape of a yearly[822] payment, for fifty
years, of eight hundred thousand pounds’ weight of silver, but no
gold. And yet it does not appear that this could have arisen from
there being so little gold then in use throughout the world. Midas and
Crœsus, before this, had possessed gold to an endless amount: Cyrus,
already, on his conquest of Asia,[823] had found a booty consisting of
twenty-four thousand pounds’ weight of gold, in addition to vessels
and other articles of wrought gold, as well as leaves[824] of trees, a
plane-tree, and a vine, all made of that metal.

It was through this conquest too, that he carried off five hundred
thousand[825] talents of silver, as well as the vase of Semiramis,[826]
the weight of which alone amounted to fifteen talents, the Egyptian
talent being equal, according to Varro, to eighty of our pounds.
Before this time too, Saulaces, the descendant of Æëtes, had reigned
in Colchis,[827] who, on finding a tract of virgin earth, in the
country of the Suani,[828] extracted from it a large amount of gold
and silver, it is said, and whose kingdom besides, had been famed
for the possession of the Golden Fleece. The golden arches, too, of
his palace, we find spoken of, the silver supports and columns, and
pilasters, all of which he had come into possession of on the conquest
of Sesostris,[829] king of Egypt; a monarch so haughty, that every
year, it is said, it was his practice to select one of his vassal kings
by lot, and yoking him to his car, celebrate his triumph afresh.


We, too, have done things that posterity may probably look upon as
fabulous. Cæsar, who was afterwards dictator, but at that time ædile,
was the first person, on the occasion of the funeral games in honour of
his father, to employ all the apparatus of the arena[830] in silver;
and it was on the same occasion that for the first time criminals
encountered wild beasts with implements of silver, a practice imitated
at the present day in our municipal towns even.

At the games celebrated by C. Antonius the stage was made of[831]
silver; and the same was the case at those celebrated by L. Muræna.
The Emperor Caius had a scaffold[832] introduced into the Circus, upon
which there were one hundred and twenty-four thousand pounds’ weight
of silver. His successor Claudius, on the occasion of his triumph over
Britain, announced by the inscriptions that among the coronets of gold,
there was one weighing seven thousand[833] pounds’ weight, contributed
by Nearer Spain, and another of nine thousand pounds, presented by
Gallia Comata.[834] Nero, who succeeded him, covered the Theatre of
Pompeius with gold for one day,[835] the occasion on which he displayed
it to Tiridates, king of Armenia. And yet how small was this theatre in
comparison with that Golden Palace[836] of his, with which he environed
our city.


In the consulship of Sextus Julius and Lucius Aurelius,[837] seven
years before the commencement of the Third Punic War, there was in
the treasury of the Roman people seventeen thousand four hundred and
ten pounds’ weight of uncoined gold, twenty-two thousand and seventy
pounds’ weight of silver, and in specie, six million one hundred and
thirty-five thousand four hundred sesterces.

In the consulship of Sextus Julius and Lucius Marcius, that is to say,
at the commencement of the Social War,[838] there was in the public
treasury one million[839] six hundred and twenty thousand eight hundred
and thirty-one pounds’ weight of gold. Caius Cæsar, at his first entry
into Rome, during the civil war which bears his name, withdrew from
the treasury fifteen thousand pounds’ weight in gold ingots, thirty
thousand pounds’ weight in uncoined silver, and in specie, three
hundred thousand sesterces: indeed, at no[840] period was the republic
more wealthy. Æmilius Paulus, too, after the defeat of King Perseus,
paid into the public treasury, from the spoil obtained in Macedonia,
three hundred millions[841] of sesterces, and from this period the
Roman people ceased to pay tribute.


The ceilings which, at the present day, in private houses even, we
see covered with gold, were first gilded in the Capitol, after
the destruction of Carthage, and during the censorship of Lucius
Mummius.[842] From the ceilings this luxuriousness has been since
transferred to the arched roofs of buildings, and the party-walls even,
which at the present day are gilded like so many articles of plate:
very different from the times when Catulus[843] was far from being
unanimously approved of for having gilded the brazen tiles of the


We have already stated, in the Seventh[844] Book, who were the first
discoverers of gold, as well as nearly all the other metals. The
highest rank has been accorded to this substance, not, in my opinion,
for its colour, (which in silver is clearer[845] and more like the
light of day, for which reason silver is preferred for our military
ensigns, its brightness being seen at a greater distance); and those
persons are manifestly in error who think that it is the resemblance
of its colour to the stars[846] that is so prized in gold, seeing that
the various gems[847] and other things of the same tint, are in no such
particular request. Nor yet is it for its weight or malleability[848]
that gold has been preferred to other metals, it being inferior in
both these respects to lead—but it is because gold is the only[849]
substance in nature that suffers[850] no loss from the action of fire,
and passes unscathed through conflagrations and the flames of the
funeral pile. Nay, even more than this, the oftener gold is subjected
to the action of fire, the more refined in quality it becomes; indeed,
fire is one test of its goodness, as, when submitted to intense heat,
gold ought to assume a similar colour, and turn red and igneous in
appearance; a mode of testing which is known as “obrussa.”[851]

The first great proof, however, of the goodness of gold, is its melting
with the greatest difficulty: in addition to which, it is a fact truly
marvellous, that though proof against the most intense fire, if made
with wood charcoal, it will melt with the greatest readiness upon a
fire made with chaff;[852] and that, for the purpose of purifying it,
it is fused with lead.[853] There is another reason too, which still
more tends to enhance its value, the fact that it wears the least
of all metals by continual use: whereas with silver, copper, and
lead, lines may be traced,[854] and the hands become soiled with the
substance that comes from off them. Nor is there any material more
malleable than this, none that admits of a more extended division,
seeing that a single ounce of it admits of being beaten out into seven
hundred and fifty[855] leaves, or more, four fingers in length by the
same in breadth. The thickest kind of gold-leaf is known as “leaf of
Præneste,” it still retaining that name from the excellence of the
gilding upon the statue of Fortune[856] there. The next in thickness
is known as the “quæstorian leaf.” In Spain, small pieces of gold are
known by the name of “striges.”[857]

A thing that is not the case with any other metal, gold is found pure
in masses[858] or in the form of dust;[859] and whereas all other
metals, when found in the ore, require to be brought to perfection by
the aid of fire, this gold that I am speaking of is gold the moment
it is found, and has all its component parts already in a state of
perfection. This, however, is only such gold as is found in the native
state, the other kinds that we shall have to speak of, being refined
by art. And then, more than anything else, gold is subject to no rust,
no verdigris,[860] no emanation whatever from it, either to alter its
quality or to lessen its weight. In addition to this, gold steadily
resists the corrosive action of salt and vinegar,[861] things which
obtain the mastery over all other substances: it admits, too, beyond
all other metals, of being spun out and woven[862] like wool.[863]
Verrius tells us that Tarquinius Priscus celebrated a triumph, clad
in a tunic of gold; and I myself have seen Agrippina, the wife of the
Emperor Claudius, on the occasion of a naval combat which he exhibited,
seated by him, attired in a military scarf[864] made entirely of woven
gold without any other material. For this long time past, gold has been
interwoven in the Attalic[865] textures, an invention of the kings of


On marble and other substances which do not admit of being brought to
a white heat, gilt is laid with glair of egg, and on wood by the aid
of a glutinous composition,[866] known as “leucophoron:” what this
last is, and how it is prepared, we shall state on the appropriate
occasion.[867] The most convenient method for gilding copper would be
to employ quicksilver, or, at all events, hydrargyros;[868] but with
reference to these substances, as we shall have occasion to say when
describing the nature[869] of them, methods of adulteration have been
devised. To effect this mode of gilding, the copper is first well
hammered, after which it is subjected to the action of fire, and then
cooled with a mixture of salt, vinegar, and alum.[870] It is then
cleansed of all extraneous substances, it being known by its brightness
when it has been sufficiently purified. This done, it is again heated
by fire, in order to enable it, when thus prepared, with the aid of an
amalgam of pumice, alum, and quicksilver, to receive the gold leaf when
applied. Alum has the same property of purifying copper, that we have
already[871] mentioned us belonging to lead with reference to gold.


Gold is found in our own part of the world; not to mention the gold
extracted from the earth in India by the ants,[872] and in Scythia by
the Griffins.[873] Among us it is procured in three different ways; the
first of which is, in the shape of dust, found in running streams, the
Tagus[874] in Spain, for instance, the Padus in Italy, the Hebrus in
Thracia, the Pactolus in Asia, and the Ganges in India; indeed, there
is no gold found in a more perfect state than this, thoroughly polished
as it is by the continual attrition of the current.

A second mode of obtaining gold is by sinking shafts or seeking it
among the debris of mountains; both of which methods it will be as well
to describe. The persons in search of gold in the first place remove
the “segutilum,”[875] such being the name of the earth which gives
indication of the presence of gold. This done, a bed is made, the sand
of which is washed, and, according to the residue found after washing,
a conjecture is formed as to the richness of the vein. Sometimes,
indeed, gold is found at once in the surface earth, a success, however,
but rarely experienced. Recently, for instance, in the reign of Nero, a
vein was discovered in Dalmatia, which yielded daily as much as fifty
pounds’ weight of gold. The gold that is thus found in the surface
crust is known as “talutium,”[876] in cases where there is auriferous
earth beneath. The mountains of Spain,[877] in other respects arid and
sterile, and productive of nothing whatever, are thus constrained by
man to be fertile, in supplying him with this precious commodity.

The gold that is extracted from shafts is known by some persons as
“canalicium,” and by others as “canaliense;”[878] it is found adhering
to the gritty crust of marble,[879] and, altogether different from the
form in which it sparkles in the sapphirus[880] of the East, and in
the stone of Thebais[881] and other gems, it is seen interlaced with
the molecules of the marble. The channels of these veins are found
running in various directions along the sides of the shafts, and hence
the name of the gold they yield—“canalicium.”[882] In these shafts,
too, the superincumbent earth is kept from falling in by means of
wooden pillars. The substance that is extracted is first broken up,
and then washed; after which it is subjected to the action of fire,
and ground to a fine powder. This powder is known as “apitascudes,”
while the silver which becomes disengaged in the furnace[883] has the
name of “sudor”[884] given to it. The impurities that escape by the
chimney, as in the case of all other metals, are known by the name of
“scoria.” In the case of gold, this scoria is broken up a second time,
and melted over again. The crucibles used for this purpose are made of
“tasconium,”[885] a white earth similar to potter’s clay in appearance;
there being no other substance capable of withstanding the strong
current of air, the action of the fire, and the intense heat of the
melted metal.

The third method of obtaining gold surpasses the labours of the
Giants[886] even: by the aid of galleries driven to a long distance,
mountains are excavated by the light of torches, the duration of which
forms the set times for work, the workmen never seeing the light of day
for many months together. These mines are known as “arrugiæ;”[887] and
not unfrequently clefts are formed on a sudden, the earth sinks in,
and the workmen are crushed beneath; so that it would really appear
less rash to go in search of pearls and purples at the bottom of the
sea, so much more dangerous to ourselves have we made the earth than
the water! Hence it is, that in this kind of mining, arches are left
at frequent intervals for the purpose of supporting the weight of the
mountain above. In mining either by shaft or by gallery, barriers of
silex are met with, which have to be driven asunder by the aid of
fire and vinegar;[888] or more frequently, as this method fills the
galleries with suffocating vapours and smoke, to be broken to pieces
with bruising-machines shod with pieces of iron weighing one hundred
and fifty pounds: which done, the fragments are carried out on the
workmen’s shoulders, night and day, each man passing them on to his
neighbour in the dark, it being only those at the pit’s mouth that
ever see the light. In cases where the bed of silex appears too thick
to admit of being penetrated, the miner traces along the sides of it,
and so turns it. And yet, after all, the labour entailed by this silex
is looked upon as comparatively easy, there being an earth—a kind of
potter’s clay mixed with gravel, “gangadia” by name, which it is almost
impossible to overcome. This earth has to be attacked with iron wedges
and hammers like those previously mentioned,[889] and it is generally
considered that there is nothing more stubborn in existence—except
indeed the greed for gold, which is the most stubborn of all things.

When these operations are all completed, beginning at the last, they
cut away[890] the wooden pillars at the point where they support the
roof: the coming downfall gives warning, which is instantly perceived
by the sentinel, and by him only, who is set to watch upon a peak
of the same mountain. By voice as well as by signals, he orders the
workmen to be immediately summoned from their labours, and at the same
moment takes to flight himself. The mountain, rent to pieces, is cleft
asunder, hurling its debris to a distance with a crash which it is
impossible for the human imagination to conceive; and from the midst of
a cloud of dust, of a density quite incredible, the victorious miners
gaze upon this downfall of Nature. Nor yet even then are they sure of
gold, nor indeed were they by any means certain that there was any to
be found when they first began to excavate, it being quite sufficient,
as an inducement to undergo such perils and to incur such vast expense,
to entertain the hope that they shall obtain what they so eagerly

Another labour, too, quite equal to this, and one which entails
even greater expense, is that of bringing rivers[891] from the more
elevated mountain heights, a distance in many instances of one hundred
miles perhaps, for the purpose of washing these debris. The channels
thus formed are called “corrugi,” from our word “corrivatio,”[892] I
suppose; and even when these are once made, they entail a thousand
fresh labours. The fall, for instance, must be steep, that the water
may be precipitated, so to say, rather than flow; and it is in this
manner that it is brought from the most elevated points. Then, too,
vallies and crevasses have to be united by the aid of aqueducts, and
in another place impassable rocks have to be hewn away, and forced to
make room for hollowed troughs of wood; the person hewing them hanging
suspended all the time with ropes, so that to a spectator who views the
operations from a distance, the workmen have all the appearance, not
so much of wild beasts, as of birds upon the wing.[893] Hanging thus
suspended in most instances, they take the levels, and trace with lines
the course the water is to take; and thus, where there is no room even
for man to plant a footstep, are rivers traced out by the hand of man.
The water, too, is considered in an unfit state for washing, if the
current of the river carries any mud along with it. The kind of earth
that yields this mud is known as “urium;”[894] and hence it is that in
tracing out these channels, they carry the water over beds of silex or
pebbles, and carefully avoid this urium. When they have reached the
head of the fall, at the very brow of the mountain, reservoirs are
hollowed out, a couple of hundred feet in length and breadth, and some
ten feet in depth. In these reservoirs there are generally five sluices
left, about three feet square; so that, the moment the reservoir is
filled, the floodgates are struck away, and the torrent bursts forth
with such a degree of violence as to roll onwards any fragments of rock
which may obstruct its passage.

When they have reached the level ground, too, there is still another
labour that awaits them. Trenches—known as “agogæ”[895]—have to be
dug for the passage of the water; and these, at regular intervals,
have a layer of ulex placed at the bottom. This ulex[896] is a plant
like rosemary in appearance, rough and prickly, and well-adapted for
arresting any pieces of gold that may be carried along. The sides, too,
are closed in with planks, and are supported by arches when carried
over steep and precipitous spots. The earth, carried onwards in the
stream, arrives at the sea at last, and thus is the shattered mountain
washed away; causes which have greatly tended to extend the shores of
Spain by these encroachments upon the deep. It is also by the agency of
canals of this description that the material, excavated at the cost of
such immense labour by the process previously described,[897] is washed
and carried away; for otherwise the shafts would soon be choked up by

The gold found by excavating with galleries does not require to be
melted, but is pure gold at once. In these excavations, too, it is
found in lumps, as also in the shafts which are sunk, sometimes
exceeding ten pounds even. The names given to these lumps are “palagæ,”
and “palacurnæ,”[898] while the gold found in small grains is known
as “baluce.” The ulex that is used for the above purpose is dried and
burnt, after which the ashes of it are washed upon a bed of grassy
turf, in order that the gold may be deposited thereupon.

Asturia, Gallæcia, and Lusitania furnish in this manner, yearly,
according to some authorities, twenty thousand pounds’ weight of gold,
the produce of Asturia forming the major part. Indeed, there is no
part of the world that for centuries has maintained such a continuous
fertility in gold. I have already[899] mentioned that by an ancient
decree of the senate, the soil of Italy has been protected from these
researches; otherwise, there would be no land more fertile in metals.
There is extant also a censorial law relative to the gold mines of
Victumulæ, in the territory of Vercellæ,[900] by which the farmers of
the revenue were forbidden to employ more than five thousand men at the


There is also one other method of procuring gold; by making it from
orpiment,[901] a mineral dug from the surface of the earth in Syria,
and much used by painters. It is just the colour of gold, but brittle,
like mirror-stone,[902] in fact. This substance greatly excited the
hopes of the Emperor Caius,[903] a prince who was most greedy for gold.
He accordingly had a large quantity of it melted, and really did obtain
some excellent gold;[904] but then the proportion was so extremely
small, that he found himself a loser thereby. Such was the result of
an experiment prompted solely by avarice: and this too, although the
price of the orpiment itself was no more than four denarii per pound.
Since his time, the experiment has never been repeated.


In all[905] gold ore there is some silver, in varying proportions; a
tenth part in some instances, an eighth in others. In one mine, and
that only, the one known as the mine of Albucrara, in Gallæcia,[906]
the proportion of silver is but one thirty-sixth: hence it is that the
ore of this mine is so much more valuable than that of others. Whenever
the proportion of silver is one-fifth, the ore is known also by the
name of “electrum;”[907] grains, too, of this metal are often found
in the gold known as “canaliense.”[908] An artificial[909] electrum,
too, is made, by mixing silver with gold. If the proportion of silver
exceeds one-fifth, the metal offers no resistance on the anvil.

Electrum, too, was highly esteemed in ancient times, as we learn from
the testimony of Homer, who represents[910] the palace of Menelaüs as
refulgent with gold and electrum, silver and ivory. At Lindos, in the
island of Rhodes, there is a temple dedicated to Minerva, in which
there is a goblet of electrum, consecrated by Helena: history states
also that it was moulded after the proportions of her bosom. One
peculiar advantage of electrum is, its superior brilliancy to silver by
lamp-light. Native electrum has also the property of detecting poisons;
for in such case, semicircles, resembling the rainbow in appearance,
will form upon the surface of the goblet, and emit a crackling noise,
like that of flame, thus giving a twofold indication of the presence of


The first statue of massive gold, without any hollowness within, and
anterior to any of those statues of bronze even, which are known as
“holosphyratæ,”[912] is said to have been erected in the Temple of
the goddess Anaïtis. To what particular region this name belongs, we
have already[913] stated, it being that of a divinity[914] held in
the highest veneration by the nations in that part of the world. This
statue was carried off during the wars of Antonius with the people of
Parthia; and a witty saying is told, with reference to it, of one of
the veterans of the Roman army, a native of Bononia. Entertaining on
one occasion the late Emperor Augustus at dinner, he was asked by that
prince whether he was aware that the person who was the first to commit
this violence upon the statue, had been struck with blindness and
paralysis, and then expired. To this he made answer, that at that very
moment Augustus was making his dinner off of one of her legs, for that
he himself was the very man, and to that bit of plunder he had been
indebted for all his fortune.[915]

As regards statues of human beings, Gorgias of Leontini[916] was the
first to erect a solid statue of gold, in the Temple at Delphi, in
honour of himself, about the seventieth[917] Olympiad: so great were
the fortunes then made by teaching the art of oratory!


Gold is efficacious as a remedy in many ways, being applied to
wounded persons and to infants, to render any malpractices of sorcery
comparatively innocuous that may be directed against them. Gold,
however, itself is mischievous in its effects if carried over the
head, in the case of chickens and lambs more particularly. The proper
remedy in such case is to wash the gold, and to sprinkle the water upon
the objects which it is wished to preserve. Gold, too, is melted with
twice its weight of salt, and three times its weight of misy;[918]
after which it is again melted with two parts of salt and one of the
stone called “schistos.”[919] Employed in this manner, it withdraws
the natural acridity from the substances torrefied with it in the
crucible, while at the same time it remains pure and incorrupt; the
residue forming an ash which is preserved in an earthen vessel, and is
applied with water for the cure of lichens on the face: the best method
of washing it off is with bean-meal. These ashes have the property also
of curing fistulas and the discharges known as “hæmorrhoides:” with the
addition, too, of powdered pumice, they are a cure for putrid ulcers
and sores which emit an offensive smell.

Gold, boiled in honey with melanthium[920] and applied as a liniment to
the navel, acts as a gentle purgative upon the bowels. M. Varro assures
us that gold is a cure for warts.[921]


Chrysocolla[922] is a liquid which is found in the shafts already
mentioned,[923] flowing through the veins of gold; a kind of slime
which becomes indurated by the cold of winter till it has attained the
hardness even of pumice. The most esteemed kind of it, it has been
ascertained, is found in copper-mines, the next best being the produce
of silver-mines: it is found also in lead-mines, but that found in
combination with gold ore is much inferior.

In all these mines, too, an artificial chrysocolla is manufactured;
much inferior, however, to the native chrysocolla. The method of
preparing it consists in introducing water gradually into a vein of
metal, throughout the winter and until the month of June; after which,
it is left to dry up during the months of June and July: so that, in
fact, it is quite evident that chrysocolla is nothing else but the
putrefaction of a metallic vein. Native chrysocolla, known as “uva,”
differs from the other in its hardness more particularly; and yet,
hard as it is, it admits of being coloured with the plant known as
“lutum.”[924] Like flax and wool, it is of a nature which imbibes
liquids. For the purpose of dyeing it, it is first bruised in a mortar,
after which, it is passed through a fine sieve. This done, it is
ground, and then passed through a still finer sieve; all that refuses
to pass being replaced in the mortar, and subjected once more to the
mill. The finest part of the powder is from time to time measured out
into a crucible, where it is macerated in vinegar, so that all the
hard particles may be dissolved; after which, it is pounded again,
and then rinsed in shell-shaped vessels, and left to dry. This done,
the chrysocolla is dyed by the agency of schist alum[925] and the
plant above-mentioned; and thus is it painted itself before it serves
to paint. It is of considerable importance, too, that it should be
absorbent and readily take the dye: indeed, if it does not speedily
take the colour, scytanum and turbistum[926] are added to the dye; such
being the name of two drugs which compel it to absorb the colouring


When chrysocolla has been thus dyed, painters call it “orobitis,” and
distinguish two kinds of it, the cleansed[927] orobitis,[928] which
is kept for making lomentum,[929] and the liquid, the balls being
dissolved for use by evaporation.[930] Both these kinds are prepared
in Cyprus,[931] but the most esteemed is that made in Armenia, the
next best being that of Macedonia: it is Spain, however, that produces
the most. The great point of its excellence consists in its producing
exactly the tint of corn when in a state of the freshest verdure.[932]
Before now, we have seen, at the spectacles exhibited by the Emperor
Nero, the arena of the Circus entirely sanded with chrysocolla, when
the prince himself, clad in a dress of the same colour, was about to
exhibit as a charioteer.[933]

The unlearned multitude of artisans distinguish three kinds of
chrysocolla; the rough chrysocolla, which is valued at seven denarii
per pound; the middling, worth five denarii; and the bruised, also
known as the “herbaceous” chrysocolla, worth three denarii per pound.
Before laying on the sanded[934] chrysocolla, they underlay coats of
atramentum[935] and parætonium,[936] substances which make it hold, and
impart a softness to the colours. The parætonium, as it is naturally
very unctuous, and, from its smoothness, extremely tenacious, is laid
on first, and is then covered with a coat of atramentum, lest the
parætonium, from its extreme whiteness, should impart a paleness to
the chrysocolla. The kind known as “lutea,” derives its name, it is
thought, from the plant called “lutum;” which itself is often pounded
with cæruleum[937] instead of real chrysocolla, and used for painting,
making a very inferior kind of green and extremely deceptive.[938]


Chroysocolla, too, is made use of in medicine. In combination with
wax and oil, it is used as a detergent for wounds; and used by itself
in the form of a powder, it acts as a desiccative, and heals them.
In cases, too, of quinsy and hardness of breathing, chrysocolla is
prescribed, in the form of an electuary, with honey. It acts as an
emetic also, and is used as an ingredient in eye-salves, for the
purpose of effacing cicatrizations upon the eyes. In green plasters
too, it is used, for soothing pain and making scars disappear. This
kind of chrysocolla[939] is known by medical men as “acesis,” and is
altogether different from orobitis.


The goldsmiths also employ a chrysocolla[940] of their own, for the
purpose of soldering gold; and it is from this chrysocolla, they say,
that all the other substances, which present a similar green, have
received their name. This preparation is made from verdigris of Cyprian
copper, the urine of a youth who has not arrived at puberty, and a
portion of nitre.[941] It is then pounded with a pestle of Cyprian
copper, in a copper mortar, and the name given to the mixture is
“santerna.” It is in this way that the gold known as “silvery”[942]
gold is soldered; one sign of its being so alloyed being its additional
brilliancy on the application of santerna. If, on the other hand,
the gold is impregnated with copper, it will contract, on coming in
contact with the santerna, become dull, and only be soldered with the
greatest difficulty: indeed, for this last kind of gold, there is a
peculiar solder employed, made of gold and one-seventh part of silver,
in addition to the materials above-mentioned, the whole beaten up


While speaking on this subject, it will be as well to annex the
remaining particulars, that our admiration may here be drawn to all the
marvels presented by Nature in connection therewith. The proper solder
for gold is that above described; for iron, potter’s clay; for copper,
when in masses, cadmia,[943] and in sheets, alum; for lead and marble,
resin. Lead is also united by the aid of white lead;[944] white lead
with white lead, by the agency of oil; stannum, with copper file-dust;
and silver, with stannum.[945]

For smelting copper and iron, pine-wood is the best, Egyptian papyrus
being also very good for the purpose. Gold is melted most easily with a
fire made of chaff.[946] Limestone and Thracian stone[947] are ignited
by the agency of water, this last being extinguished by the application
of oil. Fire, however, is extinguished most readily by the application
of vinegar, viscus,[948] and unboiled eggs. Earth will under no
circumstance ignite. When charcoal has been once quenched, and then
again ignited, it gives out a greater heat than before.

CHAP. 31. (6.)—SILVER.

After stating these facts, we come to speak of silver ore, the
next[949] folly of mankind. Silver is never found but in shafts sunk
deep in the ground, there being no indications to raise hopes of its
existence, no shining sparkles, as in the case of gold. The earth in
which it is found is sometimes red, sometimes of an ashy hue. It is
impossible, too, to melt[950] it, except in combination with lead[951]
or with galena,[952] this last being the name given to the vein of lead
that is mostly found running near the veins of the silver ore. When
submitted, too, to the action of fire, part of the ore precipitates
itself in the form of lead,[953] while the silver is left floating on
the surface,[954] like oil on water.

Silver is found in nearly all our provinces, but the finest of all is
that of Spain; where it is found, like gold, in uncultivated soils,
and in the mountains even. Wherever, too, one vein of silver has been
met with, another is sure to be found not far off: a thing that has
been remarked, in fact, in the case of nearly all the metals, which
would appear from this circumstance to have derived their Greek name
of “metalla.”[955] It is a remarkable fact, that the shafts opened by
Hannibal[956] in the Spanish provinces are still worked, their names
being derived from the persons who were the first to discover them.
One of these mines, which at the present day is still called Bæbelo,
furnished Hannibal with three hundred pounds’ weight of silver per
day. The mountain is already excavated for a distance of fifteen
hundred[957] paces; and throughout the whole of this distance there
are water-bearers[958] standing night and day, baling out the water in
turns, regulated by the light of torches, and so forming quite a river.

The vein of silver that is found nearest the surface is known by the
name of “crudaria.”[959] In ancient times, the excavations used to be
abandoned the moment alum[960] was met with, and no further[961] search
was made. Of late, however, the discovery of a vein of copper beneath
alum, has withdrawn any such limits to man’s hopes. The exhalations
from silver-mines are dangerous to all animals, but to dogs more
particularly. The softer they are, the more beautiful gold and silver
are considered. It is a matter of surprise with most persons, that
lines traced[962] with silver should be black.


There is a mineral also found in these veins of silver, which yields a
humour that is always[963] liquid, and is known as “quicksilver.”[964]
It acts as a poison[965] upon everything, and pierces vessels
even, making its way through them by the agency of its malignant
properties.[966] All substances float upon the surface of quicksilver,
with the exception of gold,[967] this being the only substance that
it attracts to itself.[968] Hence it is, that it is such an excellent
refiner of gold; for, on being briskly shaken in an earthen vessel with
gold, it rejects all the impurities that are mixed with it. When once
it has thus expelled these superfluities, there is nothing to do but to
separate it from the gold; to effect which, it is poured out upon skins
that have been well tawed, and so, exuding through them like a sort of
perspiration, it leaves the gold in a state of purity behind.[969]

Hence it is, too, that when copper has to be gilded,[970] a coat of
quicksilver is laid beneath the gold leaf, which it retains in its
place with the greatest tenacity: in cases, however, where the leaf
is single, or very thin, the presence of the quicksilver is detected
by the paleness of the colour.[971] For this reason, persons, when
meditating a piece of fraud, have been in the habit of substituting
glair of egg for quicksilver, and then laying upon it a coat of
hydrargyros, a substance of which we shall make further mention in the
appropriate place.[972] Generally speaking, quicksilver has not been
found in any large quantities.


In the same mines in which silver is found, there is also found
a substance which, properly speaking, may be called a stone
made of concrete froth.[973] It is white and shining, without
being transparent, and has the several names of stimmi, stibi,
alabastrum,[974] and larbasis. There are two kinds of it, the male and
the female.[975] The latter kind is the more approved of, the male[976]
stimmi being more uneven, rougher to the touch, less ponderous, not so
radiant, and more gritty. The female kind, on the other hand, is bright
and friable, and separates in laminæ, and not in globules.[977]


Stimmi is possessed of certain astringent and refrigerative properties,
its principal use, in medicine, being for the eyes. Hence it is that
most persons call it “platyophthalmon,”[978] it being extensively
employed in the calliblepharic[979] preparations of females, for the
purpose of dilating the eyes. It acts also as a check upon fluxes of
the eyes and ulcerations of those organs; being used, as a powder, with
pounded frankincense and gum. It has the property, too, of arresting
discharges of blood from the brain; and, sprinkled in the form of a
powder, it is extremely efficacious for the cure of recent wounds and
bites of dogs which have been some time inflicted. For the cure of
burns it is remarkably good, mixed with grease, litharge,[980] ceruse,
and wax.

The method of preparing it, is to burn it, enclosed in a coat of
cow-dung, in a furnace; which done, it is quenched with woman’s milk,
and pounded with rain-water in a mortar.[981] While this is doing,
the thick and turbid part is poured off from time to time into a
copper vessel, and purified with nitre.[982] The lees of it, which are
rejected, are recognized by their being full of lead and falling to
the bottom. The vessel into which the turbid part has been poured off,
is then covered with a linen cloth and left untouched for a night;
the portion that lies upon the surface being poured off the following
day, or else removed with a sponge. The part that has fallen to the
bottom of the vessel is regarded as the choicest[983] part, and is
left, covered with a linen cloth, to dry in the sun, but not to become
parched. This done, it is again pounded in a mortar, and then divided
into tablets. But the main thing of all is, to observe such a degree of
nicety in heating it, as not to let it become lead.[984] Some persons,
when preparing it on the fire, use grease[985] instead of dung. Others,
again, bruise it in water and then pass it through a triple strainer
of linen cloth; after which, they reject the lees, and pour off the
remainder of the liquid, collecting all that is deposited at the
bottom, and using it as an ingredient in plasters and eye-salves.


The scoria of silver is called by the Greeks “helcysma.”[986] It has
certain restringent and refrigerative effects upon bodies, and, like
molybdæna, of which we shall make further mention when speaking[987]
of lead, is used as an ingredient in making plasters, those more
particularly which are to promote the cicatrization of wounds. It is
employed also for the cure of tenesmus and dysentery, being injected
in the form of a clyster with myrtle-oil. It forms an ingredient, too,
in the medicaments known as “liparæ,”[988] for the removal of fleshy
excrescences in sores, ulcerations arising from chafing, or running
ulcers on the head.

The same mines also furnish us with the preparation known as “scum of
silver.”[989] There are three[990] varieties of it; the best, known as
“chrysitis;” the second best, the name of which is “argyritis;” and a
third kind, which is called “molybditis.” In most instances, too, all
these tints are to be found in the same cake.[991]

The most approved kind is that of Attica; the next being that which
comes from Spain. Chrysitis is the produce of the metallic vein,[992]
argyritis is obtained from the silver itself, and molybditis is the
result of the smelting of lead,[993] a work that is done at Puteoli; to
which last circumstance, in fact, molybditis owes its name.[994] All
these substances are prepared in the following manner: the metal is
first melted, and then allowed to flow from a more elevated receiver
into a lower. From this last it is lifted by the aid of iron spits,
and is then twirled round at the end of the spit in the midst of the
flames, in order to make it all the lighter. Thus, as may be easily
perceived from the name, it is in reality the scum of a substance in
a state of fusion—of the future metal, in fact. It differs from scoria
in the same way that the scum of a liquid differs from the lees, the
one[995] being an excretion thrown out by the metal while purifying
itself, the other[996] an excretion of the metal when purified.

Some persons distinguish two kinds of scum of silver, and give them
the names of “scirerytis” and “peumene;”[997] a third variety being
molybdæna, of which we shall have to make further mention when treating
of lead.[998] To make this scum fit for use, the cakes are again broken
into pieces the size of a hazel-nut, and then melted, the fire being
briskly blown with the bellows. For the purpose of separating the
charcoal and ashes from it, it is then rinsed with vinegar or with
wine, and is so quenched. In the case of argyritis, it is recommended,
in order to blanch it, to break it into pieces the size of a bean, and
then to boil it with water in an earthen vessel, first putting with
it, wrapped in linen cloths, some new wheat and barley, which are left
there till they have lost the outer coat. This done, they bruise the
whole in mortars for six consecutive days, taking care to rinse the
mixture in cold water three times a day, and after that, in an infusion
of hot water and fossil salt, one obolus of the latter to every pound
of scum: at the end of the six days it is put away for keeping in a
vessel of lead.

Some persons boil it with white beans and a ptisan[999] of barley, and
then dry it in the sun; others, again, with white wool and beans, till
such time as it imparts no darkness to the wool; after which, first
adding fossil[1000] salt, they change the water from time to time, and
then dry it during the forty hottest days of summer. In some instances
the practice is, to boil it in water in a swine’s paunch, and then to
take it out and rub it with nitre; after which, following the preceding
method, they pound it in a mortar with salt. Some again never boil it,
but pound it only with salt, and then rinse it with water.

Scum of silver is used as an ingredient in eye-salves, and, in the
form of a liniment, by females, for the purpose of removing spots
and blemishes caused by scars, as also in washes for the hair. Its
properties are desiccative, emollient, refrigerative, temperative, and
detergent. It fills up cavities in the flesh produced by ulceration,
and reduces tumours. For all these purposes it is employed as an
ingredient in plaster, and in the liparæ previously mentioned.[1001] In
combination with rue, myrtle, and vinegar, it removes erysipelas: and,
with myrtle and wax, it is a cure for chilblains.


It is also in silver-mines that minium[1002] is found, a pigment held
at the present day in very high estimation; and by the Romans in former
times not only held in the highest estimation, but used for sacred
purposes as well. Verrius enumerates certain authors, upon whose
testimony we find it satisfactorily established that it was the custom
upon festivals to colour the face of the statue of Jupiter even with
minium, as well as the bodies[1003] of triumphant generals; and that it
was in this guise that Camillus celebrated his triumph. We find, too,
that it is through the same religious motives that it is employed at
the present day for colouring the unguents used at triumphal banquets,
and that it is the first duty of the censors to make a contract for
painting the statue of Jupiter[1004] with this colour.

For my own part, I am quite at a loss for the origin of this usage; but
it is a well-known fact, that at the present day even, minium is in
great esteem with the nations of Æthiopia, their nobles being in the
habit of staining the body all over with it, and this being the colour
appropriated to the statues of their gods. I shall therefore use all
the more diligence in enquiring into all the known facts respecting it.


Theophrastus states that, ninety years before the magistracy of
Praxibulus at Athens—a date which answers to the year of our City,
439—minium was discovered by Callias the Athenian, who was in hopes to
extract gold, by submitting to the action of fire the red sand that
was found in the silver-mines. This, he says, was the first discovery
of minium. He states, also, that in his own time, it was already found
in Spain, but of a harsh and sandy nature; as also in Colchis, upon
a certain inaccessible rock there, from which it was brought down by
the agency of darts. This, however, he says, was only an adulterated
kind of minium, the best of all being that procured in the Cilbian
Plains,[1005] above Ephesus, the sand of which has just the colour
of the kermes berry.[1006] This sand, he informs us, is first ground
to powder and then washed, the portion that settles at the bottom
being subjected to a second washing. From this circumstance, he says,
arises a difference in the article; some persons being in the habit
of preparing their minium with a single washing, while with others it
is more diluted. The best kind, however, he says, is that which has
undergone a second washing.


I am not surprised that this colour should have been held in such high
esteem; for already, in the days of the Trojan War, rubrica[1007] was
highly valued, as appears from the testimony of Homer, who particularly
notices the ships that were coloured with it, whereas, in reference
to other colours and paintings, he but rarely notices them. The
Greeks call this red earth “miltos,” and give to minium the name of
“cinnabaris,” and hence the error[1008] caused by the two meanings
of the same word; this being properly the name given to the thick
matter which issues from the dragon when crushed beneath the weight of
the dying elephant, mixed with the blood of either animal, as already
described.[1009] Indeed this last is the only colour that in painting
gives a proper representation of blood. This cinnabaris, too, is
extremely useful as an ingredient in antidotes and various medicaments.
But, by Hercules! our physicians, because minium also has the name of
“cinnabaris,” use it as a substitute for the other, and so employ a
poison, as we shall shortly[1010] show it to be.


The ancients used to paint with cinnabaris[1011] those pictures of one
colour, which are still known among us as “monochromata.”[1012] They
painted also with the minium of Ephesus:[1013] but the use of this last
has been abandoned, from the vast trouble which the proper keeping of
the picture entailed. And then besides, both these colours were thought
to be too harsh; the consequence of which is, that painters have now
adopted the use of rubrica[1014] and of sinopis, substances of which I
shall make further mention in the appropriate places.[1015]

Cinnabaris[1016] is adulterated by the agency of goats’ blood, or of
bruised sorb-apples. The price of genuine cinnabaris is fifty sesterces
per pound.


According to Juba minium is also a production of Carmania,[1017] and
Timagenes says that it is found in Æthiopia. But from neither of
those regions is it imported to Rome, nor, indeed, from hardly any
other quarter but Spain; that of most note coming from Sisapo,[1018]
a territory of Bætica, the mine of minium there forming a part of the
revenues of the Roman people. Indeed there is nothing guarded with a
more constant circumspection; for it is not allowable to reduce and
refine the ore upon the spot, it being brought to Rome in a crude state
and under seal, to the amount of about two thousand pounds per annum.
At Rome, the process of washing is performed, and, in the sale of it,
the price is regulated by statute; it not being allowed to exceed[1019]
seventy sesterces per pound. There are numerous ways, however, of
adulterating it, a source of considerable plunder to the company.[1020]

For there is, in fact, another kind[1021] of minium, found in most
silver-mines as well as lead-mines, and prepared by the calcination
of certain stones that are found mixed with the metallic vein—not the
minerals, however, to the fluid humours of which we have given[1022]
the name of quicksilver; for if those are subjected to the action of
fire they will yield silver—but another kind of stone[1023] that is
found with them. These barren[1024] stones, too, may be recognized
by their uniform leaden colour, and it is only when in the furnace
that they turn red. After being duly calcined they are pulverized,
and thus form a minium of second-rate quality, known to but very
few, and far inferior to the produce of the native sand that we have
mentioned.[1025] It is with this substance, then, as also with syricum,
that the genuine minium is adulterated in the manufactories of the
company. How syricum is prepared we shall describe in the appropriate
place.[1026] One motive, however, for giving an under-coat of syricum
to minium, is the evident saving of expense that results therefrom.
Minium, too, in another way affords a very convenient opportunity to
painters for pilfering, by washing their brushes,[1027] filled with
the colouring matter, every now and then. The minium of course falls to
the bottom, and is thus so much gained by the thief.

Genuine minium ought to have the brilliant colour of the kermes
berry;[1028] but when that of inferior quality is used for walls, the
brightness of it is sure to be tarnished by the moisture, and this
too, although the substance itself is a sort of metallic mildew. In
the mines of Sisapo, the veins are composed exclusively of the sandy
particles of minium, without the intermixture of any silver whatever;
the practice being to melt it like gold. Minium is assayed by the
agency of gold in a state of incandescence: if it has been adulterated,
it will turn black, but if genuine, it retains its colour. I find it
stated also that minium is adulterated with lime; the proper mode of
detecting which, is similarly to employ a sheet of red hot iron, if
there should happen to be no gold at hand.

To objects painted with minium the action of the sun and moon is highly
injurious. The proper method of avoiding this inconvenience, is to dry
the wall, and then to apply, with, a hair brush, hot Punic wax, melted
with oil; after which, the varnish must be heated, with an application
of gall-nuts, burnt to a red heat, till it quite perspires. This done,
it must be smoothed down with rollers[1029] made of wax, and then
polished with clean linen cloths, like marble, when made to shine.
Persons employed in the manufactories in preparing minium protect the
face with masks of loose bladder-skin, in order to avoid inhaling the
dust, which is highly pernicious; the covering being at the same time
sufficiently transparent to admit of being seen through.

Minium is employed also for writing[1030] in books; and the letters
made with it being more distinct, even on gold or marble, it is used
for the inscriptions upon tombs.


Human industry has also discovered a method of extracting
hydrargyros[1031] from the inferior minium, a substitute for
quicksilver, the further mention of which was deferred, a few pages
before,[1032] to the present occasion. There are two methods of
preparing this substance; either by pounding minium and vinegar with a
brazen pestle and mortar, or else by putting minium into flat earthen
pans, covered with a lid, and then enclosed in an iron seething-pot
well luted with potter’s clay. A fire is then lighted under the pans,
and the flame kept continually burning by the aid of the bellows; which
done, the steam is carefully removed, that is found adhering to the
lid, being like silver in colour, and similar to water in its fluidity.
This liquid, too, is easily made to separate in globules, which, from
their fluid nature, readily unite.[1033]

As it is a fact generally admitted, that minium is a poison,[1034] I
look upon all the recipes given as highly dangerous which recommend
its employment for medicinal purposes; with the exception, perhaps,
of those cases in which it is applied to the head or abdomen, for the
purpose of arresting hæmorrhage, due care being taken that it is not
allowed to penetrate to the viscera, or to touch any sore. Beyond such
cases as these, for my own part, I should never recommend it to be used
in medicine.


At the present day silver is gilded almost exclusively by the agency
of hydrargyros;[1035] and a similar method should always be employed
in laying gold leaf upon copper. But the same fraud which ever shows
itself so extremely ingenious in all departments of human industry,
has devised a plan of substituting an inferior material, as already


A description of gold and silver is necessarily accompanied by that
of the stone known as “coticula.”[1037] In former times, according
to Theophrastus, this stone was nowhere to be found, except in the
river Tmolus,[1038] but at the present day it is found in numerous
places. By some persons it is known as the “Heraclian,” and by others
as the “Lydian” stone. It is found in pieces of moderate size, and
never exceeding four inches in length by two in breadth. The side
that has lain facing the sun is superior[1039] to that which has lain
next to the ground. Persons of experience in these matters, when they
have scraped a particle off the ore with this stone, as with a file,
can tell in a moment the proportion of gold there is in it, how much
silver, or how much copper; and this to a scruple, their accuracy being
so marvellous that they are never mistaken.


There are two kinds of silver. On placing a piece of it upon an iron
fire-shovel at a white heat, if the metal remains perfectly white, it
is of the best quality: if again it turns of a reddish colour, it is
inferior; but if it becomes black, it is worthless. Fraud, however,
has devised means of stultifying this test even; for by keeping the
shovel immersed in men’s urine, the piece of silver absorbs it as it
burns, and so displays a fictitious whiteness. There is also a kind of
test with reference to polished silver: when the human breath comes in
contact with it, it should immediately be covered with steam,[1040] the
cloudiness disappearing at once.

CHAP. 45. (9.)—MIRRORS.

It is generally supposed among us that it is only the very finest
silver that admits of being laminated, and so converted into mirrors.
Pure silver was formerly used for the purpose, but, at the present
day, this too has been corrupted by the devices of fraud. But, really,
it is a very marvellous property that this metal has, of reflecting
objects; a property which, it is generally agreed, results from the
repercussion of the air,[1041] thrown back as it is from the metal
upon the eyes. The same too is the action that takes place when we use
a mirror. If, again, a thick plate of this metal is highly polished,
and is rendered slightly concave,[1042] the image or object reflected
is enlarged to an immense extent; so vast is the difference between
a surface receiving,[1043] and throwing back the air. Even more than
this—drinking-cups are now made in such a manner, as to be filled
inside with numerous[1044] concave facets, like so many mirrors; so
that if but one person looks into the interior, he sees reflected a
whole multitude of persons.

Mirrors, too, have been invented to reflect monstrous[1045] forms;
those, for instance, which have been consecrated in the Temple at
Smyrna. This, however, all results from the configuration given to
the metal; and it makes all the difference whether the surface has
a concave form like the section of a drinking cup, or whether it is
[convex] like a Thracian[1046] buckler; whether it is depressed in
the middle or elevated; whether the surface has a direction[1047]
transversely or obliquely; or whether it runs horizontally or
vertically; the peculiar configuration of the surface which receives
the shadows, causing them to undergo corresponding distortions:
for, in fact, the image is nothing else but the shadow of the object
collected upon the bright surface of the metal.

However, to finish our description of mirrors on the present[1048]
occasion—the best, in the times of our ancestors, were those of
Brundisium,[1049] composed of a mixture of[1050] stannum and copper:
at a later period, however, those made of silver were preferred,
Pasiteles[1051] being the first who made them, in the time[1052] of
Pompeius Magnus. More recently,[1053] a notion has arisen that the
object is reflected with greater distinctness, by the application to
the back of the mirror of a layer of gold.[1054]


The people of Egypt stain their silver vessels, that they may see
represented in them their god Anubis;[1055] and it is the custom
with them to paint,[1056] and not to chase, their silver. This usage
has now passed to our own triumphal statues even; and, a truly
marvellous fact, the value of silver has been enhanced by deadening its
brilliancy.[1057] The following is the method adopted: with the silver
are mixed two-thirds of the very finest Cyprian copper, that known as
“coronarium,”[1058] and a proportion of live sulphur equal to that of
the silver. The whole of these are then melted in an earthen vessel
well luted with potter’s clay, the operation being completed when the
cover becomes detached from the vessel. Silver admits also of being
blackened with the yolk of a hard-boiled egg; a tint, however, which is
removed by the application of vinegar and chalk.

The Triumvir Antonius alloyed the silver denarius with iron: and in
spurious coin there is an alloy of copper employed. Some, again,
curtail[1059] the proper weight of our denarii, the legitimate
proportion being eighty-four denarii to a pound of silver. It was in
consequence of these frauds that a method was devised of assaying the
denarius: the law ordaining which was so much to the taste of the
plebeians, that in every quarter of the City there was a full-length
statue erected[1060] in honour of Marius Gratidianus. It is truly
marvellous, that in this art, and in this only, the various methods
of falsification should be made a study:[1061] for the sample of the
false denarius is now an object of careful examination, and people
absolutely buy the counterfeit coin at the price of many genuine ones!


The ancients bad no number whereby to express a larger sum than one
hundred thousand; and hence it is that, at the present day, we reckon
by multiples of that number, as, for instance, ten times one hundred
thousand, and so on.[1062] For these multiplications we are indebted
to usury and the use of coined money; and hence, too, the expression
“æs alienum,” or “another man’s money,” which we still use.[1063] In
later times, again, the surname “Dives”[1064] was given to some: only
be it known to all, that the man who first received this surname became
a bankrupt and so bubbled his creditors.[1065] M. Crassus,[1066] a
member of the same family, used to say that no man was rich, who could
not maintain a legion upon his yearly income. He possessed in land two
hundred millions[1067] of sesterces, being the richest Roman citizen
next to Sylla. Nor was even this enough for him, but he must want to
possess all the gold of the Parthians too![1068] And yet, although he
was the first to become memorable for his opulence—so pleasant is the
task of stigmatizing this insatiate cupidity—we have known of many
manumitted slaves, since his time, much more wealthy than he ever was;
three for example, all at the same time, in the reign of the Emperor
Claudius, Pallas,[1069] Callistus,[1070] and Narcissus.[1071]

But to omit all further mention of these men, as though they were
still[1072] the rulers of the empire, let us turn to C. Cæcilius
Claudius Isidorus, who, in the consulship of C. Asinius Gallus and
C. Marcius Censorinus,[1073] upon the sixth day before the calends
of February, declared by his will, that though he had suffered great
losses through the civil wars, he was still able to leave behind him
four thousand one hundred and sixteen slaves, three thousand six
hundred pairs of oxen, and two hundred and fifty-seven thousand heads
of other kind of cattle, besides, in ready money, sixty millions of
sesterces. Upon his funeral, also, he ordered eleven hundred thousand
sesterces to be expended.

And yet, supposing all these enormous riches to be added together,
how small a proportion will they bear to the wealth of Ptolemæus; the
person who, according to Varro, when Pompeius was on his expedition
in the countries adjoining Judæa, entertained eight thousand horsemen
at his own expense, and gave a repast to one thousand guests, setting
before every one of them a drinking-cup of gold, and changing these
vessels at every course! And then, again, how insignificant would his
wealth have been by the side of that of Pythius the Bithynian[1074]—for
I here make no mention of kings, be it remarked. He it was who gave
the celebrated plane-tree and vine of gold to King Darius, and who
entertained at a banquet the troops of Xerxes, seven hundred and
eighty-eight thousand men in all; with a promise of pay and corn for
the whole of them during the next five months, on condition that one at
least of his five children, who had been drawn for service, should be
left to him as the solace of his old age. And yet, let any one compare
the wealth of Pythius to that possessed by King Crœsus!

In the name of all that is unfortunate, what madness it is for human
nature to centre its desires upon a thing that has either fallen to the
lot of slaves, or else has reached no known limit in the aspirations
even of kings!


The Roman people first began to make voluntary contributions[1075] in
the consulship of Spurius Posthumius and Quintus Marcius.[1076] So
abundant was money at that period, that the people assessed themselves
for a contribution to L. Scipio, to defray the expenses of the games
which he celebrated.[1077] As to the contribution of the sixth part of
an as, for the purpose of defraying the funeral expenses of Agrippa
Menenius, I look upon that to have been a mark of respect paid to him,
an honour, too, that was rendered necessary by his poverty, rather than
in the light of a largess.


The caprice of the human mind is marvellously exemplified in the
varying fashions of silver plate; the work of no individual manufactory
being for any long time in vogue. At one period, the Furnian plate,
at another the Clodian, and at another the Gratian,[1078] is all the
rage—for we borrow the shop even at our tables.[1079]—Now again, it
is embossed plate[1080] that we are in search of, and silver deeply
chiselled around the marginal lines of the figures painted[1081] upon
it; and now we are building up on our sideboards fresh tiers[1082] of
tables for supporting the various dishes. Other articles of plate we
nicely pare away,[1083] it being an object that the file may remove as
much of the metal as possible.

We find the orator Calvus complaining that the saucepans are made of
silver; but it has been left for us to invent a plan of covering our
very carriages[1084] with chased silver, and it was in our own age that
Poppæa, the wife of the Emperor Nero, ordered her favourite mules to be
shod even with gold!


The younger Scipio Africanus left to his heir thirty-two pounds’ weight
of silver; the same person who, on his triumph over the Carthaginians,
displayed four thousand three hundred and seventy pounds’ weight of
that metal. Such was the sum total of the silver possessed by the
whole of the inhabitants of Carthage, that rival of Rome for the
empire of the world! How many a Roman since then has surpassed her
in his display of plate for a single table! After the destruction
of Numantia, the same Africanus gave to his soldiers, on the day of
his triumph, a largess of seven denarii each—and right worthy were
they of such a general, when satisfied with such a sum! His brother,
Scipio Allobrogicus,[1085] was the very first who possessed one
thousand pounds’ weight of silver, but Drusus Livius, when he was
tribune of the people, possessed ten thousand. As to the fact that an
ancient warrior,[1086] a man, too, who had enjoyed a triumph, should
have incurred the notice of the censor for being in possession of
five pounds’ weight of silver, it is a thing that would appear quite
fabulous at the present day.[1087] The same, too, with the instance of
Catus Ælius,[1088] who, when consul, after being found by the Ætolian
ambassadors taking his morning meal[1089] off of common earthenware,
refused to receive the silver vessels which they sent him; and,
indeed, was never in possession, to the last day of his life, of any
silver at all, with the exception of two drinking-cups, which had been
presented to him as the reward of his valour, by L. Paulus,[1090] his
father-in-law, on the conquest of King Perseus.

We read, too, that the Carthaginian ambassadors declared that no people
lived on more amicable terms among themselves than the Romans, for that
wherever they had dined they had always met with the same[1091] silver
plate. And yet, by Hercules! to my own knowledge, Pompeius Paulinus,
son of a Roman of equestrian rank at Arelate,[1092] a member, too, of a
family, on the paternal side, that was graced with the fur,[1093] had
with him, when serving with the army, and that, too, in a war against
the most savage nations, a service of silver plate that weighed twelve
thousand pounds!


For this long time past, however, it has been the fashion to plate the
couches of our women, as well as some of our banquetting-couches,[1094]
entirely with silver. Carvilius Pollio,[1095] a Roman of equestrian
rank, was the first, it is said, to adorn these last with silver; not,
I mean, to plate them all over, nor yet to make them after the Delian
pattern; the Punic[1096] fashion being the one he adopted. It was
after this last pattern too, that he had them ornamented with gold as
well: and it was not long after his time that silver couches came into
fashion, in imitation of the couches of Delos. All this extravagance,
however, was fully expiated by the civil wars of Sulla.


In fact, it was but very shortly before that period that these couches
were invented, as well as chargers[1097] of silver, one hundred pounds
in weight: of which last, it is a well-known fact, that there were then
upwards of one hundred and fifty in Rome, and that many persons were
proscribed through the devices of others who were desirous to gain
possession thereof. Well may our Annals be put to the blush for having
to impute those civil wars to the existence of such vices as these!

Our own age, however, has waxed even stronger in this respect. In
the reign of Claudius, his slave Drusillanus, surnamed Rotundus, who
acted as his steward[1098] in Nearer Spain, possessed a silver charger
weighing five hundred pounds, for the manufacture of which a workshop
had had to be expressly built. This charger was accompanied also by
eight other dishes, each two hundred and fifty pounds in weight. How
many of his fellow-slaves,[1099] pray, would it have taken to introduce
these dishes, or who[1100] were to be the guests served therefrom?

Cornelius Nepos says that before the victory gained[1101] by Sylla,
there were but two banquetting couches adorned with silver at Rome,
and that in his own recollection, silver was first used for adorning
sideboards. Fenestella, who died at the end of the reign of Tiberius
Cæsar, informs us that at that period sideboards, inlaid even with
tortoiseshell,[1102] had come into fashion; whereas, a little before
his time, they had been made of solid wood, of a round shape, and
not much larger than our tables. He says, however, that when he
was quite a boy, they had begun to make the sideboards square, and
of different[1103] pieces of wood, or else veneered with maple or
citrus:[1104] and that at a later period the fashion was introduced
of overlaying the corners and the seams at the joinings with silver.
The name given to them in his youth, he says, was “tympana;”[1105] and
it was at this period, too, that the chargers which had been known as
“magides” by the ancients, first received the name of “lances,” from
their resemblance[1106] to the scales of a balance.


It is not, however, only for vast quantities of plate that there is
such a rage among mankind, but even more so, if possible, for the plate
of peculiar artists: and this too, to the exculpation of our own age,
has long been the case. C. Gracchus possessed some silver dolphins,
for which he paid five thousand sesterces per pound. Lucius Crassus,
the orator, paid for two goblets chased by the hand of the artist
Mentor,[1107] one hundred thousand sesterces: but he confessed that for
very shame he never dared use them, as also that he had other articles
of plate in his possession, for which he had paid at the rate of six
thousand sesterces per pound. It was the conquest of Asia[1108] that
first introduced luxury into Italy; for we find that Lucius Scipio,
in his triumphal procession, exhibited one thousand four hundred
pounds’ weight of chased silver, with golden vessels, the weight of
which amounted to one thousand five hundred pounds. This[1109] took
place in the year from the foundation of the City, 565. But that which
inflicted a still more severe blow upon the Roman morals, was the
legacy of Asia,[1110] which King Attalus[1111] left to the state at
his decease, a legacy which was even more disadvantageous than the
victory of Scipio,[1112] in its results. For, upon this occasion, all
scruple was entirely removed, by the eagerness which existed at Rome,
for making purchases at the auction of the king’s effects. This took
place in the year of the City, 622, the people having learned, during
the fifty-seven years that had intervened, not only to admire, but to
covet even, the opulence of foreign nations. The tastes of the Roman
people had received, too, an immense impulse from the conquest of
Achaia,[1113] which, during this interval, in the year of the City,
608, that nothing might be wanting, had introduced both statues and
pictures. The same epoch, too, that saw the birth of luxury, witnessed
the downfall of Carthage; so that, by a fatal coincidence, the Roman
people, at the same moment, both acquired a taste for vice and obtained
a license for gratifying it.

Some, too, of the ancients sought to recommend themselves by this love
of excess; for Caius Marius, after his victory over the Cimbri, drank
from a cantharus,[1114] it is said, in imitation of Father Liber;[1115]
Marius, that ploughman[1116] of Arpinum, a general who had risen from
the ranks![1117]


It is generally believed, but erroneously, that silver was first
employed for making statues of the deified Emperor Augustus, at a
period when adulation was all the fashion: for I find it stated, that
in the triumph celebrated by Pompeius Magnus there was a silver statue
exhibited of Pharnaces, the first[1118] king of Pontus, as also one of
Mithridates Eupator,[1119] besides chariots of gold and silver.

Silver, too, has in some instances even supplanted gold; for the
luxurious tastes of the female plebeians having gone so far as
to adopt the use of shoe-buckles of gold,[1120] it is considered
old-fashioned to wear them made of that metal.[1121] I myself, too,
have seen Arellius Fuscus[1122]—the person whose name was erased
from the equestrian order on a singularly calumnious charge,[1123]
when his school was so thronged by our youth, attracted thither by
his celebrity—wearing rings made of silver. But of what use is it to
collect all these instances, when our very soldiers, holding ivory even
in contempt, have the hilts of their swords made of chased silver?
when, too, their scabbards are heard to jingle with their silver
chains, and their belts with the plates of silver with which they are

At the present day, too, the continence of our very pages is secured
by the aid of silver:[1124] our women, when bathing, quite despise any
sitting-bath that is not made of silver: while for serving up food at
table, as well as for the most unseemly purposes, the same metal must
be equally employed! Would that Fabricius could behold these instances
of luxuriousness, the baths of our women—bathing as they do in company
with the men—paved with silver to such an extent that there is not room
left for the sole of the foot even! Fabricius, I say, who would allow
of no general of an army having any other plate than a patera and a
salt-cellar of silver.—Oh that he could see how that the rewards of
valour in our day are either composed of these objects of luxury, or
else are broken up to make them![1125] Alas for the morals of our age!
Fabricius puts us to the blush.


It is a remarkable fact that the art of chasing gold should have
conferred no celebrity upon any person, while that of embossing silver
has rendered many illustrious. The greatest renown, however, has been
acquired by Mentor, of whom mention has been made already.[1126] Four
pairs [of vases] were all that were ever[1127] made by him; and at the
present day, not one of these, it is said, is any longer in existence,
owing to the conflagrations of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus and
of that in the Capitol.[1128] Varro informs us in his writings that
he also was in possession of a bronze statue, the work of this
artist. Next to Mentor, the most admired artists were Acragas,[1129]
Boëthus,[1130] and Mys.[1131] Works of all these artists are still
extant in the Isle of Rhodes; of Boëthus, in the Temple of Minerva,
at Lindus; of Acragas, in the Temple of Father Liber, at Rhodes,
consisting of cups engraved with figures in relief of Centaurs and
Bacchantes; and of Mys, in the same temple, figures of Sileni and
Cupids. Representations also of the chase by Acragas on drinking cups
were held in high estimation.

Next to these in repute comes Calamis.[1132] Antipater[1133] too, it
has been said, laid, rather than engraved,[1134] a Sleeping Satyr
upon a drinking-bowl.[1135] Next to these come Stratonicus[1136] of
Cyzicus, and Tauriscus:[1137] Ariston[1138] also, and Eunicus,[1139]
of Mytilene are highly praised; Hecatæus[1140] also, and, about the
age of Pompeius Magnus, Pasiteles,[1141] Posidonius[1142] of Ephesus,
Hedystratides[1143] who engraved battle-scenes and armed warriors,
and Zopyrus,[1144] who represented the Court of the Areopagus and
the trial of Orestes,[1145] upon two cups valued at twelve thousand
sesterces. There was Pytheas[1146] also, a work of whose sold at the
rate of ten thousand denarii for two ounces: it was a drinking-bowl,
the figures on which represented Ulysses and Diomedes stealing the
Palladium.[1147] The same artist engraved also, upon some small
drinking-vessels, kitchen scenes,[1148] known as “magiriscia;”[1149]
of such remarkably fine workmanship and so liable to injury, that it
was quite impossible to take copies[1150] of them. Teucer too, the
inlayer,[1151] enjoyed a great reputation.

All at once, however, this art became so lost in point of excellence,
that at the present day ancient specimens are the only ones at all
valued; and only those pieces of plate are held in esteem the designs
on which are so much worn that the figures cannot be distinguished.

Silver becomes tainted by the contact of mineral waters, and of the
salt exhalations from them, as in the interior of Spain, for instance.


In the mines of gold and silver there are some other pigments also
found, sil[1152] and cæruleum. Sil is, properly speaking, a sort of
slime.[1153] The best kind is that known as Attic sil; the price of
which is two denarii per pound. The next best kind is the marbled[1154]
sil, the price of which is half that of the Attic kind. A third sort
is the compressed sil, known to some persons as Scyric sil, it coming
from the Isle of Scyros. Then, too, there is the sil of Achaia, which
painters make use of for shadow-painting, and the price of which is two
sesterces per pound. At a price of two asses less per pound, is sold
the clear[1155] sil, which comes from Gaul. This last kind, as well
as the Attic sil, is used for painting strong lights: but the marbled
sil only is employed for colouring compartitions,[1156] the marble in
it offering a resistance to the natural acridity of the lime. This last
kind is extracted also from some mountains twenty miles distant from
the City. When thus extracted, it is submitted to the action of fire;
in which form it is adulterated by some, and sold for compressed sil.
That it has been burnt, however, and adulterated, may be very easily
detected by its acridity, and the fact that it very soon crumbles into

Polygnotus[1157] and Micon[1158] were the first to employ sil in
painting, but that of Attica solely. The succeeding age used this last
kind for strong lights only, and employed the Scyric and Lydian kinds
for shadow painting. The Lydian sil used to be bought at Sardes; but at
the present day we hear nothing of it.

CHAP. 57. (13.)—CÆRULEUM.

Cæruleum[1159] is a kind of sand. In former times there were three
kinds of it; the Egyptian, which was the most esteemed of all; the
Scythian, which is easily dissolved, and which produces four colours
when pounded, one of a lighter blue and one of a darker blue, one of a
thicker consistency and one comparatively thin;[1160] and the Cyprian,
which is now preferred as a colour to the preceding. Since then, the
kinds imported from Puteoli and Spain have been added to the list, this
sand having of late been prepared there. Every kind,[1161] however,
is submitted to a dyeing process, it being boiled with a plant[1162]
used particularly for this purpose,[1163] and imbibing its juices.
In other respects, the mode of preparing it is similar to that of
chrysocolla. From cæruleum, too, is prepared the substance known as
“lomentum,”[1164] it being washed and ground for the purpose. Lomentum
is of a paler tint than cæruleum; the price of it is ten denarii per
pound, and that of cæruleum but eight. Cæruleum is used upon a surface
of clay, for upon lime it will not hold. A more recent invention is
the Vestorian[1165] cæruleum, so called from the person who first
manufactured it: it is prepared from the finer parts of Egyptian
cæruleum, and the price of it is eleven denarii per pound. That of
Puteoli is used in a similar manner,[1166] as also for windows:[1167]
it is known as “cylon.”

It is not so long since that indicum[1168] was first imported to Rome,
the price being seventeen[1169] denarii per pound. Painters make use
of it for incisures, or in other words, the division of shadows from
light. There is also a lomentum of very inferior quality, known to us
as “ground” lomentum, and valued at only five asses per pound.

The mode of testing the genuineness of cæruleum, is to see whether
it emits a flame, on being laid upon burning coals. One method of
adulterating it is to boil dried violets in water, and then to strain
the liquor through linen into Eretrian[1170] clay.


Cæruleum has the medicinal property of acting as a detergent upon
ulcers. Hence it is, that it is used as an ingredient in plasters,
as also in cauteries. As to sil, it is pounded with the greatest
difficulty: viewed as a medicament, it is slightly mordent and
astringent, and fills up the cavities left by ulcers. To make it the
more serviceable, it is burnt in earthen vessels.

The prices of things, which I have in different places annexed,
vary, I am well aware, according to the locality, and experience a
change almost every year: variations dependent upon the opportunities
afforded for navigation, and the terms upon which the merchant may
have purchased the article. It may so happen, too, that some wealthy
dealer has engrossed the market, and so enhanced the price: for I am
by no means forgetful of the case of Demetrius, who in the reign of
the Emperor Nero was accused before the consuls by the whole community
of the Seplasia.[1171] Still, however, I have thought it necessary to
annex the usual price of each commodity at Rome, in order to give some
idea of their relative values.

SUMMARY.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, one thousand one
hundred and twenty-five.

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Domitianus Cæsar,[1172] Junius Gracchanus,[1173]
L. Piso,[1174] Verrius,[1175] M. Varro,[1176] Corvinus,[1177] Atticus
Pomponius,[1178] Calvus Licinius,[1179] Cornelius Nepos,[1180]
Mucianus,[1181] Bocchus,[1182] Fetialis,[1183] Fenestella,[1184]
Valerius Maximus,[1185] Julius Bassus[1186] who wrote on Medicine in
Greek, Sextius Niger[1187] who did the same.

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Theophrastus,[1188] Democritus,[1189]
Juba,[1190] Timæus[1191] the historian, who wrote on Metallic
Medicines, Heraclides,[1192] Andreas,[1193] Diagoras,[1194]
Botrys,[1195] Archidemus,[1196] Dionysius,[1197] Aristogenes,[1198]
Democles,[1199] Mnesides,[1200] Attalus[1201] the physician,
Xenocrates[1202] the son of Zeno, Theomnestus,[1203] Nymphodorus,[1204]
Iollas,[1205] Apollodorus,[1206] Pasiteles[1207] who wrote on Wonderful
Works, Antigonus[1208] who wrote on the Toreutic art, Menæchmus[1209]
who did the same, Xenocrates[1210] who did the same, Duris[1211] who
did the same, Menander[1212] who wrote on Toreutics, Heliodorus[1213]
who wrote on the Votive Offerings of the Athenians, Metrodorus[1214] of



CHAP. 1. (1.)—THE ORES OF BRASS.[1215]

We must, in the next place, give an account of the ores of brass,[1216]
a metal which, in respect of utility, is next in value; indeed the
Corinthian brass comes before silver, not to say almost before gold
itself. It is also, as I have stated above,[1217] the standard of
monetary value;[1218] hence the terms “æra militum,” “tribuni ærarii,”
“ærarium,” “obærati,” and “ære diruti.”[1219] I have already mentioned
for what length of time the Roman people employed no coin except
brass;[1220] and there is another ancient fact which proves that the
esteem in which it was held was of equal antiquity with that of the
City itself, the circumstance that the third associated body[1221]
which Numa established, was that of the braziers.


The ore is extracted in the mode that has been described above,[1222]
and is then purified by fusion. The metal is also obtained from a
coppery stone called “cadmia.”[1223] The most highly esteemed copper is
procured from beyond seas: it was formerly obtained in Campania also,
and at present is found in the country of the Bergomates,[1224] at the
extremity of Italy. It is said to have been lately discovered also in
the province of Germany.

(2.) In Cyprus, where copper was first discovered, it is also procured
from another stone, which is called “chalcitis.”[1225] This, however,
was afterwards considered of little value, a better kind having been
found in other regions, especially that called “aurichalcum,”[1226]
which was long in high request, on account of its excellent
quality; but none of it has been found for this long time, the
earth having been quite exhausted. The kind which was next in value
was the Sallustian,[1227] procured from the Alpine district of the
Centrones;[1228] but this did not last long, and was succeeded by the
Livian, in Gaul. They both took their names from the owners of the
mines; the former a friend of the Emperor Augustus, the latter that
emperor’s wife.[1229] They soon failed, however, and in the Livian even
there is now found but a very small quantity of ore. That which is at
present held in the highest estimation is the Marian, likewise known as
the Corduban;[1230] next to the Livian, this kind most readily absorbs
cadmia, and becomes almost as excellent as aurichalcum[1231] for making
sesterces and double asses,[1232] the Cyprian copper being thought good
enough for the as. Thus much concerning the natural qualities of this


The other kinds are made artificially, all of which will be described
in the appropriate places, the more celebrated kinds first coming
under our notice. Formerly a mixture was made of copper fused with
gold and silver, and the workmanship in this metal was considered even
more valuable than the material itself; but, at the present day, it
is difficult to say whether the workmanship in it, or the material,
is the worst. Indeed, it is wonderful, that while the value of these
works[1233] has so infinitely increased, the reputation of the art
itself[1234] is nearly extinct. But it would appear, that in this, as
in every thing else, what was formerly done for the sake of reputation,
is now undertaken for the mere purpose of gain. For whereas this art
was ascribed to the gods[1235] themselves, and men of rank in all
countries endeavoured to acquire fame by the practice of it, we have
now so entirely lost the method of making this valuable compound by
fusion, that, for this long time past, not even chance itself has
assumed, in this department, the privilege which formerly belonged to

Next after the above compound, so celebrated in antiquity, the
Corinthian metal has been the most highly esteemed. This was a
compound produced by accident, when Corinth was burnt at the time of
its capture.[1237] There has been a wonderful mania with many for
gaining possession of this metal. It is even said, that Verres, whom M.
Cicero caused to be condemned, was proscribed by Antonius, along with
Cicero, for no other reason than his refusal to give up some specimens
of Corinthian metal, which were in his possession. But most of these
people seem to me to make a pretence of their discernment in reference
to this metal, rather for the purpose of distinguishing themselves from
the multitude, than from any real knowledge which they possess; and
this I will briefly show.

Corinth was captured in the third year of the 158th Olympiad, being
the year of the City, 608,[1238] some ages after the period when those
artists flourished, who produced all the specimens of what these
persons now call Corinthian metal. It is in order, therefore, to
refute this opinion, that I shall state the age when these different
artists lived; for, if we reckon according to the above-mentioned era
of the Olympiads, it will be easy to compare their dates with the
corresponding years of our City. The only genuine Corinthian vessels,
then, are those which these men of taste metamorphose, sometimes
into dishes, sometimes into lamps, or even into washing-basins,[1239]
without any regard to decency. They are of three kinds; the white
variety, approaching very nearly to the splendour of silver, and in
which that metal forms a large proportion of the compound; a second
kind, in which the yellow colour of gold predominates; and a third, in
which all the metals are mixed in equal proportions. Besides these,
there is another mixture, the composition of which it is impossible
to describe, for although it has been formed into images and statues
by the hand of man, it is chance that rules in the formation of the
compound. This last is highly prized for its colour, which approaches
to that of liver, and it is on this account that it is called
“hepatizon:”[1240] it is far inferior to the Corinthian metal, but much
superior to the Æginetan and Delian, which long held the first rank.


The Delian brass was the first[1241] that became famous, all the
world coming to Delos to purchase it; and hence the attention paid
to the manufacture of it. It was in this island that brass first
obtained celebrity for the manufacture of the feet and supports of
dining-couches. After some time it came to be employed for the statues
of the gods, and the effigies of men and other animated beings.


The next most esteemed brass was the Æginetan; the island itself
being rendered famous for its brass—not indeed that the metal was
produced there, but because the annealing of the Æginetan manufactories
was so excellent. A brazen Ox, which was taken from this island,
now stands in the Forum Boarium[1242] at Rome. This is a specimen
of the Æginetan metal, as the Jupiter in the Temple of Jupiter
Tonans, in the Capitol, is of the Delian. Myron[1243] used the former
metal and Polycletus[1244] the latter; they were contemporaries and
fellow-pupils, but there was great rivalry between them as to their


Ægina was particularly famous for the manufacture of sockets only for
lamp-stands, as Tarentum was for that of the branches;[1245] the most
complete articles were, therefore, produced by the union of the two.
There are persons, too, who are not ashamed to give for one a sum
equal to the salary of a military tribune,[1246] although, as its name
indicates, its only use is to hold a lighted candle. On the sale of
one of these lamp-stands, Theon the public crier announced, that the
purchaser must also take, as part of the lot, one Clesippus, a fuller,
who was hump-backed, and in other respects, of a hideous aspect. The
purchase was made by a female named[1247] Gegania, for fifty thousand
sesterces. Upon her exhibiting these purchases at an entertainment
which she gave, the slave, for the amusement of her guests, was brought
in naked. Conceiving an infamous passion for him, she first admitted
him to her bed, and finally left him all her estate. Having thus become
excessively rich, he adored the lamp-stand as much as any divinity, and
the story became a sort of pendant to the celebrity of the Corinthian
lamp-stands. Still, however, good morals were vindicated in the end,
for he erected a splendid monument to her memory, and so kept alive
the eternal remembrance of the misconduct of Gegania. But although it
is well known that there are no lamp-stands in existence made of the
Corinthian metal, yet this name is very generally attached to them,
because, in consequence of the victory of Mummius,[1248] Corinth was
destroyed: at the same time, however, it should be remembered that this
victory dispersed a number of bronzes which originally came from many
other cities of Achaia.


The ancients were in the habit of making the door-sills and even the
doors of the temples of brass. I find it stated, also, that Cneius
Octavius, who obtained a naval triumph over King Perseus,[1249]
erected the double portico to the Flaminian Circus, which was called
the “Corinthian” from the brazen capitals of the pillars.[1250] It is
stated also, that an ordinance was made that the Temple of Vesta[1251]
should be covered with a coating of Syracusan metal. The capitals, too,
of the pillars, which were placed by M. Agrippa in the Pantheon, are
made of similar metal. Even the opulence, too, of private individuals
has been wrested to similar purposes. Spurius Carvilius, the quæstor,
among the other charges which he brought against Camillus,[1252]
accused him of having brazen doors in his house.


We learn from L. Piso,[1253] that Cneius Manlius was the first who
introduced brazen banquetting-couches, buffets, and tables with
single feet,[1254] when he entered the City in triumph, in the
year of Rome 567, after his conquests in Asia. We also learn from
Antias,[1255] that the heirs of L. Crassus, the orator, sold a number
of banquetting-couches adorned with brass. The tripods,[1256] which
were called Delphian, because they were devoted more particularly to
receiving the offerings that were presented to the Delphian Apollo,
were usually made of brass: also the pendant lamps,[1257] so much
admired, which were placed in the temples, or gave their light in the
form of trees loaded with fruit; such as the one, for instance, in the
Temple of the Palatine Apollo,[1258] which Alexander the Great, at the
sacking of Thebes, brought to Cyme,[1259] and dedicated to that god.


But after some time the artists everywhere applied themselves to
representations of the gods. I find that the first brass image, which
was made at Rome, was that of Ceres; and that the expenses were
defrayed out of the property that belonged to Spurius Cassius, who was
put to death by his own father, for aspiring to the regal office.[1260]
The practice, however, soon passed from the gods to the statues and
representations of men, and this in various forms. The ancients stained
their statues with bitumen, which makes it the more remarkable that
they were afterwards fond of covering them with gold. I do not know
whether this was a Roman invention; but it certainly has the repute of
being an ancient practice at Rome.

It was not the custom in former times to give the likeness of
individuals, except of such as deserved to be held in lasting
remembrance on account of some illustrious deed; in the first instance,
for a victory at the sacred games, and more particularly the Olympic
Games, where it was the usage for the victors always to have their
statues consecrated. And if any one was so fortunate as to obtain
the prize there three times, his statue was made with the exact
resemblance of every individual limb; from which circumstance they were
called “iconicæ.”[1261] I do not know whether the first public statues
were not erected by the Athenians, and in honour of Harmodius and
Aristogiton, who slew the tyrant;[1262] an event which took place in
the same year in which the kings were expelled from Rome. This custom,
from a most praiseworthy emulation, was afterwards adopted by all other
nations; so that statues were erected as ornaments in the public places
of municipal towns, and the memory of individuals was thus preserved,
their various honours being inscribed on the pedestals, to be read
there by posterity, and not on their tombs alone. After some time, a
kind of forum or public place came to be made in private houses and in
our halls, the clients adopting this method of doing honour to their


In former times the statues that were thus dedicated were clad in the
toga.[1263] Naked statues also, brandishing a spear, after the manner
of the youths at their gymnastic exercises, were much admired; these
were called “Achillean.” The Greek practice is, not to cover any part
of the body; while, on the contrary, the Roman and the military statues
have the addition of a cuirass. Cæsar, the Dictator, permitted a statue
with a cuirass to be erected in honour of him in his Forum.[1264]
As to the statues which are made in the garb of the Luperci,[1265]
they are of no older date than those which have been lately erected,
covered with a cloak.[1266] Mancinus gave directions, that he should
be represented in the dress which he wore when he was surrendered
to the enemy.[1267] It has been remarked by some authors, that L.
Attius,[1268] the poet, had a statue of himself erected in the Temple
of the Muses,[1269] which was extremely large, although he himself was
very short.

Equestrian statues are also held in esteem in Rome; but they are of
Greek origin, no doubt. Among the Greeks, those persons only were
honoured with equestrian statues who were victors on horseback[1270] in
the sacred games; though afterwards the same distinction was bestowed
on those who were successful in the races with chariots with two or
four horses: hence the use of chariots with us in the statues of those
who have triumphed. But this did not take place until a late period;
and it was not until the time of the late Emperor Augustus, that we had
chariots represented with six horses,[1271] as also with elephants.


The custom of erecting chariots with two horses in honour of those who
had discharged the office of prætor, and had passed round the Circus in
a chariot, is not of ancient date. That of placing statues on pillars
is older, as it was done in honour of C. Mænius,[1272] who conquered
the ancient Latins, to whom the Romans by treaty gave one third of the
spoil which they had obtained. It was in the same consulship also,
that the “rostra” or beaks of the ships, which had been taken from
the Antiates when vanquished, were fixed to the tribunal; it being
the year of the City, 416.[1273] The same thing was done also by
Caius Duillius, who was the first to obtain a naval triumph over the
Carthaginians: his column still remains in the Forum.[1274] I am not
certain whether this honour was not first conferred by the people on L.
Minutius, the præfect of the markets; whose statue was erected without
the Trigeminian Gate,[1275] by means of a tax of the twelfth of an
as[1276] per head: the same thing, however, had been previously done
by the senate, and it would have been a more distinguished honour had
it not had its origin on such frivolous occasions. The statue of Attus
Navius,[1277] for example, was erected before the senate-house, the
pedestal of which was consumed when the senate-house itself was burnt
at the funeral of Publius Clodius.[1278] The statue of Hermodorus also,
the Ephesian,[1279] the interpreter of the laws which were transcribed
by the Decemvirs, was erected by the public in the Comitium.[1280]

It was for a very different, and more important reason, that the statue
of Horatius Cocles was erected, he having singly prevented the enemy
from passing the Sublician bridge:[1281] a statue which remains to this
day. I am not at all surprized, too, that statues of the Sibyl should
have been erected near the Rostra, even though three in number; one of
which was repaired by Sextus Pacuvius Taurus, ædile of the people, and
the other two by M. Messala. I should have considered these and that of
Attus Navius to have been the oldest, as having been placed there in
the time of Tarquinius Priscus, had there not been in the Capitol the
statues of the preceding kings.[1282]

(6.) Among these we have the statues of Romulus and Tatius without
the tunic; as also that of Camillus, near the Rostra. The equestrian
statue of Marcius Tremulus, clad in the toga, stood before the
Temple of the Castors;[1283] him who twice subdued the Samnites,
and by the capture of Anagnia delivered the people from their
tribute.[1284] Among the most ancient are those of Tullus Clœlius,
Lucius Roscius, Spurius Nautius, and C. Fulcinus, near the Rostra, all
of whom were assassinated by the Fidenates, when on their mission as
ambassadors.[1285] It was the custom with the republic to confer this
honour on those who had been unjustly put to death; such as P. Junius,
also, and Titus Coruncanius, who were slain by Teuta, queen of the
Illyrians.[1286] It would be wrong not to mention what is stated in the
Annals, that their statues, erected in the Forum, were three feet in
height; whence it would appear that such were the dimensions of these
marks of honour in those times.

Nor must I forget to mention Cneius Octavius, on account of the
language used by the Senate.[1287] When King Antiochus said, that
he would give him an answer at another time, Octavius drew a line
round him with a stick, which he happened to have in his hand, and
compelled him to give an answer before he allowed him to step beyond
the circle. Octavius being slain[1288] while on this embassy, the
senate ordered his statue to be placed in the most conspicuous[1289]
spot; and that spot was the Rostra. A statue appears also to have been
decreed to Taracia Caia, or Furetia, a Vestal Virgin, the same, too,
to be placed wherever she might think fit; an additional honour, no
less remarkable, it is thought, than the grant itself of a statue to a
female. I will state her merits in the words of the Annals: “Because
she had gratuitously presented to the public the field bordering on the


I find also, that statues were erected in honour of Pythagoras and of
Alcibiades, in the corners of the Comitium; in obedience to the command
of the Pythian Apollo, who, in the Samnite War,[1291] had directed
that statues of the bravest and the wisest of the Greeks should be
erected in some conspicuous spot: and here they remained until Sylla,
the Dictator, built the senate-house on the site. It is wonderful
that the senate should then have preferred Pythagoras to Socrates,
who, in consequence of his wisdom, had been preferred to all other
men[1292] by the god himself; as, also, that they should have preferred
Alcibiades for valour to so many other heroes; or, indeed, any one to
Themistocles, who so greatly excelled in both qualities. The reason of
the statues being raised on columns, was, that the persons represented
might be elevated above other mortals; the same thing being signified
by the use of arches, a new invention which had its origin among the
Greeks. I am of opinion that there is no one to whom more statues were
erected than to Demetrius Phalercus[1293] at Athens: for there were
three hundred and sixty erected in his honour, there being reckoned at
that period no more days in the year: these, however, were soon broken
to pieces. The different tribes erected statues, in all the quarters
of Rome, in honour of Marius Gratidianus, as already stated;[1294] but
they were all thrown down by Sylla, when he entered Rome.


Pedestrian statues have been, undoubtedly, for a long time in
estimation at Rome: equestrian statues are, however, of considerable
antiquity, and females even have participated in this honour; for the
statue of Clælia is equestrian,[1295] as if it had not been thought
sufficient to have her clad in the toga; and this, although statues
were not decreed to Lucretia, or to Brutus, who had expelled the kings,
and through both of whom Clælia had been given as a hostage.[1296] I
should have thought that this statue, and that of Cocles, were the
first that were erected at the public expense—for it is most likely
that the statues of Attus and the Sibyl were erected by Tarquinius, and
those of each of the other kings by themselves respectively—had not
Piso stated that the statue of Clælia was erected by those who had been
hostages with her, when they were given up by Porsena, as a mark of

But Annius Fetialis[1297] states, on the other hand, that the
equestrian statue, which stood opposite the Temple of Jupiter Stator,
in the vestibule of the house of Tarquinius Superbus, was that of
Valeria,[1298] the daughter of the consul Publicola; and that she was
the only person that escaped and swam across the Tiber; the rest of
the hostages that had been sent to Porsena having been destroyed by a
stratagem of Tarquinius.


We are informed by L. Piso, that when M. Æmilius and C. Popilius were
consuls, for the second time,[1299] the censors, P. Cornelius Scipio
and M. Popilius, caused all the statues erected round the Forum in
honour of those who had borne the office of magistrates, to be removed;
with the exception of those which had been placed there, either by
order of the people or of the senate. The statue also which Spurius
Cassius,[1300] who had aspired to the supreme authority, had erected
in honour of himself, before the Temple of Tellus, was melted down by
order of the censors; for even in this respect, the men of those days
took precautions against ambition.

There are still extant some declamations by Cato, during his
censorship, against the practice of erecting statues of women in the
Roman provinces. However, he could not prevent these statues being
erected at Rome even; to Cornelia, for instance, the mother of the
Gracchi, and daughter of the elder Scipio Africanus. She is represented
in a sitting posture, and the statue is remarkable for having no straps
to the shoes. This statue, which was formerly in the public Portico of
Metellus, is now in the Buildings of Octavia.[1301]


The first statue that was erected at Rome at the expense of a foreigner
was that of C. Ælius, the tribune of the people, who had introduced
a law against Sthennius Statilius Lucanus,[1302] for having twice
attacked Thurii: on which account the inhabitants of that place
presented Ælius with a statue and a golden crown. At a later period,
the same people erected a statue to Fabricius,[1303] who had delivered
their city from a state of siege. From time to time various nations
thus placed themselves under the protection of the Romans; and all
distinctions were thereby so effectually removed, that statues of
Hannibal even are to be seen in three different places in that city,
within the walls of which, he alone of all its enemies, had hurled his


Various circumstances prove, that the art of making statues was
commonly practised in Italy at an early period. The statue in the
Cattle Market[1305] is said to have been consecrated to Hercules by
Evander; it is called the triumphal Hercules, and, on the occasion of
triumphal processions, is arrayed in triumphal vestments. And then
besides, King Numa dedicated the statue of the two-faced Janus;[1306]
a deity who is worshipped as presiding over both peace and war. The
fingers, too, are so formed as to indicate three hundred and sixty-five
days,[1307] or in other words, the year; thus denoting that he is the
god of time and duration.

There are also Etruscan statues dispersed in various parts of the
world, which beyond a doubt were originally made in Etruria. I should
have supposed that these had been the statues only of divinities,
had not Metrodorus[1308] of Scepsis, who had his surname from his
hatred to the Roman name,[1309] reproached us with having pillaged the
city of Volsinii for the sake of the two thousand statues which it
contained. It appears to me a singular fact, that although the origin
of statues was of such great antiquity in Italy, the images of the
gods, which were consecrated to them in their temples, should have
been formed either of wood or of earthenware,[1310] until the conquest
of Asia, which introduced luxury among us. It will be the best plan
to enlarge upon the origin of the art of expressing likenesses, when
we come to speak of what the Greeks call “plastice;”[1311] for the
art of modelling was prior to that of statuary. This last, however,
has flourished to such an extraordinary degree, that an account of it
would fill many volumes, if we were desirous of making an extensive
acquaintance with the subject: but as to learning everything connected
with it, who could do it?


In the ædileship of M. Scaurus, there were three thousand statues
erected on the stage of what was a temporary theatre[1312] only.
Mummius, the conqueror of Achaia, filled the City with statues; he who
at his death was destined not to leave a dowry to his daughter,[1313]
for why not mention this as an apology for him? The Luculli[1314] also
introduced many articles from abroad. Yet we learn from Mucianus,[1315]
who was thrice consul, that there are still three thousand statues in
Rhodes, and it is supposed that there are no fewer in existence at
Athens, at Olympia, and at Delphi. What living mortal could enumerate
them all? or of what utility would be such information? Still, however,
I may, perhaps, afford amusement by giving some slight account of such
of those works of art as are in any way remarkable, and stating the
names of the more celebrated artists. Of each of these it would be
impossible to enumerate all the productions, for Lysippus[1316] alone
is said to have executed no less than fifteen hundred[1317] works of
art, all of which were of such excellence that any one of them might
have immortalized him. The number was ascertained by his heir, upon
opening his coffers after his death, it having been his practice to lay
up one golden denarius[1318] out of the sum which he had received as
the price of each statue.

This art has arrived at incredible perfection, both in successfulness
and in boldness of design. As a proof of successfulness, I will adduce
one example, and that of a figure which represented neither god nor
man. We have seen in our own time, in the Capitol, before it was last
burnt by the party[1319] of Vitellius, in the shrine of Juno there, a
bronze figure of a dog licking its wounds. Its miraculous excellence
and its perfect truthfulness were not only proved by the circumstance
of its having been consecrated there, but also by the novel kind of
security that was taken for its safety; for, no sum appearing equal to
its value, it was publicly enacted that the keepers of it should be
answerable for its safety with their lives.


As to boldness of design, the examples are innumerable; for we see
designed, statues of enormous bulk, known as colossal statues and
equal to towers in size. Such, for instance, is the Apollo in the
Capitol, which was brought by M. Lucullus from Apollonia, a city of
Pontus,[1320] thirty cubits in height, and which cost five hundred
talents: such, too, is the statue of Jupiter, in the Campus Martius,
dedicated by the late Emperor Claudius, but which appears small
in comparison from its vicinity to the Theatre of Pompeius: and
such is that at Tarentum, forty cubits in height, and the work of
Lysippus.[1321] It is a remarkable circumstance in this statue, that
though, as it is stated, it is so nicely balanced as to be moveable
by the hand, it has never been thrown down by a tempest. This indeed,
the artist, it is said, has guarded against, by a column erected at a
short distance from it, upon the side on which the violence of the wind
required to be broken. On account, therefore, of its magnitude, and the
great difficulty of moving it, Fabius Verrucosus[1322] did not touch
it, when he transferred the Hercules from that place to the Capitol,
where it now stands.

But that which is by far the most worthy of our admiration, is the
colossal statue of the Sun, which stood formerly at Rhodes, and was the
work of Chares the Lindian, a pupil of the above-named Lysippus;[1323]
no less than seventy cubits in height. This statue, fifty-six years
after it was erected, was thrown down by an earthquake; but even as it
lies, it excites our wonder and admiration.[1324] Few men can clasp
the thumb in their arms, and its fingers are larger than most statues.
Where the limbs are broken asunder, vast caverns are seen yawning in
the interior. Within it, too, are to be seen large masses of rock, by
the weight of which the artist steadied it while erecting it. It is
said that it was twelve years before this statue was completed, and
that three hundred talents were expended upon it; a sum raised from the
engines of warfare which had been abandoned by King Demetrius,[1325]
when tired of the long-protracted siege of Rhodes. In the same city
there are other colossal statues, one hundred in number; but though
smaller than the one already mentioned, wherever erected, they would,
any one of them, have ennobled the place. In addition to these, there
are five colossal statues of the gods, which were made by Bryaxis.[1326]

Colossal statues used also to be made in Italy. At all events, we see
the Tuscan Apollo, in the library of the Temple of Augustus,[1327]
fifty feet in height from the toe; and it is a question whether it is
more remarkable for the quality of the metal, or for the beauty of the
workmanship. Spurius Carvilius also erected the statue of Jupiter which
is seen in the Capitol, after he had conquered the Samnites,[1328] who
fought in obedience to a most solemn oath; it being formed out of their
breast-plates, greaves, and helmets, and of such large dimensions that
it may be seen from the statue of Jupiter Latiaris.[1329] He made his
own statue, which is at the feet of the other one, out of the filings
of the metal. There are also, in the Capitol, two heads which are very
much admired, and which were dedicated by the Consul P. Lentulus, one
of them executed by the above-mentioned Chares,[1330] the other by
Decius;[1331] but this last is so greatly excelled by the former, as
to have all the appearance of being the work of one of the poorest of

But all these gigantic statues of this kind have been surpassed in our
own age by that of Mercury, made by Zenodotus[1332] for the city of
the Arverni in Gaul,[1333] which was ten years in being completed, and
the making of which cost four hundred thousand sesterces. Having given
sufficient proof there of his artistic skill, he was sent for by Nero
to Rome, where he made a colossal statue intended to represent that
prince, one hundred and ten feet in height. In consequence, however, of
the public detestation of Nero’s crimes, this statue was consecrated to
the Sun.[1334] We used to admire in his studio, not only the accurate
likeness in the model of clay, but in the small sketches[1335] also,
which served as the first foundation of the work. This statue proves
that the art of fusing [precious] brass was then lost, for Nero was
prepared to furnish the requisite gold and silver, and Zenodotus
was inferior to none of the ancients, either as a designer or as an
engraver.[1336] At the time that he was working at the statue for
the Arverni, he copied for Dubius Avitus, the then governor of the
province, two drinking-cups, chased by the hand of Calamis,[1337] which
had been highly prized by Germanicus Cæsar, and had been given by him
to his preceptor Cassius Silanus, the uncle of Avitus; and this with
such exactness, that they could scarcely be distinguished from the
originals. The greater, then, the superiority of Zenodotus, the more
certainly it may be concluded that the secret of fusing [precious]
brass is lost.

(8.) Persons who possess what are called Corinthian bronzes,[1338]
are generally so much enamoured of them, as to carry them about with
them from place to place; Hortensius, the orator, for instance, who
possessed a Sphinx, which he had made Verres give him, when accused.
It was to this figure that Cicero alluded, in an altercation which
took place at the trial: when, upon Hortensius saying that he could
not understand enigmas, Cicero made answer that he ought to understand
them, as he had got a Sphinx[1339] at home. The Emperor Nero, also,
used to carry about with him the figure of an Amazon, of which I shall
speak further hereafter;[1340] and, shortly before this, C. Cestius, a
person of consular[1341] rank, had possessed a figure, which he carried
with him even in battle. The tent, too, of Alexander the Great was
usually supported, it is said, by statues, two of which are consecrated
before the Temple of Mars Ultor,[1342] and a similar number before the


An almost innumerable multitude of artists have been rendered famous
by their statues and figures of smaller size. Before all others is
Phidias,[1344] the Athenian, who executed the Jupiter at Olympia, in
ivory and gold,[1345] but who also made figures in brass as well.
He flourished in the eighty-third Olympiad, about the year of our
City, 300. To the same age belong also his rivals Alcamenes,[1346]
Critias,[1347] Nesiotes,[1348] and Hegias.[1349] Afterwards, in the
eighty-seventh Olympiad, there were Agelades,[1350] Callon,[1351]
and Gorgias the Laconian. In the ninetieth Olympiad there were
Polycletus,[1352] Phradmon,[1353] Myron,[1354] Pythagoras,[1355]
Scopas,[1356] and Perellus.[1357] Of these, Polycletus had for pupils,
Argius,[1358] Asopodorus, Alexis, Aristides,[1359] Phrynon, Dinon,
Athenodorus,[1360] and Demeas[1361] the Clitorian: Lycius,[1362]
too, was the pupil of Myron. In the ninety-fifth Olympiad flourished
Naucsydes,[1363] Dinomenes,[1364] Canachus,[1365] and Patroclus.[1366]
In the hundred and second Olympiad there were Polycles,[1367]
Cephisodotus,[1368] Leochares,[1369] and Hypatodorus.[1370] In
the hundred and fourth Olympiad, flourished Praxiteles[1371] and
Euphranor;[1372] in the hundred and seventh, Aëtion[1373] and
Therimachus;[1374] in the hundred and thirteenth, Lysippus,[1375]
who was the contemporary of Alexander the Great, his brother
Lysistratus,[1376] Sthennis,[1377] Euphron, Eucles, Sostratus,[1378]
Ion, and Silanion,[1379] who was remarkable for having acquired
great celebrity without any instructor: Zeuxis[1380] was his pupil.
In the hundred and twenty-first Olympiad were Eutychides,[1381]
Euthycrates,[1382] Laïppus,[1383] Cephisodotus,[1384] Timarchus,[1385]
and Pyromachus.[1386]

The practice of this art then ceased for some time, but revived in
the hundred and fifty-sixth Olympiad, when there were some artists,
who, though far inferior to those already mentioned, were still highly
esteemed; Antæus, Callistratus,[1387] Polycles,[1388] Athenæus,[1389]
Callixenus, Pythocles, Pythias, and Timocles.[1390]

The ages of the most celebrated artists being thus distinguished, I
shall cursorily review the more eminent of them, the greater part being
mentioned in a desultory manner. The most celebrated of these artists,
though born at different epochs, have joined in a trial of skill in
the Amazons which they have respectively made. When these statues
were dedicated in the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, it was agreed, in
order to ascertain which was the best, that it should be left to the
judgment of the artists themselves who were then present: upon which,
it was evident that that was the best, which all the artists agreed
in considering as the next best to his own. Accordingly, the first
rank was assigned to Polycletus, the second to Phidias, the third to
Cresilas, the fourth to Cydon, and the fifth to Phradmon.[1391]

Phidias, besides the Olympian Jupiter, which no one has ever equalled,
also executed in ivory the erect statue of Minerva, which is in the
Parthenon at Athens.[1392] He also made in brass, beside the Amazon
above mentioned,[1393] a Minerva, of such exquisite beauty, that it
received its name from its fine proportions.[1394] He also made the
Cliduchus,[1395] and another Minerva, which Paulus Æmilius dedicated at
Rome in the Temple of Fortune[1396] of the passing day. Also the two
statues, draped with the pallium, which Catulus erected in the same
temple; and a nude colossal statue. Phidias is deservedly considered to
have discovered and developed the toreutic art.[1397]

Polycletus of Sicyon,[1398] the pupil of Agelades, executed the
Diadumenos,[1399] the statue of an effeminate youth, and remarkable for
having cost one hundred talents; as also the statue of a youth full of
manly vigour, and called the Doryphoros.[1400] He also made what the
artists have called the Model statue,[1401] and from which, as from a
sort of standard, they study the lineaments: so that he, of all men,
is thought in one work of art to have exhausted all the resources of
art. He also made statues of a man using the body-scraper,[1402] and
of a naked man challenging to play at dice;[1403] as also of two naked
boys playing at dice, and known as the Astragalizontes;[1404] they are
now in the atrium of the Emperor Titus, and it is generally considered,
that there can be no work more perfect than this. He also executed a
Mercury, which was formerly at Lysimachia; a Hercules Ageter,[1405]
seizing his arms, which is now at Rome; and an Artemon, which has
received the name of Periphoretos.[1406] Polycletus is generally
considered as having attained the highest excellence in statuary, and
as having perfected the toreutic[1407] art, which Phidias invented. A
discovery which was entirely his own, was the art of placing statues on
one leg. It is remarked, however, by Varro, that his statues are all
square-built,[1408] and made very much after the same model.[1409]

Myron of Eleutheræ,[1410] who was also the pupil of Agelades, was
rendered more particularly famous by his statue of a heifer,[1411]
celebrated in many well-known lines: so true is it, that most men
owe their renown more to the genius of others, than to their own.
He also made the figure of a dog,[1412] a Discobolus,[1413] a
Perseus,[1414] the Pristæ,[1415] a Satyr[1416] admiring a flute, and
a Minerva, the Delphic Pentathletes,[1417] the Pancratiastæ,[1418]
and a Hercules,[1419] which is at the Circus Maximus, in the house
of Pompeius Magnus. Erinna,[1420] in her poems,[1421] makes allusion
to a monument which he erected to a cricket and a locust. He also
executed the Apollo, which, after being taken from the Ephesians by
the Triumvir Antonius, was restored by the Emperor Augustus, he having
been admonished to do so in a dream. Myron appears to have been the
first to give a varied development to the art,[1422] having made a
greater number of designs than Polycletus, and shewn more attention to
symmetry. And yet, though he was very accurate in the proportions of
his figures, he has neglected to give expression; besides which, he has
not treated the hair and the pubes with any greater attention than is
observed in the rude figures of more ancient times.

Pythagoras of Rhegium, in Italy, excelled him in the figure of the
Pancratiast[1423] which is now at Delphi, and in which he also
surpassed Leontiscus.[1424] Pythagoras also executed the statue of
Astylos,[1425] the runner, which is exhibited at Olympia; that of a
Libyan boy holding a tablet, also in the same place; and a nude male
figure holding fruit. There is at Syracuse a figure of a lame man by
him: persons, when looking at it, seem to feel the very pain of his
wound. He also made an Apollo, with the serpent[1426] pierced by his
arrows; and a Player on the Lyre, known as the Dicæus,[1427] from the
fact that, when Thebes was taken by Alexander the Great, a fugitive
successfully concealed in its bosom a sum of gold. He was the first
artist who gave expression to the sinews and the veins, and paid more
attention to the hair.

There was also another Pythagoras, a Samian,[1428] who was originally
a painter, seven of whose nude figures, in the Temple of Fortune of
the passing day,[1429] and one of an aged man, are very much admired.
He is said to have resembled the last-mentioned artist so much in his
features, that they could not be distinguished. Sostratus, it is said,
was the pupil of Pythagoras of Rhegium, and his sister’s son.

According to Duris,[1430] Lysippus the Sicyonian was not the
pupil[1431] of any one, but was originally a worker in brass, and was
first prompted to venture upon statuary by an answer that was given by
Eupompus the painter; who, upon being asked which of his predecessors
he proposed to take for his model, pointed to a crowd of men, and
replied that it was Nature herself, and no artist, that he proposed
to imitate. As already mentioned,[1432] Lysippus was most prolific
in his works, and made more statues than any other artist. Among
these, is the Man using the Body-scraper[1433], which Marcus Agrippa
had erected in front of his Warm Baths,[1434] and which wonderfully
pleased the Emperor Tiberius. This prince, although in the beginning
of his reign he imposed some restraint upon himself, could not resist
the temptation, and had this statue removed to his bed-chamber, having
substituted another for it at the baths: the people, however, were
so resolutely opposed to this, that at the theatre they clamourously
demanded the Apoxyomenos[1435] to be replaced; and the prince,
notwithstanding his attachment to it, was obliged to restore it.

Lysippus is also celebrated for his statue of the intoxicated Female
Flute-player, his dogs and huntsmen, and, more particularly, for
his Chariot with the Sun, as represented by the Rhodians.[1436] He
also executed a numerous series of statues of Alexander the Great,
commencing from his childhood.[1437] The Emperor Nero was so delighted
with his statue of the infant Alexander, that he had it gilt: this
addition, however, to its value, so detracted from its artistic beauty
that the gold was removed, and in this state it was looked upon as
still more precious, though disfigured by the scratches and seams which
remained upon it, and in which the gold was still to be seen.[1438]
He also made the statue of Hephæstion, the friend of Alexander the
Great, which some persons attribute to Polycletus, whereas that artist
lived nearly a century before his time.[1439] Also, the statue of
Alexander at the chase, now consecrated at Delphi, the figure of a
Satyr, now at Athens, and the Squadron of Alexander,[1440] all of
whom he represented with the greatest accuracy. This last work of art,
after his conquest of Macedonia,[1441] Metellus conveyed to Rome.
Lysippus also executed chariots of various kinds. He is considered to
have contributed very greatly to the art of statuary by expressing the
details of the hair,[1442] and by making the head smaller than had
been done by the ancients, and the body more graceful and less bulky,
a method by which his statues were made to appear taller. The Latin
language has no appropriate name for that “symmetry,”[1443] which he
so attentively observed in his new and hitherto untried method of
modifying the squareness observable in the ancient statues. Indeed,
it was a common saying of his, that other artists made men as they
actually were, while he made them as they appeared to be. One peculiar
characteristic of his work, is the finish and minuteness which are
observed in even the smallest details. Lysippus left three sons, who
were also his pupils, and became celebrated as artists, Laippus, Bœdas,
and, more particularly, Euthycrates; though this last-named artist
rivalled his father in precision rather than in elegance, and preferred
scrupulous correctness to gracefulness. Nothing can be more expressive
than his Hercules at Delphi, his Alexander, his Hunter at Thespiæ, and
his Equestrian Combat. Equally good, too, are his statue of Trophonius,
erected in the oracular cave[1444] of that divinity, his numerous
chariots, his Horse with the Panniers,[1445] and his hounds.

Tisicrates, also a native of Sicyon, was a pupil of Euthycrates, but
more nearly approaching the style of Lysippus; so much so, that several
of his statues can scarcely be distinguished from those of Lysippus;
his aged Theban, for example, his King Demetrius, and his Peucestes,
who saved the life of Alexander the Great, and so rendered himself
deserving of this honour.[1446]

Artists, who have transmitted these details in their works, bestow
wonderful encomiums upon Telephanes, the Phocæan, a statuary but little
known, they say, because he lived in Thessaly, where his works remained
concealed; according to their account, however, he is quite equal to
Polycletus, Myron, and Pythagoras. They more particularly commend his
Larissa, his Spintharus, the pentathlete,[1447] and his Apollo. Others,
however, assign another reason for his being so little known; it
being owing, they think, to his having devoted himself to the studios
established by Kings Xerxes and Darius.

Praxiteles, who excelled more particularly in marble, and thence
acquired his chief celebrity, also executed some very beautiful
works in brass, the Rape of Proserpine, the Catagusa,[1448] a Father
Liber,[1449] a figure of Drunkenness, and the celebrated Satyr,[1450]
to the Greeks known as “Periboetos.”[1451] He also executed the
statues, which were formerly before the Temple[1452] of Good Fortune,
and the Venus, which was destroyed by fire, with the Temple of
that goddess, in the reign of Claudius, and was considered equal
to his marble statue of Venus,[1453] so celebrated throughout the
world. He also executed a Stephanusa,[1454] a Spilumene,[1455] an
Œnophorus,[1456] and two figures of Harmodius and Aristogiton, who slew
the tyrants; which last, having been taken away from Greece by Xerxes,
were restored to the Athenians on the conquest of Persia by Alexander
the Great.[1457] He also made the youthful Apollo, known as the
“Sauroctonos,”[1458] because he is aiming an arrow at a lizard which is
stealing towards him. There are greatly admired, also, two statues of
his, expressive of contrary emotions—a Matron in tears, and a Courtesan
full of gaiety: this last is supposed to be a likeness of Phryne, and
it is said that we can detect in her figure the love of the artist, and
in the countenance of the courtesan the promised reward.[1459]

His kindness of heart, too, is witnessed by another figure; for in a
chariot and horses which had been executed by Calamis,[1460] he himself
made the charioteer, in order that the artist, who excelled in the
representation of horses, might not be considered deficient in the
human figure. This last-mentioned artist has executed other chariots
also, some with four horses, and some with two; and in his horses he
is always unrivalled. But that it may not be supposed that he was so
greatly inferior in his human figures, it is as well to remark that his
Alcmena[1461] is equal to any that was ever produced.

Alcamenes,[1462] who was a pupil of Phidias, worked in marble and
executed a Pentathlete in brass, known as the “Encrinomenos.”[1463]
Aristides, too, who was the scholar of Polycletus, executed chariots in
metal with four and two horses. The Leæna[1464] of Amphicrates[1465]
is highly commended. The courtesan[1466] Leæna, who was a skilful
performer on the lyre, and had so become acquainted with Harmodius
and Aristogiton, submitted to be tortured till she expired, rather
than betray their plot for the extermination of the tyrants.[1467]
The Athenians, being desirous of honouring her memory, without at the
same time rendering homage to a courtesan, had her represented under
the figure of the animal whose name she bore;[1468] and, in order to
indicate the cause of the honour thus paid her, ordered the artist to
represent the animal without a tongue.[1469]

Bryaxis executed in brass statues of Æsculapius and Seleucus;[1470]
Bœdas[1471] a figure in adoration; Baton, an Apollo and a Juno, which
are in the Temple of Concord[1472] at Rome.

Ctesilaüs[1473] executed a statue of a man fainting from his wounds, in
the expression of which may be seen how little life remains;[1474] as
also the Olympian Pericles,[1475] well worthy of its title: indeed, it
is one of the marvellous adjuncts of this art, that it renders men who
are already celebrated even more so.

Cephisodotus[1476] is the artist of an admirable Minerva, now erected
in the port of Athens; as also of the altar before the Temple of
Jupiter Servator,[1477] at the same place, to which, indeed, few works
are comparable.

Canachus[1478] executed a nude Apollo, which is known as the
“Philesian:”[1479] it is at Didymi,[1480] and is composed of bronze
that was fused at Ægina. He also made a stag with it, so nicely poised
on its hoofs, as to admit of a thread being passed beneath. One[1481]
fore-foot, too, and the alternate hind-foot are so made as firmly to
grip the base, the socket being[1482] so indented on either side, as
to admit of the figure being thrown at pleasure upon alternate feet.
Another work of his was the boys known as the “Celetizontes.”[1483]

Chæreas made statues of Alexander the Great and of his father Philip.
Desilaüs[1484] made a Doryphoros[1485] and a wounded Amazon; and
Demetrius[1486] a statue of Lysimache, who was priestess of Minerva
sixty-four years. This statuary also made the Minerva, which has the
name of Musica,[1487] and so called because the dragons on its Gorgon’s
head vibrate at the sound of the lyre; also an equestrian statue of
Simon, the first writer on the art of equitation.[1488] Dædalus,[1489]
who is highly esteemed as a modeller in clay, made two brazen figures
of youths using the body-scraper;[1490] and Dinomenes executed figures
of Protesilaüs[1491] and Pythodemus the wrestler.

The statue of Alexander Paris is the work of Euphranor:[1492] it is
much admired, because we recognize in it, at the same moment, all these
characteristics; we see him as the umpire between the goddesses, the
paramour of Helen, and yet the slayer of Achilles. We have a Minerva,
too, by Euphranor, at Rome, known as the “Catulina,” and dedicated
below the Capitol, by Q. Lutatius;[1493] also a figure of Good
Success,[1494] holding in the right hand a patera, and in the left an
ear of corn and a poppy. There is also a Latona by him, in the Temple
of Concord,[1495] with the new-born infants Apollo and Diana in her
arms. He also executed some brazen chariots with four and two horses,
and a Cliduchus[1496] of beautiful proportions; as also two colossal
statues, one representing Virtue, the other Greece;[1497] and a figure
of a female lost in wonder and adoration: with statues of Alexander and
Philip in chariots with four horses. Eutychides executed an emblematic
figure of the Eurotas,[1498] of which it has been frequently remarked,
that the work of the artist appears more flowing than the waters even
of the river.[1499]

Hegias[1500] is celebrated for his Minerva and his King Pyrrhus, his
youthful Celetizontes,[1501] and his statues of Castor and Pollux,
before the Temple of Jupiter Tonans:[1502] Hegesias,[1503] for his
Hercules, which is at our colony of Parium.[1504] Of Isidotus we have
the Buthytes.[1505]

Lycius was the pupil[1506] of Myron: he made a figure representing a
boy blowing a nearly extinguished fire, well worthy of his master, as
also figures of the Argonauts. Leochares made a bronze representing the
eagle carrying off Ganymede: the eagle has all the appearance of being
sensible of the importance of his burden, and for whom he is carrying
it, being careful not to injure the youth with his talons, even through
the garments.[1507] He executed a figure, also, of Autolycus,[1508] who
had been victorious in the contests of the Pancratium, and for whom
Xenophon wrote his Symposium;[1509] the figure, also, of Jupiter Tonans
in the Capitol, the most admired of all his works; and a statue of
Apollo crowned with a diadem. He executed, also, a figure of Lyciscus,
and one of the boy Lagon,[1510] full of the archness and low-bred
cunning of the slave. Lycius also made a figure of a boy burning

We have a young bull by Menæchmus,[1511] pressed down beneath a man’s
knee, with its neck bent back:[1512] this Menæchmus has also written
a treatise on his art. Naucydes[1513] is admired for a Mercury,
a Discobolus,[1514] and a Man sacrificing a Ram. Naucerus made a
figure of a wrestler panting for breath; Niceratus, an Æsculapius and
Hygeia,[1515] which are in the Temple of Concord at Rome. Pyromachus
represented Alcibiades, managing a chariot with four horses:
Polycles made a splendid statue of Hermaphroditus; Pyrrhus, statues
of Hygeia and Minerva; and Phanis, who was a pupil of Lysippus, an

Stypax of Cyprus acquired his celebrity by a single work, the statue
of the Splanchnoptes;[1517] which represents a slave of the Olympian
Pericles, roasting entrails and kindling the fire with his breath.
Silanion made a statue in metal of Apollodorus, who was himself a
modeller, and not only the most diligent of all in the study of this
art, but a most severe criticizer of his own works, frequently breaking
his statues to pieces when he had finished them, and never able to
satisfy his intense passion for the art—a circumstance which procured
him the surname of “the Madman.” Indeed, it is this expression which
he has given to his works, which represent in metal embodied anger
rather than the lineaments of a human being. The Achilles, also, of
Silanion is very excellent, and his Epistates[1518] exercising the
Athletes. Strongylion[1519] made a figure of an Amazon, which, from the
beauty of the legs, was known as the “Eucnemos,”[1520] and which Nero
used to have carried about with him in his travels. Strongylion was
the artist, also, of a youthful figure, which was so much admired by
Brutus of Philippi, that it received from him its surname.[1521]

Theodorus of Samos,[1522] who constructed the Labyrinth,[1523] cast
his own statue in brass; which was greatly admired, not only for its
resemblance, but for the extreme delicacy of the work. In the right
hand he holds a file, and with three fingers of the left, a little
model of a four-horse chariot, which has since been transferred to
Præneste:[1524] it is so extremely minute, that the whole piece, both
chariot and charioteer, may be covered by the wings of a fly, which he
also made with it.

Xenocrates[1525] was the pupil of Ticrates, or, as some say, of
Euthycrates: he surpassed them both, however, in the number of his
statues, and was the author of some treatises on his art.

Several artists have represented the battles fought by Attalus and
Eumenes with the Galli;[1526] Isigonus, for instance, Pyromachus,
Stratonicus, and Antigonus,[1527] who also wrote some works in
reference to his art. Boëthus,[1528] although more celebrated for his
works in silver, has executed a beautiful figure of a child strangling
a goose. The most celebrated of all the works, of which I have here
spoken, have been dedicated, for some time past, by the Emperor
Vespasianus in the Temple of Peace,[1529] and other public buildings
of his. They had before been forcibly carried off by Nero,[1530] and
brought to Rome, and arranged by him in the reception-rooms of his
Golden Palace.[1531]

In addition to these, there are several other artists, of about equal
celebrity, but none of whom have produced any first-rate works;
Ariston,[1532] who was principally employed in chasing silver,
Callides, Ctesias, Cantharus of Sicyon,[1533] Diodorus, a pupil of
Critias, Deliades, Euphorion, Eunicus,[1534] and Hecatæus,[1535] all
of them chasers in silver; Lesbocles, also, Prodorus, Pythodicus, and
Polygnotus,[1536] one of the most celebrated painters; also two other
chasers in silver, Stratonicus,[1537] and Scymnus, a pupil of Critias.

I shall now enumerate those artists who have executed works of the same
class:— Apollodorus,[1538] for example, Antrobulus, Asclepiodorus, and
Aleuas, who have executed statues of philosophers. Apellas[1539] has
left us some figures of females in the act of adoration; Antignotus, a
Perixyomenos,[1540] and figures of the Tyrannicides, already mentioned.
Antimachus and Athenodorus made some statues of females of noble birth;
Aristodemus[1541] executed figures of wrestlers, two-horse chariots
with the charioteers, philosophers, aged women, and a statue of King
Seleucus:[1542] his Doryphoros,[1543] too, possesses his characteristic

There were two artists of the name of Cephisodotus:[1544] the earlier
of them made a figure of Mercury nursing Father Liber[1545] when an
infant; also of a man haranguing, with the hand elevated, the original
of which is now unknown. The younger Cephisodotus executed statues
of philosophers. Colotes,[1546] who assisted Phidias in the Olympian
Jupiter, also executed statues of philosophers; the same, too, with
Cleon,[1547] Cenchramis, Callicles,[1548] and Cepis. Chalcosthenes
made statues of comedians and athletes. Daïppus[1549] executed a
Perixyomenos.[1550] Daïphron, Democritus,[1551] and Dæmon made statues
of philosophers.

Epigonus, who has attempted nearly all the above-named classes of
works, has distinguished himself more particularly by his Trumpeter,
and his Child in Tears, caressing its murdered mother. The Woman in
Admiration, of Eubulus, is highly praised; and so is the Man, by
Eubulides,[1552] reckoning on his Fingers. Micon[1553] is admired for
his athletes; Menogenes, for his four-horse chariots. Niceratus,[1554]
too, who attempted every kind of work that had been executed by
any other artist, made statues of Alcibiades and of his mother
Demarate,[1555] who is represented sacrificing by the light of torches.

Tisicrates[1556] executed a two-horse chariot in brass, in which Piston
afterwards placed the figure of a female. Piston also made the statues
of Mars and Mercury, which are in the Temple of Concord at Rome.
No one can commend Perillus;[1557] more cruel even than the tyrant
Phalaris[1558] himself, he made for him a brazen bull, asserting that
when a man was enclosed in it, and fire applied beneath, the cries of
the man would resemble the roaring of a bull: however, with a cruelty
in this instance marked by justice, the experiment of this torture was
first tried upon himself. To such a degree did this man degrade the art
of representing gods and men, an art more adapted than any other to
refine the feelings! Surely so many persons had not toiled to perfect
it in order to make it an instrument of torture! Hence it is that the
works of Perillus are only preserved, in order that whoever sees them,
may detest the hands that made them.

Sthennis[1559] made the statues of Ceres, Jupiter, and Minerva, which
are now in the Temple of Concord; also figures of matrons weeping,
adoring, and offering sacrifice; Simon[1560] executed figures of a
dog and an archer. Stratonicus,[1561] the chaser in silver, made
some figures of philosophers; and so did both of the artists named

The following artists have made statues of athletes, armed
men, hunters, and sacrifices—Baton,[1563] Euchir,[1564]
Glaucides,[1565] Heliodorus,[1566] Hicanus, Leophon, Lyson,[1567]
Leon, Menodorus,[1568] Myagrus,[1569] Polycrates, Polyidus,[1570]
Pythocritus, Protogenes, a famous painter, whom we shall
have occasion to mention hereafter;[1571] Patrocles, Pollis,
Posidonius[1572] the Ephesian, who was also a celebrated chaser in
silver; Periclymenus,[1573] Philon,[1574] Symenus, Timotheus,[1575]
Theomnestus,[1576] Timarchides,[1577] Timon, Tisias, and Thrason.[1578]

But of all these, Callimachus is the most remarkable, on account of
his surname. Being always dissatisfied with himself, and continually
correcting his works, he obtained the name of “Catatexitechnos;”[1579]
thus affording a memorable example of the necessity of observing
moderation even in carefulness. His Laconian Female Dancers, for
instance, is a most correct performance, but one in which, by extreme
correctness, he has effaced all gracefulness. It has been said, too,
that Callimachus was a painter also. Cato, in his expedition against
Cyprus,[1580] sold all the statues that he found there, with the
exception of one of Zeno; in which case he was influenced, neither by
the value of the metal nor by its excellence as a work of art, but by
the fact that it was the statue of a philosopher. I only mention this
circumstance casually, that an example[1581] so little followed, may be

While speaking of statues, there is one other that should not be
omitted, although its author is unknown, that of Hercules clothed in
a tunic,[1582] the only one represented in that costume in Rome: it
stands near the Rostra, and the countenance is stern and expressive of
his last agonies, caused by that dress. There are three inscriptions
on it; the first of which states that it had formed part of the spoil
obtained by L. Lucullus[1583] the general; the second, that his son,
while still a minor, dedicated in accordance with a decree of the
Senate; the third, that T. Septimius Sabinus, the curule ædile, had it
restored to the public from the hands of a private individual. So vast
has been the rivalry caused by this statue, and so high the value set
upon it.


We will now return to the different kinds of copper, and its
several combinations. In Cyprian copper we have the kind known as
“coronarium,”[1584] and that called “regulare,”[1585] both of them
ductile. The former is made into thin leaves, and, after being coloured
with ox-gall,[1586] is used for what has all the appearance of gilding
on the coronets worn upon the stage. The same substance, if mixed
with gold, in the proportion of six scruples of gold to the ounce,
and reduced into thin plates, acquires a fiery red colour, and is
termed “pyropus.”[1587] In other mines again, they prepare the kind
known as “regulare,” as also that which is called “caldarium.”[1588]
These differ from each other in this respect, that, in the latter, the
metal is only fused, and breaks when struck with the hammer, whereas
the “regulare” is malleable, or ductile,[1589] as some call it, a
property which belongs naturally to all the copper of Cyprus. In the
case, however, of all the other mines, this difference between bar
copper and cast brass is produced by artificial means. All the ores,
in fact, will produce bar or malleable copper when sufficiently melted
and purified by heat. Among the other kinds of copper, the palm of
excellence is awarded to that of Campania,[1590] which is the most
esteemed for vessels and utensils. This last is prepared several ways.
At Capua it is melted upon fires made with wood, and not coals, after
which it is sprinkled with cold water and cleansed through a sieve made
of oak. After being thus smelted a number of times, Spanish silver-lead
is added to it, in the proportion of ten pounds of lead to one hundred
pounds of copper; a method by which it is rendered pliable, and made
to assume that agreeable colour which is imparted to other kinds of
copper by the application of oil and the action of the sun. Many parts,
however, of Italy, and the provinces, produce a similar kind of metal;
but there they add only eight pounds of lead, and, in consequence of
the scarcity of wood, melt it several times over upon coals. It is in
Gaul more particularly, where the ore is melted between red-hot stones,
that the difference is to be seen that is produced by these variations
in the method of smelting. Indeed, this last method scorches the metal,
and renders it black and friable. Besides, they only melt it twice;
whereas, the oftener this operation is repeated, the better in quality
it becomes.

(9.) It is also as well to remark that all copper fuses best when the
weather is intensely cold. The proper combination for making statues
and tablets is as follows: the ore is first melted; after which there
is added to the molten metal one third part of second-hand[1591]
copper, or in other words, copper that has been in use and bought up
for the purpose. For it is a peculiarity of this metal that when it has
been some time in use, and has been subject to long-continued friction,
it becomes seasoned, and subdued, as it were, to a high polish. Twelve
pounds and a half of silver-lead are then added to every hundred pounds
of the fused metal. There is also a combination of copper, of a most
delicate nature, “mould-copper,”[1592] as it is called; there being
added to the metal one tenth part of lead[1593] and one twentieth
of silver-lead, this combination being the best adapted for taking
the colour known as “Græcænicus.”[1594] The last kind is that known
as “ollaria,”[1595] from the vessels that are made of it: in this
combination three or four pounds of silver-lead[1596] are added to
every hundred pounds of copper. By the addition of lead to Cyprian
copper, the purple tint is produced that we see upon the drapery of


Copper becomes covered with verdigris more quickly when cleaned than
when neglected, unless it is well rubbed with oil. It is said that
the best method of preserving it is with a coating of tar. The custom
of making use of copper for monuments, which are intended to be
perpetuated, is of very ancient date: it is upon tablets of brass that
our public enactments are engraved.

CHAP. 22. (10.)—CADMIA.

The ores of copper furnish a number of resources[1597] that are
employed in medicine; indeed, all kinds of ulcers are healed
thereby with great rapidity. Of these, however, the most useful is
cadmia.[1598] This substance is formed artificially, beyond a doubt,
in the furnaces, also, where they smelt silver, but it is whiter and
not so heavy, and by no means to be compared with that from copper.
There are several kinds of it. For, as the mineral itself, from which
it is prepared artificially, so necessary in fusing copper ore, and so
useful in medicine, has the name of “cadmia,”[1599] so also is it found
in the smelting-furnaces, where it receives other names, according
to the way in which it is formed. By the action of the flame and the
blast, the more attenuated parts of the metal are separated, and become
attached, in proportion to their lightness, to the arched top and
sides of the furnace. These flakes are the thinnest near the exterior
opening of the furnace, where the flame finds a vent, the substance
being called “capnitis;”[1600] from its burnt appearance and its
extreme lightness it resembles white ashes. The best is that which is
found in the interior, hanging from the arches of the chimney, and from
its form and position named “botryitis.”[1601] It is heavier than the
first-mentioned kind, but lighter than those which follow. It is of two
different colours: the least valuable is ash-coloured, the better kind
being red, friable, and extremely useful as a remedy for affections of
the eyes.

A third kind of cadmia is that found on the sides of the furnace,
and which, in consequence of its weight, could not reach the arched
vaults of the chimney. This species is called “placitis,”[1602] in
reference to its solid appearance, it presenting a plane surface more
like a solid crust than pumice, and mottled within. Its great use
is, for the cure of itch-scab, and for making wounds cicatrize. Of
this last there are two varieties, the “onychitis,” which is almost
entirely blue on the exterior, and spotted like an onyx within; and
the “ostracitis,”[1603] which is quite black and more dirty than the
others, but particularly useful for healing wounds. All the species of
cadmia are of the best quality from the furnaces of Cyprus. When used
in medicine it is heated a second time upon a fire of pure charcoal,
and when duly incinerated, is quenched in Aminean[1604] wine, if
required for making plasters, but in vinegar, if wanted for the cure
of itch-scab. Some persons first pound it, and then burn it in earthen
pots; which done, they wash it in mortars and then dry it.

Nymphodorus[1605] recommends that the most heavy and dense pieces of
mineral cadmia that can be procured, should be burnt upon hot coals and
quenched in Chian wine; after which, it must be pounded and then sifted
through a linen cloth. It is then pulverized in a mortar and macerated
in rain water, the sediment being again pounded until it is reduced to
the consistency of ceruse, and presents no grittiness to the teeth.
Iollas[1606] recommends the same process; except that he selects the
purest specimens of native cadmia.


Cadmia[1607] acts as a desiccative, heals wounds, arrests discharges,
acts detergently upon webs and foul incrustations of the eyes, removes
eruptions, and produces, in fact, all the good effects which we shall
have occasion to mention when speaking of lead. Copper too, itself,
when calcined, is employed for all these purposes; in addition to which
it is used for white spots and cicatrizations upon the eyes. Mixed with
milk, it is curative also of ulcers upon the eyes; for which purpose,
the people in Egypt make a kind of eye-salve by grinding it upon whet
stones. Taken with honey, it acts as an emetic. For these purposes,
Cyprian copper is calcined in unbaked earthen pots, with an equal
quantity of sulphur; the apertures of the vessel being well luted,
and it being left in the furnace until the vessel itself has become
completely hardened. Some persons add salt, and others substitute
alum[1608] for sulphur; others, again, add nothing, but merely sprinkle
the copper with vinegar. When calcined, it is pounded in a mortar of
Thebaic stone,[1609] after which it is washed with rain water, and
then pounded with a large quantity of water, and left to settle.
This process is repeated until the deposit has gained the appearance
of minium;[1610] after which it is dried in the sun, and put by for
keeping in a box made of copper.


The scoria, too, of copper is washed in the same manner; but the action
of it is less efficacious than that of copper itself. The flower,
too, of copper[1611] is also used in medicine; a substance which is
procured by fusing copper, and then removing it into another furnace,
where the repeated action of the bellows makes the metal separate
into small scales, like the husks of millet, and known as “flower of
copper.” These scales are also separated, when the cakes of metal are
plunged into water: they become red, too, like the scales of copper
known as “lepis,”[1612] by means of which the genuine flower of copper
is adulterated, it being also sold under that name. This last is made
by hammering nails that are forged from the cakes of metal. All these
processes are principally carried on in the furnaces of Cyprus; the
great difference between these substances being, that this lepis is
detached from the cakes by hammering, whereas the flower falls off


There is another finer kind of scale which is detached from the surface
of the metal, like a very fine down, and known as “stomoma.”[1613] But
of all these substances, and even of their names, the physicians, if
I may venture so to say, are quite ignorant, as appears by the names
they give them; so unacquainted are they with the preparation of
medicaments, a thing that was formerly considered the most essential
part of their profession.[1614] At the present day, whenever they
happen to find a book of recipes, if they wish to make any composition
from these substances, or, in other words, to make trial of the
prescription at the expense of their unhappy patients, they trust
entirely to the druggists,[1615] who spoil everything by their
fraudulent adulterations. For this long time past, they have even
purchased their plasters and eye-salves ready made, and the consequence
is, that the spoiled or adulterated wares in the druggists’ shops are
thus got rid of.

Both lepis and flower of copper are calcined in shallow earthen or
brazen pans; after which they are washed, as described above,[1616] and
employed for the same purposes; in addition to which, they are used
for excrescences in the nostrils and in the anus, as also for dullness
of the hearing, being forcibly blown into the ears through a tube.
Incorporated with meal, they are applied to swellings of the uvula,
and, with honey, to swellings of the tonsils. The scales prepared from
white copper are much less efficacious than those from Cyprian copper.
Sometimes they first macerate the nails and cakes of copper in a boy’s
urine; and in some instances, they pound the scales, when detached, and
wash them in rain water. They are then given to dropsical patients, in
doses of two drachmæ, with one semisextarius of honied wine: they are
also made into a liniment with fine flour.


Verdigris[1617] is also applied to many purposes, and is prepared
in numerous ways. Sometimes it is detached already formed, from the
mineral from which copper is smelted: and sometimes it is made by
piercing holes in white copper, and suspending it over strong vinegar
in casks, which are closed with covers; it being much superior if
scales of copper are used for the purpose. Some persons plunge
vessels themselves, made of white copper, into earthen pots filled
with vinegar, and scrape them at the end of ten days. Others, again,
cover the vessels with husks of grapes,[1618] and scrape them in
the same way, at the end of ten days. Others sprinkle vinegar upon
copper filings, and stir them frequently with a spatula in the course
of the day, until they are completely dissolved. Others prefer
triturating these filings with vinegar in a brazen mortar: but the most
expeditious method of all is to add to the vinegar shavings of coronet
copper.[1619] Rhodian verdigris, more particularly, is adulterated with
pounded marble; some persons use pumice-stone or gum.

The adulteration, however, which is the most difficult to detect, is
made with copperas;[1620] the other sophistications being detected by
the crackling of the substance when bitten with the teeth. The best
mode of testing it is by using an iron fire-shovel; for when thus
subjected to the fire, if pure, the verdigris retains its colour, but
if mixed with copperas, it becomes red. The fraud may also be detected
by using a leaf of papyrus, which has been steeped in an infusion of
nut-galls; for it becomes black immediately upon the genuine verdigris
being applied. It may also be detected by the eye; the green colour
being unpleasant to the sight. But whether it is pure or adulterated,
the best method is first to wash and dry it, and then to burn it
in a new earthen vessel, turning it over until it is reduced to an
ash;[1621] after which it is pounded and put by for use. Some persons
calcine it in raw earthen vessels, until the earthenware becomes
thoroughly baked: others again add to it male frankincense.[1622]
Verdigris is washed, too, in the same manner as cadmia.

It affords a most useful ingredient for eye-salves, and from its
mordent action is highly beneficial for watery humours of the eyes. It
is necessary, however, to wash the part with warm water, applied with a
fine sponge, until its mordency is no longer felt.


“Hieracium”[1623] is the name given to an eye-salve, which is
essentially composed of the following ingredients; four ounces of sal
ammoniac, two of Cyprian verdigris, the same quantity of the kind of
copperas which is called “chalcanthum,”[1624] one ounce of misy[1625]
and six of saffron; all these substances being pounded together with
Thasian vinegar and made up into pills. It is an excellent remedy for
incipient glaucoma and cataract, as also for films upon the eyes,
eruptions, albugo, and diseases of the eye-lids. Verdigris, in a
crude state, is also used as an ingredient in plasters for wounds. In
combination with oil, it is wonderfully efficacious for ulcerations of
the mouth and gums, and for sore lips. Used in the form of a cerate,
it acts detergently upon ulcers, and promotes their cicatrization.
Verdigris also consumes the callosities of fistulas and excrescences
about the anus, either used by itself, applied with sal ammoniac, or
inserted in the fistula in the form of a salve. The same substance,
kneaded with one third part of resin of turpentine, removes leprosy.


There is another kind of verdigris also, which is called
“scolex.”[1626] It is prepared by triturating in a mortar of Cyprian
copper, alum and salt, or an equal quantity of nitre, with the very
strongest white vinegar. This preparation is only made during the
hottest days of the year, about the rising of the Dog-star. The whole
is triturated until it becomes green, and assumes the appearance
of small worms, to which it owes its name. This repulsive form is
corrected by mixing the urine of a young child, with twice the quantity
of vinegar. Scolex is used for the same medicinal purposes as santerna,
which we have described as being used for soldering gold,[1627] and
they have, both of them, the same properties as verdigris. Native
scolex is also procured by scraping the copper ore of which we are
about to speak.


Chalcitis[1628] is the name of a mineral, from which, as well as
cadmia, copper is extracted by heat. It differs from cadmia in this
respect, that this last is procured from beds below the surface,
while chalcitis is detached from rocks that are exposed to the air.
Chalcitis also becomes immediately friable, being naturally so soft
as to have the appearance of a compressed mass of down. There is also
this other distinction between them, that chalcitis is a composition
of three other substances, copper, misy, and sory,[1629] of which last
we shall speak in their appropriate places.[1630] The veins of copper
which it contains are oblong. The most approved kind is of the colour
of honey; it is streaked with fine sinuous veins, and is friable and
not stony. It is generally thought to be most valuable when fresh,
as, when old, it becomes converted into sory. It is highly useful for
removing fleshy excrescences in ulcers, for arresting hæmorrhage,
and, in the form of a powder, for acting astringently upon the gums,
the uvula, and the tonsillary glands.[1631] It is applied in wool, as
a pessary, for affections of the uterus; and with leek juice it is
formed into plasters for diseases of the genitals. This substance is
macerated for forty days in vinegar, in an earthen vessel luted with
dung; after which it acquires a saffron colour. When this composition
is mixed with an equal proportion of cadmia, it forms the medicament
known as “psoricon.”[1632] If two parts of chalcitis are combined with
one of cadmia, the medicament becomes more active; and it is rendered
still more powerful if vinegar is used instead of wine. For all these
purposes, calcined chalcitis is the most efficacious.


The sory[1633] of Egypt is the most esteemed, being considered much
superior to that of Cyprus, Spain, and Africa; although some prefer the
sory from Cyprus for affections of the eyes. But from whatever place
it comes, the best is that which has the strongest odour, and which,
when triturated, becomes greasy, black, and spongy. It is a substance
so unpleasant to the stomach, that some persons are made sick merely by
its smell. This is the case more particularly with the sory from Egypt.
That from other countries, by trituration, acquires the lustre of misy,
and is of a more gritty consistency. Held in the mouth, and used as a
collutory, it is good for toothache. It is also useful for malignant
ulcers of a serpiginous nature. It is calcined upon charcoal, like


Some persons have stated, that misy[1634] is formed by the calcination
of the mineral, in trenches;[1635] its fine yellow powder becoming
mixed with the ashes of the burnt fire-wood. The fact is, however, that
though obtained from the mineral, it is already formed, and in compact
masses, which require force to detach them. The best is that which
comes from the manufactories of Cyprus, its characteristics being, that
when broken, it sparkles like gold, and when triturated, it presents a
sandy or earthy appearance, like chalcitis. Misy is used in the process
of refining gold. Mixed with oil of roses, it is used as an injection
for suppurations of the ears, and, in combination with wool, it is
applied to ulcers of the head. It also removes inveterate granulations
of the eye-lids, and is particularly useful for affections of the
tonsils, quinsy, and suppurations. For these maladies, sixteen drachmæ
should be mixed with one semisextarius of vinegar, and boiled with the
addition of some honey, until it becomes of a viscous consistency; in
which state it is applicable to the different purposes above mentioned.
When its action is wanted to be modified, a sprinkling of honey is
added. A fomentation of misy and vinegar removes the callosities of
fistulous ulcers; it also enters into the composition of eye-salves. It
arrests hæmorrhage, prevents the spreading of serpiginous and putrid
ulcers, and consumes fleshy excrescences. It is particularly useful
for diseases of the male generative organs, and acts as a check upon


The Greeks, by the name[1636] which they have given to it, have
indicated the relation between shoemakers’ black[1637] and copper; for
they call it “chalcanthum.”[1638] Indeed there is no substance[1639]
so singular in its nature. It is prepared in Spain, from the water of
wells or pits which contain it in dissolution. This water is boiled
with an equal quantity of pure water, and is then poured into large
wooden reservoirs. Across these reservoirs there are a number of
immovable beams, to which cords are fastened, and then sunk into the
water beneath by means of stones; upon which, a slimy sediment attaches
itself to the cords, in drops of a vitreous[1640] appearance, somewhat
resembling a bunch of grapes. Upon being removed, it is dried for
thirty days. It is of an azure colour, and of a brilliant lustre, and
is often taken for glass. When dissolved, it forms the black dye that
is used for colouring leather.

Chalcanthum is also prepared in various other ways: the earth which
contains it being sometimes excavated into trenches, from the sides of
which globules exude, which become concrete when exposed to the action
of the winter frosts. This kind is called “stalagmia,”[1641] and there
is none more pure. When its colour is nearly white, with a slight tinge
of violet, it is called “lonchoton.”[1642] It is also prepared in pans
hollowed out in the rocks; the rain water carrying the slime into
them, where it settles and becomes hardened. It is also formed in the
same way in which we prepare salt;[1643] the intense heat of the sun
separating the fresh water from it. Hence it is that some distinguish
two kinds of chalcanthum, the fossil and the artificial; the latter
being paler than the former, and as much inferior to it in quality as
it is in colour.

The chalcitis which comes from Cyprus is the most highly esteemed for
the purposes of medicine, being taken in doses of one drachma with
honey, as an expellent of intestinal worms. Diluted and injected into
the nostrils, it acts detergently upon the brain, and, taken with
honey or with hydromel, it acts as a purgative upon the stomach. It
removes granulations upon the eye-lids, and is good for pains and
films upon the eyes; it is curative also of ulcerations of the mouth.
It arrests bleeding at the nostrils, and hæmorrhoidal discharges. In
combination with seed of hyoscyamus, it brings away splinters of broken
bones. Applied to the forehead with a sponge, it acts as a check upon
defluxions of the eyes. Made up into plasters, it is very efficacious
as a detergent for sores and fleshy excrescences in ulcers. The
decoction of it, by the contact solely, is curative of swellings of
the uvula. It is laid with linseed upon plasters which are used for
relieving pains. The whitish kind is preferred to the violet in one
instance only, for the purpose of being blown into the ears, through
a tube, to relieve deafness. Applied topically by itself, it heals
wounds; but it leaves a discoloration upon the scars. It has been
lately discovered, that if it is sprinkled upon the mouths of bears and
lions in the arena, its astringent action is so powerful as to deprive
the animals of the power of biting.

CHAP. 33. (13.)—POMPHOLYX.

The substances called pompholyx[1644] and spodos[1645] are also found
in the furnaces of copper-smelting works; the difference between them
being, that pompholyx is disengaged by washing, while spodos is not
washed. Some persons have called the part which is white and very light
“pompholyx,” and say that it is the ashes of copper and cadmia; whereas
spodos is darker and heavier, being a substance scraped from the walls
of the furnace, mixed with extinguished sparks from the metal, and
sometimes with the residue of coals. When vinegar is combined with
it, pompholyx emits a coppery smell, and if it is touched with the
tongue, the taste is most abominable. It is useful as an ingredient in
ophthalmic preparations for all diseases of the eyes, as also for all
the purposes for which spodos is used; this last only differing from it
in its action being less powerful. It is also used for plasters, when
required to be gently cooling and desiccative. For all these purposes
it is more efficacious when it has been moistened with wine.


The Cyprian spodos[1646] is the best. It is formed by fusing cadmia
with copper ore. This substance, which is the lightest part of the
metal disengaged by fusion, escapes from the furnace, and adheres to
the roof, being distinguished from the soot by the whiteness of its
colour. Such parts of it as are less white are indicative of incomplete
combustion, and it is this which some persons call “pompholyx.” Such
portions of it as are of a more reddish colour are possessed of a
more energetic power, and are found to be so corrosive, that if it
touches the eyes, while being washed, it will cause blindness. There
is also a spodos of a honey colour, an indication that it contains
a large proportion of copper. All the different kinds, however, are
improved by washing; it being first skimmed with a feather,[1647]
and afterwards submitted to a more substantial washing, the harder
grains being removed with the finger. That, too, which has been washed
with wine is more modified in its effects; there being also some
difference according to the kind of wine that is used. When it has
been washed with weak wine the spodos is considered not so beneficial
as an ingredient in medicaments for the eyes; but the same kind of
preparation is more efficacious for running sores, and for ulcers of
the mouth attended with a discharge of matter, as well as in all those
remedies which are used for gangrene.

There is also a kind of spodos, called “lauriotis,”[1648] which is
made in the furnaces where silver is smelted. The kind, however, that
is best for the eyes, it is said, is that produced in the furnaces
for smelting gold. Indeed there is no department of art in which the
ingenuity of man is more to be admired; for it has discovered among the
very commonest objects, a substance that is in every way possessed of
similar properties.


The substance called “antispodos”[1649] is produced from the ashes
of the fig-tree or wild fig, or of leaves of myrtle, together with
the more tender shoots of the branches. The leaves, too, of the
wild olive[1650] furnish it, the cultivated olive, the quince-tree,
and the lentisk; unripe mulberries also, before they have changed
their colour, dried in the sun; and the foliage of the box,
pseudo-cypirus,[1651] bramble, terebinth and œnanthe.[1652] The same
virtues have also been found in the ashes of bull-glue[1653] and of
linen cloth. All these substances are burnt in a pot of raw earth,
which is heated in a furnace, until the earthenware is thoroughly baked.


In the copper forges also smegma[1654] is prepared. When the metal is
liquefied and thoroughly smelted, charcoal is added to it and gradually
kindled; after which, upon it being suddenly acted upon by a powerful
pair of bellows, a substance is disengaged like a sort of copper chaff.
The floor on which it is received ought to be prepared with a stratum
of coal-dust.


There is another product of these furnaces, which is easily
distinguished from smegma, and which the Greeks call “diphryx,”[1655]
from its being twice calcined. This substance is prepared from three
different sources. It is prepared, they say, from a mineral pyrites,
which is heated in the furnace until it is converted by calcination
into a red earth. It is also made in Cyprus, from a slimy substance
extracted from a certain cavern there, which is first dried and then
gradually heated, by a fire made of twigs. A third way of making it, is
from the residue in the copper-furnaces that falls to the bottom. The
difference between the component parts of the ore is this: the copper
itself runs into the receivers, the scoriæ make their escape from the
furnace, the flower becomes sublimated, and the diphryx remains behind.

Some say that there are certain globules in the ore, while being
smelted, which become soldered together; and that the rest of the metal
is fused around it, the mass itself not becoming liquefied, unless it
is transferred to another furnace, and forming a sort of knot, as it
were, in the metal. That which remains after the fusion, they say,
is called “diphryx.” Its use in medicine is similar to that of the
substances mentioned above;[1656] it is desiccative, removes morbid
excrescenses, and acts as a detergent. It is tested by placing it
on the tongue, which ought to be instantly parched by it, a coppery
flavour being perceptible.


We must not neglect to mention one other very remarkable fact
relative to copper. The Servilian family, so illustrious in our
annals, nourishes with gold and silver a copper triens,[1657] which
devours them both. The origin and nature of this coin is to me
incomprehensible;[1658] but I will quote the very words of the story,
as given by old Messala[1659] himself—“The family of the Servilii is
in possession of a sacred triens, to which they offer every year a
sacrifice, with the greatest care and magnificence; the triens itself,
they say, appears sometimes to increase in size and sometimes to
diminish; changes which indicate the coming advancement or decadence of
the family.”

CHAP. 39 (14).—IRON ORES.

Next to copper we must give an account of the metal known as iron, at
the same time the most useful and the most fatal instrument in the hand
of mankind. For by the aid of iron we lay open the ground, we plant
trees, we prepare our vineyard-trees,[1660] and we force our vines each
year to resume their youthful state, by cutting away their decayed
branches. It is by the aid of iron that we construct houses, cleave
rocks, and perform so many other useful offices of life. But it is with
iron also that wars, murders, and robberies are effected, and this, not
only hand to hand, but from a distance even, by the aid of missiles
and winged weapons, now launched from engines, now hurled by the human
arm, and now furnished with feathery wings. This last I regard as the
most criminal artifice that has been devised by the human mind; for, as
if to bring death upon man with still greater rapidity, we have given
wings to iron and taught it to fly.[1661] Let us therefore acquit
Nature of a charge that here belongs to man himself.[1662]

Indeed there have been some instances in which it has been proved that
iron might be solely used for innocent purposes. In the treaty which
Porsena granted to the Roman people, after the expulsion of the kings,
we find it expressly stipulated, that iron shall be only employed for
the cultivation of the fields; and our oldest authors inform us, that
in those days it was considered unsafe to write with an iron pen.[1663]
There is an edict extant, published in the third consulship of Pompeius
Magnus, during the tumults that ensued upon the death of Clodius,
prohibiting any weapon from being retained in the City.


Still, however, human industry has not failed to employ iron
for perpetuating the honours of more civilized life. The artist
Aristonidas, wishing to express the fury of Athamas subsiding into
repentance, after he had thrown his son Learchus from the rock,[1664]
blended copper and iron, in order that the blush of shame might be
more exactly expressed, by the rust of the iron making its appearance
through the shining substance of the copper; a statue which still
exists at Rhodes. There is also, in the same city, a Hercules of
iron, executed by Alcon,[1665] the endurance displayed in his labours
by the god having suggested the idea. We see too, at Rome, cups of
iron consecrated in the Temple of Mars the Avenger.[1666] Nature, in
conformity with her usual benevolence, has limited the power of iron,
by inflicting upon it the punishment of rust; and has thus displayed
her usual foresight in rendering nothing in existence more perishable,
than the substance which brings the greatest dangers upon perishable


Iron ores are to be found almost everywhere; for they exist even in
the Italian island of Ilva,[1667] being easily distinguished by the
ferruginous colour of the earth. The method of working the ore is the
same as that employed in the case of copper. In Cappadocia, however,
it is peculiarly questionable whether this metal is present due to the
water or to the earth; because, when the latter has been saturated with
the water of a certain river, it yields, and then only, an iron that
may be obtained by smelting.

There are numerous varieties of iron ore; the chief causes of which
arise from differences in the soil and in the climate. Some earths
produce a metal that is soft, and nearly akin to lead; others an iron
that is brittle and coppery, the use of which must be particularly
avoided in making wheels or nails, the former kind being better for
these purposes. There is another kind, again, which is only esteemed
when cut into short lengths, and is used for making hobnails;[1668] and
another which is more particularly liable to rust. All these varieties
are known by the name of “strictura,”[1669] an appellation which is not
used with reference to the other metals, and is derived from the steel
that is used for giving an edge.[1670] There is a great difference,
too, in the smelting; some kinds producing knurrs of metal, which are
especially adapted for hardening into steel, or else, prepared in
another manner, for making thick anvils or heads of hammers. But the
main difference results from the quality of the water into which the
red-hot metal is plunged from time to time. The water, which is in
some places better for this purpose than in others, has quite ennobled
some localities for the excellence of their iron, Bilbilis,[1671] for
example, and Turiasso[1672] in Spain, and Comum[1673] in Italy; and
this, although there are no iron mines in these spots.

But of all the different kinds of iron, the palm of excellence is
awarded to that which is made by the Seres,[1674] who send it to us
with their tissues and skins;[1675] next to which, in quality, is the
Parthian[1676] iron. Indeed, none of the other kinds of iron are made
of the pure hard metal, a softer alloy being welded with them all. In
our part of the world, a vein of ore is occasionally found to yield
a metal of this high quality, as in Noricum[1677] for instance; but,
in other cases, it derives its value from the mode of working it,
as at Sulmo,[1678] for example, a result owing to the nature of its
water, as already stated. It is to be observed also, that in giving an
edge to iron, there is a great difference between oil-whetstones and
water-whetstones,[1679] the use of oil producing a much finer edge. It
is a remarkable fact, that when the ore is fused, the metal becomes
liquefied like water, and afterwards acquires a spongy, brittle
texture. It is the practice to quench smaller articles made of iron
with oil, lest by being hardened in water they should be rendered
brittle. Human blood revenges itself upon iron; for if the metal has
been once touched by this blood it is much more apt to become rusty.


We shall speak of the loadstone in its proper place,[1680] and of the
sympathy which it has with iron. This is the only metal that acquires
the properties of that stone, retaining them for a length of time,
and attracting other iron, so that we may sometimes see a whole chain
formed of these rings. The lower classes, in their ignorance, call this
“live iron,” and the wounds that are made by it are much more severe.
This mineral is also found in Cantabria, not in continuous strata,
like the genuine loadstone, but in scattered fragments, which they
call “bullationes.”[1681] I do not know whether this species of ore
is proper also for the fusion of glass,[1682] as no one has hitherto
tried it; but it certainly imparts the same property as the magnet to
iron. The architect Timochares,[1683] began to erect a vaulted roof of
loadstone, in the Temple of Arsinoë,[1684] at Alexandria, in order that
the iron statue of that princess might have the appearance of hanging
suspended in the air:[1685] his death, however, and that of King
Ptolemæus, who had ordered this monument to be erected in honour of his
sister, prevented the completion of the project.


Of all metals, the ores of iron are found in the greatest abundance. In
the maritime parts of Cantabria[1686] which are washed by the Ocean,
there is a steep and lofty mountain, which, however incredible it may
appear, is entirely composed of this metal, as already stated in our
description of the parts bordering upon the Ocean.[1687]

Iron which has been acted upon by fire is spoiled, unless it is forged
with the hammer. It is not in a fit state for being hammered when it
is red-hot, nor, indeed, until it has begun to assume a white heat.
By sprinkling vinegar or alum upon it, it acquires the appearance of
copper. It is protected from rust by an application of ceruse, gypsum,
and tar; a property of iron known by the Greeks as “antipathia.”[1688]
Some pretend, too, that this may be ensured by the performance of
certain religious ceremonies, and that there is in existence at the
city of Zeugma,[1689] upon the Euphrates, an iron chain, by means of
which Alexander the Great constructed a bridge across the river; the
links of which that have been replaced are attacked with rust, while
the original links are totally exempt from it.[1690]


Iron is employed in medicine for other purposes besides that of making
incisions. For if a circle is traced with iron, or a pointed weapon
is carried three times round them, it will preserve both infant and
adult from all noxious influences: if nails, too, that have been
extracted from a tomb, are driven into the threshold of a door, they
will prevent night-mare.[1691] A slight puncture with the point of a
weapon, with which a man has been wounded, will relieve sudden pains,
attended with stitches in the sides or chest. Some affections are
cured by cauterization with red-hot iron, the bite of the mad dog more
particularly; for even if the malady has been fully developed, and
hydrophobia has made its appearance, the patient is instantly relieved
on the wound being cauterized.[1692] Water in which iron has been
plunged at a white heat, is useful, as a potion, in many diseases,
dysentery[1693] more particularly.


Rust itself, too, is classed among the remedial substances; for it was
by means of it that Achilles cured Telephus, it is said, whether it
was an iron weapon or a brazen one that he used for the purpose. So it
is, however, that he is represented in paintings detaching the rust
with his sword.[1694] The rust of iron is usually obtained for these
purposes by scraping old nails with a piece of moistened iron. It has
the effect of uniting wounds, and is possessed of certain desiccative
and astringent properties. Applied in the form of a liniment, it is
curative of alopecy. Mixed with wax and myrtle-oil, it is applied to
granulations of the eyelids, and pustules in all parts of the body;
with vinegar it is used for the cure of erysipelas; and, applied with
lint, it is curative of itch, whitlows on the fingers, and hang-nails.
Used as a pessary with wool, it arrests female discharges. Diluted in
wine, and kneaded with myrrh, it is applied to recent wounds, and,
with vinegar, to condylomatous swellings. Employed in the form of a
liniment, it alleviates gout.[1695]


The scales of iron,[1696] which are procured from a fine point or a
sharp edge, are also made use of, being very similar in effect to rust,
but more active; for which reason they are employed for defluxions of
the eyes. They arrest bleeding, also, more particularly from wounds
inflicted with iron; and they act as a check upon female discharges.
They are applied, too, for diseases of the spleen, and they arrest
hæmorrhoidal swellings and serpiginous ulcers. They are useful also
for affections of the eyelids, gradually applied in the form of a fine
powder. But their chief recommendation is, their great utility in the
form of a hygremplastrum[1697] or wet plaster, for cleansing wounds and
fistulous sores, consuming all kinds of callosities, and making new
flesh on bones that are denuded. The following are the ingredients: of
pitch, six oboli, of Cimolian chalk,[1698] six drachmæ, two drachmæ of
pounded copper, the same quantity of scales of iron, six drachmæ of
wax, and one sextarius of oil. To these is added some cerate, when it
is wanted to cleanse or fill up wounds.


The nature of lead next comes to be considered. There are two kinds of
it, the black and the white.[1699] The white is the most valuable: it
was called by the Greeks “cassiteros,”[1700] and there is a fabulous
story told of their going in quest of it to the islands of the
Atlantic, and of its being brought in barks made of osiers, covered
with hides.[1701] It is now known that it is a production of Lusitania
and Gallæcia.[1702] It is a sand found on the surface of the earth,
and of a black colour, and is only to be detected by its weight. It is
mingled with small pebbles, particularly in the dried beds of rivers.
The miners wash this sand, and calcine the deposit in the furnace. It
is also found in the gold mines that are known as “alutiæ,”[1703] the
stream of water which is passed through them detaching certain black
pebbles, mottled with small white spots and of the same weight[1704]
as gold. Hence it is that they remain with the gold in the baskets in
which it is collected; and being separated in the furnace, are then
melted, and become converted into white lead.[1705]

Black lead is not procured in Gallæcia, although it is so greatly
abundant in the neighbouring province of Cantabria; nor is silver
procured from white lead, although it is from black.[1706] Pieces of
black lead cannot be soldered without the intervention of white lead,
nor can this be done without employing oil;[1707] nor can white lead,
on the other hand, be united without the aid of black lead. White lead
was held in estimation in the days even of the Trojan War, a fact that
is attested by Homer, who calls it “cassiteros.”[1708] There are two
different sources of black lead: it being procured either from its own
native ore, where it is produced without the intermixture of any other
substance, or else from an ore which contains it in common with silver,
the two metals being fused together. The metal which first becomes
liquid in the furnace, is called “stannum;”[1709] the next that melts
is silver; and the metal that remains behind is galena,[1710] the third
constituent part of the mineral. On this last being again submitted to
fusion black lead is produced, with a deduction of two-ninths.


When copper vessels are coated with stannum,[1711] they produce a less
disagreeable flavour, and the formation of verdigris is prevented; it
is also remarkable, that the weight of the vessel is not increased.
As already mentioned,[1712] the finest mirrors were formerly prepared
from it at Brundisium, until everybody, our maid-servants even, began
to use silver ones. At the present day a counterfeit stannum is made,
by adding one-third of white copper to two-thirds of white lead.[1713]
It is also counterfeited in another way, by mixing together equal
parts of white lead and black lead; this last being what is called
“argentarium.”[1714] There is also a composition called “tertiarium,”
a mixture of two parts of black lead and one of white: its price is
twenty denarii per pound, and it is used for soldering pipes. Persons
still more dishonest mix together[1715] equal parts of tertiarium and
white lead, and, calling the compound “argentarium,” coat articles with
it melted. This last sells at sixty denarii per ten pounds, the price
of the pure unmixed white lead being eighty denarii, and of the black

White lead is naturally more dry; while the black, on the contrary, is
always moist; consequently the white, without being mixed with another
metal, is of no use[1717] for anything. Silver too, cannot be soldered
with it, because the silver becomes fused before the white lead. It is
confidently stated, also, that if too small a proportion of black lead
is mixed with the white, this last will corrode the silver. It was in
the Gallic provinces that the method was discovered of coating articles
of copper with white lead, so as to be scarcely distinguishable from
silver: articles thus plated are known as “incoctilia.”[1718] At a
later period, the people of the town of Alesia[1719] began to use a
similar process for plating articles with silver, more particularly
ornaments for horses, beasts of burden, and yokes of oxen: the merit,
however, of this invention belongs to the Bituriges.[1720] After this,
they began to ornament their esseda, colisata, and petorita[1721] in a
similar manner; and luxury has at last arrived at such a pitch, that
not only are their decorations made of silver, but of gold even, and
what was formerly a marvel to behold on a cup, is now subjected to the
wear and tear of a carriage, and this in obedience to what they call

White lead is tested, by pouring it, melted,[1722] upon paper, which
ought to have the appearance of being torn rather by the weight than by
the heat of the metal. India has neither copper nor lead,[1723] but she
procures them in exchange for her precious stones and pearls.


Black lead[1724] is used in the form of pipes and sheets: it is
extracted with great labour in Spain, and throughout all the Gallic
provinces; but in Britannia[1725] it is found in the upper stratum of
the earth, in such abundance, that a law has been spontaneously made,
prohibiting any one from working more than a certain quantity of it.
The various kinds of black lead are known by the following names—the
Ovetanian,[1726] the Caprariensian,[1727] and the Oleastrensian.[1728]
There is no difference whatever in them, when the scoria has been
carefully removed by calcination. It is a marvellous fact, that these
mines, and these only, when they have been abandoned for some time,
become replenished, and are more prolific than before. This would
appear to be effected by the air, infusing itself at liberty through
the open orifices, just as some women become more prolific after
abortion. This was lately found to be the case with the Santarensian
mine in Bætica;[1729] which, after being farmed at an annual rental
of two hundred thousand denarii, and then abandoned, is now rented at
two hundred and fifty-five thousand per annum. In the same manner, the
Antonian mine in the same province has had the rent raised to four
hundred thousand sesterces per annum.

It is a remarkable fact, that if we pour water into a vessel of lead,
it will not melt; but that if we throw into the water a pebble or a
copper quadrans,[1730] the vessel will be penetrated by the fire.


Lead is used in medicine, without any addition, for the removal of
scars; if it is applied, too, in plates, to the region of the loins
and kidneys, in consequence of its cold nature it will restrain the
venereal passions, and put an end to libidinous dreams at night,
attended with spontaneous emissions, and assuming all the form of a
disease. The orator Calvus, it is said, effected a cure for himself by
means of these plates, and so preserved his bodily energies for labour
and study. The Emperor Nero—for so the gods willed it—could never sing
to the full pitch of his voice, unless he had a plate of lead upon
his chest; thus showing us one method of preserving the voice.[1731]
For medicinal purposes the lead is melted in earthen vessels; a layer
of finely powdered sulphur being placed beneath, very thin plates
of lead are laid upon it, and are then covered with a mixture of
sulphur and iron. While it is being melted, all the apertures in the
vessel should be closed, otherwise a noxious vapour is discharged
from the furnace, of a deadly nature, to dogs in particular. Indeed,
the vapours from all metals destroy flies and gnats; and hence it is
that in mines there are none of those annoyances.[1732] Some persons,
during the process, mix lead-filings with the sulphur, while others
substitute ceruse for sulphur. By washing, a preparation is made from
lead, that is much employed in medicine: for this purpose, a leaden
mortar, containing rain water, is beaten with a pestle of lead, until
the water has assumed a thick consistency; which done, the water that
floats on the surface is removed with a sponge, and the thicker part
of the sediment is left to dry, and is then divided into tablets. Some
persons triturate lead-filings in this way, and some mix with it lead
ore, or else vinegar, wine, grease, or rose-leaves. Others, again,
prefer triturating the lead in a stone mortar, one of Thebaic stone
more particularly, with a pestle of lead; by which process a whiter
preparation is obtained.

As to calcined lead, it is washed, like stibi[1733] and cadmia.
Its action is astringent and repressive, and it is promotive of
cicatrization. The same substance is also employed in preparations for
the eyes, cases of procidence[1734] of those organs more particularly;
also for filling up the cavities left by ulcers, and for removing
excrescences and fissures of the anus, as well as hæmorrhoidal and
condylomatous tumours. For all these purposes the lotion of lead
is particularly useful; but for serpiginous or sordid ulcers it is
the ashes of calcined lead that are used, these producing the same
advantageous effects as ashes of burnt papyrus.[1735]

The lead is calcined in thin plates, laid with sulphur in shallow
vessels, the mixture being stirred with iron rods or stalks of
fennel-giant, until the melted metal becomes calcined; when cold, it is
pulverized. Some persons calcine lead-filings in a vessel of raw earth,
which they leave in the furnace, until the earthenware is completely
baked. Others, again, mix with it an equal quantity of ceruse or of
barley, and triturate it in the way mentioned for raw lead; indeed,
the lead which has been prepared this way is preferred to the spodium
of Cyprus.


The scoria[1736] of lead is also made use of; the best kind being that
which approaches nearest to a yellow colour, without any vestiges of
lead, or which has the appearance of sulphur without any terreous
particles. It is broken into small pieces and washed in a mortar,
until the mortar assumes a yellow colour; after which, it is poured
off into a clean vessel, the process being repeated until it deposits
a sediment, which is a substance of the greatest utility. It possesses
the same properties as lead, but of a more active nature. How truly
wonderful is the knowledge which we gain by experiment, when even the
very dregs and foul residues of substances have in so many ways been
tested by mankind!


A spodium[1737] of lead is also prepared in the same manner as that
extracted from Cyprian copper.[1738] It is washed with rain water,
in linen of a loose texture, and the earthy parts are separated by
pouring it off; after which it is sifted, and then pounded. Some prefer
removing the fine powder with a feather, and then triturating it with
aromatic wine.


Molybdæna,[1739] which in another place I have called “galena,”[1740]
is a mineral compounded of silver and lead. It is considered better in
quality the nearer it approaches to a golden colour and the less lead
it contains; it is also friable, and of moderate weight. When it is
melted with oil, it acquires the colour of liver. It is found adhering
also to the furnaces in which gold and silver have been smelted;
and in this case it is called “metallic.” The most esteemed kind is
that prepared at Zephyrium.[1741] Those kinds, too, are considered
the best that are the least earthy and the least stony. It is used in
preparing liparæ,[1742] as also for soothing or cooling ulcers, and as
an ingredient in plasters, which are applied without ligatures, but
are used only as a liniment for producing cicatrization on the bodies
of delicate persons and the more tender parts. The composition is made
of three pounds of molybdæna, one pound of wax, and three heminæ of
oil; to which are added lees of olives, in the case of aged persons.
Combined with scum of silver[1743] and scoria of lead, it is employed
warm in fomentations for dysentery and tenesmus.


Psimithium,[1744] which is also known as ceruse, is another production
of the lead-works. The most esteemed comes from Rhodes. It is made
from very fine shavings of lead, placed over a vessel filled with
the strongest vinegar; by which means the shavings become dissolved.
That which falls into the vinegar is first dried, and then pounded
and sifted, after which it is again mixed with vinegar, and is then
divided into tablets and dried in the sun, during summer. It is also
made in another way; the lead is thrown into jars filled with vinegar,
which are kept closed for ten days; the sort of mould that forms upon
the surface is then scraped off, and the lead is again put into the
vinegar, until the whole of the metal is consumed. The part that has
been scraped off is triturated and sifted, and then melted in shallow
vessels, being stirred with ladles, until the substance becomes red,
and assumes the appearance of sandarach. It is then washed with fresh
water, until all the cloudy impurities have disappeared, after which it
is dried as before, and divided into tablets.

Its properties are the same as those of the substances above
mentioned.[1745] It is, however, the mildest of all the preparations of
lead; in addition to which, it is also used by females to whiten the
complexion.[1746] It is, however, like scum of silver, a deadly poison.
Melted a second time, ceruse becomes red.


We have already mentioned nearly all the properties of sandarach.[1747]
It is found both in gold-mines and in silver-mines. The redder it is,
the more pure and friable, and the more powerful its odour, the better
it is in quality. It is detergent, astringent, heating, and corrosive,
but is most remarkable for its septic properties. Applied topically
with vinegar, it is curative of alopecy. It is also employed as an
ingredient in ophthalmic preparations. Used with honey, it cleanses the
fauces and makes the voice more clear and harmonious. Taken with the
food, in combination with turpentine, it is a pleasant cure for cough
and asthma. In the form of a fumigation also, with cedar, it has a
remedial effect upon those complaints.[1748]


Arrhenicum,[1749] too, is procured from the same sources. The best in
quality is of the colour of the finest gold; that which is of a paler
hue, or resembling sandarach, being less esteemed. There is a third
kind also, the colour of which is a mixture of that of gold and of
sandarach. The last two kinds are both of them scaly, but the other
is dry and pure, and divides into delicate long veins.[1750] This
substance has the same virtues as the one last mentioned, but is more
active in its effects. Hence it is that it enters into the composition
of cauteries and depilatory preparations. It is also used for the
removal of hangnails, polypi of the nostrils, condylomatous tumours,
and other kinds of excrescences. For the purpose of increasing its
energies, it is heated in a new earthen vessel, until it changes its

SUMMARY.—Remedies, one hundred and fifty-eight. Facts, narratives, and
observations, nine hundred and fifteen.

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—L. Piso,[1752] Antias,[1753] Verrius,[1754]
M. Varro,[1755] Cornelius Nepos,[1756] Messala,[1757] Rufus,[1758]
the Poet Marsus,[1759] Bocchus,[1760] Julius Bassus[1761] who wrote
in Greek on Medicine, Sextus Niger[1762] who did the same, Fabius

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Democritus,[1764] Metrodorus[1765] of Scepsis,
Menæchmus[1766] who wrote on the Toreutic art, Xenocrates[1767] who
did the same, Antigonus[1768] who did the same, Duris[1769] who did
the same, Heliodorus[1770] who wrote on the Votive Offerings of the
Athenians, Pasiteles[1771] who wrote on Wonderful Works, Timæus[1772]
who wrote on the Medicines derived from Metals, Nymphodorus,[1773]
Iollas,[1774] Apollodorus,[1775] Andreas,[1776] Heraclides,[1777]
Diagoras,[1778] Botrys,[1779] Archidemus,[1780] Dionysius,[1781]
Aristogenes,[1782] Democles,[1783] Mnesides,[1784] Xenocrates[1785] the
son of Zeno, Theomnestus.[1786]




I have now given at considerable length an account of the nature of
metals, which constitute our wealth, and of the substances that are
derived from them; so connecting my various subjects, as, at the
same time, to describe an immense number of medicinal compositions
which they furnish, the mysteries[1787] thrown upon them by the
druggists, and the tedious minutiæ of the arts of chasing,[1788] and
statuary,[1789] and of dyeing.[1790] It remains for me to describe
the various kinds of earths and stones; a still more extensive series
of subjects, each of which has been treated of, by the Greeks more
particularly, in a great number of volumes. For my own part, I propose
to employ a due degree of brevity, at the same time omitting nothing
that is necessary or that is a product of Nature.

I shall begin then with what still remains to be said with reference to
painting, an art which was formerly illustrious, when it was held in
esteem both by kings and peoples, and ennobling those whom it deigned
to transmit to posterity. But at the present day, it is completely
banished in favour of marble, and even gold. For not only are whole
walls now covered with marble, but the marble itself is carved out or
else marqueted so as to represent objects and animals of various kinds.
No longer now are we satisfied with formal compartitions of marble,
or with slabs extended like so many mountains in our chambers, but we
must begin to paint the very stone itself! This art was invented in the
reign of Claudius, but it was in the time of Nero that we discovered
the method of inserting in marble spots that do not belong to it, and
so varying its uniformity; and this, for the purpose of representing
the marble of Numidia[1791] variegated with ovals, and that of
Synnada[1792] veined with purple; just, in fact, as luxury might have
willed that Nature should produce them. Such are our resources when the
quarries fail us, and luxury ceases not to busy itself, in order that
as much as possible may be lost whenever a conflagration happens.


Correct portraits of individuals were formerly transmitted to future
ages by painting; but this has now completely fallen into desuetude.
Brazen shields are now set up, and silver faces, with only some obscure
traces of the countenance;[1793] the very heads, too, of statues are
changed,[1794] a thing that has given rise before now to many a current
sarcastic line; so true it is that people prefer showing off the
valuable material, to having a faithful likeness. And yet, at the same
time, we tapestry the walls of our galleries with old pictures, and we
prize the portraits of strangers; while as to those made in honour of
ourselves, we esteem them only for the value of the material, for some
heir to break up and melt, and so forestall the noose and slip-knot of
the thief.[1795] Thus it is that we possess the portraits of no living
individuals, and leave behind us the pictures of our wealth, not of our

And yet the very same persons adorn the palæstra and the
anointing-room[1796] with portraits of athletes, and both hang up
in their chamber and carry about them a likeness of Epicurus.[1797]
On the twentieth day of each moon they celebrate his birthday[1798]
by a sacrifice, and keep his festival, known as the “Icas,”[1799]
every month: and these too, people who wish to live without being
known![1800] So it is, most assuredly, our indolence has lost sight
of the arts, and since our minds are destitute of any characteristic
features, those of our bodies are neglected also.

But on the contrary, in the days of our ancestors, it was these that
were to be seen in their halls, and not statues made by foreign
artists, or works in bronze or marble: portraits modelled in wax[1801]
were arranged, each in its separate niche, to be always in readiness
to accompany the funeral processions of the family;[1802] occasions
on which every member of the family that had ever existed was always
present. The pedigree, too, of the individual was traced in lines upon
each of these coloured portraits. Their muniment-rooms,[1803] too,
were filled with archives and memoirs, stating what each had done
when holding the magistracy. On the outside, again, of their houses,
and around the thresholds of their doors, were placed other statues
of those mighty spirits, in the spoils of the enemy there affixed,
memorials which a purchaser even was not allowed to displace; so that
the very house continued to triumph even after it had changed its
master. A powerful stimulus to emulation this, when the walls each
day reproached an unwarlike owner for having thus intruded upon the
triumphs of another! There is still extant an address by the orator
Messala, full of indignation, in which he forbids that there should be
inserted among the images of his family any of those of the stranger
race of the Lævini.[1804] It was the same feeling, too, that extorted
from old Messala those compilations of his “On the Families of Rome;”
when, upon passing through the hall of Scipio Pomponianus,[1805]
he observed that, in consequence of a testamentary adoption, the
Salvittos[1806]—for that had been their surname—to the disgrace of
the Africani, had surreptitiously contrived to assume the name of the
Scipios. But the Messalas must pardon me if I remark, that to lay a
claim, though an untruthful one, to the statues of illustrious men,
shows some love for their virtues, and is much more honourable than to
have such a character as to merit that no one should wish to claim them.

There is a new invention too, which we must not omit to notice. Not
only do we consecrate in our libraries, in gold or silver, or at all
events, in bronze, those whose immortal spirits hold converse with
us in those places, but we even go so far as to reproduce the ideal
of features, all remembrance of which has ceased to exist; and our
regrets give existence to likenesses that have not been transmitted
to us, as in the case of Homer, for example.[1807] And indeed, it is
my opinion, that nothing can be a greater proof of having achieved
success in life, than a lasting desire on the part of one’s fellow-men,
to know what one’s features were. This practice of grouping portraits
was first introduced at Rome by Asinius Pollio, who was also the
first to establish a public library, and so make the works of genius
the property of the public. Whether the kings of Alexandria and of
Pergamus, who had so energetically rivalled each other in forming
libraries, had previously introduced this practice, I cannot so easily

That a strong passion for portraits formerly existed, is attested
both by Atticus, the friend of Cicero, who wrote a work on this
subject,[1808] and by M. Varro, who conceived the very liberal idea of
inserting, by some means[1809] or other, in his numerous volumes, the
portraits of seven hundred individuals; as he could not bear the idea
that all traces of their features should be lost, or that the lapse of
centuries should get the better of mankind. Thus was he the inventor
of a benefit to his fellow-men, that might have been envied by the gods
themselves; for not only did he confer upon them immortality, but he
transmitted them, too, to all parts of the earth; so that everywhere
it might be possible for them to be present, and for each to occupy
his niche. This service, too, Varro conferred upon persons who were no
members of his own family.


So far as I can learn, Appius Claudius, who was consul with P.
Servilius, in the year of the City, 259, was the first to dedicate
shields[1810] in honour of his own family in a sacred or public
place.[1811] For he placed representations of his ancestors in the
Temple of Bellona, and desired that they might be erected in an
elevated spot, so as to be seen, and the inscriptions reciting their
honours read. A truly graceful device; more particularly when a
multitude of children, represented by so many tiny figures, displays
those germs, as it were, which are destined to continue the line:
shields such as these, no one can look at without a feeling of pleasure
and lively interest.


More recently, M. Æmilius, who was consul[1812] with Quintus Lutatius,
not only erected these shields in the Æmilian Basilica,[1813] but in
his own house as well; in doing which he followed a truly warlike
example. For, in fact, these portraits were represented on bucklers,
similar to those used in the Trojan War;[1814] and hence it is that
these shields received their present name of “clypei,” and not, as
the perverse subtleties of the grammarians will have it, from the
word “cluo.”[1815] It was an abundant motive for valour, when upon
each shield was represented the features of him who had borne it. The
Carthaginians used to make both their bucklers and their portraits
of gold, and to carry them with them in the camp: at all events,
Marcius, the avenger of the Scipios[1816] in Spain, found one of this
kind on capturing the camp of Hasdrubal, and it was this same buckler
that remained suspended over the gate of the Capitoline Temple until
the time when it was first burnt.[1817] Indeed, in the days of our
ancestors, so assured was the safety of these shields, that it has
been a subject of remark, that in the consulship of L. Manlius and
Q. Fulvius, in the year of the City, 575, M. Aufidius, who had given
security for the safety of the Capitol, informed the senate that the
bucklers there which for some lustra[1818] had been assessed as copper,
were in reality made of silver.


We have no certain knowledge as to the commencement of the art
of painting, nor does this enquiry fall under our consideration.
The Egyptians assert that it was invented among themselves, six
thousand years before it passed into Greece; a vain boast, it is very
evident.[1819] As to the Greeks, some say that it was invented at
Sicyon, others at Corinth; but they all agree that it originated in
tracing lines round the human shadow.[1820] The first stage of the
art, they say, was this, the second stage being the employment of
single colours; a process known as “monochromaton,”[1821] after it
had become more complicated, and which is still in use at the present
day. The invention of line-drawing has been assigned to Philocles, the
Egyptian, or to Cleanthes[1822] of Corinth. The first who practised
this line-drawing were Aridices, the Corinthian, and Telephanes, the
Sicyonian, artists who, without making use of any colours, shaded
the interior of the outline by drawing lines;[1823] hence, it was
the custom with them to add to the picture the name of the person
represented. Ecphantus, the Corinthian, was the first to employ colours
upon these pictures, made, it is said, of broken earthenware, reduced
to powder. We shall show on a future[1824] occasion, that it was a
different artist of the same name, who, according to Cornelius Nepos,
came to Italy with Demaratus, the father of the Roman king, Tarquinius
Priscus, on his flight from Corinth to escape the violence of the
tyrant Cypselus.


But already, in fact, had the art of painting been perfectly developed
in Italy.[1825] At all events, there are extant in the temples at
Ardea, at this day, paintings of greater antiquity than Rome itself;
in which, in my opinion, nothing is more marvellous, than that they
should have remained so long unprotected by a roof, and yet preserving
their freshness.[1826] At Lanuvium, too, it is the same, where we
see an Atalanta and a Helena, without drapery, close together, and
painted by the same artist. They are both of the greatest beauty, the
former being evidently the figure of a virgin, and they still remain
uninjured, though the temple is in ruins. The Emperor Caius,[1827]
inflamed with lustfulness, attempted to have them removed, but the
nature of the plaster would not admit of it. There are in existence
at Cære,[1828] some paintings of a still higher antiquity. Whoever
carefully examines them, will be forced to admit that no art has
arrived more speedily at perfection, seeing that it evidently was not
in existence at the time of the Trojan War.[1829]


Among the Romans, too, this art very soon rose into esteem, for it
was from it that the Fabii, a most illustrious family, derived their
surname of “Pictor;” indeed the first of the family who bore it,
himself painted the Temple of Salus,[1830] in the year of the City,
450; a work which lasted to our own times, but was destroyed when the
temple was burnt, in the reign of Claudius. Next in celebrity were the
paintings of the poet Pacuvius, in the Temple of Hercules, situate in
the Cattle Market:[1831] he was a son of the sister of Ennius, and the
fame of the art was enhanced at Rome by the success of the artist on
the stage. After this period, the art was no longer practised by men of
rank; unless, indeed, we would make reference to Turpilius, in our own
times, a native of Venetia, and of equestrian rank, several of whose
beautiful works are still in existence at Verona. He painted, too,
with his left hand, a thing never known to have been done by any one

Titidius Labeo, a person of prætorian rank, who had been formerly
proconsul of the province of Gallia Narbonensis, and who lately died
at a very advanced age, used to pride himself upon the little pictures
which he executed, but it only caused him to be ridiculed and sneered
at. I must not omit, too, to mention a celebrated consultation upon
the subject of painting, which was held by some persons of the highest
rank. Q. Pedius,[1833] who had been honoured with the consulship and a
triumph, and who had been named by the Dictator Cæsar as co-heir with
Augustus, had a grandson, who being dumb from his birth, the orator
Messala, to whose family his grandmother belonged, recommended that he
should be brought up as a painter, a proposal which was also approved
of by the late Emperor Augustus. He died, however, in his youth, after
having made great progress in the art. But the high estimation in
which painting came to be held at Rome, was principally due, in my
opinion, to M. Valerius Maximus Messala, who, in the year of the City,
490, was the first to exhibit a painting to the public; a picture,
namely, of the battle in which he had defeated the Carthaginians and
Hiero in Sicily, upon one side of the Curia Hostilia.[1834] The same
thing was done, too, by L. Scipio,[1835] who placed in the Capitol a
painting of the victory which he had gained in Asia; but his brother
Africanus, it is said, was offended at it, and not without reason, for
his son had been taken prisoner in the battle.[1836] Lucius Hostilius
Mancinus,[1837] too, who had been the first to enter Carthage at the
final attack, gave a very similar offence to Æmilianus,[1838] by
exposing in the Forum a painting of that city and the attack upon it,
he himself standing near the picture, and describing to the spectators
the various details of the siege; a piece of complaisance which secured
him the consulship at the ensuing Comitia.

The stage, too, which was erected for the games celebrated by Claudius
Pulcher,[1839] brought the art of painting into great admiration, it
being observed that the ravens were so deceived by the resemblance, as
to light upon the decorations which were painted in imitation of tiles.


The high estimation in which the paintings of foreigners were held at
Rome commenced with Lucius Mummius, who, from his victories, acquired
the surname of “Achaicus.” For upon the sale of the spoil on that
occasion, King Attalus having purchased, at the price of six thousand
denarii, a painting of Father Liber by Aristides,[1840] Mummius,
feeling surprised at the price, and suspecting that there might be
some merit in it of which he himself was unaware,[1841] in spite of
the complaints of Attalus, broke off the bargain, and had the picture
placed in the Temple of Ceres;[1842] the first instance, I conceive, of
a foreign painting being publicly exhibited at Rome.

After this, I find, it became a common practice to exhibit foreign
pictures in the Forum; for it was to this circumstance that we are
indebted for a joke of the orator Crassus. While pleading below the Old
Shops,[1843] he was interrupted by a witness who had been summoned,
with the question, “Tell me then, Crassus, what do you take me to be?”
“Very much like him,” answered he, pointing to the figure of a Gaul in
a picture, thrusting out his tongue in a very unbecoming manner.[1844]
It was in the Forum, too, that was placed the picture of the Old
Shepherd leaning on his staff; respecting which, when the envoy of the
Teutones was asked what he thought was the value of it, he made answer
that he would rather not have the original even, at a gift.


But it was the Dictator Cæsar that first brought the public exhibition
of pictures into such high estimation, by consecrating an Ajax and
a Medea[1845] before the Temple of Venus Genetrix.[1846] After him
there was M. Agrippa, a man who was naturally more attached to rustic
simplicity than to refinement. Still, however, we have a magnificent
oration of his, and one well worthy of the greatest of our citizens,
on the advantage of exhibiting in public all pictures and statues; a
practice which would have been far preferable to sending them into
banishment at our country-houses. Severe as he was in his tastes, he
paid the people of Cyzicus twelve hundred thousand sesterces for two
paintings, an Ajax and a Venus. He also ordered small paintings to be
set in marble in the very hottest part of his Warm Baths;[1847] where
they remained until they were removed a short time since, when the
building was repaired.


The late Emperor Augustus did more than all the others; for he
placed in the most conspicuous part of his Forum, two pictures,
representing War and Triumph.[1848] He also placed in the Temple of
his father,[1849] Cæsar, a picture of the Castors,[1850] and one of
Victory, in addition to those which we shall mention in our account
of the works of the different artists.[1851] He also inserted two
pictures in the wall of the Curia[1852] which he consecrated in the
Comitium;[1853] one of which was a Nemea[1854] seated upon a lion,
and bearing a palm in her hand. Close to her is an Old Man, standing
with a staff, and above his head hangs the picture of a chariot
with two horses. Nicias[1855] has written upon this picture that he
“inburned”[1856] it, such being the word he has employed.

In the second picture the thing to be chiefly admired, is the
resemblance that the youth bears to the old man his father, allowing,
of course, for the difference in age; above them soars an eagle, which
grasps a dragon in its talons. Philochares[1857] attests that he is the
author of this work, an instance, if we only consider it, of the mighty
power wielded by the pictorial art; for here, thanks to Philochares,
the senate of the Roman people, age after age, has before its eyes
Glaucion and his son Aristippus, persons who would otherwise have been
altogether unknown. The Emperor Tiberius, too, a prince who was by no
means very gracious, has exhibited in the temple dedicated by him,
in his turn, to Augustus, several pictures which we shall describe


Thus much then with reference to the dignity of this now expiring art.
We have already[1859] stated with what single colours the earlier
artists painted, when speaking of these pigments under the head of
metals. The new modes of painting which were afterwards discovered,
and are known as “neogrammatea,”[1860] the names of the artists, their
different inventions, and the periods at which these inventions were
adopted, will all be described when we come to enumerate the painters:
for the present, however, the proposed plan of this work requires,
that I should enlarge upon the nature of the several colours that are

The art of painting at last became developed, in the invention of
light and shade, the alternating contrast of the colours serving to
heighten the effect of each. At a later period, again, lustre[1861] was
added, a thing altogether different from light. The gradation between
lustre and light on the one hand and shade on the other, was called
“tonos;” while the blending of the various tints, and their passing
into one another, was known as “harmoge.”[1862]


Colours are either[1863] sombre or florid, these qualities arising
either from the nature, of the substances or their mode of combination.
The florid colours are those which the employer supplies[1864] to
the painter at his own expense; minium,[1865] namely, armenium,
cinnabaris,[1866] chrysocolla,[1867] indicum, and purpurissum. The
others are the sombre colours. Taking both kinds together, some
are native colours, and others are artificial. Sinopis, rubrica,
parætonium, melinum, eretria and orpiment, are native colours. The
others are artificial, more particularly those described by us when
speaking of metals; in addition to which there are, among the more
common colours, ochra, usta or burnt ceruse, sandarach, sandyx,
syricum, and atramentum.


Sinopis[1868] was discovered in Pontus; and hence its name, from the
city of Sinope there. It is produced also in Egypt, the Balearic
islands, and Africa; but the best is found in Lemnos and Cappadocia,
being extracted from quarries there. That part is considered the best
which has been found adhering to the rock. In the native mass, it has
its own proper colour within, but is spotted on the exterior; the
ancients made use of it for tone.[1869]

There are three kinds of sinopis, the red, the pale red, and the
intermediate. The price of the best is twelve denarii per pound; it
is used both for painting with the brush, and for colouring wood. The
kind which comes from Africa sells at eight asses per pound; the name
given to it is “cicerculum.”[1870] That[1871] which is of the deepest
red is the most in use for colouring compartitions. The sinopis known
as the dull[1872] kind, being of a very tawny complexion, sells also
at the price of eight asses per pound; it is used principally for the
lower[1873] parts of compartitions.

Used medicinally, sinopis is of a soothing nature, and is employed as
an ingredient in plasters and emollient poultices. It admits of being
easily used, whether in the form of a dry or of a liquid composition,
for the cure of ulcers situate in the humid parts of the body, the
mouth and the rectum, for instance. Used as an injection, it arrests
looseness of the bowels, and, taken in doses of one denarius, it acts
as a check upon female discharges. Applied in a burnt state, with wine
in particular, it has a desiccative effect upon granulations of the


Some persons have wished to make out that sinopis is nothing else but
a kind of rubrica[1874] of second-rate quality, looking upon earth
of Lemnos as a rubrics of the highest quality. This last approaches
very nearly to minium,[1875] and was as highly esteemed among the
ancients as the island that produces it: it was never sold except
in sealed packages, a circumstance to which it was indebted for its
additional name of “sphragis.” It is with this material that they give
the under-coating to minium, in the adulteration of which it is also
extensively employed.

In medicine it is very highly esteemed. Applied to the eyes in the form
of a liniment, it allays defluxions and pains in those organs, and
arrests the discharges from lachrymal fistulas. To persons vomiting
blood, it is administered with vinegar to drink. It is taken also
internally for affections of the spleen and kidneys; and by females for
the purpose of arresting flooding. It is employed too, to counteract
the effects of poisons, and of stings inflicted by sea or land
serpents; hence it is that it is so commonly used as an ingredient in


Of the other kinds of rubrica, those of Egypt and Africa are of the
greatest utility to workers in wood, from the fact of their being
absorbed with the greatest rapidity. They are used also for painting,
and are found in a native state in iron-mines.[1876]


It is from rubrica also, that ochra[1877] is prepared, the rubrica
being burnt[1878] in new earthen pots well luted with clay. The more
highly it is calcined in the furnace, the better the colour is. All
kinds of rubrica are of a desiccative nature, and hence it is that they
are so useful for plasters, and as an application even for erysipelas.


Half a pound of Pontic sinopis, ten pounds of bright sil,[1879] and
two pounds of Greek melinum,[1880] well mixed and triturated together
for twelve successive days, produce “leucophoron,”[1881] a cement used
for applying gold-leaf to wood.


Parætonium[1882] is so called from the place[1883] of that name in
Egypt. It is sea-foam,[1884] they say, solidified with slime, and
hence it is that minute shells are often found in it. It is prepared
also in the Isle of Crete, and at Cyrenæ. At Rome, it is adulterated
with Cimolian[1885] earth, boiled and thickened. The price of that of
the highest quality is fifty denarii per six pounds. This is the most
unctuous of all the white colours, and the most tenacious as a coating
for plaster, the result of its smoothness.


Melinum, too, is a white colour, the best being the produce of the Isle
of Melos.[1886] It is found also in Samos; but this last kind is never
used by painters, in consequence of its being too unctuous. The persons
employed in extracting it, lie at full length upon the ground, and
search for the veins among the rocks. In medicine it is employed for
much the same purposes as eretria;[1887] in addition to which, it dries
the tongue, acts as a depilatory, and has a soothing effect. The price
of it is one sestertius per pound.

The third of the white pigments is ceruse, the nature of which we
have already[1888] explained when speaking of the ores of lead; there
was also a native ceruse, formerly found on the lands of Theodotus
at Smyrna, which the ancients made use of for painting ships. At
the present day, all ceruse is prepared artificially, from lead and
vinegar,[1889] as already stated.


Usta[1890] was accidentally discovered at a fire in the Piræus,
some ceruse having been burnt in the jars there. Nicias, the artist
above-mentioned,[1891] was the first to use it. At the present day,
that of Asia, known also as “purpurea,” is considered the best. The
price of it is six denarii per pound. It is prepared also at Rome by
calcining marbled sil,[1892] and quenching it with vinegar. Without the
use of usta shadows cannot be made.[1893]


Eretria takes its name from the territory[1894] which produces it.
Nicomachus[1895] and Parrhasius made use of it. In a medicinal point
of view, it is cooling and emollient. In a calcined state, it promotes
the cicatrization of wounds, is very useful as a desiccative, and
is particularly good for pains in the head, and for the detection
of internal suppurations. If the earth, when applied[1896] with
water, does not dry with rapidity, the presence of purulent matter is


According to Juba, sandarach and ochra are both of them productions of
the island of Topazus,[1897] in the Red Sea; but neither of them are
imported to us from that place. The mode of preparing sandarach we
have described[1898] already: there is a spurious kind also, prepared
by calcining ceruse in the furnace. This substance, to be good, ought
to be of a flame colour; the price of it is five asses per pound.


Calcined with an equal proportion of rubrica, sandarach forms
sandyx;[1899] although I perceive that Virgil, in the following
line,[1900] has taken sandyx to be a plant—

  “Sandyx itself shall clothe the feeding lambs.”

The price of sandyx[1901] is one half that of sandarach; these two
colours being the heaviest of all in weight.


Among the artificial colours, too, is syricum, which is used as an
under-coating for minium, as already[1902] stated. It is prepared from
a combination of sinopis with sandyx.


Atramentum,[1903] too, must be reckoned among the artificial colours,
although it is also derived in two ways from the earth. For sometimes
it is found exuding from the earth like the brine of salt-pits, while
at other times an earth itself of a sulphurous colour is sought for
the purpose. Painters, too, have been known to go so far as to dig up
half-charred bones[1904] from the sepulchres for this purpose.

All these plans, however, are new-fangled and troublesome; for this
substance may be prepared, in numerous ways, from the soot that is
yielded by the combustion of resin or pitch; so much so, indeed,
that manufactories have been built on the principle of not allowing
an escape for the smoke evolved by the process. The most esteemed
black,[1905] however, that is made in this way, is prepared from the
wood of the torch-pine.

It is adulterated by mixing it with the ordinary soot from furnaces and
baths, a substance which is also employed for the purpose of writing.
Others, again, calcine dried wine-lees, and assure us that if the wine
was originally of good quality from which the colour is made, it will
bear comparison with that of indicum.[1906] Polygnotus and Micon, the
most celebrated painters of Athens, made their black from grape-husks,
and called it “tryginon.”[1907] Apelles invented a method of preparing
it from burnt ivory, the name given to it being “elephantinon.”

We have indicum also, a substance imported from India, the composition
of which is at present unknown to me.[1908] Dyers, too, prepare an
atramentum from the black inflorescence which adheres to the brazen
dye-pans. It is made also from logs of torch-pine, burnt to charcoal
and pounded in a mortar. The sæpia, too, has a wonderful property of
secreting a black liquid;[1909] but from this liquid no colour is
prepared. The preparation of every kind of atramentum is completed by
exposure to the sun; the black, for writing, having an admixture of
gum, and that for coating walls, an admixture of glue. Black pigment
that has been dissolved in vinegar is not easily effaced by washing.


Among the remaining colours which, as already stated,[1910] owing to
their dearness are furnished by the employer, purpurissum holds the
highest rank. For the purpose of preparing it, argentaria or silver
chalk[1911] is dyed along with purple[1912] cloth, it imbibing the
colour more speedily than the wool. The best of all is that which,
being thrown the very first into the boiling cauldron, becomes
saturated with the dye in its primitive state. The next best in quality
is that which has been put into the same liquor, after the first
has been removed. Each time that this is done, the quality becomes
proportionally deteriorated, owing, of course, to the comparative
thinness of the liquid. The reason that the purpurissum of Puteoli is
more highly esteemed than that of Tyre, Gætulia, or Laconia, places
which produce the most precious kinds of purple, is the fact that it
combines more readily with hysginum,[1913] and that it is made to
absorb the colouring liquid of madder. The worst purpurissum is that of

The price of purpurissum is from one to thirty denarii per pound.
Persons who use it in painting, place a coat of sandyx beneath; a layer
on which of purpurissum with glair of egg, produces all the brilliant
tints of minium. If, on the other hand, it is their object to make a
purple, they lay a coat of cæruleum[1915] beneath, and purpurissum,
with egg,[1916] upon it.


Next in esteem to this is indicum,[1917] a production of India, being
a slime[1918] which adheres to the scum upon the reeds there. When
powdered, it is black in appearance, but when diluted in water it
yields a marvellous combination of purple and cæruleum. There is
another[1919] kind, also, which floats upon the surface of the pans in
the purple dye-houses, being the scum which rises upon the purple dye.
Persons who adulterate it, stain pigeons’ dung with genuine indicum, or
else colour Selinusian[1920] earth, or anularian[1921] chalk with woad.

The proper way of testing indicum is by laying it on hot coals, that
which is genuine producing a fine purple flame, and emitting a smell
like that of sea-water while it smokes: hence it is that some are of
opinion that it is gathered from the rocks on the sea-shore. The price
of indicum is twenty denarii per pound. Used medicinally, it alleviates
cold shiverings and defluxions, and acts as a desiccative upon sores.


Armenia sends us the colouring substance which is known to us by its
name.[1922] This also is a mineral, which admits of being dyed, like
chrysocolla,[1923] and is best when it most closely resembles that
substance, the colour being pretty much that of cæruleum. In former
times it was sold at thirty sesterces per pound; but there has been
found of late in the Spanish provinces a sand which admits of a similar
preparation, and consequently armenium has come to be sold so low as
at six denarii per pound. It differs from cæruleum in a certain degree
of whiteness, which causes the colour it yields to be thinner in
comparison. The only use made of it in medicine is for the purpose of
giving nourishment to the hair, that of the eyelids in particular.


There are also two colours of very inferior quality, which have
been recently discovered. One of these is the green known as
“appianum,”[1924] a fair imitation of chrysocolla; just as though, we
had not had to mention sufficient of these counterfeits already. This
colour, too, is prepared from a green chalk, the usual price of it
being one sesterce per pound.


The other colour is that known as “anularian[1925] white;” being used
for giving a brilliant whiteness to the figures of females.[1926] This,
too, is prepared from a kind of chalk, combined with the glassy paste
which the lower classes wear in their rings:[1927] hence it is, that it
has the name “anulare.”


Those among the colours which require a dry, cretaceous, coating,[1928]
and refuse to adhere to a wet surface, are purpurissum, indicum,
cæruleum,[1929] melinum, orpiment, appianum, and ceruse. Wax,
too, is stained with all these colouring substances for encaustic
painting;[1930] a process which does not admit of being applied to
walls, but is in common use[1931] by way of ornament for ships of
war, and, indeed, merchant-ships at the present day. As we go so far
as to paint these vehicles of danger, no one can be surprised if we
paint our funeral piles as well, or if we have our gladiators conveyed
in handsome carriages to the scene of death, or, at all events, of
carnage. When we only contemplate this extensive variety of colours, we
cannot but admire the ingenuity displayed by the men of former days.


It was with four colours only,[1932] that Apelles,[1933] Echion,
Melanthius, and Nicomachus, those most illustrous painters, executed
their immortal works; melinum[1934] for the white, Attic sil[1935]
for the yellow, Pontic sinopis for the red, and atramentum for the
black;[1936] and yet a single picture of theirs has sold before now
for the treasures of whole cities. But at the present day, when purple
is employed for colouring walls even, and when India sends to us the
slime[1937] of her rivers, and the corrupt blood of her dragons[1938]
and her elephants, there is no such thing as a picture of high quality
produced. Everything, in fact, was superior at a time when the
resources of art were so much fewer than they now are. Yes, so it is;
and the reason is, as we have already stated,[1939] that it is the
material, and not the efforts of genius, that is now the object of


One folly, too, of this age of ours, in reference to painting, I must
not omit. The Emperor Nero ordered a painting of himself to be executed
upon canvass, of colossal proportions, one hundred and twenty feet
in height; a thing till then unknown.[1940] This picture was just
completed when it was burnt by lightning, with the greater part of the
gardens of Maius, in which it was exhibited.

A freedman of the same prince, on the occasion of his exhibiting a show
of gladiators at Antium, had the public porticos hung, as everybody
knows, with paintings, in which were represented genuine portraits of
the gladiators and all the other assistants. Indeed, at this place,
there has been a very prevailing taste for paintings for many ages
past. C. Terentius Lucanus was the first who had combats of gladiators
painted for public exhibition: in honour of his grandfather, who had
adopted him, he provided thirty pairs of gladiators in the Forum, for
three consecutive days, and exhibited a painting of their combats in
the Grove of Diana.[1941]


I shall now proceed to enumerate, as briefly as possible, the
more eminent among the painters; it not being consistent with the
plan of this work to go into any great lengths of detail. It must
suffice therefore, in some cases, to name the artist in a cursory
manner only, and with reference to the account given of others; with
the exception, of course, of the more famous productions of the
pictorial art, whether still in existence or now lost, all of which
it will be only right to take some notice of. In this department,
the ordinary exactness of the Greeks has been somewhat inconsistent,
in placing the painters so many Olympiads after the statuaries and
toreutic[1942] artists, and the very first of them so late as the
ninetieth Olympiad; seeing that Phidias himself is said to have been
originally a painter, and that there was a shield at Athens which had
been painted by him; in addition to which, it is universally agreed
that in the eighty-third Olympiad, his brother Panænus[1943] painted,
at Elis,[1944] the interior of the shield of Minerva, which had been
executed by Colotes,[1945] a disciple of Phidias and his assistant in
the statue of the Olympian Jupiter.[1946] And then besides, is it not
equally admitted that Candaules, the last Lydian king of the race of
the Heraclidæ, very generally known also by the name of Myrsilus, paid
its weight in gold for a picture by the painter Bularchus,[1947] which
represented the battle fought by him with the Magnetes? so great was
the estimation in which the art was already held. This circumstance
must of necessity have happened about the period of our Romulus; for
it was in the eighteenth Olympiad that Candaules perished, or, as some
writers say, in the same year as the death of Romulus: a thing which
clearly demonstrates that even at that early period the art had already
become famous, and had arrived at a state of great perfection.

If, then, we are bound to admit this conclusion, it must be equally
evident that the commencement of the art is of much earlier date, and
that those artists who painted in monochrome,[1948] and whose dates
have not been handed down to us, must have flourished at even an
anterior period; Hygiænon, namely, Dinias, Charmadas,[1949] Eumarus, of
Athens, the first who distinguished the sexes[1950] in painting, and
attempted to imitate every kind of figure; and Cimon[1951] of Cleonæ,
who improved upon the inventions of Eumarus.

It was this Cimon, too, who first invented foreshortenings,[1952] or in
other words, oblique views of the figure, and who first learned to vary
the features by representing them in the various attitudes of looking
backwards, upwards, or downwards. It was he, too, who first marked the
articulations of the limbs, indicated the veins, and gave the natural
folds and sinuosities to drapery. Panænus, too, the brother of Phidias,
even executed a painting[1953] of the battle fought by the Athenians
with the Persians at Marathon: so common, indeed, had the employment of
colours become, and to such a state of perfection had the art arrived,
that he was able to represent, it is said, the portraits of the
various generals who commanded at that battle, Miltiades, Callimachus,
and Cynægirus, on the side of the Athenians, and, on that of the
barbarians, Datis and Artaphernes.


And not only this, but, during the time that Panænus flourished,
there were contests in the pictorial art instituted at Corinth and
Delphi. On the first occasion, Panænus himself entered the lists,
at the Pythian Games, with Timagoras of Chalcis, by whom he was
defeated; a circumstance which is recorded in some ancient lines by
Timagoras himself, and an undoubted proof that the chroniclers are in
error as to the date of the origin of painting. After these, and yet
before the ninetieth Olympiad, there were other celebrated painters,
Polygnotus of Thasos,[1954] for instance, who was the first to paint
females in transparent drapery, and to represent the head covered with
a parti-coloured head-dress. He, too, was the first to contribute
many other improvements to the art of painting, opening the mouth,
for example, showing the teeth, and throwing expression into the
countenance, in place of the ancient rigidity of the features.

There is a picture by this artist in the Portico[1955] of Pompeius,
before the Curia that was built by him; with reference to which, there
is some doubt whether the man represented with a shield is in the act
of ascending or descending. He also embellished the Temple[1956] at
Delphi, and at Athens the Portico known as the Pœcile;[1957] at which
last he worked gratuitously, in conjunction with Micon,[1958] who
received pay for his labours. Indeed Polygnotus was held in the higher
esteem of the two; for the Amphictyons,[1959] who form the general
Council of Greece, decreed that he should have his lodging furnished
him at the public expense.

There was also another Micon, distinguished from the first Micon by
the surname of “the younger,” and whose daughter Timarete[1960] also
practised the art of painting.


In the ninetieth Olympiad lived Aglaophon,[1961] Cephisodorus, Erillus,
and Evenor, the father of Parrhasius, one of the greatest of painters,
and of whom we shall have to speak when we come to the period at which
he flourished. All these were artists of note, but not sufficiently
so to detain us by any further details, in our haste to arrive at the
luminaries of the art; first among whom shone Apollodorus of Athens,
in the ninety-third Olympiad. He was the first to paint objects as
they really appeared; the first too, we may justly say, to confer
glory[1962] by the aid of the pencil.[1963] Of this artist there is a
Priest in Adoration, and an Ajax struck by Lightning, a work to be seen
at Pergamus at the present day: before him, there is no painting of any
artist now to be seen which has the power of rivetting the eye.

The gates of art being now thrown open by Apollodorus, Zeuxis of
Heraclea[1964] entered upon the scene, in the fourth year of the
ninety-fifth Olympiad, destined to lead the pencil—for it is of the
pencil that we are still speaking—a pencil for which there was nothing
too arduous, to a very high pitch of glory. By some writers he is
erroneously placed in the eighty-ninth Olympiad, a date that must of
necessity be reserved for Demophilus of Himera and Neseus of Thasos,
of one of whom, it is uncertain which, Zeuxis was the pupil. It was in
reference to him that Apollodorus, above-mentioned, wrote a verse to
the effect, that Zeuxis had stolen the art from others and had taken
it all to himself.[1965] Zeuxis also acquired such a vast amount of
wealth, that, in a spirit of ostentation, he went so far as to parade
himself at Olympia with his name embroidered on the checked pattern of
his garments in letters of gold. At a later period, he came to the
determination to give away his works, there being no price high enough
to pay for them, he said. Thus, for instance, he gave an Alcmena to the
people of Agrigentum, and a Pan to Archelaüs.[1966] He also painted a
Penelope, in which the peculiar character of that matron appears to be
delineated to the very life; and a figure of an athlete, with which
he was so highly pleased, that he wrote beneath it the line which has
since become so famous, to the effect that it would be easier to find
fault with him than to imitate him.[1967] His Jupiter seated on the
throne, with the other Deities standing around him, is a magnificent
production: the same, too, with his Infant Hercules strangling the
Dragons, in presence of Amphitryon and his mother Alcmena, who is
struck with horror. Still, however, Zeuxis is generally censured for
making the heads and articulations of his figures out of proportion.
And yet, so scrupulously careful was he, that on one occasion, when he
was about to execute a painting for the people of Agrigentum,[1968] to
be consecrated in the Temple of the Lacinian Juno there, he had the
young maidens of the place stripped for examination, and selected five
of them, in order to adopt in his picture the most commendable points
in the form of each. He also painted some monochromes in white.[1969]

The contemporaries and rivals of Zeuxis were Timanthes, Androcydes,
Eupompus, and Parrhasius. (10.) This last, it is said, entered into a
pictorial contest with Zeuxis, who represented some grapes, painted so
naturally that the birds flew towards the spot where the picture was
exhibited. Parrhasius, on the other hand, exhibited a curtain, drawn
with such singular truthfulness, that Zeuxis, elated with the judgment
which had been passed upon his work by the birds, haughtily demanded
that the curtain should be drawn aside to let the picture be seen.
Upon finding his mistake, with a great degree of ingenuous candour he
admitted that he had been surpassed, for that whereas he himself had
only deceived the birds, Parrhasius had deceived him, an artist.

There is a story, too, that at a later period, Zeuxis having painted
a child carrying grapes, the birds came to peck at them; upon which,
with a similar degree of candour, he expressed himself vexed with his
work, and exclaimed—“I have surely painted the grapes better than the
child, for if I had fully succeeded in the last, the birds would have
been in fear of it.” Zeuxis executed some figures also in clay,[1970]
the only works of art that were left behind at Ambracia, when Fulvius
Nobilior[1971] transported the Muses from that city to Rome. There is
at Rome a Helena by Zeuxis, in the Porticos of Philippus,[1972] and a
Marsyas Bound, in the Temple of Concord[1973] there.

Parrhasius of Ephesus also contributed greatly to the progress of
painting, being the first to give symmetry to his figures, the first
to give play and expression to the features, elegance to the hair,
and gracefulness to the mouth: indeed, for contour, it is universally
admitted by artists that he bore away the palm. This, in painting, is
the very highest point of skill. To paint substantial bodies and the
interior of objects is a great thing, no doubt, but at the same time
it is a point in which many have excelled: but to make the extreme
outline of the figure, to give the finishing touches to the painting
in rounding off the contour, this is a point of success in the art
which is but rarely attained. For the extreme outline, to be properly
executed, requires to be nicely rounded, and so to terminate as to
prove the existence of something more behind it, and thereby disclose
that which it also serves to hide.

Such is the merit conceded to Parrhasius by Antigonus[1974] and
Xenocrates,[1975] who have written on the art of painting; and in this
as well as in other points, not only do they admit his excellence,
but enlarge upon it in terms of the highest commendation. There are
many pen sketches by him still in existence, both upon panel and on
parchment, from the study of which, even artists, it is said, may
greatly profit.

Notwithstanding these points of excellence, however, Parrhasius seems
comparatively inferior to himself in giving the proper expression to
the middle of the body. In his allegorical picture of the People of
Athens, he has displayed singular ingenuity in the treatment of his
subject; for in representing it, he had to depict it as at once fickle,
choleric, unjust, and versatile; while, again, he had equally to show
its attributes of implacability[1976] and clemency, compassionateness
and pride, loftiness and humility, fierceness and timidity—and all
these at once. He painted a Theseus also, which was formerly in the
Capitol at Rome, a Naval Commander[1977] wearing a cuirass, and, in one
picture, now at Rhodes, figures of Meleager, Hercules, and Perseus.
This last painting, though it has been thrice struck by lightning,
has escaped being effaced, a circumstance which tends to augment the
admiration which it naturally excites. He painted an Archigallus[1978]
also, a picture which the Emperor Tiberius greatly admired. According
to Deculo,[1979] that prince had it shut up in his chamber, the price
at which it was valued being six hundred thousand sesterces.

Parrhasius also painted a Thracian Nurse, with an Infant in her arms, a
Philiscus,[1980] a Father Liber[1981] attended by Virtue, Two Children,
in which we see pourtrayed the careless simplicity of childhood, and
a Priest attended by a Boy, with a censer and chaplet. There are also
two most noble pictures by him; one of which represents a Runner[1982]
contending for the prize, completely armed, so naturally depicted that
he has all the appearance of sweating. In the other we see the Runner
taking off his armour, and can fancy that we hear him panting aloud
for breath. His Æneas, Castor, and Pollux, all represented in the same
picture, are highly praised; his Telephus also, and his Achilles,
Agamemnon, and Ulysses.

Parrhasius was a most prolific artist, but at the same time there
was no one who enjoyed the glory conferred upon him by his talent
with greater insolence and arrogance. It was in this spirit, that
he went so far as to assume certain surnames, and to call himself
“Habrodiætus;”[1983] while in some other verses he declared himself
to be the “prince of painters,” and asserted that in him the art had
arrived at perfection. But above all things, it was a boast with him
that he had sprung from the lineage of Apollo, and that he had painted
his Hercules, a picture now at Lindos, just as he had often seen him
in his sleep. It was in this spirit, too, that upon being defeated by
Timanthes, at Samos, by a great majority of votes, the subject of the
picture being Ajax and the Award of the Arms,[1984] he declared, in the
name of his hero, that he felt himself quite disgraced on thus seeing
himself a second time defeated by an unworthy opponent. He painted also
some smaller pictures of an immodest nature, indulging his leisure in
such prurient fancies as these.[1985]

As to Timanthes,[1986] he was an artist highly gifted with genius,
and loud have some of the orators[1987] been in their commendations
of his Iphigenia, represented as she stands at the altar awaiting her
doom. Upon the countenance of all present, that of her uncle[1988] in
particular, grief was depicted; but having already exhausted all the
characteristic features of sorrow, the artist adopted the device of
veiling the features of the victim’s father,[1989] finding himself
unable adequately to give expression to his feelings. There are also
some other proofs of his genius, a Sleeping Cyclops, for instance,
which he has painted upon a small panel; but, being desirous to convey
an idea of his gigantic stature, he has painted some Satyrs near him
measuring his thumb with a thyrsus. Indeed, Timanthes is the only one
among the artists in whose works there is always something more implied
by the pencil than is expressed, and whose execution, though of the
very highest quality, is always surpassed by the inventiveness of his
genius. He has also painted the figure of a Hero, a master-piece of
skill, in which he has carried the art to the very highest pitch of
perfection, in the delineation of the warrior: this last-mentioned
work is now at Rome, in the Temple of Pence.[1990]

It was at this period, too, that Euxinidas had for his pupil
Aristides,[1991] who became a most illustrious artist; and that
Eupompus instructed Pamphilus, who afterwards became the instructor of
Apelles. There is by Eupompus, a Victor in a gymnastic contest, holding
a palm. So high was the reputation of this artist, that he established
a school of painting, and so divided the art into three styles;
whereas till then there had been but two, known respectively as the
Helladic[1992] and the Asiatic. In honour of him, a native of Sicyon by
birth, the Helladic school was divided into two, and from this period
there were three distinct styles recognized, the Ionic, the Sicyonian,
and the Attic.

We have, by Pamphilus,[1993] a picture representing the Alliance and
the Battle that was fought at Phlius;[1994] the Victory[1995] also
that was gained by the Athenians, and a representation of Ulysses in
his ship. He was a Macedonian by birth, but was the first painter who
was also skilled in all the other sciences, arithmetic and geometry
more particularly, without the aid of which he maintained that the
pictorial art could not attain perfection. He gave instruction to no
one for a smaller sum than one talent, at the rate of five hundred
denarii per annum,[1996] and this fee both Apelles and Melanthius
paid. It was through his influence that, first at Sicyon, and then
throughout the whole of Greece, all children of free birth were taught
the graphic[1997] art, or in other words, the art of depicting upon
boxwood, before all others; in consequence of which this came to be
looked upon as the first step in the liberal arts. It is the fact,
however, that this art has always been held in high estimation, and
cultivated by persons of free birth, and that, at a more recent period,
men of rank even began to pursue it; it having always been forbidden
that slaves should receive instruction in it. Hence it is, that neither
in painting nor in the toreutic[1998] art has there been any celebrated
work executed by a slave.

In the hundred and seventh Olympiad, flourished Aëtion and
Therimachus.[1999] By the former we have some fine pictures; a Father
Liber,[2000] Tragedy and Comedy, Semiramis from the rank of a slave
elevated to the throne, an Old Woman bearing torches, and a New-made
Bride, remarkable for the air of modesty with which she is pourtrayed.

But it was Apelles[2001] of Cos, in the hundred and twelfth Olympiad,
who surpassed all the other painters who either preceded or succeeded
him. Single-handed, he contributed more to painting than all the others
together, and even went so far as to publish some treatises on the
principles of the art. The great point of artistic merit with him was
his singular charm of gracefulness,[2002] and this too, though the
greatest of painters were his contemporaries. In admiring their works
and bestowing high eulogiums upon them, he used to say that there
was still wanting in them that ideal of beauty[2003] so peculiar to
himself, and known to the Greeks as “Charis;”[2004] others, he said,
had acquired all the other requisites of perfection, but in this one
point he himself had no equal. He also asserted his claim to another
great point of merit: admiring a picture by Protogenes, which bore
evident marks of unbounded laboriousness and the most minute finish,
he remarked that in every respect Protogenes was fully his equal, or
perhaps his superior, except in this, that he himself knew when to
take his hand off a picture—a memorable lesson, which teaches us that
overcarefulness may be productive of bad results. His candour too, was
equal to his talent; he acknowledged the superiority of Melanthius in
his grouping, and of Asclepiodorus in the niceness of his measurements,
or, in other words, the distances that ought to be left between the
objects represented.

A circumstance that happened to him in connection with Protogenes
is worthy of notice. The latter was living at Rhodes, when Apelles
disembarked there, desirous of seeing the works of a man whom he had
hitherto only known by reputation. Accordingly, he repaired at once
to the studio; Protogenes was not at home, but there happened to be a
large panel upon the easel ready for painting, with an old woman who
was left in charge. To his enquiries she made answer, that Protogenes
was not at home, and then asked whom she should name as the visitor.
“Here he is,” was the reply of Apelles, and seizing a brush, he traced
with colour upon the panel an outline of a singularly minute fineness.
Upon his return, the old woman mentioned to Protogenes what had
happened. The artist, it is said, upon remarking the delicacy of the
touch, instantly exclaimed that Apelles must have been the visitor, for
that no other person was capable of executing anything so exquisitely
perfect. So saying, he traced within the same outline a still finer
outline, but with another colour, and then took his departure, with
instructions to the woman to show it to the stranger, if he returned,
and to let him know that this was the person whom he had come to see.
It happened as he anticipated; Apelles returned, and vexed at finding
himself thus surpassed, he took up another colour and split[2005]
both of the outlines, leaving no possibility of anything finer being
executed. Upon seeing this, Protogenes admitted that he was defeated,
and at once flew to the harbour to look for his guest. He thought
proper, too, to transmit the panel to posterity, just as it was, and it
always continued to be held in the highest admiration by all, artists
in particular. I am told that it was burnt in the first fire which
took place at Cæsar’s palace on the Palatine Hill; but in former times
I have often stopped to admire it. Upon its vast surface it contained
nothing whatever except the three outlines, so remarkably fine as to
escape the sight: among the most elaborate works of numerous other
artists it had all the appearance of a blank space; and yet by that
very fact it attracted the notice of every one, and was held in higher
estimation than any other painting there.

It was a custom with Apelles, to which he most tenaciously adhered,
never to let any day pass, however busy he might be, without exercising
himself by tracing some outline or other; a practice which has now
passed into a proverb.[2006] It was also a practice with him, when
he had completed a work, to exhibit it to the view of the passers-by
in some exposed place;[2007] while he himself, concealed behind the
picture, would listen to the criticisms that were passed upon it; it
being his opinion that the judgment of the public was preferable to
his own, as being the more discerning of the two. It was under these
circumstances, they say, that he was censured by a shoemaker for having
represented the shoes with one shoe-string too little. The next day,
the shoemaker, quite proud at seeing the former error corrected, thanks
to his advice, began to criticize the leg; upon which Apelles, full of
indignation, popped his head out, and reminded him that a shoemaker
should give no opinion beyond the shoes, a piece of advice which has
equally passed into a proverbial saying.[2008] In fact, Apelles was
a person of great amenity of manners, a circumstance which rendered
him particularly agreeable to Alexander the Great, who would often
come to his studio. He had forbidden himself, by public edict, as
already stated,[2009] to be represented by any other artist. On one
occasion, however, when the prince was in his studio, talking a great
deal about painting without knowing anything about it, Apelles quietly
begged that he would quit the subject, telling him that he would
get laughed at by the boys who were there grinding the colours: so
great was the influence which he rightfully possessed over a monarch,
who was otherwise of an irascible temperament. And yet, irascible as
he was, Alexander conferred upon him a very signal mark of the high
estimation in which he held him; for having, in his admiration of her
extraordinary beauty, engaged Apelles to paint Pancaste undraped,[2010]
the most beloved of all his concubines, the artist while so engaged,
fell in love with her; upon which, Alexander, perceiving this to be
the case, made him a present of her, thus showing himself, though a
great king in courage, a still greater one in self-command, this action
redounding no less to his honour than any of his victories. For in thus
conquering himself, not only did he sacrifice his passions in favour
of the artist, but even his affections as well; uninfluenced, too, by
the feelings which must have possessed his favourite in thus passing at
once from the arms of a monarch to those of a painter. Some persons are
of opinion that Pancaste was the model of Apelles in his painting of
Venus Anadyomene.[2011]

It was Apelles too, who, courteous even to his rivals, first
established the reputation of Protogenes at Rhodes. Held as he was
in little estimation by his own fellow-countrymen, a thing that
generally[2012] is the case, Apelles enquired of him what price he
set upon certain finished works of his, which he had on hand. Upon
Protogenes mentioning some very trifling sum or other, Apelles made
him an offer of fifty talents, and then circulated a report that he
was buying these works in order to sell them as his own. By this
contrivance, he aroused the Rhodians to a better appreciation of the
merits of their artist, and only consented to leave the pictures with
them upon their offering a still larger price.

He painted portraits, too, so exactly to the life, that a fact with
which we are made acquainted by the writings of Apion the grammarian
seems altogether incredible. One of those persons, he says, who
divine events by the traits of the features, and are known as
“metoposcopi,”[2013] was enabled, by an examination of his portraits,
to tell the year of their death, whether past or future, of each person
represented. Apelles had been on bad terms with Ptolemæus in former
times, when they formed part of the suite of Alexander. After Ptolemæus
had become king of Egypt, it so happened that Apelles was driven by
the violence of a tempest to Alexandria. Upon this, some of his rivals
fraudulently suborned a jester, who was attached to the court, to carry
him an invitation to dine with the king. Accordingly, Apelles attended;
upon which Ptolemæus was highly indignant, and, summoning before him
his stewards[2014] of the household, requested that the artist would
point out the one that had given him the invitation. Thus challenged,
Apelles seized a piece of quenched charcoal that lay in the fire-place,
and traced a likeness upon the wall, with such exactness, that the
king, the moment he began it, recognized the features as those of the
jester. He also painted a portrait of King Antigonus;[2015] and as
that monarch was blind of one eye, he invented a method of concealing
the defect. With this object, he painted him in profile, in order that
what in reality was wanting to the person might have the semblance of
being wanting to the picture rather, he making it his care to show that
side of the face only which he could show without any defect. Among his
works, too, there are some figures representing persons at the point of
death; but it is not easy to say which of his productions are of the
highest order of excellence.

His Venus Rising from the Sea, known as the Venus Anadyomene,[2016] was
consecrated by the late Emperor Augustus in the Temple[2017] of his
father[2018] Cæsar; a work which has been celebrated in certain Greek
lines,[2019] which, though they have outlived it, have perpetuated its
fame.[2020] The lower part of the picture having become damaged, no
one could be found to repair it; and thus did the very injury which
the picture had sustained, redound to the glory of the artist. Time,
however, and damp at last effaced the painting, and Nero, in his reign,
had it replaced by a copy, painted by the hand of Dorotheus.[2021]
Apelles also commenced another Venus for the people of Cos,[2022]
which would have outshone even the former one; but death invidiously
prevented its completion, nor could any one be found to complete the
work in conformity with the sketches of the outline. He painted also,
in the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, Alexander the Great wielding the
Thunderbolts, a picture for which he received twenty talents of gold.
The fingers have all the appearance of projecting from the surface,
and the lightning seems to be darting from the picture. And then, too,
let the reader bear in mind that all these works were executed by the
aid of four[2023] colours only. The price paid in golden coin for this
picture was ascertained by weight,[2024] there being no specific sum
agreed upon.

He also painted a Procession of the Megabyzus,[2025] the priest of
Diana at Ephesus; and a Clitus[2026] on Horseback, hastening to the
combat, his Armour-bearer handing him his helmet at his command.
How many times he painted Alexander and Philip, it would be quite
superfluous to attempt to enumerate. At Samos, there is a Habron[2027]
by him, that is greatly admired; at Rhodes a Menander,[2028] king
of Caria, and an Ancæus;[2029] at Alexandria, a Gorgosthenes, the
Tragedian; and at Rome, a Castor and Pollux, with figures of Victory
and Alexander the Great, and an emblematical figure of War with her
hands tied behind her, and Alexander seated in a triumphal car; both
of which pictures the late Emperor Augustus, with a great degree of
moderation[2030] and good taste, consecrated in the most frequented
parts of his Forum: the Emperor Claudius, however, thought it advisable
to efface the head of Alexander in both pictures, and substitute
likenesses of his predecessor Augustus. It is by his hand too, it is
generally supposed, that the Hercules, with the face averted, now in
the Temple of Anna,[2031] was painted; a picture in which, one of the
greatest difficulties in the art, the face, though hidden, may be
said to be seen rather than left to the imagination. He also painted
a figure of a naked[2032] Hero,[2033] a picture in which he has
challenged Nature herself.

There exists too, or did exist, a Horse that was painted by him for a
pictorial contest; as to the merits of which, Apelles appealed from
the judgment of his fellow-men to that of the dumb quadrupeds. For,
finding that by their intrigues his rivals were likely to get the
better of him, he had some horses brought, and the picture of each
artist successively shown to them. Accordingly, it was only at the
sight of the horse painted by Apelles that they began to neigh; a
thing that has always been the case since, whenever this test of his
artistic skill has been employed. He also painted a Neoptolemus[2034]
on horse-back, fighting with the Persians; an Archeläus,[2035] with his
Wife and Daughter; and an Antigonus on foot, with a cuirass on, and
his horse led by his side. Connoisseurs in the art give the preference,
before all other works of his, to his paintings of King Archeläus on
horseback, and of Diana in the midst of a throng of Virgins performing
a sacrifice; a work in which he would appear to have surpassed the
lines[2036] of Homer descriptive of the same subject. He also portrayed
some things, which in reality do not admit of being portrayed—thunder,
lightning, and thunderbolts, in pictures which are known by the
respective names of Bronte, Astrape, and Ceraunobolia.

His inventions, too, in the art of painting, have been highly
serviceable to others; but one thing there was in which no one could
imitate him. When his works were finished, he used to cover them
with a black varnish, of such remarkable thinness, that while by the
reflection it gave more vivacity to the colours, and preserved them
from the contact of dust and dirt, its existence could only be detected
by a person when close enough to touch it.[2037] In addition to this,
there was also this other great advantage attending it: the brightness
of the colours was softened thereby, and harmonized to the sight,
looking as though they had been viewed from a distance, and through a
medium of specular-stone;[2038] the contrivance, by some indescribable
means, giving a sombreness to colours which would otherwise have been
too florid.

One of the contemporaries of Apelles was Aristides[2039] of Thebes; the
first of all the painters to give full expression to the mind[2040]
and passions of man, known to the Greeks as ἤθη, as well
as to the mental perturbations which we experience: he was somewhat
harsh, however, in his colours. There is a picture by him of a Captured
City, in which is represented an infant crawling toward the breast of
its wounded mother, who, though at the point of death, has all the
appearance of being aware of it, and of being in dread lest the child
should suck blood in place of milk from her exhausted breast: this
picture Alexander the Great ordered to be transferred to Pella, his
native place. Aristides also painted a Battle with the Persians, a
picture which contained one hundred figures, for each of which he was
paid at the rate of ten minæ by Mnason, the tyrant of Elatea.[2041] He
also painted Chariots with four horses in full career; a Suppliant,
which almost speaks, Huntsmen with game; Leontion, the mistress of
Epicurus; the Anapauomene,[2042] a damsel pining to death from love
for her brother; a Father Liber[2043] also, and an Artamene, two
fine pictures now to be seen in the Temple of Ceres[2044] at Rome; a
Tragedian and a Child, in the Temple of Apollo,[2045] a picture which
has lost its beauty, owing to the unskilfulness of the painter to
whom M. Junius, the prætor, entrusted the cleaning of it, about the
period of the Apollinarian Games.[2046] There was also to be seen, in
the Temple of Faith, in the Capitol, a picture of his, representing
an Aged Man giving instructions to a Child on the lyre. He executed
also a painting of an Invalid, upon which endless encomiums have been
lavished. Indeed, so great was the excellence of this artist, that King
Attalus, it is said, purchased one picture of his at the price of one
hundred talents.

At the same period[2047] flourished Protogenes, as already stated.
He was a native of Caunus,[2048] a place held in subjection by the
Rhodians. Great poverty in his early days, and extreme application to
his art, were the causes of his comparative unproductiveness. It is
not known with certainty from whom he received his instruction in the
art: indeed some say that he was only a ship-decorator down to his
fiftieth year; a proof of which, it is asserted, is the fact, that in
decorating the Propylæum[2049] of the Temple of Minerva, situate in one
of the most celebrated spots in Athens, where he has painted the fine
picture[2050] of Paralus and Hammonias, known by some as the Nausicaa,
he has added in the side pieces of the picture, by painters called
“parerga,” several small ships of war;[2051] wishing thereby to show
in what department that skill had first manifested itself which had
thus reached the citadel of Athens, the scene of his glory. Of all his
compositions, however, the palm has been awarded to his Ialysus,[2052]
now at Rome, consecrated in the Temple of Peace there. So long as he
was at work upon it, he lived, it is said, upon nothing but soaked
lupines; by which means he at once appeased both hunger and thirst, and
avoided all risk of blunting his perception by too delicate a diet.
In order to protect this picture against the effects of ill-usage and
old age, he painted it over four times,[2053] so that when an upper
coat might fail, there would be an under one to succeed it. There is
in this picture the figure of a dog, which was completed in a very
remarkable manner, inasmuch as accident had an equal share with design
in the execution of it. The painter was of opinion that he had not
given the proper expression to the foam at the mouth of the animal,
panting for breath, as it was represented; while, with all other parts
of the picture, a thing extremely difficult with him, he was perfectly
satisfied. The thing that displeased him was, the evident traces of art
in the execution of it, touches which did not admit of any diminution,
and yet had all the appearance of being too laboured, the effect
produced being far removed from his conception of the reality: the
foam, in fact, bore the marks of being painted, and not of being the
natural secretion of the animal’s mouth. Vexed and tormented by this
dilemma, it being his wish to depict truth itself, and not something
that only bore a semblance of truth, he effaced it again and again,
changed his pencil for another, and yet by no possibility could satisfy
himself. At last, quite out of temper with an art, which, in spite
of him, would still obtrude itself, he dashed his sponge against the
vexatious spot; when behold! the sponge replaced the colours that it
had just removed, exactly in accordance with his utmost wishes, and
thus did chance represent Nature in a painting.

Following his example, Nealces,[2054] it is said, succeeded in
representing the foam at a horse’s mouth; for on one occasion, when
engaged in painting a man holding in a pair of horses and soothing them
with his voice,[2055] he also dashed his sponge against the picture,
with the view of producing a like effect.

It was on account of this Ialysus, which he was apprehensive of
destroying, that King Demetrius[2056] forbore to set fire to the only
side of the city of Rhodes by which it was capable of being taken;
and thus, in his anxiety to spare a picture, did he lose his only
opportunity of gaining a victory. The dwelling of Protogenes at this
period was situate in a little garden in the suburbs, or in other
words, in the midst of the camp of Demetrius. The combats that were
taking place made no difference whatever to the artist, and in no way
interrupted his proceeding with the works which he had commenced; until
at last he was summoned before the king, who enquired how he could have
the assurance thus to remain without the walls. “Because I know,” was
his answer, “that you are waging war with the Rhodians, and not with
the arts.” Upon this, the king, delighted at having the opportunity
of protecting the hand which he had thus spared, ordered a guard to
be placed at his disposal for the especial purpose of his protection.
In order, too, that he might not distract the artist’s attention by
sending for him too often, he would often go, an enemy albeit, to pay
him a visit, and, abandoning his aspirations for victory, in the midst
of arms and the battering down of walls, would attentively examine the
compositions of the painter. Even to this day, the story is still
attached to the picture which he was then engaged upon, to the effect,
that Protogenes painted it beneath the sword. It is his Satyr, known as
the “Anapauomenos;”[2057] in whose hand, to mark the sense of security
that he felt, the painter has placed a pair of pipes.

Protogenes executed also, a Cydippe; a Tlepolemus; a portrait of
Philiscus, the tragic poet, in an attitude of meditation; an Athlete; a
portrait of King Antigonus, and one of the mother of Aristotle.[2058]
It was this philosopher too, who advised him to paint the exploits
of Alexander the Great, as being certain to be held in everlasting
remembrance. The impulse, however, of his natural disposition, combined
with a certain artistic caprice, led him in preference to adopt the
various subjects which have just been mentioned. His last works were
representations of Alexander and the god Pan. He also executed some
figures in bronze, as already[2059] stated.

At the same period also, lived Asclepiodorus,[2060] who was greatly
admired by Apelles for his proportions. The tyrant Mnason[2061] paid
him, for his picture of the Twelve Gods, at the rate of thirty minæ for
each divinity. This same Mnason also paid Theomnestus twenty minæ for
each of his Heroes.

In addition to these, it is only proper to mention Nicomachus,[2062]
the son and disciple of Aristiæus. He painted a Rape of Proserpina,
a picture that was formerly in the Temple of Minerva in the Capitol,
above the shrine of Juventas.[2063] Another picture of his was to
be seen also in the Capitol, placed there by the Roman general
Plancus,[2064] a Victory soaring aloft in a chariot: he was the
first painter who represented Ulysses wearing the pileus.[2065]
He painted also an Apollo and Diana; the Mother[2066] of the Gods
seated on a Lion; the fine picture of the Bacchantes, with Satyrs
moving stealthily towards them; and a Scylla, now at Rome in the
Temple of Peace. No painter ever worked with greater rapidity than
Nicomachus; indeed it is said, that on one occasion having entered
into an engagement with Aristratus,[2067] the tyrant of Sicyon, to
paint within a given time the monument which he was raising to the
memory of the poet Telestis,[2068] the artist only arrived a few days
before the expiration of the term; upon which, the tyrant was so angry
that he threatened to punish him: however, in the few days that were
left, Nicomachus, to the admiration of all, completed the work, with
equal promptitude and success. Among his pupils, were his brother
Ariston, his son Aristides, and Philoxenus of Eretria, who painted
for King Cassander a picture representing one of the battles between
Alexander and Darius, a work which may bear comparison with any. He
also painted a picture in grotesque, representing Three Sileni at
their revels. Imitating the celerity of execution displayed by his
master, he introduced a more sketchy style of painting, executed in a
comparatively off-hand manner.[2069]

To these artists Nicophanes[2070] has also been added, an elegant and
finished painter, to whom for gracefulness few can be compared, but for
a severe and tragic style far inferior to Zeuxis or Apelles. Perseus
also belongs to this period, a pupil of Apelles, who dedicated to him
his work on painting. Aristides of Thebes had for pupils his sons
Niceros and Ariston. By the latter of these artists, there is a Satyr
crowned with a chaplet and holding a goblet: two of his pupils were
Antorides and Euphranor, of the latter of whom we shall have to make
mention again.[2071]


We must now, however, make some mention of those artists who acquired
fame by the pencil in an inferior style of painting. Among these
was Piræicus, inferior to few of the painters in skill. I am not
sure that he did not do injustice to himself by the choice of his
subjects,[2072] seeing that, although he adopted an humble walk, he
still attained in that walk the highest reputation. His subjects were
barbers’ shops, cobblers’ stalls, jackasses, eatables, and the like,
and to these he was indebted for his epithet of “Rhyparographos.”[2073]
His paintings, however, are exquisitely pleasing, and have sold at
higher prices than the very largest works of many masters.

On the other hand again, as Varro tells us, a single picture by
Serapio covered the whole space of the balustrades,[2074] beneath
the Old Shops,[2075] where it was exhibited. This artist was very
successful in painting stage-scenery, but was unable to depict the
human form. Dionysius,[2076] on the contrary, painted nothing but men,
and hence it was that he had the surname of “Anthropographos.”[2077]
Callicles[2078] also painted some small pictures, and Calates
executed some small works in the comic style. Both of these styles
were adopted by Antiphilus;[2079] who painted a very fine Hesione,
and a Philip and Alexander with Minerva, now in the School of the
Porticos[2080] of Octavia. In the Portico of Philippus,[2081] also,
there is a Father Liber[2082] by him; an Alexander when a child; and
an Hippolytus alarmed at the Bull, which is rushing upon him:[2083]
and in the Portico of Pompeius[2084] we have his Cadmus and Europa. On
the other hand, again, he painted a figure in a ridiculous costume,
known jocosely as the Gryllus; and hence it is that pictures of this
class[2085] are generally known as “Grylli.” Antiphilus was a native of
Egypt, and received instruction in the art from Ctesidemus.[2086]

It would not be right to pass in silence the painter of the Temple
at Ardea,[2087] the more particularly as he was honoured with the
citizenship at that place, and with the following inscription in verse
upon one of the paintings which he executed there:

  “These paintings, worthy of this worthy place,
  Temple of Juno, queen, and wife of Jove,
  Plautius Marcus,[2088] from Alalia, made.
  May Ardea now and ever praise him for his skill.”

These lines are written in ancient Latin characters.

Ludius too, who lived in the time of the late Emperor Augustus, must
not be allowed to pass without some notice; for he was the first
to introduce the fashion of covering the walls of our houses with
most pleasing landscapes, representing villas, porticos, ornamental
gardening, woods, groves, hills, fishponds, canals,[2089] rivers,
sea-shores, and anything else one could desire; varied with figures of
persons walking, sailing, or proceeding to their villas, on asses or
in carriages. Then, too, there are others to be seen fishing, fowling,
or gathering in the vintage. In some of his decorations there are
fine villas to be seen, and roads to them across the marshes, with
women making[2090] bargains to be carried across on men’s shoulders,
who move along slipping at every step and tottering beneath their
load; with numberless other subjects of a similar nature, redolent of
mirth and of the most amusing ingenuity. It was this artist, too, who
first decorated our uncovered[2091] edifices with representations of
maritime cities, a subject which produces a most pleasing effect, and
at a very trifling expense.

But as for fame, that has been reserved solely for the artists who
have painted pictures; a thing that gives us all the more reason to
venerate the prudence displayed by the men of ancient times. For with
them, it was not the practice to decorate the walls of houses, for
the gratification of the owners only; nor did they lavish all their
resources upon a dwelling which must of necessity always remain a
fixture in one spot, and admits of no removal in case of conflagration.
Protogenes was content with a cottage in his little garden; Apelles
had no paintings on the plaster of his walls; it not being the fashion
in their day to colour the party-walls of houses from top to bottom.
With all those artists, art was ever watchful for the benefit of whole
cities only, and in those times a painter was regarded as the common
property of all.

Shortly before the time of the late Emperor Augustus, Arellius was in
high esteem at Rome; and with fair reason, had he not profaned the art
by a disgraceful piece of profanity; for, being always in love with
some woman or other, it was his practice, in painting goddesses, to
give them the features of his mistresses; hence it is, that there were
always some figures of prostitutes to be seen in his pictures. More
recently, lived Amulius,[2092] a grave and serious personage, but a
painter in the florid style. By this artist there was a Minerva, which
had the appearance of always looking at the spectators, from whatever
point it was viewed. He only painted a few hours each day, and then
with the greatest gravity, for he always kept the toga on, even when in
the midst of his implements. The Golden Palace[2093] of Nero was the
prison-house of this artist’s productions, and hence it is that there
are so few of them to be be seen elsewhere.

Next in repute to him were Cornelius Pinus and Attius Priscus, who
painted the Temple of Honour and that of Virtue,[2094] on their
restoration by the Emperor Vespasianus Augustus. Priscus approaches
more closely to the ancient masters.


I must not omit here, in reference to painting, a celebrated story that
is told about Lepidus. During the Triumvirate, when he was entertained
by the magistrates of a certain place, he had lodgings given him
in a house that was wholly surrounded with trees. The next day, he
complained to them in a threatening tone, that he had been unable to
sleep for the singing of the birds there. Accordingly, they had a
dragon painted, on pieces of parchment of the greatest length that
could possibly be obtained, and surrounded the grove with it; a thing
that so terrified the birds, it is said, that they became silent at
once; and hence it was that it first became known how this object could
be attained.


It is not agreed who was the inventor of the art of painting in wax and
in encaustic.[2095] Some think that it was a discovery of the painter
Aristides,[2096] and that it was afterwards brought to perfection
by Praxiteles: but there are encaustic paintings in existence, of a
somewhat prior date to them, those by Polygnotus,[2097] for example,
and by Nicanor and Arcesilaüs,[2098] natives of Paros. Elasippus too,
has inscribed upon a picture of his at Ægina, the word ἐνέκαεν;[2099]
a thing that he certainly could not have done, if the art of encaustic
painting had not been then invented.


It is said, too, that Pamphilus,[2100] the instructor of Apelles,
not only painted in encaustic, but also instructed Pausias[2101] of
Sicyon in the art, the first who rendered himself distinguished in
this branch. Pausias was the son of Bryetes, by whom he was originally
instructed in the art of painting. He retouched also with the
pencil[2102] some walls at Thespiæ, then undergoing repair, which had
formerly been painted by Polygnotus. Upon instituting a comparison,
however, it was considered that he was greatly inferior, this kind
of painting not being in his line. It was he, too, who first thought
of painting ceilings: nor had it been the practice before his day to
use this kind of decoration for arched roofs. He painted many small
pictures also, miniatures of children more particularly; a thing which,
according to the interpretation put upon it by his rivals, was owing
to the peculiarly slow process of encaustic painting. The consequence
was, that being determined to give a memorable proof of his celerity of
execution, he completed a picture in the space of a single day, which
was thence called the “Hemeresios,”[2103] representing the portrait of
a child.

In his youth, he was enamoured of Glycera,[2104] his fellow-townswoman,
the first inventor of chaplets; and in his rivalry of the skill
shown by her, he achieved so much success in the encaustic art,
as to reproduce the almost numberless tints displayed by flowers.
At a later period, he painted her, seated, with a chaplet on, and
thus produced one of the very finest of his pictures; known as the
“Stephaneplocos”[2105] by some, and as the “Stephanopolis”[2106] by
others; from the circumstance that Glycera had supported herself in
her poverty by selling these chaplets. A copy of this picture, usually
known as an “apographon,”[2107] was purchased by L. Lucullus at Athens,
during the festival of the Dionysia, at the price of two talents.

Pausias also painted some large pictures, a Sacrifice of Oxen, for
instance, which used to be seen in the Portico of Pompeius. In this
painting he invented several improvements, which many artists have
since imitated, but none with the same success. Although in the picture
it was particularly his desire to give an impression of the length of
the ox, he painted it with a front view and not sideways, and still
has caused the large dimensions of the animal to be fully understood.
And then too, whereas all other painters colour in white such parts as
they wish to have the appearance of being prominent, and in black such
portions as are intended to remain in the back-ground, he has painted
the whole of the ox of a black colour, and has shown the dimensions of
the body which throws the shadow by the medium of the shadow itself;
thus evincing a wonderful degree of skill in showing relief upon a coat
painted with a single colour, and conveying an impression of uniform
solidity upon a broken ground.[2108] It was at Sicyon also that Pausias
passed his life, a city which for a long time continued to be the
native place of painting. Ultimately, all the paintings belonging to
that place were sold by public auction for the discharge of the debts
owing by the city, and were transferred to Rome in the ædileship of

Next to him, in the hundred and fourth Olympiad, Euphranor,[2110]
the Isthmian, distinguished himself far beyond all others, an artist
who has been already mentioned in our account of the statuaries. He
executed some colossal figures also, and some statues in marble, and
he chased some drinking-vessels; being studious and laborious in the
highest degree, excellent in every branch, and at all times equal
to himself. This artist seems to have been the first to represent
heroes with becoming dignity, and to have paid particular attention to
symmetry. Still, however, in the generality of instances, he has made
the body slight in proportion to the head and limbs. He composed some
treatises also upon symmetry and colours. His works are, an Equestrian
Combat;[2111] the Twelve Gods; and a Theseus; with reference to which
he remarked that the Theseus of Parrhasius had been fed upon roses, but
his own upon beef.[2112] There are also at Ephesus some famous pictures
by him; an Ulysses, in his feigned madness, yoking together an ox and
a horse; Men, in an attitude of meditation, wearing the pallium;[2113]
and a Warrior, sheathing his sword.

At the same time, also, flourished Cydias;[2114] for whose picture of
the Argonautæ the orator Hortensius paid one hundred and forty-four
thousand sesterces, and had a shrine constructed expressly for its
reception on his estate at Tusculum.[2115] There was also Antidotus,
a pupil of Euphranor, by whom there is, at Athens, a Combatant armed
with a shield; a Wrestler, also; and a Trumpeter, a work which has been
considered a most exquisite production.

Antidotus, as a painter, was more careful in his works than prolific,
and his colouring was of a severe style. His principal glory was
his having been the instructor of Nicias[2116] of Athens; who was a
most careful painter of female portraits, and a strict observer of
light and shade,[2117] making it his especial care that the figures
in his pictures should appear in the boldest relief. His works are,
a Nemea, which was brought from Asia to Rome by Silanus, and was
placed in the Curia, as already stated;[2118] a Father Liber,[2119]
in the Temple[2120] of Concord; a Hyacinthus,[2121] which the Emperor
Augustus was so delighted with, that he took it away with him after
the capture of Alexandria; for which reason also it was consecrated
in the Temple[2122] of Augustus by the Emperor Tiberius; and a
Danaë. At Ephesus, there is a tomb by him of a megabyzus,[2123] or
priest of the Ephesian Diana; and at Athens a representation of the
Necyomantea[2124] of Homer; which last he declined to sell to King
Attalus for sixty talents, and in preference, so rich was he, made a
present of it to his own native place. He also executed some large
pictures, among which there are a Calypso, an Io, an Andromeda, a very
fine Alexander, in the Porticos[2125] of Pompeius, and a Calypso,
seated. To this painter also there are some pictures of cattle
attributed, and in his dogs he has been remarkably successful. It
was this Nicias, with reference to whom, Praxiteles, when asked with
which of all his works in marble he was the best pleased, made answer,
“Those to which Nicias has set his hand,” so highly did he esteem the
colouring of that artist. It has not been satisfactorily ascertained
whether it is this artist or another of the same name that some writers
have placed in the hundred and twelfth Olympiad.

With Nicias has been compared, and indeed sometimes preferred to
him, Athenion of Maronea,[2126] a pupil of Glaucion of Corinth. In
his colouring he is more sombre than Nicias, and yet, with all his
sombreness, more pleasing; so much so indeed, that in his paintings
shines forth the extensive knowledge which he possessed of the art. He
painted, in the Temple at Eleusis, a Phylarchus;[2127] and at Athens,
a family group, which has been known as the “Syngenicon;”[2128] an
Achilles also, concealed in a female dress, and Ulysses detecting him;
a group of six whole-length figures, in one picture; and, a work which
has contributed to his fame more than any other, a Groom leading a
Horse. Indeed, if he had not died young, there would have been no one
comparable to Athenion in painting.

Heraclides, too, of Macedon, had some repute as an artist. At first
he was a painter of ships, but afterwards, on the capture of King
Perseus, he removed to Athens; where at the same period was also
Metrodorus,[2129] who was both a painter and a philosopher, and of
considerable celebrity in both branches. Hence it was, that when L.
Paulus Æmilius, after the conquest of Perseus,[2130] requested the
Athenians to send him the most esteemed philosopher for the education
of his children, and a painter to represent his triumph, they made
choice of Metrodorus, declaring that he was eminently suited for either
purpose; a thing which Paulus admitted to be the case.

Timomachus of Byzantium, in the time of the Dictator Cæsar, painted an
Ajax[2131] and a Medea, which were placed by Cæsar in the Temple of
Venus Genetrix, having been purchased at the price of eighty talents;
the value of the Attic talent being, according to M. Varro, equivalent
to six thousand denarii. An Orestes, also by Timomachus, an Iphigenia
in Tauris, and a Lecythion, a teacher of gymnastics, are equally
praised; a Noble Family also; and Two Men clothed in the pallium,[2132]
and about to enter into conversation, the one standing, the other in
a sitting posture. It is in his picture, however of the Gorgon,[2133]
that the art appears to have favoured him most highly.

Aristolaüs, the son and pupil of Pausias, was one of the painters in
a more severe style: there are by him an Epaminondas, a Pericles, a
Medea, a Theseus, an emblematical picture of the Athenian People,
and a Sacrifice of Oxen. Some persons, too, are pleased with the
careful style of Nicophanes,[2134] who was also a pupil of Pausias; a
carefulness, however, which only artists can appreciate, as in other
respects he was harsh in his colours, and too lavish of sil;[2135]
as in his picture, for example, of Æsculapius with his daughters,
Hygia,[2136] Ægle, and Panacea, his Jason, and his Sluggard, known as
the “Ocnos,”[2137] a man twisting a rope at one end as an ass gnaws it
at the other. As to Socrates,[2138] his pictures are, with good reason,
universally esteemed.

Having now mentioned the principal painters in either branch,[2139] I
must not pass in silence those who occupy the next rank. Aristoclides
decorated the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Antiphilus[2140] is highly
praised for his picture of a Boy blowing a Fire, which illumines
an apartment handsomely furnished, and throws a light[2141] upon
the features of the youth; a Spinning-room, with women plying their
respective tasks; and a King Ptolemæus hunting. But his most famous
picture is his Satyr, clad in a panther’s skin, and known as the
“Aposcopeuon.”[2142] Aristophon[2143] has painted an Ancæus[2144]
wounded by the Boar, with Astypale, the sharer of his grief; and a
picture with numerous figures, representing Priam, Helena, Credulity,
Ulysses, Deiphobus, and Guile.[2145] Androbius has painted a
Scyllus[2146] cutting away the anchors of the Persian fleet: and
Artemon a Danaë, with Robbers in admiration; a Queen Stratonice;[2147]
and a Hercules and Deianira. But the finest of all this artist’s works
are those now in the buildings of Octavia; a Hercules ascending to
heaven, with the sanction of the gods, from his funeral pile upon Mount
Œta in Doris; and the story of Laomedon and his bargain[2148] with
Hercules and Neptune. Alcimachus has painted Dioxippus,[2149] who was
victorious in the pancratium at Olympia, without raising the dust; a
victory known to the Greeks as being gained “aconiti.”[2150] Cœnus
painted pedigrees.[2151]

Ctesilochus, a pupil[2152] of Apelles, was famous for a burlesque
picture of his representing Jupiter in labour with Bacchus,[2153] with
a mitra[2154] on his head, and crying like a woman in the midst of the
goddesses, who are acting as midwives. Cleon distinguished himself by
his Cadmus; and Ctesidemus, by his Capture of Œchalia[2155] and his

Ctesicles became notorious for the insult which he offered to Queen
Stratonice;[2156] for, upon failing to meet with an honourable
reception from her, he painted her, romping with a fisherman, for
whom, according to common report, she had conceived an ardent
affection. After exhibiting this picture in the harbour at Ephesus,
he at once set sail and escaped: the queen, however, would not allow
of its removal, the likenesses of the two figures being so admirably
expressed. Cratinus,[2157] the comic writer, painted at Athens, in the
Pompeion[2158] there.

Of Eutychides, there is a Victory guiding a chariot drawn by two
horses. Eudorus is famous for his dramatic scenery; he executed some
statues in bronze also. By Hippys there is a Neptune and Victory.
Habron painted a picture of Friendship and Concord, and several
figures of divinities; Leontiscus, an Aratus with the trophies of
victory,[2159] and a Singing-girl; Leon, a portrait of Sappho; and
Nearchus, a Venus attended by Cupids and Graces, and a Hercules,
sorrowing and repentant at the sad results of his madness.[2160]
Nealces,[2161] a remarkably ingenious and inventive artist, painted a
Venus. On one occasion, when he had to represent a naval engagement
between the Persians and Egyptians, wishing it to be understood that
it took place on the river Nilus, the waters of which are similar in
appearance to those of the sea, he employed an emblem to disclose that
which would not admit of expression by art; for he painted an ass
drinking on the shore, and a crocodile lying in wait for him.[2162]

Œnias has painted a Family Group; Philiscus, a Painter’s Studio, with
a boy blowing the fire; Phalerion, a Scylla; Simonides, an Agatharchus
and a Mnemosyne; Simus, a youth reposing, a Fuller’s Shop, a person
celebrating the Quinquatria,[2163] and a Nemesis of great merit. By
Theorus[2164] there is a Man Anointing himself; a picture of the
Murder of Ægisthus and Clytæmnestra by Orestes; and a representation
of the Trojan War, in a series of paintings, now at Rome, in the
Porticos[2165] of Philippus: a Cassandra[2166] also, in the Temple
of Concord; a Leontium, the mistress of Epicurus, in an attitude of
meditation; and a King Demetrius.[2167] Theon[2168] has painted the
Frenzy[2169] of Orestes, and a Thamyras[2170] playing on the lyre;
Tauriscus, a Discobolus,[2171] a Clytæmnestra, a Pan in miniature, a
Polynices claiming[2172] the sovereignty, and a Capaneus.[2173]

In speaking of these artists, I must not omit to mention one memorable
circumstance: Erigonus, who was colour-grinder to the painter Nealces,
himself made such progress in the art as to leave a very celebrated
pupil, Pasias, the brother of Ægineta, the modeller. It is also a
very singular fact, and one well deserving of remark, that the last
works of these artists, their unfinished paintings, in fact, are
held in greater admiration than their completed works; the Iris of
Aristides, for instance, the Tyndaridæ[2174] of Nicomachus, the Medea
of Timomachus,[2175] and the Venus of Apelles,[2176] already mentioned.
For in such works as these, we not only see the outline depicted, and
the very thoughts of the artist expressed, but have the composition
additionally commended to our notice by the regrets which we must
necessarily feel on finding the hand that commenced it arrested by

There are still some other artists, who, though by no means without
reputation, can only be noticed here in a summary manner: Aristocydes;
Anaxander; Aristobulus of Syria; Arcesilas,[2177] son of Tisicrates;
Corœbos, a pupil of Nicomachus; Charmantides, a pupil of Euphranor;
Dionysodorus of Colophon; Dicæogenes, a contemporary of King
Demetrius;[2178] Euthymides; Heraclides[2179] of Macedon; Milo of Soli,
a pupil of the statuary Pyromachus; Mnasitheus of Sicyon; Mnasitimus,
the son and pupil of Aristonidas;[2180] Nessus, son of Habron;[2181]
Polemon of Alexandria; Theodorus of Samos, and Stadieus, pupils of
Nicosthenes; and Xeno of Sicyon, a pupil of Neocles.

There have been some female painters also. Timarete, the daughter
of Micon,[2182] painted a Diana at Ephesus, one of the very oldest
panel-paintings known. Irene, daughter and pupil of the artist
Cratinus,[2183] painted a figure of a girl, now at Eleusis, a Calypso,
an Aged Man, the juggler Theodorus, and Alcisthenes the dancer.
Aristarete, daughter and pupil of Nearchus, painted an Æsculapius.
Iaia of Cyzicus, who always remained single, painted at Rome, in the
youth of M. Varro, both with the brush, and with the graver,[2184] upon
ivory, her subjects being female portraits mostly. At Naples, there
is a large picture by her, the portrait of an Old Woman; as also a
portrait of herself, taken by the aid of a mirror. There was no painter
superior to her for expedition; while at the same time her artistic
skill was such, that her works sold at much higher prices than those
of the most celebrated portrait-painters of her day, Sopolis namely,
and Dionysius,[2185] with whose pictures our galleries are filled. One
Olympias painted also, but nothing is known relative to her, except
that she had Autobulus for a pupil.


In ancient times there were but two methods of encaustic[2186]
painting, in wax and on ivory,[2187] with the cestrum or pointed
graver. When, however, this art came to be applied to the painting
of ships of war, a third method was adopted, that of melting the wax
colours and laying them on with a brush, while hot.[2188] Painting of
this nature,[2189] applied to vessels, will never spoil from the action
of the sun, winds, or salt water.


In Egypt, too, they employ a very remarkable process for the colouring
of tissues. After pressing the material, which is white at first, they
saturate it, not with colours, but with mordents that are calculated to
absorb colour. This done, the tissues, still unchanged in appearance,
are plunged into a cauldron of boiling dye, and are removed the next
moment fully coloured. It is a singular fact, too, that although the
dye in the pan is of one uniform colour, the material when taken out of
it is of various colours, according to the nature of the mordents that
have been respectively applied to it: these colours, too, will never
wash out. Thus the dye-pan, which under ordinary circumstances, no
doubt, would have made but one colour of several, if coloured tissues
had been put into it, is here made to yield several colours from a
single dye. At the same moment that it dyes the tissues, it boils in
the colour; and it is the fact, that material which has been thus
submitted to the action of fire becomes stouter and more serviceable
for wear, than it would have been if it had not been subjected to the


On painting we have now said enough, and more than enough; but it will
be only proper to append some accounts of the plastic art. Butades, a
potter of Sicyon, was the first who invented, at Corinth, the art of
modelling portraits in the earth which he used in his trade. It was
through his daughter that he made the discovery; who, being deeply in
love with a young man about to depart on a long journey, traced the
profile of his face, as thrown upon the wall by the light of the lamp.
Upon seeing this, her father filled in the outline, by compressing clay
upon the surface, and so made a face in relief, which he then hardened
by fire along with other articles of pottery. This model, it is said,
was preserved in the Nymphæum[2190] at Corinth, until the destruction
of that city by Mummius.[2191] Others, again, assert that the first
inventors of the plastic art were Rhœcus[2192] and Theodorus,[2193] at
Samos, a considerable period before the expulsion of the Bacchiadæ from
Corinth: and that Damaratus,[2194] on taking to flight from that place
and settling in Etruria, where he became father of Tarquinius, who was
ultimately king of the Roman people, was accompanied thither by the
modellers Euchir,[2195] Diopus, and Eugrammus, by whose agency the art
was first introduced into Italy.

Butades first invented the method of colouring plastic compositions, by
adding red earth to the material, or else modelling them in red chalk:
he, too, was the first to make masks on the outer edges of gutter-tiles
upon the roofs of buildings; in low relief, and known as “prostypa”
at first, but afterwards in high relief, or “ectypa.” It was in these
designs,[2196] too, that the ornaments on the pediments of temples
originated; and from this invention modellers first had their name of


The first person who expressed the human features by fitting a mould of
plaster upon the face, and then improving it by pouring melted wax into
the cast, was Lysistratus[2197] of Sicyon, brother of Lysippus, already
mentioned. It was he, in fact, who first made it his study to give a
faithful likeness; for before his time, artists only thought how to
make their portraits as handsome as possible. The same artist, too, was
the first who thought of making models for his statues; a method which
afterwards became so universally adopted, that there could be neither
figure nor statue made without its model in clay. Hence it would
appear, that the art of modelling in clay is more ancient than that of
moulding in bronze.[2198]


The most celebrated modellers were Damophilus and Gorgasus, who were
painters as well. These artists adorned with their works, in both
kinds, the Temple of Ceres,[2199] in the Circus Maximus at Rome; with
an inscription in Greek, which stated that the decorations on the
right-hand were the workmanship of Damophilus, and those on the left,
of Gorgasus. Varro says that, before the construction of this temple,
everything was Tuscan[2200] in the temples; and that, when the temple
was afterwards repaired, the painted coatings of the walls were cut
away in tablets and enclosed in frames, but that the figures on the
pediments were dispersed. Chalcosthenes,[2201] too,[2202] executed
at Athens some works in unbaked earth, on the spot which, from his
manufactory, has since obtained the name of “Ceramicus.”[2203]

M. Varro states that he knew an artist at Rome, Possis by name, who
executed fruit, grapes, and fish, with such exactness, that it was
quite impossible, by only looking at them, to distinguish them from
the reality. He speaks very highly also of Arcesilaüs,[2204] who was
on terms of intimacy with Lucius Lucullus,[2205] and whose models in
plaster used to sell at a higher rate, among artists themselves, than
the works of others. He informs us, also, that it was by this modeller
that the Venus Genetrix in the Forum of Cæsar was executed, it having
been erected before completion, in the great haste that there was to
consecrate it; that the same artist had made an agreement with Lucullus
to execute a figure of Felicity, at the price of sixty thousand
sesterces, the completion of which was prevented by their death; and
that Octavius, a Roman of equestrian rank, being desirous of a model
for a mixing-bowl,[2206] Arcesilaüs made him one in plaster, at the
price of one talent.

Varro praises Pasiteles[2207] also, who used to say, that the plastic
art was the mother of chasing, statuary, and sculpture, and who,
excellent as he was in each of these branches, never executed any work
without first modelling it. In addition to these particulars, he states
that the art of modelling was anciently cultivated in Italy, Etruria in
particular; and that Volcanius was summoned from Veii, and entrusted by
Tarquinius Priscus with making the figure of Jupiter, which he intended
to consecrate in the Capitol; that this Jupiter was made of clay, and
that hence arose the custom of painting it with minium;[2208] and that
the four-horse chariot, so often[2209] mentioned, upon the pediment
of the temple, was made of clay as well. We learn also from him, that
it was by the same artist that the Hercules was executed, which, even
to this day, is named[2210] at Rome from the material of which it is
composed. Such, in those times, were the most esteemed statues of the
gods; and small reason have we to complain of our forefathers for
worshipping such divinities as these; for in their day there was no
working of gold and silver—no, not even in the service of the gods.


Statues of this nature are still in existence at various places. At
Rome, in fact, and in our municipal towns, we still see many such
pediments of temples; wonderful too, for their workmanship, and, from
their artistic merit and long duration, more deserving of our respect
than gold, and certainly far less baneful. At the present day even, in
the midst of such wealth as we possess, we make our first libation at
the sacrifice, not from murrhine[2211] vases or vessels of crystal, but
from ladles[2212] made of earthenware.

Bounteous beyond expression is the earth, if we only consider in
detail her various gifts. To omit all mention of the cereals, wine,
fruits, herbs, shrubs, medicaments, and metals, bounties which she has
lavished upon us, and which have already passed under our notice, her
productions in the shape of pottery alone, would more than suffice, in
their variety, to satisfy our domestic wants; what with gutter-tiles of
earthenware, vats for receiving wine, pipes[2213] for conveying water,
conduits[2214] for supplying baths, baked tiles for roofs, bricks for
foundations, the productions, too, of the potter’s wheel; results, all
of them, of an art, which induced King Numa to establish, as a seventh
company,[2215] that of the makers of earthenware.

Even more than this, many persons have chosen to be buried in
coffins[2216] made of earthenware; M. Varro, for instance, who was
interred, in true Pythagorean style, in the midst of leaves of myrtle,
olive, and black poplar; indeed, the greater part of mankind make use
of earthen vases for this purpose. For the service of the table, the
Samian pottery is even yet held in high esteem; that, too, of Arretium
in Italy, still maintains its high character; while for their cups,
and for those only, the manufactories of Surrentum, Asta, Pollentia,
Saguntum in Spain, and Pergamus in Asia,[2217] are greatly esteemed.

The city of Tralles, too, in Asia, and that of Mutina in Italy, have
their respective manufactures of earthenware, and even by this branch
of art are localities rendered famous; their productions, by the aid of
the potter’s wheel, becoming known to all countries, and conveyed by
sea and by land to every quarter of the earth. At Erythræ, there are
still shown, in a temple there, two amphoræ, that were consecrated in
consequence of the singular thinness of the material: they originated
in a contest between a master and his pupil, which of the two could
make earthenware of the greatest thinness. The vessels of Cos are the
most highly celebrated for their beauty, hut those of Adria[2218] are
considered the most substantial.

In relation to these productions of art, there are some instances of
severity mentioned: Q. Coponius, we find, was condemned for bribery,
because he made present of an amphora of wine to a person who had
the right of voting. To make luxury, too, conduce in some degree to
enhance our estimation of earthenware, “tripatinium,”[2219] as we learn
from Fenestella, was the name given to the most exquisite course of
dishes that was served up at the Roman banquets. It consisted of one
dish of murænæ,[2220] one of lupi,[2221] and a third of a mixture of
fish. It is clear that the public manners were then already on the
decline; though we still have a right to hold them preferable to those
of the philosophers even of Greece, seeing that the representatives
of Aristotle, it is said, sold, at the auction of his goods, as many
as seventy dishes of earthenware. It has been already[2222] stated by
us, when on the subject of birds, that a single dish cost the tragic
actor Æsopus one hundred thousand sesterces; much to the reader’s
indignation, no doubt; but, by Hercules! Vitellius, when emperor,
ordered a dish to be made, which was to cost a million of sesterces,
and for the preparation of which a furnace had to be erected out in the
fields! luxury having thus arrived at such a pitch of excess as to make
earthenware even sell at higher prices than murrhine[2223] vessels. It
was in reference to this circumstance, that Mucianus, in his second
consulship, when pronouncing one of his perorations, reproached the
memory of Vitellius with his dishes as broad as the Pomptine Marsh;
not less deserving to be execrated than the poisoned dish of Asprenas,
which, according to the accusation brought against him by Cassius
Severus, caused the death of one hundred and thirty guests.[2224]

These works of artistic merit have conferred celebrity on some cities
even, Rhegium for example, and Cumæ. The priests of the Mother of
the gods, known as the Galli, deprive themselves of their virility
with a piece of Samian[2225] pottery, the only means, if we believe
M. Cælius,[2226] of avoiding dangerous results. He it was, too, who
recommended, when inveighing against certain abominable practices,
that the person guilty of them should have his tongue cut out, in a
similar manner; a reproach which would appear to have been levelled by
anticipation against this same Vitellius.

What is there that human industry will not devise? Even broken pottery
has been utilized; it being found that, beaten to powder, and tempered
with lime, it becomes more solid and durable than other substances
of a similar nature; forming the cement known as the “Signine”[2227]
composition, so extensively employed for even making the pavements of


But there are other resources also, which are derived immediately
from the earth. Who, indeed, cannot but be surprised at finding the
most inferior constituent parts of it, known as “dust”[2229] only,
on the hills about Puteoli, forming a barrier against the waves of
the sea, becoming changed into stone the moment of its immersion, and
increasing in hardness from day to day—more particularly when mixed
with the cement of Cumæ? There is an earth too, of a similar nature
found in the districts about Cyzicus; but there, it is not a dust,
but a solid earth, which is cut away in blocks of all sizes, and
which, after being immersed in the sea, is taken out transformed into
stone. The same thing may be seen also, it is said, in the vicinity of
Cassandrea;[2230] and at Cnidos, there is a spring of fresh water which
has the property of causing earth to petrify within the space of eight
months. Between Oropus and Aulis, every portion of the land upon which
the sea encroaches becomes transformed into solid rock.

The finer portion of the sand of the river Nilus is not very different
in its properties from the dust of Puteoli; not, indeed, that it is
used for breaking the force of the sea and withstanding the waves,
but only for the purpose, forsooth, of subduing[2231] the body for
the exercises of the palestra! At all events, it was for this purpose
that it used to be brought over for Patrobius,[2232] a freedman of the
Emperor Nero. I find it stated also, that Craterus, Leonnatus, and
Meleager, generals of Alexander the Great, had this sand transported
along with their munitions of war. But I forbear to enlarge any further
upon this subject; or indeed, by Hercules! upon those preparations of
earth and wax of which the ceromata are made, so much employed by our
youth in their exercises of the body, at the cost of all vigour of the


And then, besides, have we not in Africa and in Spain walls[2233] of
earth, known as “formacean” walls? from the fact that they are moulded,
rather than built, by enclosing earth within a frame of boards,
constructed on either side. These walls will last for centuries, are
proof against rain, wind, and fire, and are superior in solidity to
any cement. Even at this day, Spain still beholds watch-towers that
were erected by Hannibal, and turrets of earth[2234] placed on the
very summits of her mountains. It is from the same source, too, that
we derive the substantial materials so well adapted for forming the
earth-works of our camps and embankments against the impetuous violence
of rivers. What person, too, is unacquainted with the fact, that
partitions are made of hurdles coated with clay, and that walls are
constructed of unbaked bricks?


Earth for making bricks should never be extracted from a sandy or
gravelly soil, and still less from one that is stony; but from a
stratum that is white and cretaceous, or else impregnated with red
earth.[2235] If a sandy soil must be employed for the purpose, it
should at least be male[2236] sand, and no other. The spring is the
best season for making bricks, as at midsummer they are very apt to
crack. For building, bricks two years old are the only ones that are
approved of; and the wrought material of them should be well macerated
before they are made.

There are three different kinds of bricks; the Lydian, which is in
use with us, a foot-and-a-half in length by a foot in breadth; the
tetradoron; and the pentadoron; the word “doron” being used by the
ancient Greeks to signify the palm[2237]—hence, too, their word “doron”
meaning a gift, because it is the hand that gives.—These last two
kinds, therefore, are named respectively from their being four and five
palms in length, the breadth being the same. The smaller kind is used
in Greece for private buildings, the larger for the construction of
public edifices. At Pitane,[2238] in Asia, and in the cities of Muxilua
and Calentum in Farther Spain, there are bricks[2239] made, which
float in water, when dry; the material being a sort of pumice-earth,
extremely good for the purpose when it can be made to unite. The
Greeks have always preferred walls of brick, except in those cases
where they could find silicious stone for the purposes of building:
for walls of this nature will last for ever, if they are only built
on the perpendicular. Hence it is, that the Greeks have built their
public edifices and the palaces of their kings of brick; the wall at
Athens, for example, which faces Mount Hymettus; the Temples of Jupiter
and Hercules at Patræ,[2240] although the columns and architraves in
the interior are of stone; the palace of King Attalus at Tralles; the
palace of Crœsus at Sardes, now converted into an asylum[2241] for aged
persons; and that of King Mausolus at Halicarnassus; edifices, all of
them, still in existence.

Muræna and Varro, in their ædileship, had a fine fresco painting, on
the plaster of a wall at Lacedæmon, cut away from the bricks, and
transported in wooden frames to Rome, for the purpose of adorning
the Comitium. Admirable as the work was of itself, it was still more
admired after being thus transferred. In Italy also there are walls of
brick, at Arretium and Mevania.[2242] At Rome, there are no buildings
of this description, because a wall only a foot-and-a-half in thickness
would not support more than a single story; and by public ordinance it
has been enacted that no partition should exceed that thickness; nor,
indeed, does the peculiar construction of our party-walls admit of it.


Let thus much be deemed sufficient on the subject of bricks. Among the
other kinds of earth, the one of the most singular nature, perhaps,
is sulphur, an agent of great power upon other substances. Sulphur
is found in the Æolian Islands, between Sicily and Italy, which are
volcanic, as already[2243] stated. But the finest sulphur of all, is
that which comes from the Isle of Melos. It is obtained also in Italy,
upon the range of hills in the territories of Neapolis and Campania,
known as the Leucogæi:[2244] when extracted from the mines there, it is
purified by the agency of fire.

There are four kinds of sulphur; the first of which is “live” sulphur,
known as “apyron”[2245] by the Greeks, and found in solid masses, or
in other words, in blocks. This, too, is the only sulphur that is
extracted in its native state, the others being found in a state of
liquescence, and requiring to be purified by being boiled in oil. This
kind is green and transparent, and is the only sulphur that is used for
medicinal purposes. A second kind is known as the “glebaceous”[2246]
sulphur, and is solely employed in the workshops of the fullers. The
third kind, also, is only used for a single purpose, that of fumigating
wool, a process which contributes very greatly to making the wool white
and soft; “egula”[2246] is the name given to it. The fourth kind is
used in the preparation of matches more particularly.

In addition to these several uses, sulphur is of such remarkable
virtue, that if it is thrown upon the fire it will at once detect, by
the smell, whether or not a person is subject to epilepsy. Anaxilaüs
used to employ this substance by way of pastime: putting sulphur in a
cup of wine, with some hot coals beneath, he would hand it round to
the guests, the light given by it, while burning, throwing a ghastly
paleness like that of death upon the face of each. Its properties are
calorific and maturative, in addition to which, it disperses abscesses
on the body: hence it is that it is used as an ingredient in plasters
and emollient poultices. Applied to the loins and kidneys, with grease,
when there are pains in those parts, it is marvellously effectual as
a remedy. In combination with turpentine, it removes lichens on the
face, and leprosy,[2247] the preparation being known as “harpax,”[2248]
from the celerity with which it acts upon the skin; for which reason
it ought to be removed every now and then. Employed as an electuary,
it is good for asthma, purulent expectorations, and stings inflicted
by scorpions. Live sulphur, mixed with nitre, and then bruised with
vinegar and applied, causes morphew to disappear, and destroys nits in
the hair; in combination, too, with sandarach and vinegar, it is good
for diseases of the eyelids.

Sulphur has its place among our religious ceremonies, being used as
a fumigation for purifying houses.[2249] Its virtues are also to
be perceived in certain hot mineral waters;[2250] and there is no
substance that ignites more readily, a proof that there is in it
a great affinity to fire. Lightning and thunder are attended with
a strong smell of sulphur, and the light produced by them is of a
sulphureous complexion.


Nearly approaching to the nature of sulphur is that of bitumen,[2251]
which in some places assumes the form of a slime, and in others that
of an earth; a slime, thrown up, as already[2252] stated, by a certain
lake in Judæa, and an earth, found in the vicinity of Sidon, a maritime
town of Syria. In both these states, it admits of being thickened and
condensed. There is also a liquid[2253] bitumen, that of Zacynthus,
for example, and the bitumen that is imported from Babylon; which last
kind is also white: the bitumen, too, of Apollonia is liquid. All these
kinds, in Greek, have the one general name of “pissasphaltos,”[2254]
from their strong resemblance to a compound of pitch and bitumen. There
is also found an unctuous liquid bitumen, resembling oil, in a spring
at Agrigentum, in Sicily, the waters of which are tainted by it. The
inhabitants of the spot collect it on the panicles of reeds, to which
it very readily adheres, and make use of it for burning in lamps, as
a substitute for oil, as also for the cure of itch-scab in beasts of

Some authorities include among the bitumens, naphtha, a substance which
we have already mentioned in the Second Book;[2255] but the burning
properties which it possesses, and its susceptibility of igniting,
render it quite unfit for use. Bitumen, to be of good quality,
should be extremely brilliant, heavy, and massive; it should also
be moderately smooth, it being very much the practice to adulterate
it with pitch. Its medicinal properties are similar to those of
sulphur, it being naturally astringent, dispersive, contractive,
and agglutinating: ignited, it drives away serpents by the smell.
Babylonian bitumen is very efficacious, it is said, for the cure of
cataract and albugo, as also of leprosy, lichens, and pruriginous
affections. Bitumen is employed, too, in the form of a liniment, for
gout; and every variety of it is useful for making bandolines for
eye-lashes that are refractory and impede the sight. Applied topically
with nitre,[2256] it is curative of tooth-ache, and, taken internally,
with wine, it alleviates chronic coughs and difficulty of respiration.
It is administered in a similar manner for dysentery, and is very good
for arresting looseness of the bowels. Taken internally with vinegar,
it dissolves and brings away coagulated blood. It modifies pains also
in the loins and joints, and, applied with barley-meal, it forms a
peculiar kind of plaster, to which it has given its name.[2257] It
stanches blood also, heals wounds, and unites the sinews when severed.
Bitumen is administered for quartan fevers, in doses of one drachma
to an equal quantity of hedyosmos,[2258] the whole kneaded up with
one obolus of myrrh. The smell of burnt bitumen detects a tendency to
epilepsy, and, applied to the nostrils with wine and castoreum,[2259]
it dispels suffocations of the uterus. Employed as a fumigation, it
acts as a check upon procidence of the uterus, and, taken internally
with wine, it has the effect of an emmenagogue.

Another use that is made of it, is for coating the inside of copper
vessels, it rendering them proof against the action of fire. It has
been already[2260] stated that bitumen was formerly employed for
staining copper and coating statues. It has been used, too, as a
substitute for lime; the walls of Babylon, for instance, which are
cemented with it. In the smithies they are in the habit of varnishing
iron and heads of nails with it, and of using it for many other
purposes as well.


Not less important, or indeed very dissimilar, are the uses that are
made of alumen;[2261] by which name is understood a sort of brine[2262]
which exudes from the earth. Of this, too, there are several kinds. In
Cyprus there is a white alumen, and another kind of a darker colour.
The difference, however, in their colour is but trifling in reality,
though the uses made of them are very dissimilar; the white liquid
alumen being employed for dyeing[2263] wool of bright colours, and the
black, on the other hand, for giving wool a tawny or a sombre tint.
Gold, too, is purified[2264] by the agency of black alumen. Every kind
of alumen is a compound of slime and water, or in other words, is a
liquid product exuding from the earth; the concretion of it commencing
in winter, and being completed by the action of the summer sun. That
portion of it which is the first matured, is the whitest in appearance.

The countries which produce this substance, are Spain, Ægypt, Armenia,
Macedonia, Pontus, Africa,[2265] and the islands of Sardinia, Melos,
Lipara, and Strongyle:[2266] the most esteemed, however, is that of
Egypt,[2267] the next best being the produce of Melos. Of this last
kind there are also two varieties, the liquid alumen, and the solid.
Liquid alumen, to be good, should be of a limpid, milky, appearance:
when rubbed between the fingers it should be free from grit, and
productive of a slight sensation of heat. The name given to it is
“phorimon.”[2268] The mode of detecting whether or not it has been
adulterated, is by the application of pomegranate-juice; for if
genuine, it will turn black on combining with the juice. The other, or
solid alumen, is pale and rough in appearance, and turns black on the
application of nut-galls; for which reason it is known by the name of

Liquid alumen is naturally astringent, indurative, and corrosive: used
in combination with honey, it heals ulcerations of the mouth, pimples,
and pruriginous eruptions. The remedy, when thus used, is employed in
the bath, the proportions being two parts of honey to one of alumen.
It has the effect, also, of checking and dispersing perspiration, and
of neutralizing offensive odours of the arm-pits. It is taken too, in
the form of pills, for affections of the spleen, and for the purpose
of carrying off blood by the urine: incorporated with nitre and
melanthium,[2270] it is curative of itch-scab.

There is one kind of solid alumen, known to the Greeks as
“schiston,”[2271] which splits into filaments of a whitish colour;
for which reason some have preferred giving it the name of
“trichitis.”[2272] It is produced from the mineral ore known to us
as “chalcitis,”[2273] from which copper is also produced, it being a
sort of exudation from that mineral, coagulated into the form of scum.
This kind of alumen is less desiccative than the others, and is not so
useful as a check upon bad humours of the body. Used, however, either
in the form of a liniment or of an injection, it is highly beneficial
to the ears; as also for ulcerations of the mouth, and for tooth-ache,
if retained with the saliva in the mouth. It is employed also as a
serviceable ingredient in compositions for the eyes, and for the
generative organs in either sex. The mode of preparing it is to roast
it in crucibles, until it has quite lost its liquid form.

There is another variety of alumen also, of a less active nature, and
known as “strongyle;”[2274] which is again subdivided into two kinds;
the fungous, which easily dissolves in any liquid, and is looked
upon as altogether worthless; and the porous, which is full of small
holes like a sponge, and in pieces of a globular form, more nearly
approaching white alumen in appearance. It has a certain degree, too,
of unctuousness, is free from grit, friable, and not apt to blacken
the fingers. This last kind is calcined by itself upon hot coals,
unmixed with any other substance, until it is entirely reduced to ashes.

The best kind of all, however, is that called “molinum,”[2275] as
coming from the Isle of Melos, as already mentioned; none being more
effectual for acting as an astringent, staining black, and indurating,
and none assuming a closer consistency. It removes granulations of
the eye-lids, and, in a calcined state, is still more efficacious for
checking defluxions of the eyes: in this last form, too, it is employed
for the cure of pruriginous eruptions on the body. Whether taken
internally, or employed externally, it arrests discharges of blood; and
if it is applied with vinegar to a part from which the hair has been
first removed, it will change into a soft down the hair which replaces
it. The leading property of every kind of alumen is its remarkable
astringency, to which, in fact, it is indebted for its name[2276] with
the Greeks. It is for this property that the various kinds are, all of
them, so remarkably good for the eyes. In combination with grease, they
arrest discharges of blood; and they are employed in a similar manner
for checking the spread of putrid ulcers, and for removing sores upon
the bodies of infants.

Alumen has a desiccative effect upon dropsical eruptions; and, in
combination with pomegranate juice, it removes diseases of the ears,
malformed nails, indurations resulting from cicatrization, hangnails,
and chilblains. Calcined, with vinegar or nut-galls, in equal
proportions, it is curative of phagedænic ulcers; and, in combination
with extracted juice of cabbage, of leprosy. Used in the proportion
of one part of alumen to two of salt, it arrests the progress of
serpiginous eruptions; and an infusion of it in water destroys lice and
other parasitical insects that infest the hair. Employed in a similar
manner, it is good for burns; and, in combination with the serous[2277]
part of pitch, for furfuraceous eruptions on the body. It is used also
as an injection for dysentery, and, employed in the form of a gargle,
it braces the uvula and tonsillary glands. For all those maladies which
we have mentioned as being treated with the other kinds of alumen,
that imported from Melos, be it understood, is still more efficacious.
As to the other uses that are made of it for industrial purposes, such
as preparing hides and wool, for example, they have been mentioned


In succession to these, we shall now have to speak of various other
kinds of earth[2279] which are made use of in medicine.

Of Samian earth there are two varieties; one known as
“collyrium,”[2280] the other by the name of “aster.”[2281] To be in
perfection, the first kind should be fresh, remarkably smooth, and
glutinous to the tongue; the second being of a more solid consistency,
and white. They are both prepared for use by being calcined and then
rinsed in water, some persons giving the preference to the first. They
are both of them useful for discharges of blood from the mouth, and are
employed as an ingredient in plasters of a desiccative nature. They are
used also in the preparation of ophthalmic compositions.


Of eretria, or Eretrian[2282] earth, there are also the same number
of varieties; one white, and the other of an ashy colour, this last
being preferred in medicine. To be good, this earth should be of a soft
consistency, and when rubbed upon copper it should leave a violet tint.
The virtues of eretria in a medicinal point of view, and the methods of
using it, have been already mentioned[2283] in our description of the


All these earths—for we will take the present opportunity of mentioning
it—are well washed in water, and then dried in the sun; after which,
they are again triturated in water, and left to settle: this done, they
are divided into tablets. They are usually boiled in earthen vessels,
which are well shaken every now and then.


Among the medicinal substances, there is the white earth of Chios
also, the properties of which are the same as those of Samian earth.
It is used more particularly as a cosmetic for the skin of females;
the Selinusian[2284] earth being also employed for a similar purpose.
This last is of a milk-white colour, and melts very rapidly in water:
dissolved in milk, it is employed for whitening the plaster coats on
walls. Pnigitis[2285] is very similar to Eretrian earth, only that
it is found in larger masses, and is of a glutinous consistency. Its
effects are similar to those produced by Cimolian[2286] earth, but are
not so energetic.

Ampelitis[2287] is an earth which bears a strong resemblance to
bitumen. The test of its goodness is its dissolving in oil, like wax,
and preserving its black colour when submitted to the action of fire.
Its properties are emollient and repercussive; for which reason, it is
used in medicinal compositions, those known as “calliblephara,”[2288]
more particularly, and in preparations for dyeing the hair.


Of cretaceous[2289] earths there are several varieties; and among
them, two kinds of Cimolian earth, employed in medicine, the one white
and the other inclining to the tint of purpurissum.[2290] Both kinds,
moistened with vinegar, have the effect of dispersing tumours and
arresting defluxions. They are curative also of inflammatory swellings
and imposthumes of the parotid glands; and, applied topically, they
are good for affections of the spleen and pustules on the body. With
the addition of aphronitrum,[2291] oil of cypros,[2292] and vinegar,
they reduce swellings of the feet, care being taken to apply the lotion
in the sun, and at the end of six hours to wash it off with salt and
water. In combination with wax and oil of cypros, Cimolian earth is
good for swellings of the testes.

Cretaceous earths, too, are of a cooling tendency, and, applied to the
body in the form of a liniment, they act as a check upon excessive
perspiration: taken with wine, in the bath, they remove pimples on the
body. The most esteemed of all these earths is that of Thessaly: it is
found also in the vicinity of Bubon[2293] in Lycia.

Cimolian earth is used also for another purpose, that of scouring
cloth. As to the kind which is brought from Sardinia, and is known as
“sarda,” it is used for white tissues only, and is never employed for
coloured cloths. Indeed, this last is held in the lowest estimation
of all the Cimolian earths; whereas, that of Umbria is more highly
esteemed, as also the kind generally known as “saxum.”[2294] It is a
property of this last to increase in weight[2295] by maceration, and
it is by weight that it is usually sold, Sardinian earth being sold by
measure. Umbrian earth is only used for giving lustre to cloths.

It will not be deemed out of place to give some further account here
of this process, there being still in existence the Metilian Law,
relative to fullers; an enactment which C. Flaminius and L. Æmilius, in
their censorship,[2296] had passed by the people,[2297] so attentive
to everything were our ancestors. The following then is the method
employed in preparing cloth: it is first washed in an infusion of
Sardinian earth, and is then exposed to a fumigation with sulphur. This
done, it is scoured[2298] with Cimolian earth, when the cloth has been
found to be of a genuine colour; it being very soon detected when it
has been coloured with spurious materials, by its turning black and the
colours becoming dispersed[2299] by the action of the sulphur. Where
the colours are genuine and rich, they are softened by the application
of Cimolian earth; which brightens and freshens them also when they
have been rendered sombre by the action of the sulphur. Saxum is better
for white tissues, after the application of sulphur, but to coloured
cloths it is highly injurious.[2300] In Greece they use Tymphæan[2301]
gypsum in place of Cimolian earth.


There is another cretaceous earth, known as “argentaria,”[2302] from
the brightness[2303] which it imparts to silver. There is also the most
inferior kind of chalk; which was used by the ancients for tracing the
line of victory[2304] in the Circus, and for marking the feet of slaves
on sale, that were brought from beyond sea. Such, for instance, were
Publilius[2305] Lochius, the founder of our mimic scenes; his cousin,
Manilius Antiochus,[2306] the first cultivator of astronomy; and
Staberius Eros, our first grammarian; all three of whom our ancestors
saw brought over in the same ship.[2307]

(18.) But why mention these names, recommended as they are by the
literary honours which they acquired? Other instances too, Rome has
beheld of persons rising to high positions from the slave-market;[2308]
Chrysogonus, for example, the freedman of Sylla; Amphion, the freedman
of Q. Catulus; the man who was the keeper[2309] of Lucullus; Demetrius,
the freedman of Pompeius, and Auge, the freedwoman of Demetrius,[2310]
or else of Pompeius himself, as some have supposed; Hipparchus, the
freedman of M. Antonius; as also, Menas[2311] and Menecrates,[2312]
freedmen of Sextus Pompeius, and many others as well, whom it would be
superfluous to enumerate, and who have enriched themselves at the cost
of Roman blood, and the licence that results from proscription.

Such is the mark that is set upon those droves of slaves which we see
on sale, such the opprobrium thrown upon them by a capricious fortune!
And yet, some of these very men have we beheld in the enjoyment of
such power and influence, that the senate itself has decreed them—at
the command of Agrippina,[2313] wife of the Emperor Claudius—the
decorations even of the prætorship: all but honoured with the fasces
and their laurels, in fact, and sent back in state to the very place
from which they originally came, with their feet whitened with the
slave-dealer’s chalk!


In addition to these, there are various other kinds of earth, endowed
with peculiar properties of their own, and which have been already
mentioned on former occasions.[2314] We may, however, take the present
opportunity of again remarking the following properties. The earth of
the island of Galata and of the vicinity of Clypea, in Africa, is fatal
to scorpions; and that of the Balearic Islands and of Ebusus kills

SUMMARY.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, nine hundred and

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Messala[2315] the Orator, the Elder
Messala,[2316] Fenestella,[2317] Atticus,[2318] M. Varro,[2319]
Verrius,[2320] Cornelius Nepos,[2321] Deculo,[2322] Mucianus,[2323]
Melissus,[2324] Vitruvius,[2325] Cassius Severus Longulanus,[2326]
Fabius Vestalis,[2327] who wrote on Painting.

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Pasiteles,[2328] Apelles,[2329]
Melanthius,[2330] Asclepiodorus,[2331] Euphranor,[2332]
Heliodorus,[2333] who wrote on the Votive Offerings of the Athenians,
Metrodorus,[2334] who wrote on Architecture, Democritus,[2335]
Theophrastus,[2336] Apion[2337] the grammarian, who wrote on the
Medicines derived from Metals, Nymphodorus,[2338] Iollas,[2339]
Apollodorus,[2340] Andreas,[2341] Heraclides,[2342] Diagoras,[2343]
Botrys,[2344] Archidemus,[2345] Dionysius,[2346] Aristogenes,[2347]
Democles,[2348] Mnesides,[2349] Xenocrates[2350] the son of Zeno,




It now remains for us to speak of stones, or, in other words, the
leading folly of the day; to say nothing at all of our taste for gems
and amber, crystal and murrhine vases.[2352] For everything of which
we have previously treated, down to the present Book, may, by some
possibility or other, have the appearance of having been created for
the sake of man: but as to the mountains, Nature has made those for
herself, as a kind of bulwark for keeping together the bowels of the
earth; as also for the purpose of curbing the violence of the rivers,
of breaking the waves of the sea, and so, by opposing to them the very
hardest of her materials, putting a check upon those elements which
are never at rest. And yet we must hew down these mountains, forsooth,
and carry them off; and this, for no other reason than to gratify our
luxurious inclinations: heights which in former days it was reckoned a
miracle even to have crossed!

Our forefathers regarded as a prodigy the passage of the Alps, first by
Hannibal,[2353] and, more recently, by the Cimbri: but at the present
day, these very mountains are cut asunder to yield us a thousand
different marbles, promontories are thrown open to the sea, and the
face of Nature is being everywhere reduced to a level. We now carry
away the barriers that were destined for the separation of one nation
from another; we construct ships for the transport of our marbles;
and, amid the waves, the most boisterous element of Nature, we convey
the summits of the mountains to and fro: a thing, however, that is
even less unpardonable than to go on the search amid the regions of
the clouds for vessels[2354] with which to cool our draughts, and to
excavate rocks, towering to the very heavens, in order that we may
have the satisfaction of drinking from ice! Let each reflect, when he
hears of the high prices set upon these things, when he sees these
ponderous masses carted and carried away, how many there are whose life
is passed far more happily without them. For what utility or for what
so-called pleasure do mortals make themselves the agents, or, more
truly speaking, the victims of such undertakings, except in order that
others may take their repose in the midst of variegated stones? Just as
though too, the shades of night, which occupy one half of each man’s
existence, would forbear to curtail these imaginary delights.


Indeed, while making these reflections, one cannot but feel ashamed
of the men of ancient times even. There are still in existence
censorial[2355] laws, which forbid the kernels[2356] in the neck of
swine to be served at table, dormice too, and other things too trifling
to mention: and yet there has been no law passed, forbidding marble to
be imported, or the seas to be traversed in search of it!

(2.) It may possibly be observed, that this was, because marble was not
then introduced. Such, however, is not the fact; for in the ædileship
of M. Scaurus,[2357] three hundred and sixty columns were to be seen
imported; for the decorations of a temporary theatre, too, one that was
destined to be in use for barely a single month. And yet the laws were
silent thereon; in a spirit of indulgence for the amusements of the
public, no doubt. But then, why such indulgence or how do vices more
insidiously steal upon us than under the plea of serving the public? By
what other way, in fact, did ivory, gold, and precious stones, first
come into use with private individuals?

Can we say that there is now anything that we have reserved for the
exclusive use of the gods? However, be it so, let us admit of this
indulgence for the amusements of the public; but still, why did the
laws maintain their silence when the largest of these columns, pillars
of Lucullan[2358] marble, as much as eight-and-thirty feet in height,
were erected in the atrium of Scaurus? a thing, too, that was not
done privately or in secret; for the contractor for the public sewers
compelled him to give security for the possible damage that might be
done in the carriage of them to the Palatium.[2359] When so bad an
example as this was set, would it not have been advisable to take some
precautions for the preservation of the public morals? And yet the laws
still preserved their silence, when such enormous masses as these were
being carried past the earthenware[2360] pediments of the temples of
the gods, to the house of a private individual!


And yet it cannot be said that Scaurus, by way of a first essay in
vice, took the City by surprise, in a state of ignorance and totally
unguarded against such evils as these. Already had L. Crassus,[2361]
the orator, he who was the first to possess pillars of foreign marble,
and in this same Palatium too, received from M. Brutus, on the occasion
of a dispute, the nickname of the “Palatine Venus,” for his indulgence
in this kind of luxury. The material, I should remark, was Hymettian
marble, and the pillars were but six in number, and not exceeding some
twelve feet in height. Our forefathers were guilty of this omission,
no doubt, because morals were universally contaminated; and, seeing
that things which had been interdicted had been forbidden in vain, they
preferred the absence of laws to laws that were no better than a dead
letter. These particulars and others in the sequel will show that we
are so far improved; for who is there at the present day that has, in
his atrium, any such massive columns as these of Scaurus?

But before proceeding to treat of the several varieties of this
material, it will be as well to mention the various artists, and the
degrees of estimation in which they are held, who have worked in
marble. We will, therefore, proceed to review the sculptors who have
flourished at different periods.


The first artists who distinguished themselves in the sculpture of
marble, were Dipœnus[2362] and Scyllis, natives of the Isle of Crete.
At this period the Medians were still in power, and Cyrus had not begun
to reign in Persia; their date being about the fiftieth Olympiad.
They afterwards repaired to Sicyon, a state which for a length of
time[2363] was the adopted country of all such pursuits as these.
The people of Sicyon had made a contract with them for the execution
of certain statues of the gods; but, before completing the work, the
artists complained of some injustice being done them, and retired to
Ætolia. Immediately upon this, the state was afflicted with sterility
and famine, and dreadful consternation was the result. Upon enquiry
being made as to a remedy for these evils, the Pythian Apollo made
answer, that Dipœnus and Scyllis must complete the statues of the gods;
an object which was attained at the cost of great concessions and
considerable sums of money. The statues were those of Apollo,[2364]
Diana, Hercules, and Minerva; the last of which was afterwards struck
by lightning.

(5.) Before these artists were in existence, there had already appeared
Melas, a sculptor of the Isle of Chios; and, in succession to him, his
son Micciades, and his grandson Archermus;[2365] whose sons, Bupalus
and Athenis, afterwards attained the highest eminence in the art.
These last were contemporaries of the poet Hipponax, who, it is well
known, lived in the sixtieth Olympiad. Now, if a person only reckons,
going upwards from their time to that of their great-grandfather, he
will find that the art of sculpture must have necessarily originated
about the commencement of the era of the Olympiads. Hipponax being a
man notorious for his ugliness, the two artists, by way of joke,[2366]
exhibited a statue of him for the ridicule of the public. Indignant at
this, the poet emptied upon them all the bitterness of his verses; to
such an extent indeed, that, as some believe, they were driven to hang
themselves in despair. This, however, is not the fact; for, at a later
period, these artists executed a number of statues in the neighbouring
islands; at Delos for example, with an inscription subjoined to the
effect, that Chios was rendered famous not only by its vines[2367]
but by the works of the sons of Archermus as well. The people of
Lasos[2368] still show a Diana that was made by them; and we find
mention also made of a Diana at Chios, the work of their hands: it is
erected on an elevated spot, and the features appear stern to a person
as he enters, and joyous as he departs. At Rome, there are some statues
by these artists on the summit of the Temple[2369] of the Palatine
Apollo, and, indeed, in most of the buildings that were erected by the
late Emperor Augustus. At Delos and in the Isle of Lesbos there were
formerly some sculptures by their father to be seen. Ambracia too,
Argos, and Cleonæ, were filled with productions of the sculptor Dipœnus.

All these artists, however, used nothing but the white marble
of the Isle of Paros, a stone which was known as “lychnites” at
first, because, according to Varro, it was cut in the quarries by
lamplight.[2370] Since their time, many other whiter marbles have been
discovered, and very recently that of the quarries of Luna.[2371]
With reference to the marble of Paros, there is one very marvellous
circumstance related; in a single block that was split with wedges, a
figure[2372] of Silenus made its appearance.

We must not omit to remark, that the art of sculpture is of much more
ancient[2373] date than those of painting and of statuary in bronze;
both of which commenced with Phidias, in the eighty-third Olympiad,
or in other words, about three hundred and thirty-two years later.
Indeed, it is said, that Phidias himself worked in marble, and that
there is a Venus of his at Rome, a work of extraordinary beauty, in
the buildings of Octavia.[2374] A thing, however, that is universally
admitted, is the fact that he was the instructor of Alcamenes,[2375]
the Athenian, one of the most famous among the sculptors. By this
last artist, there are numerous statues in the temples at Athens; as
also, without the walls there, the celebrated Venus, known as the
Aphrodite ἐν κήποις,[2376] work to which Phidias himself,
it is said, put the finishing hand. Another disciple also of Phidias
was Agoracritus[2377] of Paros, a great favourite with his master, on
account of his extremely youthful age; and for which reason, it is
said, Phidias gave his own name to many of that artist’s works. The two
pupils entering into a contest as to the superior execution of a statue
of Venus, Alcamenes was successful; not that his work was superior,
but because his fellow-citizens chose to give their suffrages in his
favour in preference to a stranger. It was for this reason, it is
said, that Agoracritus sold his statue, on the express condition that
it should never be taken to Athens, and changed its name to that of
Nemesis.[2378] It was accordingly erected at Rhamnus,[2379] a borough
of Attica, and M. Varro has considered it superior to every other
statue. There is also to be seen in the Temple of the Great Mother, in
the same city, another work[2380] by Agoracritus.

Among all nations which the fame of the Olympian Jupiter has reached,
Phidias is looked upon, beyond all doubt, as the most famous of
artists: but to let those who have never even seen his works, know how
deservedly he is esteemed, we will take this opportunity of adducing
a few slight proofs of the genius which he displayed. In doing this,
we shall not appeal to the beauty of his Olympian Jupiter, nor yet to
the vast proportions of his Athenian Minerva, six and twenty cubits in
height, and composed of ivory and gold; but it is to the shield of this
last statue that we shall draw attention; upon the convex face of which
he has chased a combat of the Amazons, while, upon the concave side
of it, he has represented the battle between the Gods and the Giants.
Upon the sandals again, we see the wars of the Lapithæ and Centaurs,
so careful has he been to fill every smallest portion of his work with
some proof or other of his artistic skill. To the story chased upon
the pedestal of the statue, the name of the “Birth of Pandora”[2381]
has been given; and the figures of new-born[2382] gods to be seen
upon it are no less than twenty in number. The figure of Victory, in
particular, is most admirable, and connoisseurs are greatly struck with
the serpent and the sphinx in bronze lying beneath the point of the
spear. Let thus much be said incidentally in reference to an artist who
can never be sufficiently praised; if only to let it be understood that
the richness of his genius was always equal to itself, even in the very
smallest details.

When speaking[2383] of the statuaries, we have already given the period
at which Praxiteles flourished; an artist, who, in the glory which he
acquired by his works in marble, surpassed even himself. There are
some works of his in the Ceramicus[2384] at Athens; but, superior to
all the statues, not only of Praxiteles, but of any other artist that
ever existed, is his Cnidian Venus; for the inspection of which, many
persons before now have purposely undertaken a voyage to Cnidos. The
artist made two statues of the goddess, and offered them both for sale:
one of them was represented with drapery,[2385] and for this reason was
preferred[2386] by the people of Cos, who had the choice; the second
was offered them at the same price, but, on the grounds of propriety
and modesty, they thought fit to choose the other. Upon this, the
Cnidians purchased the rejected statue,[2387] and immensely superior
has it always been held in general estimation. At a later period, King
Nicomedes wished to purchase this statue of the Cnidians, and made
them an offer to pay off the whole of their public debt, which was
very large. They preferred, however, to submit to any extremity rather
than part with it; and with good reason, for by this statue Praxiteles
has perpetuated the glory of Cnidos. The little temple in which it is
placed is open on all sides, so that the beauties[2388] of the statue
admit of being seen from every point of view; an arrangement which
was favoured by the goddess herself, it is generally believed. Indeed,
from whatever point it is viewed, its execution is equally worthy of
admiration. A certain individual, it is said, became enamoured of
this statue, and, concealing himself in the temple during the night,
gratified his lustful passion upon it, traces of which are to be seen
in a stain left upon the marble.[2389]

There are also at Cnidos some other statues in marble, the productions
of illustrious artists; a Father Liber[2390] by Bryaxis,[2391] another
by Scopas,[2392] and a Minerva by the same hand: indeed, there is no
greater proof of the supreme excellence of the Venus of Praxiteles
than the fact that, amid such productions as these, it is the only one
that we generally find noticed. By Praxiteles, too, there is a Cupid,
a statue which occasioned[2393] one of the charges brought by Cicero
against Verres, and for the sake of seeing which persons used to visit
Thespiæ: at the present day, it is to be seen in the Schools[2394]
of Octavia. By the same artist there is also another Cupid, without
drapery, at Parium, a colony of the Propontis; equal to the Cnidian
Venus in the fineness of its execution, and said to have been the
object of a similar outrage. For one Alcetas, a Rhodian, becoming
deeply enamoured of it, left upon the marble similar traces of the
violence of his passion.

At Rome there are, by Praxiteles, a Flora, a Triptolemus, and a Ceres,
in the Gardens of Servilius; statues of Good Success[2395] and Good
Fortune, in the Capitol; as also some Mænades,[2396] and figures known
as Thyiades[2397] and Caryatides;[2398] some Sileni,[2399] to be seen
in the memorial buildings of Asinius Pollio, and statues of Apollo and

Cephisodotus,[2400] the son of Praxiteles, inherited his father’s
talent. There is, by him, at Pergamus, a splendid Group[2401] of
Wrestlers, a work that has been highly praised, and in which the
fingers have all the appearance of being impressed upon real flesh
rather than upon marble. At Rome there are by him, a Latona, in the
Temple of the Palatium; a Venus, in the buildings that are memorials of
Asinius Pollio; and an Æsculapius, and a Diana, in the Temple of Juno
situate within the Porticos of Octavia.

Scopas[2402] rivals these artists in fame: there are by him, a
Venus[2403] and a Pothos,[2404] statues which are venerated at
Samothrace with the most august ceremonials. He was also the sculptor
of the Palatine Apollo; a Vesta seated, in the Gardens of Servilius,
and represented with two Bends[2405] around her, a work that has been
highly praised; two similar Bends, to be seen upon the buildings of
Asinius Pollio; and some figures of Canephori[2406] in the same place.
But the most highly esteemed of all his works, are those in the Temple
erected by Cneius Domitius,[2407] in the Flaminian Circus; a figure of
Neptune himself, a Thetis and Achilles, Nereids seated upon dolphins,
cetaceous fishes, and[2408] sea-horses,[2409] Tritons, the train of
Phorcus,[2410] whales,[2411] and numerous other sea-monsters, all by
the same hand; an admirable piece of workmanship, even if it had taken
a whole life to complete it. In addition to the works by him already
mentioned, and others of the existence of which we are ignorant, there
is still to be seen a colossal Mars of his, seated, in the Temple
erected by Brutus Callæcus,[2412] also in the Flaminian Circus; as
also, a naked Venus, of anterior date to that by Praxiteles, and a
production that would be quite sufficient to establish the renown of
any other place.

At Rome, it is true, it is quite lost sight of amid such a vast
multitude of similar works of art: and then besides, the inattention
to these matters that is induced by such vast numbers of duties and so
many items of business, quite precludes the generality of persons from
devoting their thoughts to the subject. For, in fact, the admiration
that is due to this art, not only demands an abundance of leisure, but
requires that profound silence should reign upon the spot. Hence it
is, that the artist is now forgotten, who executed the statue of Venus
that was dedicated by the Emperor Vespasianus in his Temple of Peace, a
work well worthy of the high repute of ancient times. With reference,
too, to the Dying Children of Niobe, in the Temple of the Sosian[2413]
Apollo, there is an equal degree of uncertainty, whether it is the
work[2414] of Scopas or of Praxiteles. So, too, as to the Father Janus,
a work that was brought from Egypt and dedicated in his Temple[2415]
by Augustus, it is a question by which of these two artists[2416] it
was made: at the present day, however, it is quite hidden from us by
the quantity of gold that covers it. The same question, too, arises
with reference to the Cupid brandishing a Thunderbolt, now to be seen
in the Curia of Octavia: the only thing, in fact, that is affirmed
with any degree of certainty respecting it, is, that it is a likeness
of Alcibiades, who was the handsomest man of his day. There are, too,
in the Schools[2417] of Octavia, many other highly attractive works,
the authors of which are now unknown: four Satyrs, for example, one of
which carries in his arms a Father Liber, robed in the palla;[2418]
another similarly supports the Goddess Libera;[2419] a third is
pacifying a child who is crying; and a fourth is giving a child some
water to drink, from a cup; two Zephyrs also, who agitate their flowing
drapery with their breath. No less is the uncertainty that prevails as
to the authors of the statues now to be seen in the Septa;[2420] an
Olympus[2421] and Pan, and a Charon and Achilles;[2422] and yet their
high reputation has caused them to be deemed valuable enough for their
keepers to be made answerable for their safety at the cost of their

Scopas had for rivals and contemporaries, Bryaxis,[2423]
Timotheus,[2424] and Leochares,[2425] artists whom we are bound to
mention together, from the fact that they worked together at the
Mausoleum; such being the name of the tomb that was erected by his
wife Artemisia in honour of Mausolus, a petty king of Caria, who
died in the second year of the hundred and seventh Olympiad. It was
through the exertions of these artists more particularly, that this
work came to be reckoned one of the Seven Wonders of the World.[2426]
The circumference[2427] of this building is, in all, four hundred and
forty feet, and the breadth from north to south sixty-three, the two
fronts[2428] being not so wide in extent. It is twenty-five cubits
in height, and is surrounded with six-and-thirty columns, the outer
circumference being known as the “Pteron.”[2429] The east side was
sculptured by Scopas, the north by Bryaxis, the south by Timotheus,
and the west by Leochares; but, before their task was completed, Queen
Artemisia died.[2430] They did not leave their work, however, until it
was finished, considering that it was at once a memorial of their own
fame and of the sculptor’s art: and, to this day even, it is undecided
which of them has excelled. A fifth artist also took part in the work;
for above the Pteron there is a pyramid erected, equal in height
to the building below, and formed of four and twenty steps, which
gradually taper upwards towards the summit; a platform, crowned with a
representation of a four-horse chariot by Pythis. This addition makes
the total height of the work one hundred and forty feet.[2431]

There is at Rome, by Timotheus, a Diana, in the Temple of Apollo
in the Palatium, the head of which has been replaced by Avianius
Evander.[2432] A Hercules, too, by Menestratus,[2433] is greatly
admired; and there is a Hecate of his at Ephesus, in the Temple of
Diana there, behind the sanctuary. The keepers of the temple recommend
persons, when viewing it, to be careful of their eyes, so remarkably
radiant is the marble. No less esteemed, too, are the statues of the
Graces,[2434] in the Propylæum[2435] at Athens; the workmanship of
Socrates the sculptor, a different person from the painter[2436] of
that name, though identical with him in the opinion of some. As to
Myron,[2437] who is so highly praised for his works in bronze, there is
by him at Smyrna, An Old Woman Intoxicated, a work that is held in high

Asinius Pollio, a man of a warm and ardent temperament, was
determined that the buildings which he erected as memorials of
himself should be made as attractive as possible; for here we see
groups representing, Nymphs carried off by Centaurs, a work of
Arcesilas:[2438] the Thespiades,[2439] by Cleomenes:[2440] Oceanus and
Jupiter, by Heniochus:[2441] the Appiades,[2442] by Stephanus:[2443]
Hermerotes,[2444] by Tauriscus, not the chaser in silver, already[2445]
mentioned, but a native of Tralles:[2446] a Jupiter Hospitalis[2447]
by Papylus, a pupil of Praxiteles: Zethus and Amphion, with Dirce,
the Bull,[2448] and the halter, all sculptured from a single block
of marble, the work of Apollonius and Tauriscus, and brought to Rome
from Rhodes. These two artists made it a sort of rivalry as to their
parentage, for they declared that, although Apollodorus was their
natural progenitor, Menecrates[2449] would appear to have been their
father. In the same place, too, there is a Father Liber,[2450] by
Eutychides,[2451] highly praised. Near the Portico of Octavia, there
is an Apollo, by Philiscus[2452] of Rhodes, placed in the Temple of
that God; a Latona and Diana also; the Nine Muses; and another Apollo,
without drapery. The Apollo holding the Lyre, in the same temple,
was executed by Timarchides.[2453] In the Temple of Juno, within the
Porticos of Octavia, there is a figure of that goddess, executed
by Dionysius,[2454] and another by Polycles,[2455] as also other
statues by Praxiteles.[2456] This Polycles, too, in conjunction with
Dionysius,[2457] the son of Timarchides, made the statue of Jupiter,
which is to be seen in the adjoining temple.[2458] The figures of Pan
and Olympus Wrestling, in the same place, are by Heliodorus;[2459] and
they are considered to be the next finest group[2460] of this nature in
all the world. The same artist also executed a Venus at the Bath, and
Polycharmus another Venus, in an erect[2461] posture.

By the honourable place which the work of Lysias occupies, we may see
in what high esteem it was held by the late Emperor Augustus, who
consecrated it in honour of his father Octavius, in the Palatium,
placing it on an arch within a small temple, adorned with columns:
it is the figure of a four-horse chariot, with an Apollo and Diana,
all sculptured from a single block. I find it stated, also, that the
Apollo by Calamis, the chaser already[2462] mentioned, the Pugilists
by Dercylides, and the statue of Callisthenes the historian, by
Amphistratus,[2463] all of them now in the Gardens of Servilius, are
works highly esteemed.

Beyond these, there are not many sculptors of high repute; for, in the
case of several works of very great excellence, the number of artists
that have been engaged upon them has proved a considerable obstacle
to the fame of each, no individual being able to engross the whole
of the credit, and it being impossible to award it in due proportion
to the names of the several artists combined. Such is the case with
the Laocoön, for example, in the palace of the Emperor Titus, a work
that may be looked upon as preferable to any other production of
the art of painting or of statuary. It is sculptured from a single
block, both the main figure as well as the children, and the serpents
with their marvellous folds. This group was made in concert by three
most eminent artists,[2464] Agesander, Polydorus, and Athenodorus,
natives of Rhodes. In similar manner also, the palaces of the Cæsars,
in the Palatium, have been filled with most splendid statuary, the
work of Craterus, in conjunction with Pythodorus, of Polydeuces with
Hermoläus, and of another Pythodorus with Artemon; some of the statues,
also, are by Aphrodisius of Tralles, who worked alone. The Pantheon of
Agrippa has been decorated by Diogenes of Athens, and the Caryatides,
by him, which form the columns of that temple, are looked upon as
master-pieces of excellence: the same, too, with the statues that are
placed upon the roof, though, in consequence of the height, they have
not had an opportunity of being so well appreciated.

Without glory, and excluded from every temple, is the statue of
Hercules,[2465] in honour of whom the Carthaginians were accustomed to
sacrifice human victims every year: it stands upon the ground before
the entrance of the Portico of the Nations.[2466] There were erected,
too, near the Temple of Felicity, the statues of the Thespian[2467]
Muses; of one of which, according to Varro, Junius Pisciculus, a Roman
of equestrian rank, became enamoured. Pasiteles,[2468] too, speaks
in terms of high admiration of them, the artist who wrote five Books
on the most celebrated works throughout the world. Born upon the
Grecian[2469] shores of Italy, and presented with the Roman citizenship
granted to the cities of those parts, Pasiteles constructed the ivory
statue of Jupiter which is now in the Temple of Metellus,[2470] on the
road to the Campus Martius. It so happened, that being one day at the
Docks,[2471] where there were some wild beasts from Africa, while he
was viewing through the bars of a cage a lion which he was engaged in
drawing, a panther made its escape from another cage, to the no small
danger of this most careful artist. He executed many other works, it is
said, but we do not find the names of them specifically mentioned.

Arcesilaüs,[2472] also, is an artist highly extolled by Varro; who
states that he had in his possession a Lioness in marble of his,
and Winged Cupids playing with it, some holding it with cords, and
others making it drink from a horn, the whole sculptured from a single
block: he says, also, that the fourteen figures around the Theatre
of Pompeius,[2473] representing different Nations, are the work of

I find it stated that Canachus,[2474] an artist highly praised
among the statuaries in bronze, executed some works also in marble.
Saurus,[2475] too, and Batrachus must not be forgotten, Lacedæmonians
by birth, who built the temples[2476] enclosed by the Porticos of
Octavia. Some are of opinion that these artists were very wealthy
men, and that they erected these buildings at their own expense,
expecting to be allowed to inscribe their names thereon; but that, this
indulgence being refused them, they adopted another method of attaining
their object. At all events, there are still to be seen, at the present
day, on the spirals[2477] of the columns, the figures of a lizard and
a frog,[2478] emblematical of their names. In the Temple of Jupiter by
the same artists, the paintings, as well as all the other ornaments,
bear reference to the worship of a goddess. The[2479] fact is, that
when the temple of Juno was completed, the porters, as it is said,
who were entrusted with the carriage of the statues, made an exchange
of them; and, on religious grounds, the mistake was left uncorrected,
from an impression that it had been by the intervention of the
divinities themselves, that this seat of worship had been thus shared
between them. Hence it is that we see in the Temple of Juno, also, the
ornaments which properly pertain to the worship of Jupiter.

Some minute works in marble have also gained reputation for their
artists: by Myrmecides,[2480] there was a four-horse chariot, so small
that it could be covered, driver and all, by the wings of a fly; and by
Callicrates,[2481] some ants, in marble, the feet and other limbs of
which were so fine as to escape the sight.


This must suffice for the sculptors in marble, and the works that have
gained the highest repute; with reference to which subject it occurs to
me to remark, that spotted marbles were not then in fashion. In making
their statues, these artists used the marble of Thasos also,[2482] one
of the Cyclades, and of Lesbos, this last being rather more livid than
the other. The poet Menander, in fact, who was a very careful enquirer
into all matters of luxury, is the first who has spoken, and that but
rarely, of variegated marbles, and, indeed, of the employment of marble
in general. Columns of this material were at first employed in temples,
not on grounds of superior elegance, (for that was not thought of, as
yet), but because no material could be found of a more substantial
nature. It was under these circumstances, that the Temple[2483] of the
Olympian Jupiter was commenced at Athens, the columns of which were
brought by Sylla to Rome, for the buildings in the Capitol.

Still, however, there had been a distinction drawn between ordinary
stone and marble, in the days of Homer even. The poet speaks in one
passage of a person[2484] being struck down with a huge mass of marble;
but that is all; and when he describes the abodes of royalty adorned
with every elegance, besides brass, gold, electrum,[2485] and silver,
he only mentions ivory. Variegated marbles, in my opinion, were first
discovered in the quarries of Chios, when the inhabitants were building
the walls of their city; a circumstance which gave rise to a facetious
repartee on the part of M. Cicero. It being the practice with them to
show these walls to everybody, as something magnificent; “I should
admire them much more,” said he, “if you had built them of the stone
used at Tibur.”[2486] And, by Hercules! the art of painting[2487] never
would have been held in such esteem, or, indeed, in any esteem at all,
if variegated marbles had been held in admiration.


I am not sure whether the art of cutting marble into slabs, is not an
invention for which we are indebted to the people of Caria. The most
ancient instance of this practice, so far as I know of, is found in the
palace of Mausolus, at Halicarnassus, the walls of which, in brick, are
covered with marble of Proconnesus. Mausolus died in the second year of
the hundred and seventh[2488] Olympiad, being the year of Rome, 403.


The first person at Rome who covered the whole of the walls of
his house with marble, according to Cornelius Nepos,[2489] was
Mamurra,[2490] who dwelt upon the Cælian Hill, a member of the
equestrian order, and a native of Formiæ, who had been præfect of
the engineers under C. Cæsar in Gaul. Such was the individual, that
nothing may be wanting to the indignity of the example, who first
adopted this practice; the same Mamurra, in fact, who has been so torn
to pieces in the verses of Catullus of Verona. Indeed, his own house
proclaimed more loudly than Catullus could proclaim it, that he had
come into possession of all that Gallia Comata had had to possess. For
Nepos adds, as well, that he was the first to have all the columns of
his house made of nothing but solid marble, and that, too, marble of
Carystus[2491] or of Luna.[2492]


M. Lepidus, who was consul with Q. Catulus, was the first to have the
lintels of his house made of Numidian marble, a thing for which he
was greatly censured: he was consul in the year of Rome, 676. This is
the earliest instance that I can find of the introduction of Numidian
marble; not in the form of pillars, however, or of slabs, as was the
case with the marble of Carystus, above-mentioned, but in blocks,
and that too, for the comparatively ignoble purpose of making the
thresholds of doors. Four-years after this Lepidus, L. Lucullus was
consul; the same person who gave its name, it is very evident, to the
Lucullan marble; for, taking a great fancy to it, he introduced it at
Rome. While other kinds of marble are valued for their spots or their
colours, this marble is entirely black.[2493] It is found in the island
of Melos,[2494] and is pretty nearly the only marble that has taken its
name from the person who first introduced it. Among these personages,
Scaurus, in my opinion, was the first to build a theatre with walls of
marble: but whether they were only coated with slabs of marble or were
made of solid blocks highly polished, such as we now see in the Temple
of Jupiter Tonans,[2495] in the Capitol, I cannot exactly say: for, up
to this period, I cannot find any vestiges of the use of marble slabs
in Italy.


But whoever it was that first invented the art of thus cutting marble,
and so multiplying the appliances of luxury, he displayed considerable
ingenuity, though to little purpose. This division, though apparently
effected by the aid of iron, is in reality effected by sand; the saw
acting only by pressing upon the sand within a very fine cleft in the
stone, as it is moved to and fro.

The[2496] sand of Æthiopia is the most highly esteemed for this
purpose; for, to add to the trouble that is entailed, we have to send
to Æthiopia for the purpose of preparing our marble—aye, and as far as
India even; whereas in former times, the severity of the Roman manners
thought it beneath them to repair thither in search of such costly
things even as pearls! This Indian sand is held in the next highest
degree of estimation, the Æthiopian being of a softer nature, and
better adapted for dividing the stone without leaving any roughness
on the surface; whereas the sand from India does not leave so smooth
a face upon it. Still, however, for polishing marble, we find it
recommended[2497] to rub it with Indian sand calcined. The sand of
Naxos has the same defect; as also that from Coptos, generally known as
“Egyptian” sand.

The above were the several varieties of sand used by the ancients
in dividing marble. More recently, a sand has been discovered that
is equally approved of for this purpose; in a certain creek of the
Adriatic Sea, which is left dry at low water only; a thing that
renders it not very easy to be found. At the present day, however, the
fraudulent tendencies of our workers in marble have emboldened them to
use any kind of river-sand for the purpose; a mischief which very few
employers rightly appreciate. For, the coarser the sand, the wider is
the division made in the stone, the greater the quantity of material
consumed, and the more extensive the labour required for polishing the
rough surface that is left; a result of which is that the slabs lose
so much more in thickness. For giving the last polish to marble,[2498]
Thebaic stone[2499] is considered well adapted, as also porous stone,
or pumice, powdered fine.


For polishing marble statues, as also for cutting and giving a polish
to precious stones, the preference was long given to the stone of
Naxos,[2500] such being the name of a kind of touchstone[2501] that
is found in the Isle of Cyprus. More recently, however, the stones
imported from Armenia for this purpose have displaced those of Naxos.


The marbles are too well known to make it necessary for me to enumerate
their several colours and varieties; and, indeed, so numerous are they,
that it would be no easy task to do so. For what place is there, in
fact, that has not a marble of its own? In addition to which, in our
description of the earth and its various peoples,[2502] we have already
made it our care to mention the more celebrated kinds of marble. Still,
however, they are not all of them produced from quarries, but in many
instances lie scattered just beneath the surface of the earth; some
of them the most precious even, the green Lacedæmonian marble, for
example, more brilliant in colour than any other; the Augustan also;
and, more recently, the Tiberian; which were first discovered, in the
reigns respectively of Augustus and Tiberius, in Egypt. These two
marbles differ from ophites[2503] in the circumstance that the latter
is marked with streaks which resemble serpents[2504] in appearance,
whence its name. There is also this difference between the two marbles
themselves, in the arrangement of their spots: the Augustan marble has
them undulated and curling to a point; whereas in the Tiberian the
streaks are white,[2505] not involved, but lying wide asunder.

Of ophites, there are only some very small pillars known to have
been made. There are two varieties of it, one white and soft, the
other inclining to black, and hard. Both kinds, it is said, worn as
an amulet, are a cure for head-ache, and for wounds inflicted by
serpents.[2506] Some, too, recommend the white ophites as an amulet for
phrenitis and lethargy. As a counter-poison to serpents, some persons
speak more particularly in praise of the ophites that is known as
“tephrias,”[2507] from its ashy colour. There is also a marble known as
“memphites,” from the place[2508] where it is found, and of a nature
somewhat analogous to the precious stones. For medicinal purposes, it
is triturated and applied in the form of a liniment, with vinegar, to
such parts of the body as require cauterizing or incision; the flesh
becoming quite benumbed, and thereby rendered insensible to pain.

Porphyrites,[2509] which is another production of Egypt, is of a
red colour: the kind that is mottled with white blotches is known
as “leptospsephos.”[2510] The quarries there are able to furnish
blocks[2511] of any dimensions, however large. Vitrasius Pollio, who
was steward[2512] in Egypt for the Emperor Claudius, brought to Rome
from Egypt some statues made of this stone; a novelty which was not
very highly approved of, as no one has since followed his example.
The Egyptians, too, have discovered in Æthiopia the stone known as
“basanites;”[2513] which in colour and hardness resembles iron,
whence the name[2514] that has been given to it. A larger block of it
has never been known than the one forming the group which has been
dedicated by the Emperor Vespasianus Augustus in the Temple of Peace.
It represents the river Nilus with sixteen children sporting around
it,[2515] symbolical of the sixteen cubits, the extreme height[2516]
to which, in the most favourable seasons, that river should rise. It
is stated, too, that in the Temple of Serapis at Thebes, there is a
block not unlike it, which forms the statue of Memnon[2517] there;
remarkable, it is said, for emitting a sound each morning when first
touched by the rays of the rising sun.


Our forefathers imagined that onyx[2518] was only to be found in the
mountains of Arabia, and nowhere else; but Sudines[2519] was aware that
it is also found in Carmania.[2520] Drinking-vessels were made of it at
first, and then the feet of beds and chairs. Cornelius Nepos relates
that great was the astonishment, when P. Lentulus Spinther exhibited
amphoræ made of this material, as large as Chian wine-vessels in size;
“and yet, five years after,” says he, “I saw columns of this material,
no less than two-and-thirty feet in height.” At a more recent period
again, some change took place[2521] with reference to this stone; for
four[2522] small pillars of it were erected by Cornelius Balbus in
his Theatre[2523] as something quite marvellous: and I myself have
seen thirty columns, of larger size, in the banquetting-room which
Callistus[2524] erected, the freedman of Claudius, so well known for
the influence which he possessed.

(8.) This[2525] stone is called “alabastrites”[2526] by some, and
is hollowed out into vessels for holding unguents, it having the
reputation of preserving them from corruption[2527] better than
anything else. In a calcined state, it is a good ingredient for
plaisters.[2528] It is found in the vicinity of Thebes in Egypt and
of Damascus in Syria, that of Damascus being whiter than the others.
The most esteemed kind, however, is that of Carmania, the next being
the produce of India, and then, those of Syria and Asia. The worst in
quality is that of Cappadocia, it being utterly destitute of lustre.
That which is of a honey colour is the most esteemed, covered with
spots curling in whirls,[2529] and not transparent. Alabastrites
is considered defective, when it is of a white or horn colour, or
approaching to glass in appearance.


Little inferior to it for the preservation of unguents, in the opinion
of many, is the stone, called “lygdinus,”[2530] that is found in Paros,
and never of a larger size than to admit of a dish or goblet being
made of it. In former times, it was only imported from Arabia, being
remarkable for its extreme whiteness.

Great value is placed also upon two other kinds of stone, of quite a
contrary nature; corallitic[2531] stone, found in Asia, in blocks not
more than two cubits in thickness, and of a white somewhat approaching
that of ivory, and in some degree resembling it; and Alabandic
stone, which, on the other hand, is black, and is so called from the
district[2532] which produces it: though it is also to be found at
Miletus, where, however, it verges somewhat more upon the purple. It
admits of being melted by the action of fire, and is fused for the
preparation of glass.

Thebaic stone, which is sprinkled all over with spots like gold, is
found in Africa, on the side of it which lies adjacent to Egypt; the
small hones which it supplies being peculiarly adapted, from their
natural properties, for grinding the ingredients used in preparations
for the eyes. In the neighbourhood of Syene, too, in Thebais, there is
a stone found that is now known as “syenites,”[2533] but was formerly
called “pyrrhopœcilon.”[2534]


Monarchs, too, have entered into a sort of rivalry with one another
in forming elongated blocks of this stone, known as “obelisks,”[2535]
and consecrated to the divinity of the Sun. The blocks had this form
given to them in resemblance to the rays of that luminary, which are so
called[2536] in the Egyptian language.

Mesphres,[2537] who reigned in the City of the Sun,[2538] was the first
who erected one of these obelisks, being warned to do so in a dream;
indeed, there is an inscription upon the obelisk to this effect; for
the sculptures and figures which we still see engraved thereon are no
other than Egyptian letters.[2539]

At a later period other kings had these obelisks hewn. Sesosthes[2540]
erected four of them in the above-named city, forty-eight cubits in
height. Rhamsesis,[2541] too, who was reigning at the time of the
capture of Troy, erected one, a hundred and forty cubits high. Having
quitted the spot where the palace of Mnevis[2542] stood, this monarch
erected another obelisk,[2543] one hundred and twenty cubits in height,
but of prodigious thickness, the sides being no less than eleven cubits
in breadth. (9.) It is said that one hundred and twenty thousand men
were employed upon this work;[2543] and that the king, when it was on
the point of being elevated, being apprehensive that the machinery
employed might not prove strong enough for the weight, with the view of
increasing the peril that might be entailed by due want of precaution
on the part of the workmen, had his own son fastened to the summit; in
order that the safety of the prince might at the same time ensure the
safety of the mass of stone. It was in his admiration of this work,
that, when King Cambyses took the city by storm, and the conflagration
had already reached the very foot of the obelisk, he ordered the fire
to be extinguished; he entertaining a respect for this stupendous
erection which he had not entertained for the city itself.

There are also two other obelisks, one of them erected by
Zmarres,[2544] and the other by Phius;[2545] both of them without
inscriptions, and forty-eight cubits in height. Ptolemæus Philadelphus
had one erected at Alexandria, eighty cubits high, which had been
prepared by order of King Necthebis:[2546] it was without any
inscription, and cost far more trouble in its carriage and elevation,
than had been originally expended in quarrying it. Some writers
inform us that it was conveyed on a raft, under the inspection of the
architect Satyrus; but Callixenus[2547] gives the name of Phœnix.
For this purpose, a canal was dug from the river Nilus to the spot
where the obelisk lay; and two broad vessels, laden with blocks of
similar stone a foot square, the cargo of each amounting to double
the size, and consequently double the weight, of the obelisk, were
brought beneath it; the extremities, of the obelisk remaining supported
by the opposite sides of the canal. The blocks of stone were then
removed, and the vessels, being thus gradually lightened, received
their burden. It was erected upon a basis of six square blocks,
quarried from the same mountain, and the artist was rewarded with
the sum of fifty talents.[2548] This obelisk was placed by the king
above-mentioned in the Arsinoœum,[2549] in testimony of his affection
for his wife and sister Arsinoë. At a later period, as it was found to
be an inconvenience to the docks, Maximus, the then præfect of Egypt,
had it transferred to the Forum there, after removing the summit for
the purpose of substituting a gilded point; an intention which was
ultimately abandoned.

There are two other obelisks, which were in Cæsar’s Temple at
Alexandria, near the harbour there, forty-two cubits in height, and
originally hewn by order of King Mesphres. But the most difficult
enterprise of all, was the carriage of these obelisks by sea to Rome,
in vessels which excited the greatest admiration. Indeed, the late
Emperor Augustus consecrated the one which brought over the first
obelisk, as a lasting memorial of this marvellous undertaking, in
the docks at Puteoli; but it was destroyed by fire. As to the one in
which, by order of the Emperor Caius,[2550] the other obelisk had been
transported to Rome, after having been preserved for some years and
looked upon as the most wonderful construction ever beheld upon the
seas, it was brought to Ostia, by order of the late Emperor Claudius;
and towers of Puteolan[2551] earth being first erected upon it, it was
sunk for the construction of the harbour which he was making there. And
then, besides, there was the necessity of constructing other vessels
to carry these obelisks up the Tiber; by which it became practically
ascertained, that the depth of water in that river is not less than
that of the river Nilus.

The obelisk that was erected by the late Emperor Augustus in the
Great Circus,[2552] was originally quarried by order of King
Semenpserteus,[2553] in whose reign it was that Pythagoras[2554]
visited Egypt. It is eighty-five feet[2555] and three quarters in
height, exclusive of the base, which is a part of the same stone. The
one that he erected in the Campus Martius, is nine feet less in height,
and was originally made by order of Sesothis. They are both of them
covered with inscriptions, which interpret the operations of Nature
according to the philosophy of the Egyptians.


The one that has been erected in the Campus Martius[2556] has been
applied to a singular purpose by the late Emperor Augustus; that of
marking the shadows projected by the sun, and so measuring the length
of the days and nights. With this object, a stone pavement was laid,
the extreme length of which corresponded exactly with the length of
the shadow thrown by the obelisk at the sixth hour[2557] on the day of
the winter solstice. After this period, the shadow would go on, day
by day, gradually decreasing, and then again[2558] would as gradually
increase, correspondingly with certain lines of brass that were
inserted in the stone; a device well deserving to be known, and due to
the ingenuity of Facundus Novus, the mathematician. Upon the apex of
the obelisk he placed a gilded ball, in order that the shadow of the
summit might be condensed and agglomerated, and so prevent the shadow
of the apex itself from running to a fine point of enormous extent; the
plan being first suggested to him, it is said, by the shadow that is
projected by the human head. For nearly the last thirty years, however,
the observations derived from this dial have been found not to agree:
whether it is that the sun itself has changed its course in consequence
of some derangement of the heavenly system; or whether that the whole
earth has been in some degree displaced from its centre, a thing that,
I have heard say, has been remarked in other places as well; or whether
that some earthquake, confined to this city only, has wrenched the dial
from its original position; or whether it is that in consequence of the
inundations of the Tiber, the foundations of the mass have subsided,
in spite of the general assertion that they are sunk as deep into the
earth as the obelisk erected upon them is high.

(11.) The third[2559] obelisk[2560] at Rome is in the Vaticanian[2561]
Circus, which was constructed by the Emperors Caius[2562] and Nero;
this being the only one of them all that has been broken in the
carriage. Nuncoreus,[2563] the son of Sesoses, made it: and there
remains[2564] another by him, one hundred cubits in height, which, by
order of an oracle, he consecrated to the Sun, after having lost his
sight and recovered it.


We must make some mention, too, however cursorily, of the Pyramids
of Egypt, so many idle[2565] and frivolous pieces of ostentation of
their resources, on the part of the monarchs of that country. Indeed,
it is asserted by most persons, that the only motive for constructing
them, was either a determination not to leave their treasures to their
successors or to rivals that might be plotting to supplant them, or to
prevent the lower classes from remaining unoccupied. There was great
vanity displayed by these men in constructions of this description, and
there are still the remains of many of them in an unfinished state.
There is one to be seen in the Nome of Arsinoïtes;[2566] two in that
of Memphites, not far from the Labyrinth, of which we shall shortly
have to speak;[2567] and two in the place where Lake Mœris[2568] was
excavated, an immense artificial piece of water, cited by the Egyptians
among their wondrous and memorable works: the summits of the pyramids,
it is said, are to be seen above the water.

The other three pyramids, the renown of which has filled the whole
earth, and which are conspicuous from every quarter to persons
navigating the river, are situate on the African[2569] side of it, upon
a rocky sterile elevation. They lie between the city of Memphis and
what we have mentioned[2570] as the Delta, within four miles of the
river, and seven miles and a-half from Memphis, near a village known as
Busiris, the people of which are in the habit of ascending them.


In front of these pyramids is the Sphinx,[2571] a still more wondrous
object of art, but one upon which silence has been observed, as it is
looked upon as a divinity by the people of the neighbourhood. It is
their belief that King Harmaïs was buried in it, and they will have it
that it was brought there from a distance. The truth is, however, that
it was hewn from the solid rock; and, from a feeling of veneration, the
face of the monster is coloured red. The circumference of the head,
measured round the forehead, is one hundred and two feet, the length of
the feet being one hundred and forty-three, and the height, from the
belly to the summit of the asp on the head, sixty-two.[2572]

The largest[2573] Pyramid is built of stone quarried in Arabia:
three hundred and sixty thousand men, it is said, were employed
upon it twenty years, and the three were completed in seventy-eight
years and four months. They are described by the following writers:
Herodotus,[2574] Euhemerus, Duris of Samos, Aristagoras, Dionysius,
Artemidorus, Alexander Polyhistor, Butoridas, Antisthenes, Demetrius,
Demoteles, and Apion. These authors, however, are disagreed as to
the persons by whom they were constructed; accident having, with
very considerable justice, consigned to oblivion the names of those
who erected such stupendous memorials of their vanity. Some of these
writers inform us that fifteen hundred talents were expended upon
radishes, garlic, and onions[2575] alone.

The largest Pyramid occupies seven[2576] jugera of ground, and the
four angles are equidistant, the face of each side being eight hundred
and thirty-three[2577] feet in length. The total height from the
ground to the summit is seven hundred and twenty-five feet, and the
platform on the summit is sixteen feet and a-half in circuit. Of the
second Pyramid, the faces of the four sides are each seven hundred
and fifty-seven feet and a-half in length.[2578] The third is smaller
than the others, but far more prepossessing in appearance: it is built
of Æthiopian stone,[2579] and the face between the four corners is
three hundred and sixty-three feet in extent. In the vicinity of these
erections, there are no vestiges of any buildings left. Far and wide
there is nothing but sand to be seen, of a grain somewhat like a lentil
in appearance, similar to that of the greater part of Africa, in fact.

The most difficult problem is, to know how the materials for
construction could possibly be carried to so vast a height. According
to some authorities, as the building gradually advanced, they heaped
up against it vast mounds of nitre[2580] and salt; which piles were
melted after its completion, by introducing beneath them the waters
of the river. Others, again, maintain, that bridges were constructed,
of bricks of clay, and that, when the pyramid was completed, these
bricks were distributed for erecting the houses of private individuals.
For[2581] the level of the river, they say, being so much lower,
water could never by any possibility have been brought there by the
medium of canals. In the interior of the largest Pyramid there is a
well, eighty-six cubits deep, which communicates with the river, it
is thought. The method of ascertaining the height of the Pyramids and
all similar edifices was discovered[2582] by Thales of Miletus; he
measuring the shadow at the hour of the day at which it is equal in
length to the body projecting it.

Such are the marvellous Pyramids; but the crowning marvel of all
is, that the smallest, but most admired of them—that we may feel no
surprise at the opulence of the kings—was built by Rhodopis,[2583]
a courtesan! This woman was once the fellow-slave of Æsopus the
philosopher and fabulist, and the sharer of his bed; but what is much
more surprising is, that a courtesan should have been enabled, by her
vocation, to amass such enormous wealth.


There is another building, too, that is highly celebrated; the tower
that was built by a king of Egypt, on the island of Pharos, at the
entrance to the[2584] harbour of Alexandria. The cost of its erection
was eight hundred talents, they say; and, not to omit the magnanimity
that was shown by King Ptolemæus[2585] on this occasion, he gave
permission to the architect, Sostratus[2586] of Cnidos, to inscribe his
name upon the edifice itself. The object of it is, by the light of its
fires at night, to give warning to ships, of the neighbouring shoals,
and to point out to them the entrance of the harbour. At the present
day, there are similar fires lighted up in numerous places, Ostia and
Ravenna, for example. The only danger[2587] is, that when these fires
are thus kept burning without intermission, they may be mistaken for
stars, the flames having very much that appearance at a distance. This
architect is the first person that built a promenade upon arches; at
Cnidos, it is said.


We must speak also of the Labyrinths, the most stupendous works,
perhaps, on which mankind has expended its labours; and not for
chimerical purposes, merely, as might possibly be supposed.

There is still in Egypt, in the Nome of Heracleopolites,[2588] a
labyrinth,[2589] which was the first constructed, three thousand six
hundred years ago, they say, by King Petesuchis or Tithöes: although,
according to Herodotus, the entire work was the production of no less
than twelve kings, the last of whom was Psammetichus. As to the
purpose for which it was built, there are various opinions: Demoteles
says that it was the palace of King Moteris, and Lyceas that it was
the tomb of Mœris, while many others assert that it was a building
consecrated to the Sun, an opinion which mostly prevails.

That Dædalus took this for the model of the Labyrinth which he
constructed in Crete, there can be no doubt; though he only reproduced
the hundredth part of it, that portion, namely, which encloses
circuitous passages, windings, and inextricable galleries which lead
to and fro. We must not, comparing this last to what we see delineated
on our mosaic pavements, or to the mazes[2590] formed in the fields
for the amusement of children, suppose it to be a narrow promenade
along which we may walk for many miles together; but we must picture
to ourselves a building filled with numerous doors, and galleries
which continually mislead the visitor, bringing him back, after all
his wanderings, to the spot from which he first set out. This[2591]
Labyrinth is the second, that of Egypt being the first. There is a
third in the Isle of Lemnos, and a fourth in Italy.

They are all of them covered with arched roofs of polished stone; at
the entrance, too, of the Egyptian Labyrinth, a thing that surprises
me, the building is constructed of Parian marble, while throughout
the other parts of it the columns are of syenites.[2592] With such
solidity is this huge mass constructed, that the lapse of ages has been
totally unable to destroy it, seconded as it has been by the people of
Heracleopolites, who have marvellously ravaged a work which they have
always held in abhorrence. To detail the position of this work and
the various portions of it is quite impossible, it being subdivided
into regions and præfectures, which are styled nomes,[2593] thirty in
number, with a vast palace assigned to each. In addition to these, it
should contain temples of all the gods of Egypt, and forty statues of
Nemesis[2594] in as many sacred shrines; besides numerous pyramids,
forty ells[2595] in height, and covering six aruræ[2596] at the base.
Fatigued with wandering to and fro, the visitor is sure to arrive at
some inextricable crossing or other of the galleries. And then, too,
there are banquetting rooms situate at the summit of steep ascents;
porticos from which we descend by flights of ninety steps; columns in
the interior, made of porphyrites;[2597] figures of gods; statues of
kings; and effigies of hideous monsters. Some of the palaces are so
peculiarly constructed, that the moment the doors are opened a dreadful
sound like that of thunder reverberates within: the greater part,
too, of these edifices have to be traversed in total darkness. Then
again, without the walls of the Labyrinth, there rises another mass of
buildings known as the “Pteron;”[2598] beneath which there are passages
excavated leading to other subterranean palaces. One person, and only
one, has made some slight repairs to the Labyrinth; Chæremon,[2599] an
eunuch of King Necthebis, who lived five hundred years before the time
of Alexander the Great. It is asserted, also, that while the arched
roofs of squared stone were being raised, he had them supported by
beams of thorn[2600] boiled in oil.

As for the Cretan Labyrinth, what I have already stated must suffice
for that. The Labyrinth of Lemnos[2601] is similar to it, only that
it is rendered more imposing by its hundred and fifty columns; the
shafts of which, when in the stone-yard, were so nicely balanced, that
a child was able to manage the wheel of the lathe in turning them. The
architects were, Smilis,[2602] Rhœcus,[2603] and Theodorus, natives
of the island, and there are still in existence some remains of it;
whereas of the Cretan Labyrinth and of that in Italy not a vestige is

As to this last, which Porsena, King of Etruria, erected as his
intended sepulchre, it is only proper that I should make some mention
of it, if only to show that the vanity displayed by foreign monarchs,
great as it is, has been surpassed. But as the fabulousness of the
story connected with it quite exceeds all bounds, I shall employ the
words given by M. Varro himself in his account of it:—“Porsena was
buried,” says he, “beneath the city of Clusium;[2604] in the spot
where he had had constructed a square monument, built of squared stone.
Each side of this monument was three hundred feet in length and fifty
in height, and beneath the base, which was also square, there was an
inextricable labyrinth, into which if any one entered without a clew
of thread, he could never find his way out. Above this square building
there stand five pyramids, one at each corner, and one in the middle,
seventy-five feet broad at the base, and one hundred and fifty feet in
height. These pyramids are so tapering in their form, that upon the
summit of all of them united there rests a brazen globe, and upon that
a petasus;[2605] from which there hang, suspended by chains, bells,
which make a tinkling when agitated by the wind, like what was done
at Dodona[2606] in former times. Upon this globe there are four other
pyramids, each one hundred feet in height; and above them is a single
platform, on which there are five more pyramids,”[2607]—the height of
which Varro has evidently felt ashamed to add; but, according to the
Etruscan fables, it was equal to that of the rest of the building.
What downright madness this, to attempt to seek glory at an outlay
which can never be of utility to any one; to say nothing of exhausting
the resources of the kingdom, and after all, that the artist may reap
the greater share of the praise!


We read, too, of hanging gardens,[2608] and what is even more than
this, a hanging city,[2609] Thebes in Egypt: it being the practice
for the kings to lead forth their armies from beneath, while the
inhabitants were totally unconscious of it. This, too, is even less
surprising than the fact that a river flows through the middle of the
city. If, however, all this had really been the case, there is no doubt
that Homer would have mentioned it, he who has celebrated the hundred
gates of Thebes.


The most wonderful monument of Græcian magnificence, and one that
merits our genuine admiration, is the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, which
took one hundred and twenty years in building, a work in which all
Asia[2610] joined. A marshy soil was selected for its site, in order
that it might not suffer from earthquakes, or the chasms which they
produce. On the other hand, again, that the foundations of so vast
a pile might not have to rest upon a loose and shifting bed, layers
of trodden charcoal were placed beneath, with fleeces[2611] covered
with wool upon the top of them. The entire length of the temple is
four hundred and twenty-five feet, and the breadth two hundred and
twenty-five. The columns are one hundred and twenty-seven in number,
and sixty feet in height, each of them presented by a different king.
Thirty-six of these columns are carved, and one of them by the hand of
Scopas.[2612] Chersiphron[2613] was the architect who presided over the

The great marvel in this building is, how such ponderous
architraves[2614] could possibly have been raised to so great a height.
This, however, the architect effected by means of bags filled with
sand, which he piled up upon an inclined plane until they reached
beyond the capitals of the columns; then, as he gradually emptied the
lower bags, the architraves[2615] insensibly settled in the places
assigned them. But the greatest difficulty of all was found, in laying
the lintel which he placed over the entrance-doors. It was an enormous
mass of stone, and by no possibility could it be brought to lie level
upon the jambs which formed its bed; in consequence of which, the
architect was driven to such a state of anxiety and desperation as to
contemplate suicide. Wearied and quite worn out by such thoughts as
these, during the night, they say, he beheld in a dream the goddess in
honour of whom the temple was being erected; who exhorted him to live
on, for that she herself had placed the stone in its proper position.
And such, in fact, next morning, was found to be the case, the stone
apparently having come to the proper level by dint of its own weight.
The other decorations of this work would suffice to fill many volumes,
but they do not tend in any way to illustrate the works of Nature.


There still exists, too, at Cyzicus,[2616] a temple of polished stone,
between all the joints of which the artist has inserted a thread of
gold; it being his intention to erect an ivory statue of Jupiter
within, with Apollo in marble crowning him. The result is, that the
interstices quite glisten with their fine, hair-like threads; and the
reflection of the gold, obscured as it is, gently falling upon the
statues, besides proclaiming the genius of the artist, heightens their
effect, and so teaches us to appreciate the costliness of the work.


In the same city also, there is a stone, known as the “Fugitive
Stone;”[2617] the Argonautæ, who used it for the purposes of an anchor,
having left it there. This stone having repeatedly taken flight from
the Prytanæum,[2618] the place so called where it is kept, it has been
fastened down with lead. In this city also, near the gate which is
known as the “Trachia,”[2619] there are seven towers, which repeat a
number of times all sounds that are uttered in them. This phenomenon,
to which the name of “Echo,” has been given by the Greeks, depends upon
the peculiar conformation of localities, and is produced in valleys
more particularly. At Cyzicus, however, it is the effect of accident
only; while at Olympia, it is produced by artificial means, and in
a very marvellous manner; in a portico there, which is known as the
“Heptaphonon,”[2620] from the circumstance that it returns the sound of
the voice seven times.

At Cyzicus, also, is the Buleuterium,[2621] a vast edifice, constructed
without a nail of iron; the raftering being so contrived as to admit
of the beams being removed and replaced without the use of stays.
A similar thing, too, is the case with the Sublician Bridge[2622]
at Rome; and this by enactment, on religious grounds, there having
been such difficulty experienced in breaking it down when Horatius
Cocles”[2623] defended it.


But it is now time to pass on to the marvels in building displayed
by our own City, and to make some enquiry into the resources and
experience that we have gained in the lapse of eight hundred years; and
so prove that here, as well, the rest of the world has been outdone by
us: a thing which will appear, in fact, to have occurred almost as many
times as the marvels are in number which I shall have to enumerate. If,
indeed, all the buildings of our City are considered in the aggregate,
and supposing them, so to say, all thrown together in one vast mass,
the united grandeur of them would lead one to suppose that we were
describing another world, accumulated in a single spot.

Not to mention among our great works, the Circus Maximus, that was
constructed by the Dictator Cæsar, one stadium in width and three in
length, and occupying, with the adjacent buildings, no less than four
jugera, with room for two hundred and sixty thousand spectators seated;
am I not to include in the number of our magnificent constructions,
the Basilica of Paulus,[2624] with its admirable Phrygian columns;
the Forum of the late Emperor Augustus; the Temple of Peace, erected
by the Emperor Vespasianus Augustus—some of the finest works that the
world has ever beheld—the roofing, too, of the Vote-Office,[2625] that
was built by Agrippa? not to forget that, before his time, Valerius of
Ostia, the architect, had covered in a theatre at Rome, at the time of
the public Games celebrated by Libo?[2626]

We behold with admiration pyramids that were built by kings, when the
very ground alone, that was purchased by the Dictator Cæsar, for the
construction of his Forum, cost one hundred millions of sesterces! If,
too, an enormous expenditure has its attractions for any one whose mind
is influenced by monetary considerations, be it known to him that the
house in which Clodius dwelt, who was slain by Milo, was purchased by
him at the price of fourteen million eight hundred thousand sesterces!
a thing that, for my part, I look upon as no less astounding than the
monstrous follies that have been displayed by kings. And then, as
to Milo himself, the sums in which he was indebted, amounted to no
less than seventy millions of sesterces; a state of things, to be
considered, in my opinion, as one of the most portentous phænomena in
the history of the human mind. But it was in those days, too, that
old men still spoke in admiration of the vast proportions of the
Agger,[2627] and of the enormous foundations of the Capitol; of the
public sewers, too, a work more stupendous than any; as mountains had
to be pierced for their construction, and, like the hanging city[2628]
which we recently mentioned, navigation had to be carried on beneath
Rome; an event which happened in the ædileship[2629] of M. Agrippa,
after he had filled the office of consul.

For this purpose, there are seven rivers, made, by artificial
channels, to flow beneath the city. Rushing onward, like so many
impetuous torrents, they are compelled to carry off and sweep away all
the sewerage; and swollen as they are by the vast accession of the
pluvial waters, they reverberate against the sides and bottom of their
channels. Occasionally, too, the Tiber, overflowing, is thrown backward
in its course, and discharges itself by these outlets: obstinate is
the contest that ensues within between the meeting tides, but so firm
and solid is the masonry, that it is enabled to offer an effectual
resistance. Enormous as are the accumulations that are carried along
above, the work of the channels never gives way. Houses falling
spontaneously to ruins, or levelled with the ground by conflagrations,
are continually battering against them; the ground, too, is shaken by
earthquakes every now and then; and yet, built as they were in the days
of Tarquinius Priscus, seven hundred years ago, these constructions
have survived, all but unharmed. We must not omit, too, to mention
one remarkable circumstance, and all the more remarkable from the
fact, that the most celebrated historians have omitted to mention it.
Tarquinius Priscus having commenced the sewers, and set the lower
classes to work upon them, the laboriousness and prolonged duration
of the employment became equally an object of dread to them; and the
consequence was, that suicide was a thing of common occurrence, the
citizens adopting this method of escaping their troubles. For this
evil, however, the king devised a singular remedy, and one that has
never[2630] been resorted to either before that time or since: for he
ordered the bodies of all who had been thus guilty of self-destruction,
to be fastened to a cross, and left there as a spectacle to their
fellow-citizens and a prey to birds and wild beasts. The result was,
that that sense of propriety which so peculiarly attaches itself to
the Roman name, and which more than once has gained a victory when the
battle was all but lost, came to the rescue on this occasion as well;
though for this once, the Romans were in reality its dupes, as they
forgot that, though they felt shocked at the thoughts of such ignominy
while alive, they would be quite insensible to any such disgrace when
dead. It is said that Tarquinius made these sewers of dimensions
sufficiently large to admit of a waggon laden with hay passing along

All that we have just described, however, is but trifling when placed
in comparison with one marvellous fact, which I must not omit to
mention before I pass on to other subjects. In the consulship[2631] of
M. Lepidus and Q. Catulus, there was not at Rome, as we learn from the
most trustworthy authors, a finer house than the one which belonged to
Lepidus himself: and yet, by Hercules! within five-and-thirty years
from that period, the very same house did not hold the hundredth
rank even in the City! Let a person, if he will, in taking this fact
into consideration, only calculate the vast masses of marble, the
productions of painters, the regal treasures that must have been
expended, in bringing these hundred mansions to vie with one that had
been in its day the most sumptuous and the most celebrated in all the
City; and then let him reflect how that, since that period, and down
to the present time, these houses have all of them been surpassed
by others without number. There can be no doubt that conflagrations
are a punishment inflicted upon us for our luxury; but such are our
habits, that in spite of such warnings as these, we cannot be made to
understand that there are things in existence more perishable even than
man himself.

But there are still two other mansions by which all these edifices
have been eclipsed. Twice have we seen the whole City environed by
the palaces of the Emperors Caius[2632] and Nero; that of the last,
that nothing might be wanting to its magnificence, being coated with
gold.[2633] Surely such palaces as these must have been intended for
the abode of those who created this mighty empire, and who left the
plough or their native hearth to go forth to conquer nations, and
to return laden with triumphs! men, in fact, whose very fields even
occupied less space than the audience-chambers[2634] of these palaces.

Indeed, one cannot but help reflecting how trifling a portion of these
palaces was equal to the sites which the republic granted to its
invincible generals, for the erection of their dwellings. The supreme
honour, too, attendant upon these grants—as in the case of P. Valerius
Publicola, the first consul with L. Brutus, for his many meritorious
services; and of his brother, who twice in one consulship defeated the
Sabines—was the permission granted, by the terms of the decree, to have
the doors of their houses opening from without, and the gates thrown
back upon the public street. Such was the most distinguished privilege
accorded in those days to triumphal mansions even!

I will not permit, however, these two Caiuses,[2635] or two Neros,
to enjoy this glory even, such as it is; for I will prove that these
extravagant follies of theirs have been surpassed, in the use that was
made of his wealth by M. Scaurus, a private citizen. Indeed, I am by
no means certain that it was not the ædileship of this personage that
inflicted the first great blow upon the public manners, and that Sylla
was not guilty of a greater crime in giving such unlimited power to his
step-son,[2636] than in the proscription of so many thousands. During
his ædileship, and only for the temporary purposes of a few days,
Scaurus executed the greatest[2637] work that has ever been made by
the hands of man, even when intended to be of everlasting duration;
his Theatre, I mean. This building consisted of three storeys,
supported upon three hundred and sixty columns; and this, too, in a
city which had not allowed without some censure one of its greatest
citizens[2638] to erect six[2639] pillars of Hymettian marble. The
ground-storey was of marble, the second of glass, a species of luxury
which ever since that time has been quite unheard of, and the highest
of gilded wood. The lowermost columns, as previously[2640] stated, were
eight-and-thirty feet in height; and, placed between these columns, as
already[2641] mentioned, were brazen statues, three thousand in number.
The area[2642] of this theatre afforded accommodation for eighty
thousand spectators; and yet the Theatre of Pompeius, after the City
had so greatly increased, and the inhabitants had become so vastly more
numerous, was considered abundantly large, with its sittings for forty
thousand only. The rest of the fittings of it, what with Attalic[2643]
vestments, pictures, and the other stage-properties,[2644] were of such
enormous value that, after Scaurus had had conveyed to his Tusculan
villa such parts thereof as were not required for the enjoyment of
his daily luxuries, the loss was no less than three hundred millions
of sesterces, when the villa was burnt by his servants in a spirit of

The consideration of such prodigality as this quite distracts my
attention, and compels me to digress from my original purpose, in order
to mention a still greater instance of extravagance, in reference
to wood. C. Curio,[2645] who died during the civil wars, fighting
on the side of Cæsar, found, to his dismay, that he could not, when
celebrating the funeral games in honour of his father, surpass the
riches and magnificence of Scaurus—for where, in fact, was to be found
such a stepsire as Sylla, and such a mother as Metella, that bidder at
all auctions for the property of the proscribed? Where, too, was he to
find for his father, M. Scaurus, so long the principal man in the city,
and one who had acted, in his alliance with Marius, as a receptacle
for the plunder of whole provinces?—Indeed, Scaurus himself was now no
longer able to rival himself; and it was at least one advantage which
he derived from this destruction by fire of so many objects brought
from all parts of the earth, that no one could ever after be his equal
in this species of folly. Curio, consequently, found himself compelled
to fall back upon his own resources, and to think of some new device of
his own. It is really worth our while to know what this device was, if
only to congratulate ourselves upon the manners of the present day, and
to reverse the ordinary mode of expression, and term ourselves the men
of the olden time.[2646]

He caused to be erected, close together, two theatres of very large
dimensions, and built of wood, each of them nicely poised, and turning
on a pivot. Before mid-day, a spectacle of games was exhibited in each;
the theatres being turned back to back, in order that the noise of
neither of them might interfere with what was going on in the other.
Then, in the latter part of the day, all on a sudden, the two theatres
were swung round, and, the corners uniting, brought face to face; the
outer frames,[2647] too, were removed, and thus an amphitheatre was
formed, in which combats of gladiators were presented to the view; men
whose safety was almost less compromised than was that of the Roman
people, in allowing itself to be thus whirled round from side to side.
Now, in this case, which have we most reason to admire, the inventor or
the invention? the artist, or the author of the project? him who first
dared to think of such an enterprize, or him who ventured to undertake
it? him who obeyed the order, or him who gave it? But the thing that
surpasses all is, the frenzy that must have possessed the public,
to take their seats in a place which must of necessity have been so
unsubstantial and so insecure. Lo and behold! here is a people that has
conquered the whole earth, that has subdued the universe, that divides
the spoils of kingdoms and of nations, that sends its laws to foreign
lands, that shares in some degree the attributes of the immortal gods
in common with mankind, suspended aloft in a machine, and showering
plaudits even upon its own peril!

This is indeed holding life cheap; and can we, after this, complain
of our disasters at Cannæ? How vast the catastrophe that might have
ensued! When cities are swallowed up by an earthquake, it is looked
upon by mankind as a general calamity; and yet, here have we the
whole Roman people, embarked, so to say, in two ships, and sitting
suspended on a couple of pivots; the grand spectacle being its own
struggle with danger, and its liability to perish at any moment that
the overstrained machinery may give way! And then the object, too, of
all this—that public favour may be conciliated for the tribune’s[2648]
harangues at a future day, and that, at the Rostra, he may still have
the power of shaking the tribes, nicely balanced[2649] as they are!
And really, what may he not dare with those who, at his persuasion,
have braved such perils as these? Indeed, to confess the truth, at the
funeral games celebrated at the tomb of his father, it was no less than
the whole Roman people that shared the dangers of the gladiatorial
combats. When the pivots had now been sufficiently worked and wearied,
he gave another turn to his magnificent displays. For, upon the last
day, still preserving the form of the amphitheatre, he cut the stage
in two through the middle, and exhibited a spectacle of athletes;
after which, the stage being suddenly withdrawn on either side, he
exhibited a combat, upon the same day, between such of the gladiators
as had previously proved victorious. And yet, with all this, Curio
was no king, no ruler of the destinies of a nation, nor yet a person
remarkable for his opulence even; seeing that he possessed no resources
of his own, beyond what he could realize from the discord between the
leading men.[2650]

But let us now turn our attention to some marvels which, justly
appreciated, may be truthfully pronounced to remain unsurpassed. Q.
Marcius Rex,[2651] upon being commanded by the senate to repair the
Appian[2652] Aqueduct, and those of the Anio[2653] and Tepula,[2654]
constructed during his prætorship a new aqueduct,[2655] which bore his
name, and was brought hither by a channel pierced through the sides of
mountains. Agrippa,[2656] in his ædileship, united the Marcian with
the Virgin[2657] Aqueduct, and repaired and strengthened the channels
of the others. He also formed seven hundred wells, in addition to five
hundred fountains, and one hundred and thirty reservoirs, many of them
magnificently adorned. Upon these works, too, he erected three hundred
statues of marble or bronze, and four hundred marble columns; and all
this in the space of a single year! In the work[2658] which he has
written in commemoration of his ædileship, he also informs us that
public games were celebrated for the space of fifty-nine days, and that
one hundred and seventy gratuitous baths were opened. The number of
these last at Rome, has increased to an infinite[2659] extent since his

The preceding aqueducts, however, have all been surpassed by the costly
work which was more recently commenced by the Emperor Caius,[2660] and
completed by Claudius. Under these princes, the Curtian and Cærulean
Waters, with the New Anio,[2661] were brought from a distance of forty
miles, and at so high a level that all the hills were supplied with
water, on which the City is built. The sum expended on these works was
three hundred and fifty millions of sesterces. If we only take into
consideration the abundant supply of water to the public, for baths,
ponds, canals, household purposes, gardens, places in the suburbs, and
country-houses; and then reflect upon the distances that are traversed,
the arches that have been constructed, the mountains that have been
pierced, the valleys that have been levelled, we must of necessity
admit that there is nothing to be found more worthy of our admiration
throughout the whole universe.

Among the most memorable works, too, I, for my own part, should
include another undertaking of the Emperor Claudius, although it was
afterwards abandoned in consequence of the hatred borne him by his
successor;[2662] I mean the channel that was cut through a mountain as
an emissary for Lake Fucinus;[2663] a work which cost a sum beyond all
calculation, and employed a countless multitude of workmen for many
years. In those parts where the soil was found to be terreous, it was
necessary to pump up the water by the aid of machinery; in other parts,
again, the solid rock had to be hewn through. All this, too, had to be
done in the midst of darkness within; a series of operations which can
only be adequately conceived by those who were witnesses of them, and
which no human language can possibly describe.

I pass in silence the harbour that has been formed at Ostia; the
various roads, too, that have been cut across mountains; the Tyrrhenian
Sea separated by an embankment from Lake Lucrinus;[2664] and vast
numbers of bridges constructed at an enormous expense. Among the many
other marvels, too, of Italy, we are informed by Papirius Fabianus,
a most diligent enquirer into the operations of Nature, that the
marble there grows in the quarries; and those who work in the quarries
assure us that the wounds thus inflicted upon the mountains fill up
spontaneously. If such is the fact, luxury has good grounds for hoping
that it will never be at a loss for a supply of materials for its


Upon quitting the marbles to pass on to the other more remarkable
stones, who can for a moment doubt that the magnet[2665] will be the
first to suggest itself? For what, in fact, is there endowed with
more marvellous properties than this? or in which of her departments
has Nature displayed a greater degree of waywardness? She had given a
voice to rocks, as already[2666] mentioned, and had enabled them to
answer man, or rather, I should say, to throw back his own words in
his teeth. What is there in existence more inert than a piece of rigid
stone? And yet, behold! Nature has here endowed stone with both sense
and hands. What is there more stubborn than hard iron? Nature has, in
this instance, bestowed upon it both feet and intelligence. It allows
itself, in fact, to be attracted by the magnet, and, itself a metal
which subdues all other elements, it precipitates itself towards the
source of an influence at once mysterious and unseen. The moment the
metal comes near it, it springs towards the magnet, and, as it clasps
it, is held fast in the magnet’s embraces. Hence it is that this stone
is sometimes known by the name of “sideritis;”[2667] another name given
to it being “heraclion.”[2668] It received its name “magnes,” Nicander
informs us, from the person who was the first to discover it, upon
Ida.[2669] It is found, too, in various other countries, as in Spain,
for example. Magnes, it is said, made this discovery, when, upon taking
his herds to pasture, he found that the nails of his shoes and the iron
ferrel of his staff adhered to the ground.

Sotacus[2670] describes five[2671] different kinds of magnet; the
Æthiopian magnet; that of Magnesia, a country which borders on
Macedonia, and lies to the right of the road which leads from, the town
of Bœbe to Iolcos; a third, from Hyettus in Bœotia; a fourth, from
Alexandria in Troas; and a fifth, from Magnesia in Asia. The leading
distinction in magnets is the sex, male and female,[2672] and the next
great difference in them is the colour. Those of Magnesia, bordering on
Macedonia, are of a reddish black; those of Bœotia are more red than
black; and the kind that is found in Troas is black, of the female sex,
and consequently destitute of attractive power. The most inferior,
however, of all, are those of Magnesia in Asia: they are white, have no
attractive influence on iron, and resemble pumice in appearance. It has
been found by experience, that the more nearly the magnet approaches
to an azure colour, the better it is in quality. The Æthiopian magnet
is looked upon as the best of all, and is purchased at its weight in
silver: Zmiris in Æthiopia is the place where it is found, such being
the name of a region there, covered with sand.

In the same country, too, the magnet called “hæmatites”[2673] is
found, a stone of a blood-red colour, and which, when bruised, yields
a tint like that of blood, as also of saffron. The hæmatites has not
the same property[2674] of attracting iron that the ordinary magnet
has. The Æthiopian magnet is recognized by this peculiarity, that it
has the property, also, of attracting other magnets to it.[2675] All
these minerals are useful as ingredients in ophthalmic preparations,
in certain proportions according to the nature of each: they are
particularly good, too, for arresting defluxions of the eyes.
Triturated in a calcined state, they have a healing effect upon burns.

In Æthiopia, too, not far from Zmiris, there is a mountain in which the
stone called “theamedes”[2676] is found, a mineral which repels and
rejects all kinds of iron. Of the attractive and repulsive properties
of iron, we have spoken[2677] more than once.


In the Isle of Scyros[2678] there is a stone,[2679] they say, which
floats upon water when whole, but which falls to the bottom when broken
into fragments.


At Assos in Troas, there is found a stone of a laminated texture,
called “sarcophagus.”[2680] It is a well-known fact, that dead bodies,
when buried in this stone, are consumed in the course of forty days,
with the sole exception of the teeth. According to Mucianus, too,
mirrors, body-scrapers, garments, and shoes, that have been buried with
the dead, become transformed into stone. In Lycia, and in the East,
there are certain stones of a similar nature, which, when attached to
the bodies of the living even, corrode the flesh.


Less active in its properties is chernites,[2681] a stone which
preserves bodies without consuming them, and strongly resembles ivory
in appearance: the body of King Darius, they say, was buried in it.
The stone that is known as “porus,”[2681] is similar to Parian marble
in hardness and whiteness, but is not so heavy. Theophrastus mentions
also a transparent stone that is found in Egypt, and is similar to
stone of Chios in appearance; it is by no means improbable that it
may have existed in his time, for stones, we know, disappear, and new
kinds are discovered. The stone of Assos,[2682] which is saltish to the
taste, modifies the attacks of gout, the feet being placed in a vessel
made of it for the purpose; in addition to which, in the quarries of
this stone, all maladies of the legs disappear, whereas, in mines in
general, the legs become affected with disease. “Flower of stone of
Assos” is the name given to a soft stone which crumbles into dust, and
is found very efficacious in some cases; it resembles red pumice in
appearance. In combination with Cyprian wax, this stone is curative
of affections of the mamillæ; and, employed with pitch or resin, it
disperses scrofulous sores and inflammatory tumours. Used in the form
of an electuary, it is good for phthisis, and, with honey, it causes
old sores to cicatrize, and consumes proud flesh. It is used, also, for
the cure of wounds of an obstinate nature inflicted by animals, and
acts as a desiccative upon suppurations. Plaisters, too, are made of it
for gout, bean-meal being incorporated with it for the purpose.


Theophrastus and Mucianus are of opinion that there are certain stones
which bring[2683] forth other stones. Theophrastus states, also, that
a fossil[2684] ivory is found, both white and black; that the earth,
too, produces bones, and that osseous[2685] stones are sometimes found.
In the vicinity of Munda in Spain, the place where the Dictator Cæsar
defeated Pompeius,[2686] there are stones found, which, when broken
asunder, bear the impression of palm leaves.[2687]

There are some black stones, also, which are held in much the same
esteem as the marbles; the Tænarian[2688] stone, for example. Varro
says that the black stone of Africa is more durable than that of Italy;
while, on the other hand, the white corani[2689] are harder than Parian
marble. He states, also, that the silex of Luna admits of being cut
with a saw; that that of Tusculum decrepitates in the fire; that the
tawny silex of the Sabine districts, with the addition of oil, will
yield a flame even; and that, at Volsinii, molar stones[2690] for
grinding are found. Among the prodigies that have happened, I find
mention made of millstones that have moved of themselves,


In no country are the molar stones[2691] superior to those of Italy;
stones, be it remembered, and not fragments of rock: there are some
provinces, too, where they are not to be found at all. Some stones of
this class are softer than others, and admit of being smoothed with
the whetstone, so as to present all the appearance, at a distance, of
ophites.[2692] There is no stone of a more durable nature than this;
for in general, stone, like wood, suffers from the action, more or
less, of rain, heat, and cold. Some kinds, again, become deteriorated
by the action of the moon, while others are apt to contract a rust in
lapse of time, or to change their white colour when steeped in oil.

(19.) Some persons give this molar stone the name of “pyrites,”[2693]
from the circumstance that it has a great affinity to fire;[2694] but
there is also another kind of pyrites, of a more porous nature, and
another,[2695] again, which resembles copper. This last, it is said,
is found in the mines, near Acamas,[2696] in the Isle of Cyprus; one
variety of it being of a silver, another of a golden, colour. There
are various methods of melting these stones, some persons fusing
them twice, or three times even, in honey, till all the liquid has
evaporated; while others, again, calcine them upon hot coals, and,
after treating them with honey, wash them like copper.

The medicinal properties which these minerals possess are of a
calorific, desiccative, dispersive, and resolvent nature, and, applied
topically, they case indurations to suppurate. They are employed also,
in a crude state and pulverized, for the cure of scrofulous sores
and boils. Some writers mention another kind of pyrites also. Those
among them have the greatest affinity to fire which we distinguish as
“live”[2697] pyrites. They are the most ponderous of all, and are found
remarkably useful for advance-guards when laying out encampments; for,
on being struck with a nail or any other kind of stone, they emit a
spark, which, received upon sulphur, dried fungus,[2698] or leaves,
produces a fire almost sooner than it could be named.


The several varieties of ostracites[2699] bear a resemblance to shells.
They are used by way of substitute for pumice-stone, for smoothing the
skin. Taken in drink, they arrest discharges of blood; and, applied
topically with honey, they are curative of ulcerations and pains in the

Amianthus[2700] resembles alumen[2701] in appearance, and suffers
no diminution from the action of fire. This substance effectually
counteracts all noxious spells, those wrought by magicians in


Geodes[2702] is so called from its formation, it containing earth
within. It is remarkably beneficial for the eyes, and is used for the
cure of diseases of the testes and mamillæ.


The stone called “melitinus”[2703] yields a liquid that is sweet, like
honey. Bruised and incorporated with wax, it is curative of pituitous
eruptions, spots upon the skin, and ulcerations of the fauces. It
removes epinyctis[2704] also, and, applied as a pessary, in wool, it
alleviates pains in the uterus.


Gagates[2705] is a stone, so called from Gages, the name of a town
and river in Lycia.[2706] It is asserted, too, that at Leucolla[2707]
the sea throws it up, and that it is found over a space twelve stadia
in extent. It is black, smooth, light, and porous, differs but little
from wood in appearance,[2708] is of a brittle texture, and emits a
disagreeable odour[2709] when rubbed. Marks made upon pottery with
this stone cannot be effaced. When burnt, it gives out a sulphureous
smell; and it is a singular fact, that the application of water ignites
it, while that of oil quenches it.[2710] The fumes of it, burnt, keep
serpents at a distance, and dispel hysterical affections: they detect a
tendency also to epilepsy,[2711] and act as a test of virginity.[2712]
A decoction of this stone in wine is curative of tooth-ache; and,
in combination with wax, it is good for scrofula. The magicians,
it is said, make use of gagates in the practice of what they call
axinomancy;[2713] and they assure us that it will be sure not to burn,
if the thing is about to happen as the party desires.


The stone called “spongites” is found in sponges, and is a marine
formation. By some persons it is called “tecolithos,”[2714] from the
circumstance that it is curative of affections of the bladder. Taken in
wine, it breaks and disperses urinary calculi.


Phrygian stone is so called from the country which produces it, and
is a porous mass like pumice. It is first saturated with wine, and
then calcined, the fire being kept up with the bellows till the stone
is brought to a red heat; which done, it is quenched in sweet wine.
This operation is repeated three times. The only use made of it is for
dyeing cloths.[2715]


Schistos and hæmatites[2716] have a certain affinity between them. The
latter is found in mines, and, when burnt, has just the colour[2717]
of minium.[2718] It is calcined in the same manner as Phrygian stone,
but is not quenched in wine. Adulterations of it are detected by the
appearance of red veins in it, and by its comparative friability.
It is marvellously useful as an application for bloodshot eyes,
and, taken internally, it acts as a check upon female discharges.
To patients vomiting blood, it is administered in combination with
pomegranate-juice. It is very efficacious also for affections of the
bladder; and it is taken with wine for the cure of wounds inflicted
by serpents. In all those cases the stone called “schistos”[2719] is
efficacious, though not in so high a degree as the other; the most
serviceable being that which resembles saffron in colour. Applied with
woman’s milk, it is particularly useful for arresting discharges from
the corners of the eyes,[2720] and it is also very serviceable for
reducing procidence of those organs. Such, at least, is the opinion of
the authors who have most recently written on the subject.


Sotacus, one of the most ancient writers, says, that there are five
kinds of hæmatites, in addition to the magnet[2721] so called. He
gives the preference among them to that of Æthiopia,[2722] a very
useful ingredient in ophthalmic preparations and the compositions
which he calls “panchresta,”[2723] and good for the cure of burns.
The second, he says, is called “androdamas,”[2724] of a black[2725]
colour, remarkable for its weight and hardness, to which it owes its
name, in fact, and found in Africa more particularly. It attracts
silver, he says, copper, and iron, and is tested with a touchstone
made of basanites.[2726] It yields a liquid the colour of blood, and
is an excellent remedy for diseases of the liver. The third kind that
he mentions is the hæmatites[2727] of Arabia, a mineral of equal
hardness, and which with difficulty yields, upon the water-whetstone,
a liquid sometimes approaching the tint of saffron. The fourth[2728]
kind, he says, is known as “hepatites,”[2729] while raw, and as
“miltites”[2730] when calcined; a substance good for burns, and more
efficacious than rubrica[2731] for all the purposes for which that
mineral is employed. The fifth[2732] variety is schistos; a substance
which, taken internally, arrests hæmorrhoidal discharges. Upon the same
authority, it is recommended to take any kind of hæmatites, fasting,
in doses of three drachmæ, triturated in oil, for affections of the

The same author mentions also a kind of schistos which has no affinity
to hæmatites, and to which he gives the name of “anthracites.”[2734] It
is a native of Africa, he says, and is of a black colour. When rubbed
upon a water-whetstone, it yields a black colour on the side which has
adhered to the earth, and, on the opposite side, a saffron tint. He
states also that it is a useful ingredient in ophthalmic preparations.


The stone called aëtites[2735] has a great reputation, in consequence
of the name which it bears. It is found in the nests of eagles, as
already mentioned in our Tenth Book.[2736] There are always two of
these stones found together, they say, a male stone and a female; and
without them, it is said, the various eagles that we have described
would be unable to propagate. Hence it is, too, that the young of the
eagle are never more than two in number. There are four varieties of
the aëtites: that of Africa is soft and diminutive, and contains in the
interior—in its bowels as it were—a sweet, white, argillaceous earth.
It is friable, and is generally thought to be of the female sex. The
male stone, on the other hand, which is found in Arabia, is hard, and
similar to a nut-gall in appearance; or else of a reddish hue, with a
hard stone in the interior. The third kind is a stone found in the Isle
of Cyprus, and resembles those of Africa in appearance, but is larger
and flat, while the others are of a globular form: it contains a sand
within, of a pleasing colour, and mixed with small stones; being so
soft itself as to admit of being crushed between the fingers.

The fourth variety is known as the Taphiusian aëtites, and is found
near Leucas,[2737] at Taphiusa, a locality which lies to the right as
you sail from Ithaca towards Cape Leucas. It is met with in the beds
of rivers there, and is white and round; having another stone in the
interior, the name given to which is “callimus:” none of the varieties
of aëtites have a smoother surface than this. Attached to pregnant
women or to cattle, in the skins of animals that have been sacrificed,
these stones act as a preventive of abortion, care being taken not to
remove them till the moment of parturition; for otherwise procidence of
the uterus is the result. If, on the other hand, they are not removed
at the moment when parturition is about to ensue, that operation of
Nature cannot be effected.


Samian stone[2738] comes from the same island which produces the
earth in praise of which we have spoken already.[2739] It is useful
for giving a polish to gold, and it is employed medicinally for the
treatment of ulcerations of the eyes, combined with milk in manner
already[2740] described. It is good, too, for watery discharges of
a chronic nature, from the eyes. Taken internally, it is useful for
affections of the stomach, and it has the effect of dispelling vertigo
and restoring the spirits when depressed. Some writers are of opinion
that this stone may be administered with advantage for epilepsy and
strangury; and it is employed as an ingredient in the restoratives
known as “acopa.”[2741] The test of its purity is its weight and its
whiteness. Some persons will have it that, worn as an amulet, it acts
as a preventive of abortion.


Arabian[2742] stone resembles ivory in appearance; and in a calcined
state it is employed as a dentifrice.[2743] It is particularly useful
for the cure of hæmorrhoidal swellings, applied either in lint or by
the aid of linen pledgets.


And here, too, I must not omit to give some account of pumice.[2744]
This name is very generally given, it is true, to those porous
pieces of stone, which we see suspended in the erections known as
“musæa,”[2745] with the view of artificially giving them all the
appearance of caverns. But the genuine pumice-stones, that are in use
for imparting smoothness to the skin of females, and not females only,
but men as well, and, as Catullus[2746] says, for polishing books, are
found of the finest quality in the islands of Melos and Nisyros[2747]
and in the Æolian Isles. To be good, they should be white, as light as
possible, porous and dry in the extreme, friable, and free from sand
when rubbed.

Considered medicinally, pumice is of a resolvent and desiccative
nature; for which purpose it is submitted to calcination, no less than
three times, on a fire of pure charcoal, it being quenched as often
in white wine. It is then washed, like cadmia,[2748] and, after being
dried, is put by for keeping, in a place as free from damp as possible.
In a powdered state, pumice is used in ophthalmic preparations more
particularly, and acts as a lenitive detergent upon ulcerations
of the eyes. It also makes new flesh upon cicatrizations of those
organs, and removes all traces of the marks. Some prefer, after the
third calcination, leaving the pumice to cool, and then triturating
it in wine. It is employed also as an ingredient in emollient
poultices, being extremely useful for ulcerations on the head and
generative organs; dentifrices, too, are prepared from it. According
to Theophrastus,[2749] persons when drinking for a wager are in the
habit[2750] of taking powdered pumice first; but they run great risk,
he says, if they fail to swallow the whole draught of wine at once;
it being of so refrigerative a nature that grape-juice[2751] will
absolutely cease to boil if pumice is put into it.


Authors, too, have paid some attention to the stones in use for
mortars, not only those employed for the trituration of drugs and
pigments, but for other purposes as well. In this respect they have
given the preference to Etesian[2752] stone before all others, and,
next to that, to Thebaic stone, already mentioned[2753] as being
called “pyrrhopœcilon,” and known as “psaranus” by some. The third
rank has been assigned to chrysites,[2754] a stone nearly allied to
Chalazian[2755] stone. For medicinal purposes, however, basanites[2756]
has been preferred, this being a stone that remits no particles from
its surface.[2757]

Those stones which yield a liquid, are generally looked upon as good
for the trituration of ophthalmic preparations; and hence it is, that
the Æthiopian stone is so much in request for the purpose. Tænarian
stone, they say, Phœnician stone, and hæmatites, are good for the
preparation of those medicinal compositions in which saffron forms
an ingredient; but they also speak of another Tænarian stone, of a
dark colour, which, like Parian[2758] stone, is not so well adapted
for medicinal purposes. We learn from them, too, that Egyptian
alabastrites,[2759] or white ophites,[2760] from the virtues inherent
in them, are considered still better adapted for these purposes than
the kinds last mentioned. It is this kind of ophites, too, from which
vessels, and casks even, are made.


At Siphnos,[2761] there is a kind of stone[2762] which is hollowed
and turned in the lathe, for making cooking-utensils and vessels for
keeping provisions; a thing too, that, to my own knowledge,[2763]
is done with the green stone[2764] of Comum[2765] in Italy. With
reference, however, to the stone of Siphnos, it is a singular fact,
that, when heated in oil, though naturally very soft, it becomes hard
and black; so great a difference is there in the qualities of stone.

There are some remarkable instances, too, beyond the Alps, of the
natural softness of some kinds of stone. In the province of the Belgæ,
there is a white stone[2766] which admits of being cut with the saw
that is used for wood, and with greater facility even. This stone is
used as a substitute for roof-tiles and gutter-tiles, and even for
the kind of roofing known as the pavonaceous[2767] style, if that is
preferred. Such are the stones that admit of being cut into thin slabs.


As to specular[2768] stone—for this, too, is ranked as one of the
stones—it admits of being divided with still greater facility, and can
be split into leaves as thin as may be desired. The province of Nearer
Spain used formerly to be the only one that furnished it—not, indeed,
the whole of that country, but a district extending for a hundred miles
around the city of Segobrica.[2769] But at the present day, Cyprus,
Cappadocia, and Sicily, supply us with it; and, still more recently,
it has been discovered in Africa: they are all, however, looked upon
as inferior to the stone which comes from Spain. The sheets from
Cappadocia are the largest in size; but then they are clouded. This
stone is to be found also in the territory of Bononia,[2770] in Italy;
but in small pieces only, covered with spots and encrusted in a bed of
silex, there being a considerable affinity, it would appear, in their

In Spain, the specular-stone is extracted from shafts sunk in the
earth to a very considerable depth; though it is occasionally to
be found just beneath the surface, enclosed in the solid rock, and
extracted without difficulty, or else cut away from its bed. In most
cases, however, it admits of being dug up, being of an isolated
nature, and lying in pieces, like rag-stone, but never known as yet
to exceed five feet in length. It would appear that this substance
is originally a liquid, which, by an animating power in the earth,
becomes congealed like crystal; and it is very evident that it is the
result of petrifaction, from the fact that, when animals have fallen
into the shafts from which it is extracted, the marrow of their bones
becomes transformed into stone of a similar nature, by the end of a
single winter. In some cases, too, it is found of a black colour: but
the white stone has the marvellous property, soft as it is known to be,
of resisting the action of the sun and of cold. Nor will it, if it is
only protected from accidents, become deteriorated by lapse of time, a
thing that is so generally the case with many other kinds of stone that
are used for building purposes. The shavings, too, and scales of this
stone, have been used of late for another purpose; the Circus Maximus
having been strewed with them at the celebration of the games, with the
object of producing an agreeable whiteness.


During the reign of Nero, there was a stone found in Cappadocia, as
hard as marble, white, and transparent even in those parts where red
veins were to be seen upon it; a property which has obtained for it
the name of “phengites.”[2771] It was with this stone[2772] that
Nero rebuilt the Temple of Fortune, surnamed Seia,[2773] originally
consecrated by King Servius, enclosing it within the precincts of
his Golden Palace.[2774] Hence it was that, even when the doors were
closed, there was light in the interior during the day; not transmitted
from without, as would be the case through a medium of specular-stone,
but having all the appearance of being enclosed within[2775] the

In Arabia, too, according to Juba, there is a stone, transparent like
glass, which is used for the same purposes as specular-stone.


We must now pass on to the stones that are employed for handicrafts,
and, first of all, whetstones for sharpening iron. Of these stones
there are numerous varieties; the Cretan stones having been long held
in the highest estimation, and the next best being those of Mount
Taygetus, in Laconia; both of which are used as hones, and require oil.
Among the water-whetstones, the first rank belonged to those of Naxos,
and the second to the stones of Armenia, both of them already[2776]
mentioned. The stones of Cilicia are of excellent quality, whether used
with oil or with water; those of Arsinöe,[2777] too, are very good, but
with water only. Whetstones have been found also in Italy, which with
water give a remarkably keen edge; and from the countries beyond the
Alps, we have the whetstones known as “passernices.”[2778]

To the fourth class belong the hones which give an edge by the agency
of human saliva, and are much in use in barbers’ shops. They are
worthless, however, for all other purposes, in consequence of their
soft and brittle nature: those from the district of Laminium,[2779] in
Nearer Spain, are the best of the kind.


Among the multitude of stones which still remain undescribed, there
is tophus;[2780] material totally unsuited for building purposes, in
consequence of its perishableness. Still, however, there are some
localities which have no other, Carthage, in Africa, for example. It
is eaten away by the emanations from the sea, crumbled to dust by the
wind, and shattered by the pelting of the rain: but human industry
has found the means of protecting walls of houses built of it, with
a coating of pitch, as a plaster of lime would corrode it. Hence it
is, that we have the well-known saying, “that the Carthaginians use
pitch[2781] for their houses and lime[2782] for their wines,” this last
being the method used by them in the preparation of their must.

In the territories of Fidenæ and Alba, in the vicinity of Rome, we
find other soft kinds of stone; and, in Umbria and Venetia, there
is a stone[2783] which admits of being cut with the teeth of a saw.
These stones are easy to be worked, and are capable of supporting a
considerable weight, if they are only kept sheltered from the weather.
Rain, however, frost, and dew, split them to pieces, nor can they
resist the humidity of the sea-air. The stone[2784] of Tibur can stand
everything except heat, which makes it crack.


The black silex[2785] is in general the best; but in some localities,
it is the red, and occasionally the white; as in the Anician quarries
at Tarquinii, near Lake Volsinius,[2786] for example, and those at
Statonia,[2787] the stone of which is proof against fire even.[2788]
These stones, sculptured for monumental purposes, are subject to no
deterioration by lapse of time: moulds, too, are made from them, for
the purpose of fusing copper. There is a green silex, also, which
offers a most powerful resistance to the action of fire, but is never
found in any large quantities, and, in all cases, in an isolated form,
and not as a constituent part of solid rock. Of the other kinds, the
pale silex is but rarely used for erections: being of globular form,
it is not liable to injury, but at the same time it is insecure for
building purposes, unless it is well braced and tightly held together.
Nor yet does river silex offer any greater security, for it always has
the appearance of being wet.


When the nature of stone is doubtful, the proper precaution is, to
quarry it in summer, and not to use it for building before the end of a
couple of years, leaving it in the meantime to be well seasoned by the
weather. The slabs which have been damaged will be found to be better
suited for the foundations under ground: while those, on the other
hand, which have remained uninjured, may be employed with safety, and
exposed to the open air even.


The Greeks construct party-walls, resembling those of brickwork, of
hard stone or of silex, squared. This kind of stonework is what they
call “isodomon,”[2789] it being ” pseudisodomon”[2790] when the wall
is built of materials of unequal dimensions. A third kind of stonework
is called “emplecton,”[2791] the two exteriors only being made with
regularity, the rest of the material being thrown in at random. It is
necessary that the stones should lie over one another alternately, in
such a way that the middle of one stone meets the point of junction
of the two below it; and this, too, in the middle of the wall, if
possible; but if not, at all events, at the sides. When the middle
of the wall is filled up with broken stones, the work is known as

The reticulated[2793] kind of building, which is mostly in use at Rome,
is very liable to crack.[2794] All building should be done by line and
rule, and ought to be strictly on the perpendicular.

CHAP. 52. (23.)—CISTERNS.

Cisterns should be made of five parts of pure, gravelly, sand, two of
the very strongest quicklime, and fragments of silex not exceeding a
pound each in weight; when thus incorporated, the bottom and sides
should be well beaten with iron rammers. The best plan, too, is to have
the cisterns double; so that all superfluities may settle in the inner
cistern, and the water filter through, as pure as possible, into the
outer one.


Cato[2795] the Censor disapproves of lime prepared from stones of
various colours: that made of white stone is the best. Lime prepared
from hard stone is the best for building purposes, and that from
porous stone for coats of plaster. For both these purposes, lime made
from silex is equally rejected. Stone that has been extracted from
quarries furnishes a better lime than that collected from the beds
of rivers; but the best of all is the lime that is obtained from the
molar-stone,[2796] that being of a more unctuous nature than the
others. It is something truly marvellous, that quick-lime, after the
stone has been subjected to fire, should ignite on the application of


There are three kinds of sand: fossil[2797] sand, to which one-fourth
part of lime should be added;[2798] river sand; and sea sand; to both
of which last, one third of lime should be added. If, too, one third
of the mortar is composed of bruised earthenware, it will be all the
better. Fossil sand is found in the districts that lie between the
Apennines and the Padus, but not in the parts beyond sea.


The great cause of the fall of so many buildings in our City, is, that
through a fraudulent abstraction of the lime, the rough work is laid
without anything to hold it together. The older, too, the mortar is,
the better it is in quality. In the ancient laws for the regulation of
building, no contractor was to use mortar less than three months old;
hence it is, that no cracks have disfigured the plaster coatings of
their walls. These stuccos will never present a sufficiently bright
surface, unless there have been three layers of sanded mortar, and
two of marbled[2799] mortar upon that. In damp localities and places
subject to exhalations from the sea, it is the best plan to substitute
ground earthenware mortar for sanded mortar. In Greece, it is the
practice, first to pound the lime and sand used for plastering, with
wooden pestles in a large trough. The test by which it is known that
marbled mortar has been properly blended, is its not adhering to the
trowel; whereas, if it is only wanted for white-washing, the lime,
after being well slaked with water, should stick like glue. For this
last purpose, however, the lime should only be slaked in lumps.

At Elis, there is a Temple of Minerva, which was pargetted, they say,
by Panænus, the brother of Phidias, with a mortar that was blended with
milk and saffron:[2800] hence it is, that, even at the present day,
when rubbed with spittle on the finger, it yields the smell and flavour
of saffron.


The more closely columns are placed together, the thicker they appear
to be. There are four different kinds of pillars. Those of which the
diameter at the foot is one-sixth part of the height, are called
Doric. When the diameter is one-ninth, they are Ionic; and when it is
one-seventh, Tuscan. The proportions in the Corinthian are the same
as those of the Ionic; but they differ in the circumstance that the
Corinthian capitals are of the same height as the diameter at the
foot, a thing that gives them a more slender appearance; whereas, in
the Ionic column, the height of the capital is only one-third of the
diameter at the foot. In ancient times the rule was, that the columns
should be one-third of the breadth of the temple in height.

It was in the Temple of Diana, at Ephesus, as originally built, that
spirals[2801] were first placed beneath, and capitals added: and it
was determined that the diameter of the shafts should be one-eighth of
their height, and that the spirals should be one-half of the diameter
in height, the upper extremity of the shaft being one-seventh less in
diameter than the foot. In addition to these columns, there are what
are called “Attic” columns, quadrangular, and with equal sides.


Lime is also employed very extensively in medicine. For this purpose,
fresh lime is selected, which has not been slaked with water. Its
properties are caustic, resolvent, and attractive; and it prevents
serpiginous ulcers from spreading, being incorporated with vinegar
and oil of roses, for the purpose. When this has been effected,
it is tempered with wax and oil of roses, and applied to promote
cicatrization. In combination with honey, and liquid resin, or hogs’
lard, lime is curative of sprains and scrofulous sores.


Maltha[2802] is a cement prepared from fresh lime; lumps of which are
quenched in wine, and then pounded with hogs’ lard and figs, both of
them, mollifying substances.[2803] It is the most tenacious of all
cements, and surpasses stone in hardness. Before applying the maltha,
the substance upon which it is used must be well rubbed with oil.


Gypsum[2804] has a close affinity with limestone, and there are
numerous varieties of it. One kind is prepared from a calcined[2805]
stone, as in Syria, and at Thurii, for example. In Cyprus and
at Perrhæbia,[2806] gypsum is dug out of the earth, and at
Tymphæa[2807] it is found just below the level of the soil. The
stone that is calcined for this purpose, ought to be very similar
to alabastrites,[2808] or else of a grain like that of marble. In
Syria, they select the hardest stones for the purpose, and calcine
them with cow-dung, to accelerate the process. Experience has
proved, however, that the best plaster of all is that prepared from
specular-stone,[2809] or any other stone that is similarly laminated.
Gypsum, when moistened, must be used immediately, as it hardens with
the greatest rapidity; it admits, however, of being triturated over
again, and so reduced to powder. It is very useful for pargetting, and
has a pleasing effect when used for ornamental figures and wreaths in

There is one remarkable fact connected with this substance; Caius
Proculeius,[2810] an intimate friend of the Emperor Augustus, suffering
from violent pains in the stomach, swallowed gypsum, and so put an end
to his existence.[2811]


Pavements are an invention of the Greeks, who also practised the art of
painting them, till they were superseded by mosaics.[2812] In this last
branch of art, the highest excellence has been attained by Sosus,[2813]
who laid, at Pergamus, the mosaic pavement known as the “Asarotos
œcos;”[2814] from the fact that he there represented, in small
squares of different colours, the remnants of a banquet lying upon
the pavement, and other things which are usually swept away with the
broom, they having all the appearance of being left there by accident.
There is a dove also, greatly admired, in the act of drinking, and
throwing the shadow of its head upon the water; while other birds
are to be seen sunning and pluming themselves, on the margin of a


The first pavements, in my opinion, were those now known to us as
barbaric and subtegulan[2815] pavements, a kind of work that was
beaten down with the rammer: at least if we may form a judgment from
the name[2816] that has been given to them. The first diamonded[2817]
pavement at Rome was laid in the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, after
the commencement of the Third Punic War. That pavements had come into
common use before the Cimbric War, and that a taste for them was very
prevalent, is evident from the line of Lucilius—

  “With checquered emblems like a pavement marked.”[2818]


The Greeks have also invented terrace-roof[2819] pavements, and have
covered their houses with them; a thing that may easily be done in the
hotter climates, but a great mistake in countries where the rain is
apt to become congealed. In making these pavements, the proper plan is
to begin with two layers of boards, running different ways, and nailed
at the extremities, to prevent them from warping. Upon this planking
a rough-work must be laid, one-fourth of which consists of pounded
pottery: and upon this, another bed of rough-work, two-fifths composed
of lime, a foot in thickness, and well beaten down with the rammer.
The nucleus[2820] is then laid down, a bed six fingers in depth; and
upon that, large square stones, not less than a couple of fingers in
thickness; an inclination being carefully observed, of an inch and a
half to every ten feet. This done, the surface is well rubbed down
with a polishing stone. The general opinion is, that oak[2821] should
never be used for the planking, it being so very liable to warp; and
it is considered a good plan to cover the boards with a layer of fern
or chaff, that they may be the better able to resist the action of
the lime. It is necessary, too, before putting down the planking, to
underset it with a bed of round pebbles. Wheat-ear[2822] tesselated
pavements are laid down in a similar manner.


We must not omit here one other kind of pavement, that known as the
“Græcanic.” The ground is well rammed down, and a bed of rough work,
or else broken pottery, is then laid upon it. Upon the top of this,
a layer of charcoal is placed, well trodden down with a mixture of
sand, lime, and ashes; care being taken, by line and rule, to give
it a uniform thickness of half a foot. The surface then presents the
ordinary appearance of the ground; but if it is well rubbed with the
polishing-stone, it will have all the appearance of a black pavement.


Mosaic[2823] pavements were first introduced in the time of Sylla; at
all events, there is still in existence a pavement, formed of small
segments, which he ordered to be laid down in the Temple of Fortune, at
Præneste. Since his time, these mosaics have left the ground for the
arched roofs of houses, and they are now made of glass. This, however,
is but a recent invention; for there can be no doubt that, when Agrippa
ordered the earthenware walls of the hot baths, in the Thermæ which he
was building at Rome, to be painted in encaustic, and had the other
parts coated with pargetting, he would have had the arches decorated
with mosaics in glass, if the use of them had been known; or, at all
events, if from the walls of the Theatre of Scaurus, where it figured,
as already[2824] stated, glass had by that time come to be used for the
arched roofs of apartments. It will be as well, therefore, to give some
account, also, of glass.


In Syria there is a region known as Phœnice,[2825] adjoining to Judæa,
and enclosing, between the lower ridges of Mount Carmelus, a marshy
district known by the name of Cendebia. In this district, it is
supposed, rises the river Belus,[2826] which, after a course of five
miles, empties itself into the sea near the colony of Ptolemaïs. The
tide of this river is sluggish, and the water unwholesome to drink,
but held sacred for the observance of certain religious ceremonials.
Full of slimy deposits, and very deep, it is only at the reflux of the
tide that the river discloses its sands; which, agitated by the waves,
separate themselves from their impurities, and so become cleansed. It
is generally thought that it is the acridity of the sea-water that has
this purgative effect upon the sand, and that without this action no
use could be made of it. The shore upon which this sand is gathered is
not more than half a mile in extent; and yet, for many ages, this was
the only spot that afforded the material for making glass.

The story is, that a ship, laden with nitre,[2827] being moored upon
this spot, the merchants, while preparing their repast upon the
sea-shore, finding no stones at hand for supporting their cauldrons,
employed for the purpose some lumps of nitre which they had taken from
the vessel. Upon its being subjected to the action of the fire, in
combination with the sand of the sea-shore, they beheld transparent
streams flowing forth of a liquid hitherto unknown: this, it is said,
was the origin of glass.[2828]


In process of time, as human industry is ingenious in discovering, it
was not content with the combination of nitre, but magnet-stone[2829]
began to be added as well; from the impression that it attracts
liquefied[2830] glass as well as iron. In a similar manner, too,
brilliant stones of various descriptions came to be added in the
melting, and, at last, shells and fossil sand. Some authors tell
us, that the glass of India is made of broken crystal, and that, in
consequence, there is none that can be compared to it.

In fusing it, light and dry wood is used for fuel, Cyprian copper
and nitre being added to the melting, nitre of Ophir[2831] more
particularly. It is melted, like copper, in contiguous furnaces, and
a swarthy mass of an unctuous appearance is the result. Of such a
penetrating nature is the molten glass, that it will cut to the very
bone any part of the body which “it may come near, and that, too,
before it is even felt. This mass is again subjected to fusion in the
furnace, for the purpose of colouring it; after which, the glass is
either blown into various forms, turned in a lathe, or engraved[2832]
like silver. Sidon was formerly famous for its glass-houses, for it was
this place that first invented[2833] mirrors.

Such was the ancient method of making glass: but, at the present day,
there is found a very white sand for the purpose, at the mouth of the
river Volturnus, in Italy. It spreads over an extent of six miles, upon
the sea-shore that lies between Cumæ and Liternum, and is prepared
for use by pounding it with a pestle and mortar; which done, it is
mixed with three parts of nitre, either by weight or measure, and,
when fused, is transferred to another furnace. Here it forms a mass
of what is called “hammonitrum;” which is again submitted to fusion,
and becomes a mass of pure, white, glass. Indeed, at the present
day, throughout the Gallic and Spanish provinces even, we find sand
subjected to a similar process. In the reign of Tiberius, it is said,
a combination was devised which produced a flexible[2834] glass; but
the manufactory of the artist was totally destroyed, we are told, in
order to prevent the value of copper, silver, and gold, from becoming
depreciated.[2835] This story, however, was, for a long time, more
widely spread than well authenticated. But be it as it may, it is of
little consequence; for, in the time of the Emperor Nero, there was a
process discovered, by which two small glass cups were made, of the
kind called “petroti,”[2836] the price of which was no less than six
thousand sesterces!


Among the various kinds of glass, we may also reckon Obsian glass,
a substance very similar to the stone[2837] which Obsius discovered
in Æthiopia. This stone is of a very dark colour, and sometimes
transparent; but it is dull to the sight, and reflects, when attached
as a mirror to walls, the shadow of the object rather than the image.
Many persons use it[2838] for jewellery, and I myself have seen
solid statues[2839] in this material of the late Emperor Augustus, of
very considerable thickness. That prince consecrated, in the Temple
of Concord, as something marvellous, four figures of elephants made
of Obsian stone. Tiberius Cæsar, too, restored to the people of
Heliopolis, as an object of ceremonial worship, an image in this stone,
which had been found among the property left by one of the præfects
of Egypt. It was a figure of Menelaüs; a circumstance which goes far
towards proving that the use of this material is of more ancient date
than is generally supposed, confounded as it is at the present day
with glass, by reason of its resemblance. Xenocrates says that Obsian
stone is found in India also, and in Samnium in Italy; and that it
is a natural product of Spain, upon the coasts which border on the

There is an artificial Obsian stone, made of coloured glass for
services for the table; and there is also a glass that is red all
through, and opaque, known as “hæmatinum.”[2841] A dead white glass,
too, is made, as also other kinds in imitation of murrhine[2842]
colour, hyacinthine, sapphire, and every other tint: indeed, there is
no material of a more pliable[2843] nature than this, or better suited
for colouring. Still, however, the highest value is set upon glass
that is entirely colourless and transparent, as nearly as possible
resembling crystal, in fact. For drinking-vessels, glass has quite
superseded the use of silver and gold; but it is unable to stand heat
unless a cold liquid is poured in first. And yet, we find that globular
glass vessels, filled with water, when brought in contact with the rays
of the sun,[2844] become heated to such a degree as to cause articles
of clothing to ignite. When broken, too, glass admits of being joined
by the agency of heat; but it cannot be wholly fused without being
pulverized into small fragments,[2845] as we see done in the process of
making the small checquers, known as “abaculi,” for mosaic work; some
of which are of variegated colours, and of different shapes. If glass
is fused with sulphur, it will become as hard as stone.


Having now described all the creations of human ingenuity,
reproductions, in fact, of Nature by the agency of art, it cannot but
recur to us, with a feeling of admiration, that there is hardly any
process which is not perfected through the intervention of fire. Submit
to its action some sandy soil, and in one place it will yield glass, in
another silver, in another minium, and in others, again, lead and its
several varieties, pigments, and numerous medicaments. It is through
the agency of fire that stones[2846] are melted into copper; by fire
that iron is produced, and subdued to our purposes; by fire that gold
is purified; by fire, too, that the stone is calcined, which is to hold
together the walls of our houses.

Some materials, again, are all the better for being repeatedly
submitted to the action of fire; and the same substance will yield
one product at the first fusion, another at the second, and another
at the third.[2847] Charcoal, when it has passed through fire and
has been quenched, only begins to assume its active properties; and,
when it might be supposed to have been reduced to annihilation, it is
then that it has its greatest energies. An element this, of immense,
of boundless[2848] power, and, as to which, it is a matter of doubt
whether it does not create even more than it destroys!


Fire even has certain medicinal virtues of its own. When pestilences
prevail, in consequence of the obscuration[2849] of the sun, it is a
well-known fact, that if fires are lighted, they are productive of
beneficial results in numerous ways. Empedocles and Hippocrates have
proved this in several passages.

“For convulsions or contusions of the viscera,” says M. Varro—for it is
his own words that I use—“let the hearth be your medicine-box; for lie
of ashes,[2850] taken from thence, mixed with your drink, will effect
a cure. Witness the gladiators, for example, who, when disabled at the
Games, refresh themselves with this drink.” Carbuncle too, a kind of
disease which, as already[2851] stated, has recently carried off two
persons of consular rank, admits of being successfully treated with
oak-charcoal,[2852] triturated with honey. So true is it that things
which are despised even, and looked upon as so utterly destitute of all
virtues, have still their own remedial properties, charcoal and ashes
for example.


I must not omit too, one portentous fact connected with the hearth,
and famous in Roman history. In the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, it
is said, there appeared upon his hearth a resemblance of the male
generative organ in the midst of the ashes. The captive Ocrisia, a
servant of Queen Tanaquil, who happened to be sitting there, arose from
her seat in a state of pregnancy, and became the mother of Servius
Tullius, who eventually succeeded to the throne.[2853] It is stated,
too, that while the child was sleeping in the palace, a flame was seen
playing round his head; the consequence of which was, that it was
believed that the Lar of the household was his progenitor. It was owing
to this circumstance, we are informed, that the Compitalia,[2854] games
in honour of the Lares, were instituted.

SUMMARY.—Remedies mentioned, eighty-nine. Facts and narratives, four
hundred and thirty-four.

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—M. Varro,[2855] Cælius,[2856] Galba,[2857]
Cincius,[2858] Mucianus,[2859] Nepos Cornelius,[2860] L. Piso,[2861]
Q. Tubero,[2862] Fabius Vestalis,[2863] Annius Fetialis,[2864]
Fabianus,[2865] Seneca,[2866] Cato the Censor,[2867] Vitruvius.[2868]

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Theophrastus,[2869] Pasiteles,[2870]
King Juba,[2871] Nicander,[2872] Sotacus,[2873] Sudines,[2874]
Alexander[2875] Polyhistor, Apion,[2876] Plistonicus,[2877]
Duris,[2878] Herodotus,[2879] Euhemerus,[2880] Aristagoras,[2881]
Dionysius,[2882] Artemidorus,[2883] Butoridas,[2884] Antisthenes,[2885]
Demetrius,[2886] Demoteles,[2887] Lyceas.[2888]




That nothing may be wanting to the work which I have undertaken, it
still remains for me to speak of precious stones: a subject in which
the majestic might of Nature presents itself to us, contracted within a
very limited space, though, in the opinion of many, nowhere displayed
in a more admirable form. So great is the value that men attach to
the multiplied varieties of these gems, their numerous colours, their
constituent parts, and their singular beauty, that, in the case of some
of them, it is looked upon as no less than sacrilege to engrave them,
for signets even, the very purpose for which, in reality, they were
made. Others, again, are regarded as beyond all price, and could not
be valued at any known amount of human wealth; so much so that, in the
case of many, it is quite sufficient to have some single gem or other
before the eyes, there to behold the supreme and absolute perfection of
Nature’s work.

We have already[2889] stated, to some extent, when speaking on the
subject of gold and rings, how the use of precious stones first
originated, and from what beginnings this admiration of them has
now increased to such an universal passion. According to fabulous
lore, the first use of them was suggested by the rocks of Caucasus,
in consequence of an unhappy interpretation which was given to the
story of the chains of Prometheus: for we are told by tradition, that
he enclosed a fragment of this stone in iron, and wore it upon his
finger;[2890] such being the first ring and the first jewel known.


With a beginning such as this, the value set upon precious stones
increased to such a boundless extent, that Polycrates,[2891] the
tyrant of Samos, who ruled over the islands and the adjacent shores,
when he admitted that his good fortune had been too great, deemed it
a sufficient expiation for all this enjoyment of happiness, to make a
voluntary sacrifice of a single precious stone; thinking thereby to
balance accounts with the inconstancy of fortune, and, by this single
cause for regret, abundantly to buy off every ill-will she might
entertain. Weary, therefore, of his continued prosperity, he embarked
on board a ship, and, putting out to sea, threw the ring which he wore
into the waves. It so happened, however, that a fish of remarkable
size, one destined for the table of a king, swallowed the jewel, as
it would have done a bait; and then, to complete the portentous omen,
restored it again to the owner in the royal kitchen, by the ruling hand
of a treacherous[2892] fortune.

The stone in this ring, it is generally agreed, was a sardonyx,[2893]
and they still show one at Rome, which, if we believe the story,
was this identical stone. It is enclosed in a horn of gold, and was
deposited, by the Emperor Augustus, in the Temple of Concord, where it
holds pretty nearly the lowest rank among a multitude of other jewels
that are preferable to it.


Next in note after this ring, is the jewel that belonged to another
king, Pyrrhus, who was so long at war with the Romans. It is said that
there was in his possession an agate,[2894] upon which were to be seen
the Nine Muses and Apollo holding a lyre; not a work of art, but the
spontaneous produce of Nature,[2895] the veins in it being so arranged
that each of the Muses had her own peculiar attribute.

With the exception of these two jewels, authors make no mention of
any others that have been rendered famous. We only find it recorded
by them, that Ismenias the flute-player[2896] was in the habit of
displaying great numbers of glittering stones, a piece of vanity, on
his part, which gave occasion to the following story. An emerald,[2897]
upon which was engraved a figure of Amymone,[2898] being offered for
sale in the Isle of Cyprus at the price of six golden denarii, he gave
orders to purchase it. The dealer however, reduced the price, and
returned two denarii; upon which, Ismenias remarked—“By Hercules! he
has done me but a bad turn in this, for the merit of the stone has been
greatly impaired by this reduction in price.”

It seems to have been this Ismenias who introduced the universal
practice among musicians of proclaiming their artistic merit by this
kind of ostentation. Thus Dionysodorus, for instance, his contemporary
and rival, imitated his example, in order that he might not appear to
be his inferior in skill; whereas, in reality, he only held the third
rank among the musicians of that day. Nicomachus, too, it is said, was
the possessor of great numbers of precious stones, though selected with
but little taste. In mentioning these illustrations, by way of prelude
to this Book, it is by no means improbable that they may have the
appearance of being addressed to those, who, piquing themselves upon a
similar display, become puffed up with a vanity which is evidently much
more appropriate to a performer on the flute.


The stone of the ring[2899] which is now shown as that of Polycrates,
is untouched and without engraving. In the time of Ismenias, long[2900]
after his day, it would appear to have become the practice to engrave
smaragdi even; a fact which is established by an edict of Alexander
the Great, forbidding his portrait to be cut upon this stone by any
other engraver than Pyrgoteles,[2901] who, no doubt, was the most
famous adept in this art. Since his time, Apollonides and Cronius
have excelled in it; as also Dioscurides,[2902] who engraved a very
excellent likeness of the late Emperor Augustus upon a signet,
which, ever since, the Roman emperors have used. The Dictator Sylla,
it is said, always made use of a seal[2903] which represented the
surrender of Jugurtha. Authors inform us also, that the native of
Intercatia,[2904] whose father challenged Scipio Æmilianus,[2905]
and was slain by him, was in the habit of using a signet with a
representation of this combat engraved upon it; a circumstance which
gave rise to the well-known joke of Stilo Præconinus,[2906] who naively
enquired, what he would have done if Scipio had been the person slain?

The late Emperor Augustus was in the habit, at first, of using the
figure of a Sphinx[2907] for his signet; having found two of them,
among the jewels of his mother, that were perfectly alike. During the
Civil Wars, his friends used to employ one of these signets, in his
absence, for sealing such letters and edicts as the circumstances of
the times required to be issued in his name; it being far from an
unmeaning pleasantry on the part of those who received these missives,
that the Sphinx always brought its enigmas[2908] with it. The frog,
too, on the seal of Mæcenas, was held in great terror, by reason of the
monetary imposts which it announced. At a later period, with the view
of avoiding the sarcasms relative to the Sphinx, Augustus made use of a
signet with a figure upon it of Alexander the Great.


A collection of precious stones bears the foreign name of
“dactyliotheca.”[2909] The first person who possessed one at Rome
was Scaurus,[2910] the step-son of Sylla; and, for a long time,
there was no other such collection there, until at length Pompeius
Magnus consecrated in the Capitol, among other donations, one that
had belonged to King Mithridates; and which, as M. Varro and other
authors of that period assure us, was greatly superior to that of
Scaurus. Following his example, the Dictator Cæsar consecrated six
dactyliothecæ in the Temple of Venus Genetrix; and Marcellus, the son
of Octavia,[2911] presented one to the Temple of the Palatine Apollo.


But it was this conquest by Pompeius Magnus that first introduced
so general a taste for pearls and precious stones; just as the
victories, gained by L. Scipio[2912] and Cneius Manlius,[2913] had
first turned the public attention to chased silver, Attalic tissues,
and banquetting-couches decorated with bronze; and the conquests of L.
Mummius had brought Corinthian bronzes and pictures into notice.

(2.) To prove more fully that this was the case, I will here give
the very words of the public Registers[2914] with reference to the
triumphs of Pompeius Magnus. On the occasion of his third triumph,
over the Pirates and over the Kings and nations of Asia and Pontus
that have been already enumerated in the Seventh Book[2915] of
this work, M. Fiso and M. Messala being consuls,[2916] on the day
before[2917] the calends of October, the anniversary of his birth, he
displayed in public, with its pieces, a chess-board,[2918] made of two
precious stones, three feet in width by two in length—and to leave no
doubt that the resources of Nature do become exhausted, I will here
observe, that no precious stones are to be found at the present day,
at all approaching such dimensions as these; as also that there was
upon this board a moon of solid gold, thirty pounds in weight!—three
banquetting-couches; vessels for nine waiters, in gold and precious
stones; three golden statues of Minerva, Mars, and Apollo; thirty-three
crowns adorned with pearls; a square mountain of gold, with stags upon
it, lions, and all kinds of fruit, and surrounded with a vine of gold;
as also a musæum,[2919] adorned with pearls, with an horologe[2920]
upon the top of it.

There was a likeness also in pearls of Pompeius himself, his noble
countenance, with the hair thrown back from the forehead, delighting
the eye. Yes, I say, those frank features, so venerated throughout all
nations, were here displayed in pearls! the severity of our ancient
manners being thus subdued, and the display being more the triumph
of luxury than the triumph of conquest. Never, most assuredly, would
Pompeius have so long maintained his surname of “Magnus” among the
men of that day, if on the occasion of his first[2921] conquest his
triumph had been such as this. Thy portrait in pearls, O Magnus! those
resources of prodigality, that have been discovered for the sake of
females only! Thy portrait in pearls, refinements in luxury, which the
Roman laws would not have allowed thee to wear even! And was it in this
way that thy value must be appreciated? Would not that trophy have
given a more truthful likeness of thee which thou hadst erst erected
upon the Pyrenæan[2922] mountain heights? Assuredly such a portrait as
this had been no less than a downright ignominy and disgrace, were we
not bound to behold in it a menacing presage of the anger of the gods,
and to see foreshadowed thereby the time when that head, now laden
with the wealth of the East, was to be displayed, severed from the

But in other respects, how truly befitting the hero was this triumph!
To the state, he presented two thousand millions of sesterces; to
the legati and quæstors who had exerted themselves in defence of the
sea coast, he gave one thousand millions of sesterces; and to each
individual soldier, six thousand sesterces. He has rendered, however,
comparatively excusable the Emperor Caius,[2924] who, in addition to
other feminine luxuries, used to wear shoes adorned with pearls; as
also the Emperor Nero, who used to adorn his sceptres with masks worked
in pearls, and had the couches, destined for his pleasures, made of
the same costly materials. Nay, we have no longer any right, it would
seem, to censure the employment of drinking-cups adorned with precious
stones, of various other articles in daily use that are similarly
enriched, and of rings that sparkle with gems: for what species of
luxury can there be thought of, that was not more innocent in its
results than this on the part of Pompeius?


It was the same conquest, too, that first introduced murrhine[2925]
vessels at Rome; Pompeius being the first to dedicate, at the
conclusion of this triumph, vases and cups, made of this material, in
the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus: a circumstance which soon brought
them into private use, waiters, even, and eating-utensils made of
murrhine being in great request. This species of luxury, too, is daily
on the increase, a single cup, which would hold no more than three
sextarii, having been purchased at the price of seventy thousand
sesterces. A. person of consular rank, who some years[2926] ago used
to drink out of this cup, grew so passionately fond of it, as to gnaw
its edges even, an injury, however, which has only tended to enhance
its value: indeed there is now no vessel in murrhine that has ever
been estimated at a higher figure than this. We may form some opinion
how much money this same personage swallowed up in articles of this
description, from the fact that the number of them was so great, that,
when the Emperor Nero deprived his children of them, and they were
exposed to public view, they occupied a whole theatre to themselves, in
the gardens beyond the Tiber; a theatre which was found sufficiently
large even, for the audience that attended on the occasion when
Nero[2927] rehearsed his musical performances before his appearance in
the Theatre of Pompeius. It was at this exhibition, too, that I saw
counted the broken fragments of a single cup, which it was thought
proper to preserve in an urn and display, I suppose, with the view
of exciting the sorrows of the world, and of exposing the cruelty of
fortune; just as though it had been no less than the body of Alexander
the Great himself!

T. Petronius,[2928] a personage of consular rank, intending, from
his hatred of Nero, to disinherit the table of that prince, broke a
murrhine basin, which had cost him no less than three hundred thousand
sesterces. But Nero himself, as it was only proper for a prince to do,
surpassed them all, by paying one million of sesterces for a single
cup: a fact well worthy of remembrance, that an emperor, the father of
his country, should have drunk from a vessel of such costly price!


Murrhine vessels come from the East, in numerous localities of which,
remarkable for nothing else, they are to be found. It is in the empire
of the Parthians, more particularly, that they are met with, though
those of the very finest quality come to us from Carmania.[2929] It is
generally thought that these vessels are formed of a moist substance,
which under ground becomes solidified by heat.[2930] In size they
never exceed a small waiter,[2931] and, as to thickness, they rarely
admit of being used as drinking-cups, so large as those already[2932]
mentioned. The brightness of them is destitute of strength, and it may
be said that they are rather shining than brilliant.[2933] But the
chief merit of them is the great variety of their colours, and the
wreathed veins, which, every here and there, present shades of purple
and white, with a mixture of the two; the purple gradually changing,
as it were, to a fiery red, and the milk-white assuming a ruddy hue.
Some persons praise the edges of these vessels more particularly, with
a kind of reflection in the colours, like those beheld in the rain-bow.
Others, again, are more pleased with them when quite opaque, it being
considered a demerit when they are at all transparent, or of a pallid
hue. The appearance, too, of crystals[2934] in them is highly prized,
and of spots that look like warts; not prominent, but depressed, as we
mostly see upon the human body. The perfume,[2935] too, of which they
smell, is looked upon as an additional recommendation.


It is a diametrically opposite cause to this that produces
crystal,[2936] a substance which assumes a concrete form from excessive
congelation.[2937] At all events, crystal is only to be found in places
where the winter snow freezes with the greatest intensity; and it is
from the certainty that it is a kind of ice, that it has received the
name[2938] which it bears in Greek. The East, too, sends us crystal,
there being none preferred to the produce of India. It is to be found,
also, in Asia, that of the vicinity of Alabanda,[2939] Orthosia,[2940]
and the neighbouring mountains, being held in a very low degree of
esteem. In Cyprus, also, there is crystal, but that found upon the
Alpine heights in Europe is, in general, more highly valued. According
to Juba, there is crystal in a certain island of the Red Sea, opposite
the coast of Arabia, called “Necron;”[2941] as, also, in another
neighbouring island[2942] which produces the precious stone known as
the “topazus;” where a block of crystal was extracted, he says, by
Pythagoras, the præfect of King Ptolemæus, no less than a cubit in

Cornelius Bocchus informs us that in Lusitania, there have been blocks
of crystal found, of extraordinary weight, in sinking shafts in the
Ammiensian[2943] mountains there, to a water-level for the supply
of wells. It is a marvellous fact, stated by Xenocrates of Ephesus,
that in Asia and in the Isle of Cyprus, crystal is turned up by the
plough; it having been the general belief that it is never to be
found in terreous soils, and only in rocky localities. That is much
more probable which the same Xenocrates tells us, when he says that
the mountain streams often bring down with them fragments of crystal.
Sudines says, that crystal is only to be found in localities that
face the south, a thing that is known to be really the fact: indeed,
it is never found in humid spots, however cold the climate may be,
even though the rivers there freeze to the very bottom. Rain-water
and pure snow are absolutely necessary for its formation,[2944] and
hence it is, that it is unable to endure heat, being solely employed
for holding liquids that are taken cold. From the circumstance of its
being hexagonal[2945] and hexahedral, it is not easy to penetrate this
substance; and the more so, as the pyramidal terminations do not always
have the same appearance. The polish on its faces is so exquisite, that
no art can possibly equal it.


The largest block of crystal that has ever been beheld by us, is
the one that was consecrated by Julia Augusta in the Capitol, and
which weighed about one hundred and fifty pounds.[2946] Xenocrates
speaks of having seen a vase of crystal, which held one amphora,[2947]
and we find other writers mentioning a vessel from India which held
four sextarii. For my own part, I can positively say, that there is
crystal amid the crags of the Alps, so difficult of access, that it is
usually found necessary to be suspended by ropes in order to extract
it. Persons who are experienced in the matter detect its presence by
certain signs and indications.

Crystal is subject to numerous defects, sometimes presenting a rough,
solder-like, substance, or else clouded by spots upon it; while
occasionally it contains some hidden humour[2948] within, or is
traversed by hard and brittle knurrs,[2949] which are known as “salt
grains.”[2950] Some crystal, too, has a red rust upon it, while, in
other instances, it contains filaments that look like flaws, a defect
which artists conceal by engraving it. But where crystals are entirely
free from defect, they are preferred uncut; in which case, they are
known as “acenteta,”[2951] and have the colour, not of foam, but of
limpid water. In the last place, the weight of crystals is a point
which is taken into consideration.

I find it stated by medical men that the very best cautery for
the human body is a ball of crystal acted upon by the rays of the
sun.[2952] This substance, too, has been made the object of a mania;
for, not many years ago, a mistress of a family, who was by no means
very rich, gave one hundred and fifty thousand sesterces for a single
basin made of crystal. Nero, on receiving tidings that all was lost,
in the excess of his fury, dashed two cups of crystal to pieces; this
being his last act of vengeance upon his fellow-creatures, preventing
any one from ever drinking again from these vessels. Crystal, when
broken, cannot by any possibility be mended. Vessels in glass have
been brought to a marvellous degree of resemblance to crystal; and
yet, wonderful to say, they have only tended to enhance the value of
crystal, and in no way to depreciate it.


Next in rank among the objects of luxury, we have amber;[2953]
an article which, for the present, however, is in request among
women[2954] only. All these three last-mentioned substances hold the
same rank, no doubt, as precious stones; the two former for certain
fair reasons; crystal, because it is adapted for taking cool drinks,
and murrhine vessels, for taking drinks that are either hot or cold.
But as for amber, luxury has not been able, as yet, to devise any
justification for the use of it. This is a subject which affords us
an excellent opportunity of exposing some of the frivolities and
falsehoods of the Greeks; and I beg that my readers will only have
patience with me while I do so, it being really worth while, for our
own practical improvement, to become acquainted with the marvellous
stories which they have promulgated respecting amber.

After Phaëthon had been struck by lightning, his sisters, they tell
us, became changed into poplars,[2955] which every year shed their
tears upon the banks of the Eridanus, a river known to us as the
“Padus.” To these tears was given the name of “electrum,”[2956] from
the circumstance that the Sun was usually called “elector.” Such is
the story, at all events, that is told by many of the poets, the first
of whom were, in my opinion, Æschylus, Philoxenus, Euripides, Satyrus,
and Nicander; and the falsity of which is abundantly proved upon the
testimony of Italy itself.[2957] Those among the Greeks who have
devoted more attention to the subject, have spoken of certain islands
in the Adriatic Sea, known as the “Electrides,” and to which the
Padus,[2958] they say, carries down electrum. It is the fact, however,
that there never were any islands there so called, nor, indeed, any
islands so situate as to allow of the Padus carrying down anything
in its course to their shores. As to Æschylus placing the Eridanus
in Iberia, or, in other words, in Spain, and giving it the name of
Rhodanus; and as to Euripides and Apollonius representing the Rhodanus
and the Padus as discharging themselves by one common mouth on the
shores of the Adriatic; we can forgive them all the more readily for
knowing nothing about amber when they betray such monstrous ignorance
of geography.

Other writers, again, who are more guarded in their assertions, have
told us, though with an equal degree of untruthfulness, that, at the
extremity of the Adriatic Gulf, upon certain inaccessible rocks there,
there are certain trees[2959] which shed their gum at the rising of the
Dog-Star. Theophrastus[2960] has stated that amber is extracted from
the earth in Liguria;[2961] Chares, that Phaëthon died in the territory
of Hammon, in Æthiopia, where there is a temple of his and an oracle,
and where amber is produced; Philemon, that it is a fossil substance,
and that it is found in two different localities in Scythia, in one of
which it is of a white and waxen colour, and is known as “electrum;”
while in the other it is red, and is called “sualiternicum.”
Demostratus calls amber “lyncurion,”[2962] and he says that it
originates in the urine of the wild beast known as the “lynx;” that
voided by the male producing a red and fiery substance, and that by the
female an amber of a white and less pronounced colour: he also informs
us that by some persons it is called “langurium,” and that in Italy,
there are certain wild beasts known as “languri.” Zeuothemis, however,
calls these wild beasts “langæ,” and gives the banks of the river Padus
as their locality. Sudines says, that it is a tree in reality, that
produces amber, and that, in Etruria, this tree is known by the name
of “lynx;” an opinion which is also adopted by Metrodorus. Sotacus
expresses a belief that amber exudes from certain stones in Britannia,
to which he gives the name of “electrides.” Pytheas says that the
Gutones,[2963] a people of Germany, inhabit the shores of an estuary
of the Ocean called Mentonomon, their territory extending a distance
of six thousand stadia; that, at one day’s sail from this territory,
is the Isle of Abalus, upon the shores of which, amber is thrown up by
the waves in spring, it being an excretion of the sea in a concrete
form; as, also, that the inhabitants use this amber by way of fuel, and
sell it to their neighbours, the Teutones. Timæus, too, is of the same
belief, but he has given to the island the name of Basilia.[2964]

Philemon says that electrum does not yield a flame.[2965] Nicias,
again, will have it, that it is a liquid produced by the rays of the
sun; and that these rays, at the moment of the sun’s setting, striking
with the greatest force upon the surface of the soil, leave upon it an
unctuous sweat, which is carried off by the tides of the Ocean, and
thrown up upon the shores of Germany. He states, also, that in Egypt
it is similarly produced, and is there called “sacal;”[2966] that it
is found in India, too, where it is held as a preferable substitute
for frankincense; and that in Syria the women make the whirls of their
spindles of this substance, and give it the name of “harpax,”[2967]
from the circumstance that it attracts leaves towards it, chaff, and
the light fringe of tissues. According to Theochrestus, amber is thrown
up by the tides of the Ocean, at the foot of the Pyrenæan range; an
opinion adopted also by Xenocrates. Asarubas, who has written the most
recently upon these subjects, and is still living, informs us, that
near the shores of the Atlantic is Lake Cephisis, known to the Mauri by
the name of “Electrum;” and that when this lake is dried up by the sun,
the slime of it produces amber, which floats upon the surface. Mnaseas
speaks of a locality in Africa called Sicyon, and of a river Crathis
there, which discharges itself from a lake into the Ocean, the banks of
which are frequented by birds which he calls “meleagrides”[2968] and
“penelopes:” it is here that, according to him, electrum is produced,
in manner above mentioned. Theomenes says that near the Greater Syrtis
are the Gardens of the Hesperides, and Lake Electrum: on the banks, he
says, are poplars, from the summits of which amber falls into the water
below, where it is gathered by the maidens of the Hesperides.

Ctesias asserts that there is in India[2969] a river called Hypobarus,
a word which signifies “bearer of all good things;” that this river
flows from the north into the Eastern Ocean, where it discharges itself
near a mountain covered with trees which produce electrum; and that
these trees are called “siptachoræ,” the meaning of which is “intense
sweetness.” Mithridates says, that off the shores of Germany there
is an island called “Serita,”[2970] covered with a kind of cedar,
from which amber falls upon the rocks. According to Xenocrates, this
substance is called, in Italy, not only “succinum,” but “thieum” as
well, the Scythian name of it, for there also it is to be found, being
“sacrium:” others, he says, are of opinion that it is a product of
Numidia. But the one that has surpassed them all is Sophocles, the
tragic poet; a thing that indeed surprises me, when I only consider
the surpassing gravity of his lofty style, the high repute that he
enjoyed in life, his elevated position by birth at Athens, his various
exploits, and his high military command. According to him, amber is
produced in the countries beyond India, from the tears that are shed
for Meleager, by the birds called “meleagrides!”[2971] Who can be
otherwise than surprised that he should have believed such a thing as
this, or have hoped to persuade others to believe it? What child, too,
could possibly be found in such a state of ignorance as to believe that
birds weep once a year, that their tears are so prolific as this, or
that they go all the way from Greece, where Meleager died, to India to
weep? “But then,” it will be said, “do not the poets tell many other
stories that are quite as fabulous?” Such is the fact, no doubt, but
for a person seriously to advance such an absurdity with reference to
a thing so common as amber, which is imported every day and so easily
proves the mendacity of this assertion, is neither more nor less than
to evince a supreme contempt for the opinions of mankind, and to assert
with impunity an intolerable falsehood.

(3.) There can be no doubt that amber is a product of the islands
of the Northern Ocean, and that it is the substance by the Germans
called “glæsum;”[2972] for which reason the Romans, when Germanicus
Cæsar commanded the fleet in those parts, gave to one of these
islands the name of Glæsaria,[2973] which by the barbarians was known
as Austeravia. Amber is produced from a marrow discharged by trees
belonging to the pine[2974] genus, like gum from the cherry, and resin
from the ordinary pine. It is a liquid at first, which issues forth in
considerable quantities, and is gradually hardened by heat or cold, or
else by the action of the sea, when the rise of the tide carries off
the fragments from the shores of these islands. At all events, it is
thrown up upon the coasts, in so light and voluble a form that in the
shallows it has all the appearance of hanging suspended in the water.
Our forefathers, too, were of opinion that it is the juice of a tree,
and for this reason gave it the name of “succinum:”[2975] and one great
proof that it is the produce of a tree of the pine genus, is the fact
that it emits a pine-like smell when rubbed, and that it burns, when
ignited, with the odour and appearance of torch-pine wood.

Amber is imported by the Germans into Pannonia, more particularly; from
whence the Veneti, by the Greeks called Eneti, first brought it into
general notice, a people in the vicinity of Pannonia, and dwelling on
the shores of the Adriatic Sea. From this it is evident how the story
which connects it with the Padus first originated; and at the present
day we see the female peasantry in the countries that lie beyond that
river wearing necklaces of amber, principally as an ornament, no doubt,
but on account of its remedial virtues as well; for amber, it is
generally believed, is good for affections of the tonsillary glands
and fauces, the various kinds of water in the vicinity of the Alps
being apt to produce disease in the human throat.[2976]

From Carnuntum in Pannonia, to the coasts of Germany from which the
amber is brought, is a distance of about six hundred miles, a fact
which has been only very recently ascertained; and there is still
living a member of the equestrian order, who was sent thither by
Julianus, the manager of the gladiatorial exhibitions for the Emperor
Nero, to procure a supply of this article. Traversing the coasts of
that country and visiting the various markets there, he brought back
amber, in such vast quantities, as to admit of the nets, which are
used for protecting the podium[2977] against the wild beasts, being
studded[2978] with amber.

The arms too, the litters,[2979] and all the other apparatus, were, on
one day, decorated with nothing but amber, a different kind of display
being made each day that these spectacles were exhibited. The largest
piece of amber that this personage brought to Rome was thirteen pounds
in weight.

That amber is found in India too, is a fact well ascertained.
Archelaüs, who reigned over Cappadocia, says that it is brought
from that country in the rough state, and with the fine bark still
adhering to it, it being the custom there to polish it by boiling it
in the grease of a sucking-pig. One great proof that amber must have
been originally in a liquid state, is the fact that, owing to its
transparency, certain objects are to be seen within, ants for example,
gnats, and lizards. These, no doubt, must have first adhered to it
while liquid, and then, upon its hardening, have remained enclosed


There are several kinds[2981] of amber. The white is the one that has
the finest odour;[2982] but neither this nor the wax-coloured amber
is held in very high esteem. The red amber is more highly valued; and
still more so, when it is transparent, without presenting too brilliant
and igneous an appearance. For amber, to be of high quality, should
present a brightness like that of fire, but not flakes resembling
those of flame. The most highly esteemed amber is that known as the
“Falernian,” from its resemblance to the colour of Falernian wine; it
is perfectly transparent, and has a softened, transparent, brightness.
Other kinds, again, are valued for their mellowed tints, like the
colour of boiled honey in appearance. It ought to be known, however,
that any colour can be imparted to amber that may be desired, it being
sometimes stained with kid-suet and root of alkanet; indeed, at the
present day, amber is dyed purple even. When a vivifying heat has been
imparted to it by rubbing it between the fingers, amber will attract
chaff, dried leaves, and thin bark, just in the same way that the
magnet attracts iron. Pieces of amber, steeped in oil, burn with a more
brilliant and more lasting flame than pith of flax.[2983]

So highly valued is this as an object of luxury, that a very diminutive
human effigy, made of amber, has been known to sell at a higher price
than living men even, in stout and vigorous health. This single ground
for censure, however, is far from being sufficient; in Corinthian
objects of vertu, it is the copper that recommends them, combined with
silver and gold; and in embossed works it is the skill and genius of
the artist that is so highly esteemed. We have already said what it is
that recommends vessels of murrhine and of crystal; pearls, too, are of
use for wearing upon the head, and gems upon the fingers. In the case
of all other luxuries, in fact, it is either a spirit of ostentation or
some utility that has been discovered in them that pleads so strongly
in their behalf; but in that of amber we have solely the consciousness
that we are enjoying a luxury, and nothing more. Domitius Nero, among
the other portentous extravagances of his life, bestowed this name upon
the ringlets of his wife Poppæa, and, in certain verses of his, he has
even gone so far as to call them “succini.” As fine names, too, are
never wanting for bodily defects, a third tint has been introduced of
late for hair among our ladies, under the name of “amber-colour.”

Amber, however, is not without its utility in a medicinal point of
view; though it is not for this reason that the women are so pleased
with it. It is beneficial for infants also, attached to the body in
the form of an amulet; and, according to Callistratus, it is good for
any age, as a preventive of delirium and as a cure for strangury,
either taken in drink or attached as an amulet to the body. This last
author, too, has invented a new variety of amber; giving the name
of “chryselectrum”[2984] to an amber of a golden colour, and which
presents the most beautiful tints in the morning. This last kind
attracts flame, too, with the greatest rapidity, and, the moment it
approaches the fire, it ignites. “Worn upon the neck, he says, it is a
cure for fevers and other diseases, and, triturated with honey and oil
of roses, it is good for maladies of the ears. Beaten up with Attic
honey, it is good for dimness of sight: and the powder of it, either
taken by itself or with gum mastich in water, is remedial for diseases
of the stomach. Amber, too, is greatly in request for the imitation
of the transparent precious stones, amethystos in particular: for, as
already stated, it admits of being dyed of every colour.


The pertinacity that has been displayed by certain authors compels me
to speak of lyncurium[2985] next; for even those who maintain that
it is not a variety of amber, still assure us that it is a precious
stone. They assert, too, that it is a product of the urine of the lynx
and of a kind of earth, the animal covering up the urine the moment it
has voided it, from a jealousy that man should gain possession of it;
a combination which hardens into stone. The colour of it, they inform
us, like that of some kinds of amber, is of a fiery[2986] hue, and
it admits, they say, of being engraved. They assert, too, that this
substance attracts[2987] to itself not only leaves or straws, but thin
plates of copper even or of iron; a story which Theophrastus even
believes, on the faith of a certain Diocles.

For my own part, I look upon the whole of these statements as untrue,
and I do not believe that in our time there has ever been a precious
stone seen with such a name as this. I regard, too, the assertions that
have been made as to its medicinal properties, as equally false; to the
effect that, taken in drink, it disperses urinary calculi, and that,
taken in wine, or only looked at, it is curative of jaundice.


We will now proceed to speak of the various kinds of precious stones,
the existence of which is generally admitted, beginning with those
which are the most highly esteemed. Nor shall we content ourselves
with doing this only; but, with the view of consulting the general
welfare of mankind, we shall also refute the infamous lies that
have been promulgated by the magicians: for it is with reference to
precious stones, more particularly, that they have circulated most of
their fabulous stories, stepping, under that most alluring guise of
ascertaining remedial virtues, beyond all bounds, and entering the
region of the marvellous.


The substance that possesses the greatest value, not only among the
precious stones, but of all human possessions, is adamas;[2988] mineral
which, for a long time, was known to kings only, and to very few of
them. Such was the name given to a nodosity of gold,[2989] sometimes,
though but rarely, found in the mines, in close proximity with gold,
and only there to be found, it was thought. The ancients supposed
that adamas was only to be discovered in the mines of Æthiopia,[2990]
between the Temple of Mercury and the island of Meroë; and they have
informed us that it was never larger than a cucumber-seed, or differing
at all from it in colour.

At the present day, for the first time, there are no less than six
different varieties of it recognized. The Indian adamas is found,
not in a stratum of gold, but in a substance of a kindred nature
to crystal; which it closely resembles in its transparency and its
highly polished hexangular and hexahedral[2991] form. In shape it
is turbinated, running to a point at either extremity, and closely
resembling, marvellous to think of, two cones united at the base. In
size, too, it is as large even as a hazel-nut. Resembling that of
India, is the adamas[2992] of Arabia, which is found in a similar
bed, but not so large in size. Other varieties have a pallid hue like
that of silver, and are only to be found in the midst of gold of the
very finest quality. These stones are tested upon the anvil, and will
resist the blow to such an extent, as to make the iron rebound and
the very anvil split asunder.[2993] Indeed its hardness is beyond all
expression, while at the same time it quite sets fire at defiance[2994]
and is incapable of being heated; owing to which indomitable powers it
is, that it has received the name which it derives from the Greek.[2995]

One kind, about as large as a grain of millet in size, has been called
“cenchros,”[2996] and another,[2997] that is found in the gold mines
at Philippi, is known as the “Macedonian” adamas: this last is about
as large as a cucumber-seed in size. We next come to the Cyprian[2998]
adamas, so called from its being found in the Isle of Cyprus: it is of
a colour somewhat inclining to that of copper, but, in reference to its
medicinal virtues, of which we shall have to make further mention, it
is the most efficacious of them all. Next in succession to this we have
siderites,[2999] a stone which shines like iron, and is more ponderous
than any of the others, but differs in its properties from them all.
For it breaks when struck by the hammer, and admits of being perforated
by other kinds of adamas; a thing which is the case, also, with that of
Cyprus: in short, these two are degenerate stones, and only bear the
name of “adamas” for the purpose of enhancing their value.

Now with reference to those affinities and repugnances which exist
between certain objects, known to the Greeks as “sympathia” and
“antipathia,” phænomena to which we have endeavoured[3000] to draw
attention throughout these books, they nowhere manifest themselves with
greater distinctness than here. This indomitable power, in fact, which
sets at nought the two most violent agents in Nature, fire, namely, and
iron, is made to yield before the blood of a he-goat.[3001] The blood,
however must be no otherwise than fresh and warm; the stone, too, must
be well steeped in it, and then subjected to repeated blows: and even
then, it is apt to break both anvils and hammers of iron, if they are
not of the very finest temper. To what spirit of research, or to what
accident, are we indebted for this discovery? or what conjecture can
it have been, that first led man to experiment upon a thing of such
extraordinary value as this, and that, too, with the most unclean[3002]
of all animals? Surely a discovery, such as this, must have been due
solely to the munificence of the gods, and we must look for the reason
of it in none of the elementary operations of Nature, but wholly in her

When, by good fortune, this stone does happen to be broken, it divides
into fragments so minute as to be almost imperceptible. These particles
are held in great request by engravers, who enclose them in iron, and
are enabled thereby, with the greatest facility, to cut[3003] the very
hardest substances known. So great is the antipathy borne by this
stone to the magnet, that when placed near, it will not allow of its
attracting iron; or if the magnet has already attracted the iron, it
will seize the metal and drag it away from the other.[3004] Adamas,
too, overcomes and neutralizes poisons, dispels delirium, and banishes
groundless perturbations of the mind; hence it is that some have given
it the name of “ananchites.”[3005] Metrodorus of Scepsis is the only
author, that I know of, who says that this stone is found also in
Germany, and in the island of Basilia,[3006] where amber is found. He
says, too, that this is preferable to the stone of Arabia; but can
there be any doubt that his statement is incorrect?


Next[3007] in esteem with us are the pearls of India and Arabia, of
which we have already spoken in the Ninth Book,[3008] when treating of
the marine productions.

(5.) The third rank, for many reasons, has been given to the
smaragdus.[3009] Indeed there is no stone, the colour of which is more
delightful to the eye; for whereas the sight fixes itself with avidity
upon the green[3010] grass and the foliage of the trees, we have all
the more pleasure in looking upon the smaragdus, there being no green
in existence of a more intense colour[3011] than this. And then,
besides, of all the precious stones, this is the only one that feeds
the sight without satiating it. Even when the vision has been fatigued
with intently viewing other objects, it is refreshed by being turned
upon this stone; and lapidaries know of nothing that is more gratefully
soothing to the eyes, its soft green tints being wonderfully adapted
for assuaging lassitude, when felt in those organs.

And then, besides, when viewed from a distance, these stones appear all
the larger to the sight, reflecting as they do, their green hues upon
the circumambient air. Neither sunshine, shade, nor artificial light
effects any change in their appearance; they have always a softened
and graduated brilliancy; and transmitting the light with facility,
they allow the vision to penetrate their interior; a property which is
so pleasing, also, with reference to water. In form they are mostly
concave, so as to re-unite the rays of light and the powers of vision:
and hence it is, that it is so universally agreed upon among mankind
to respect these stones, and to forbid their surface[3012] to be
engraved. In the case, however, of the stones of Scythia and Egypt,
their hardness is such, that it would be quite impossible to penetrate
them. When the surface of the smaragdus is flat, it reflects the image
of objects in the same manner as a mirror. The Emperor Nero used to
view[3013] the combats of the gladiators upon a smaragdus.


Of this stone there are no less than twelve different kinds; of
which the finest is the Scythian[3014] smaragdus, so called from the
country where it is found. None of them has a deeper colour than this,
or is more free from defects: indeed, in the same degree that the
smaragdus is superior to other precious stones, the Scythian smaragdus
is superior to the other varieties. Next in esteem to this, as also
in locality, is the smaragdus of Bactriana.[3015] These stones are
collected, it is said, in the fissures of rocks, when the Etesian[3016]
winds prevail; a period at which the earth that covers them is removed,
and the stones are detected by their brightness, the sands being
greatly agitated by the action of the winds. These last, however, are
much inferior, they say, to those of Scythia in size. The third rank is
held by the stones of Egypt,[3017] which are extracted from the hills
in the vicinity of Coptos, a city of Thebais.

All the other kinds are found in copper-mines, and hence it is that, of
these varieties, the smaragdus of Cyprus holds the highest rank. The
merit of them consists in their clear colour, which has nothing thin
or diluted in it, but presents a rich and humid transparency, closely
resembling the tints of the sea, in fact. Hence it is that these stones
are at once diaphanous and shining, or, in other words, reflect their
colours and allow the vision to penetrate within. They say that in
this island, upon the tomb of a petty king named Hermias, near the
fisheries[3018] there, there was formerly a lion in marble, with eyes
made of smaragdi; the brilliancy of which penetrated the sea to such
a degree, as to alarm the tunnies and put them to flight: a novel
circumstance, which for a long time excited wonder in the fishermen,
till at last the stones in the statue were changed for others.


It will be only proper, too, seeing that the prices of these stones
are so exorbitant, to point out their defects. Some defects, no doubt,
are common to all of them, while others, again, like those found in
the human race, are peculiar only to those of a certain country. Thus,
for example, the stones of Cyprus are not all green alike, and in the
same smaragdus some parts are more or less so than others, the stone
not always preserving that uniform deep tint which characterizes the
smaragdus of Scythia. In other instances, a shadow runs through the
stone, and the colour becomes dulled thereby; the consequence of which
is, that its value is depreciated; and even more so, when the colour is
thin and diluted.

In consequence of the defects[3019] in these stones, they have been
divided into several classes. Some of them are obscure, and are then
known as “blind” stones; some have a certain density, which impairs
their transparency; others, again, are mottled, and others covered
with a cloud. This cloud, however, is altogether different from the
shadow above mentioned; for it is a defect which renders the stone of
a whitish hue, and not of a transparent green throughout; presenting,
as it does, in the interior or upon the surface, a certain degree of
whiteness which arrests the vision. Other defects, again, in these
stones, are filaments, salt-like[3020] grains, or traces of lead ore,
faults which are mostly common to them all.

Next after the kinds above described, the smaragdus of Æthiopia is
held in high esteem; being found, as Juba tells us, at a distance
of twenty-five days’ journey from Coptos. These are of a bright
green, but are seldom to be met with perfectly clear or of an uniform
colour. Democritus includes in this class the stones that are known
as “herminei,” and as “Persian” stones; the former of which are of a
convex, massive shape, while the latter are destitute of transparency,
but have an agreeable, uniform colour, and satisfy the vision without
allowing it to penetrate them; strongly resembling, in this respect,
the eyes of cats and of panthers, which are radiant without being
diaphanous. In the sun, he says, they lose their brilliancy, but they
are radiant in the shade, the brightness of them being seen at a
greater distance than in the case of other stones. One other fault,
too, in all these stones is, that they often have a colour like that of
honey or rancid oil, or else are clear and transparent, but not green.

These defects exist in the smaragdi of Attica,[3021] more particularly,
which are found in the silver-mines there, at a place known by the
name of Thoricos.[3022] These last are never so massive as the others,
and are always more pleasing to the sight when viewed from a distance:
lead ore, too, is often to be detected in them, or, in other words,
they have a leaden appearance when looked at in the sun.[3023] One
peculiarity in them is, that some of them become impaired by age,
gradually lose their green colour, and are even deteriorated by
exposure to the sun. Next to the stones of Attica come those of Media,
a variety which presents the most numerous tints of all, and sometimes
approaches sapphiros[3024] in colour. These stones are wavy,[3025] and
represent various natural objects, such as poppy-heads, for example,
birds, the young of animals, and feathers: all of them appear naturally
of a green colour, but become improved by the application of oil. No
stones of this species are of a larger size than these.

I am not aware that any of these stones[3026] are still in existence
at Chalcedon, the copper mines of that locality being now exhausted:
but be this as it may, they were always the smallest in size and the
most inferior in value. Brittle, and of a colour far from distinctly
pronounced, they resembled in their tints the feathers that are seen
in the tail of the peacock or on the necks of pigeons.[3027] More or
less brilliant, too, according to the angle at which they were viewed,
they presented an appearance like that of veins and scales. There was
another defect, also, peculiar to these stones, known as “sarcion,”
from the circumstance that a kind of flesh[3028] appeared to attach
itself to the stone. The mountain near Chalcedon, where these stones
were gathered, is still known by the name of “Smaragdites.” Juba
informs us that a kind of smaragdus, known as “cloras,”[3029] is used
in Arabia as an ornament for buildings, as also the stone which by
the people of Egypt is called “alabastrites.” On the same authority,
too, we learn that there are several varieties of the smaragdus in the
neighbouring mountains, and that stones like those of Media are found
in Mount Taygetus,[3030] as also in Sicily.


Among the smaragdi is also included the precious stone known as
“tanos.”[3031] It comes from Persia, and is of an unsightly green, and
of a soiled colour within. There is the chalcosmaragdos[3032] also,
a native of Cyprus, the face of which is mottled with coppery veins.
Theophrastus relates that he had found it stated in the Egyptian
histories, that a king of Babylon once sent to the king of Egypt a
smaragdus[3033] four cubits in length by three in breadth. He informs
us, also, that in a temple of Jupiter in Egypt there was an obelisk
made of four smaragdi, forty cubits in length, and four in breadth at
one extremity, and two at the other. He says, too, that at the period
at which he wrote, there was in the Temple of Hercules at Tyrus a
large column made of a single smaragdus;[3034] though very possibly
it might only be pseudo-smaragdus, a kind of stone not uncommonly
found in Cyprus, where a block had been discovered, composed, one
half of smaragdus, and one half of jasper,[3035] and the liquid in
which had not as yet been entirely transformed. Apion, surnamed
“Plistonices,”[3036] has left a very recent statement, that there was
still in existence, in his time, in the Labyrinth of Egypt, a colossal
statue of Serapis made of a single smaragdus, nine cubits in height.


Beryls, it is thought, are of the same[3037] nature as the smaragdus,
or at least closely analogous. India[3038] produces them, and they
are rarely to be found elsewhere. The lapidaries cut all beryls of an
hexagonal[3039] form; because the colour, which is deadened by a dull
uniformity of surface, is heightened by the reflection resulting from
the angles. If they are cut in any other way, these stones have no
brilliancy whatever. The most esteemed beryls are those which in colour
resemble the pure green of the sea;[3040] the chrysoberyl[3041] being
next in value, a stone of a somewhat paler colour, but approaching a
golden tint. Closely allied to this last in its brilliancy, but of
a more pallid colour, and thought by some to constitute a separate
genus, is chrysoprasus.[3042] In the fourth rank are reckoned the
hyacinthine beryls; and in the fifth, those known as “aëroides.”[3043]
Next, we have the wax-coloured beryls, and, after them, the oleaginous
beryls, so called from the resemblance of their colour to that of oil.
Last of all, there are the stones which closely resemble crystal in
appearance; mostly disfigured by spots and filaments, and of a poor,
faint, colour as well; all of them so many imperfections in the stone.

The people of India are marvellously fond of beryls of an
elongated[3044] form, and say that these are the only precious
stones they prefer wearing without the addition of gold: hence it is
that, after piercing them, they string them upon the bristles of the
elephant. It is generally agreed, however, that those stones should not
be perforated which are of the finest quality; and in this case they
only enclose the extremities of them in studs of gold. They prefer,
too, cutting the beryls in a cylindrical form, instead of setting
them as precious stones; an elongated shape being the one that is
most highly esteemed. Some are of opinion that beryls are naturally
angular,[3045] and that when pierced they become improved in colour;
the white substance being thus removed that lies within, and their
brilliancy heightened by the reflection of the gold in which they are
set; or, at all events, their transparency being increased by this
diminution in their thickness. In addition to the defects already[3046]
mentioned, and which are pretty nearly the same as those to which the
smaragdus is subject, beryls are affected with cloudy spots,[3047] like
those on the finger-nails in appearance. In our own part of the world,
it is thought that they are sometimes found in the countries that lie
in the vicinity of Pontus.[3048] The people of India, by colouring
crystal, have found a method of imitating various precious stones,
beryls in particular.


Opals[3049] are at once very similar to, and very different from,
beryls, and only yield to the smaragdus in value. India, too, is
the sole[3050] parent of these precious stones, thus completing
her glory as being the great producer of the most costly gems.
Of all precious stones, it is opal that presents the greatest
difficulties of description, it displaying at once the piercing fire
of carbunculus,[3051] the purple brilliancy of amethystos, and the
sea-green of smaragdus, the whole blended together and refulgent with
a brightness that is quite incredible. Some authors have compared the
effect of its refulgence to that of the colour known as Armenian[3052]
pigment, while others speak of it as resembling the flame of burning
sulphur, or of flame fed with oil. In size, the opal is about as large
as a hazel-nut,[3053] and, with reference to it, there is a remarkable
historical anecdote related. For there is still in existence a stone
of this class, on account of which Antonius proscribed the senator
Nonius, son of the Nonius Struma, whom the poet Catullus[3054] was
so displeased at seeing in the curule chair, and grandfather of the
Servilius Nonianus, who in our own times was consul.[3055] On being
thus proscribed, Nonius took to flight, carrying with him, out of all
his wealth, nothing but this ring, the value of which, it is well
known, was estimated at two millions of sesterces. How marvellous
must have been the cruelty, how marvellous the luxurious passion of
Antonius, thus to proscribe a man for the possession of a jewel! and
no less marvellous must have been the obstinacy of Nonius, who could
thus dote upon what had been the cause of his proscription; for we see
the very brutes even tear off the portion of their body for the sake of
which they know their existence to be imperilled,[3056] and so redeem
themselves by parting with it.


Defects in opal are, a colour inclining to that of the flower called
heliotropium,[3057] or to that of crystal or of hailstones; salt-like
grains intervening; roughness on the surface; or sharp points,
presenting themselves to the eye. There is no stone that is imitated
by fraudulent dealers with more exactness than this, in glass, the
only mode of detecting the imposition being by the light of the sun.
For when a false[3058] opal is held between the finger and thumb, and
exposed to the rays of that luminary, it presents but one and the
same transparent colour throughout, limited to the body of the stone:
whereas the genuine opal offers various refulgent tints in succession,
and reflects now one hue and now another, as it sheds its luminous
brilliancy upon the fingers.

This stone, in consequence of its extraordinary beauty, has been called
“pæderos”[3059] by many authors; and some who make a distinct species
of it, say that it is the same as the stone that in India is called
“sangenon.” These last-mentioned stones, it is said, are found in
Egypt also, Arabia, and, of very inferior quality, in Pontus. Galatia,
too, is said to produce them, as also Thasos and Cyprus. The finest in
quality of them have all the beauty of opal, but they are of a softer
brilliancy, and are mostly rough on the surface. Their colour is a
mixture of sky-blue and purple, and the green hues of the smaragdus
are wanting: those, too, are preferred, which have their brilliancy
deepened by a vinous hue, rather than those which have their colours
diluted, as it were, with water.


Thus far we have spoken in reference to the stones, which, it is
generally agreed, belong to the highest rank; in obedience, more
particularly, to a decree[3060] that has been passed by the ladies to
that effect. There is less certainty with respect to those upon which
the men as well have been left to form a judgment; seeing that the
value of each stone depends more particularly upon the caprice of the
individual and the rivalry that exists in reference thereto; as, for
example, when Claudius Cæsar was so much in the habit of wearing the
smaragdus and the sardonyx.[3061] The first Roman who wore a sardonyx,
according to Demostratus, was the elder Africanus, since whose time
this stone has been held in very high esteem at Rome: for which reason,
we shall give it the next place after the opal. By sardonyx, as the
name[3062] itself indicates, was formerly understood a sarda with a
white ground beneath it, like the flesh beneath the human finger-nail;
both parts of the stone being equally transparent. Such, according to
Ismenias, Demostratus, Zenothemis, and Sotacus, is the sardonyx of
India; the last two giving the name of “blind” sardonyx to all the
other stones of this class which are not transparent, and which have
now entirely appropriated the name to themselves. For, at the present
day, the Arabian sardonyx presents no traces whatever of the Indian
sarda,[3063] it being a stone that has been found to be characterized
by several different colours of late; black or azure for the base, and
vermilion, surrounded with a line of rich white, for the upper part,
not without a certain glimpse[3064] of purple as the white passes into
the red.[3065]

We learn from Zenothemis that in his time these stones were not held
by the people of India in any high esteem, although they are found
there of so large a size as to admit of the hilts of swords being
made of them. It is well known, too, that in that country they are
exposed to view by the mountain-streams, and that in our part of the
world they were formerly valued from the fact that they are nearly the
only ones[3066] among the engraved precious stones that do not bring
away the wax when an impression is made. The consequence is, that our
example has at last taught the people of India to set a value upon
them, and the lower classes there now pierce them even, to wear them as
ornaments for the neck; the great proof, in fact, at the present day,
of a sardonyx being of Indian origin. Those of Arabia are remarkable
for their marginal line of brilliant white, of considerable breadth,
and not glistening in hollow fissures in the stone or upon the sides,
but shining upon the very surface, at the margin, and supported by a
ground intensely black beneath. In the stones of India, this ground
is like wax in colour,[3067] or else like cornel, with a circle also
of white around it. In some of these stones, too, there is a play of
colours like those of the rainbow, while the surface is redder even
than the shell of the sea-locust.[3068]

Those stones which are like honey in appearance, or of a fæculent[3069]
colour—such being the name given to one defect in them—are generally
disapproved of. They are rejected also when the white zone blends
itself with the other colours, and its limits are not definitely
marked; or if, in like manner, it is irregularly intersected by any
other colour; it being looked upon as an imperfection if the regularity
of any one of the colours is interrupted by the interposition of
another. The sardonyx of Armenia is held in some esteem, but the zone
round it is of a pallid hue.


We must give some account also of onyx,[3070] because of the name which
it partly shares in common with sardonyx. This name, though in some
places[3071] given to a marble, is here used to signify a precious
stone. Sudines says, that in this stone there is a white portion which
resembles the white of the human-finger nail, in addition to the
colours of chrysolithos, sarda, and iaspis. According to Zenothemis,
there are numerous varieties of the Indian onyx, the fiery-coloured,
the black, and the cornel, with white veins encircling them, like an
eye as it were, and in some cases running across them obliquely.[3072]
Sotacus mentions an Arabian onyx, which differs from the rest; that of
India, according to him, presenting small flames,[3073] each surrounded
by one or more white zones; in a manner altogether different from the
Indian sardonyx, which presents a series of white specks, while in this
case it is one continuous circle. The Arabian onyx, on the other hand,
is black, he says, with a white zone encircling it.

Satyrus says, that there is an onyx in India of a flesh colour,[3074]
partly resembling carbunculus, and partly chrysolithos and amethystos;
a variety, however, which he altogether disapproves of. The real
onyx, according to him, has numerous veins of variegated colours,
interspersed with others of a milk-white hue; the shades of which,
as they pass into one another, produce a tint which surpasses all
description, and blends itself into one harmonious whole, of a most
beautiful appearance.

Not unlike sardonyx, too, is sarda,[3075] a stone which also has, in
part, a kindred name with it; but before passing on to it, we must
first take some notice of all those precious stones which have a
brilliancy like that of flame.


In the first rank among these is carbunculus,[3076] so called from its
resemblance to fire; though in reality it is proof against the action
of that element:[3077] hence it is that some persons call these stones
“acaustoi.”[3078] There are various kinds of carbunculus, the Indian
and the Garamantic, for example, which last has been also called the
Carchedonian,[3079] in compliment to the former opulence of Great
Carthage.[3080] To these are added the Æthiopian and the Alabandic
stones, the latter of which are found at Orthosia[3081] in Caria, but
are cut and polished at Alabanda.[3082] In addition to this, each kind
is subdivided into the male carbunculus and the female, the former
of which is of a more striking brilliancy, the brightness of the
latter being not so strong. In the male varieties too, we see some in
which the fire is clearer than in others; while some, again, are of a
darker[3083] hue, or else have their brilliancy more deeply seated, and
shine with a more powerful lustre than others when viewed in the sun.

The most highly esteemed, however, is the amethyst-coloured[3084]
stone, the fire at the extremity of which closely approaches the
violet tint of amethystos: next in value to which, are the stones
known as “syrtites,” radiant with a wavy, feathery,[3085] refulgence.
They are found more particularly, it is said, where the reflection
is most powerful of the rays of the sun. Satyrus says that the
carbunculus[3086] of India has no lustre, that it is mostly soiled,
and that in all cases its brilliancy is of a tawny complexion. The
Æthiopian stones, he says, are dense, emit no lustre, and burn with a
concentrated flame. According to Callistratus, the refulgence of this
stone should be of a whitish hue, and, when placed upon a table, it
should heighten by its lustre other stones placed near it that are
clouded at the edge. Hence it is, that many writers speak of this
stone as the white carbunculus, while the Indian stone, with its
comparatively feeble lustre, is known by the name of “lignyzon.”[3087]
The Carchedonian stones, they say, are of much smaller size than the
others; but those of India admit of being hollowed out, and making
vessels that will hold as much as one sextarius[3088] even.

According to Archelaüs, the Carchedonian carbunculus is of a more
swarthy appearance than the others, but, when exposed to the light of
the fire or sun, and viewed obliquely, the brilliancy of it is much
more intense than that of the rest. He says, too, that this stone, when
overshadowed by a roof, has a purple tint; that when viewed in the open
air, it is of a flame colour; and that, when exposed to the rays of
the sun, it scintillates. He states also that wax, if sealed with these
stones, in the shade even, will melt. Many authors have asserted that
the Indian stones are paler than the Carchedonian, and that, quite the
converse of these last, they are all the less brilliant when viewed
obliquely; as also, that in the male Carchedonian stone there are
luminous points like stars within, while, in the case of the female
stone, the whole of its refulgence is thrown beyond it. The stones of
Alabanda too, it is said, are darker than the other kinds, and rough on
the surface. In the vicinity also of Miletus, there are stones of this
description found in the earth, resembling those of Alabanda in colour,
and proof against the action of fire.

According to Theophrastus,[3089] these stones are to be found also at
Orchomenus in Arcadia and in the Isle of Chios;[3090] the former[3091]
of which are of a darker hue, and are used for making mirrors. He says
too, that at Trœzen they are found of various colours and mottled with
white spots, those found at Corinth being of a more pallid, whitish,
hue. He states also, that they are sometimes imported from Massilia.
Bocchus informs us in his writings, that these stones are extracted
from the ground at Olisipo;[3092] at the cost of great labour, however,
in consequence of the parched, argillaceous, nature of the soil.


Nothing is more difficult than to distinguish the several varieties of
this stone, so great an opportunity do they afford to artistic skill of
compelling them to reflect the colours of substances placed beneath. It
is possible, they say, to heighten the brilliancy of dull stones, by
steeping them for fourteen days in vinegar, this adventitious lustre
being retained by them as many months. They are counterfeited, too,
with great exactness in glass; but the difference may be detected with
the touchstone; the same being the case also with other artificial
stones, as the material is always of a softer nature and comparatively
brittle. When thus tested by the stone, hard knots, too, are detected
in them; and the weight of the glass counterfeit is always less. In
some cases, too, they present small blisters within, which shine like


There is also a fossil stone found in Thesprotia, known as
“anthracitis,”[3094] and resembling a burning coal[3095] in appearance.
Those who have stated that it is a native also of Liguria, are
mistaken, in my opinion, unless perhaps it was to be found there in
their time. Some of these stones, they say, are surrounded with a
vein of white. Like those which we have mentioned above, they have a
fiery colour, but there is this peculiarity in them, that when thrown
into the fire they have all the appearance of becoming quenched and
deadened; while, on the other hand, if they are drenched with water,
they become doubly glowing.[3096]


Of a kindred nature, too, is sandastros,[3097] known as “garamantites”
by some: it is found in India, at a place of that name, and is a
product also of the southern parts of Arabia. The great recommendation
of it is, that it has all the appearance of fire placed behind a
transparent substance, it burning with star-like scintillations
within, that resemble drops of gold, and are always to be seen in
the body of the stone, and never upon the surface. There are certain
religious associations, too, connected with this stone, in consequence
of the affinity which it is supposed to bear with the stars; these
scintillations being mostly, in number and arrangement, like the
constellations of the Pleiades and Hyades; a circumstance which had led
to the use of it by the Chaldæi in the ceremonials which they practise.

Here, too, the male stones are distinguished from the female, by their
comparative depth of colour and the vigorousness of the tints which
they impart to objects near them: indeed the stones of India, it is
said, quite dim the sight by their brilliancy. The flame of the female
sandastros is of a more softened nature, and may be pronounced to be
lustrous rather than brilliant. Some prefer the stone of Arabia to that
of India, and say that this last bears a considerable resemblance to
a smoke-coloured chrysolithos. Ismenias asserts that sandastros, in
consequence of its extreme softness, will not admit of being polished,
a circumstance which makes it sell all[3098] the dearer: other writers,
again, call these stones “sandrisitæ.” One point upon which all the
authorities are agreed is, that the greater the number of stars upon
the stone, the more costly it is in price.

The similarity of the name has sometimes caused this stone to be
confounded with that known as “sandaresos,” and which Nicander calls
“sandaserion,” and others “sandaseron.” Some, again, call this
last-mentioned stone “sandastros,” and the former one “sandaresos.” The
stone[3099] that is thus mentioned by Nicander, is a native of India as
well as the other, and likewise takes its name from the locality where
it is found. The colour of it is that of an apple, or of green oil, and
no one sets any value on it.


To the same class of flame-coloured stones belongs that known as
“lychnis;”[3100] so called from its lustre being heightd by the light
of the lamp, under which circumstances its tints are particularly
pleasing. It is found in the vicinity of Orthosia, throughout the whole
of Caria, and in the neighbouring localities; but the most approved
stones are those that come from India. Some writers have given the
name of “deadened”[3101] carbunculus to a lychnis of second-rate
quality, and similar in colour to the flower known as the “flower of
Jove.”[3102] I find other varieties also mentioned, one with a purple
radiance, and another of a scarlet[3103] tint. It is asserted, too,
that these stones, when heated or rubbed between the fingers, will
attract[3104] chaff and filaments of paper.


Carchedonia,[3105] too, is said to have the same property, though far
inferior in value to the stones already mentioned. It is found in the
mountains among the Nasamones,[3106] being produced, the natives think,
by showers sent for the purpose from heaven. These stones are found
by the light of the moon, more particularly when at full: in former
days, Carthage was the entrepôt for them. Archelaüs speaks of a brittle
variety being found in the vicinity of Thebes also, in Egypt, full of
veins, and similar to dying embers in appearance. I find it stated,
too, that in former times, drinking-vessels used to be made of this
stone and of lychnis:[3107] all these kinds of stone, however, offer
the most obstinate resistance to the graver, and, if used for seals,
are apt to bring away a part of the wax.


Sarda,[3108] on the other hand, is remarkably useful for this purpose;
a stone which shares its name, in part, with sardonyx. It is a common
stone, and was first found at Sardes, but the most esteemed kind is
that of the vicinity of Babylon. When certain quarries are being
worked, these stones are found, adhering, like a kind of heart, to the
interior of the rock. This mineral, however, is said to be now extinct
in Persia; though it is to be found in numerous other localities, Paros
and Assos, for example.

In India[3109] there are three varieties of this stone; the red sarda,
the one known as “pionia,” from its thickness, and a third kind,
beneath which they place a ground of silver tinsel. The Indian stones
are transparent, those of Arabia being more opaque. There are some
found also in the vicinity of Leucas in Epirus, and in Egypt, which
have a ground placed beneath them of leaf gold. In the case of this
stone, too, the male stone shines with a more attractive brilliancy
than the female, which is of a thicker substance, and more opaque.
Among the ancients there was no precious stone in more common use than
this; at all events, it is this stone that is made so much parade
of in the comedies of Menander and Philemon. No one, too, among the
transparent stones is tarnished more speedily by exposure to moisture
than this; though of all liquids, it is oil that acts the most readily
upon it. Those stones which are like honey in colour, are generally
disapproved of, and still more so, when they have the complexion of


Topazos[3111] is a stone that is still held in very high estimation
for its green tints: indeed, when it was first discovered, it was
preferred to every other kind of precious stone. It so happened that
some Troglodytic pirates, suffering from tempest and hunger, having
landed upon an island off the coast of Arabia known as Cytis,[3112]
when digging there for roots and grass, discovered this precious stone:
such, at least, is the opinion expressed by Archelaüs. Juba says that
there is an island in the Red Sea called “Topazos,”[3113] at a distance
of three hundred stadia from the main land; that it is surrounded by
fogs, and is often sought by navigators in consequence; and that,
owing to this, it received its present name,[3114] the word “topazin”
meaning “to seek,” in the language of the Troglodytæ. He states also,
that Philon, the king’s præfect, was the first to bring these stones
from this island; that, on his presenting them to Queen Berenice, the
mother of the second Ptolemæus, she was wonderfully pleased with them;
and that, at a later period, a statue, four cubits in height, was
made of this stone,[3115] in honour of Arsinoë, the wife of Ptolemæus
Philadelphus, it being consecrated in the temple known as the “Golden

The most recent writers say that this stone is found also in the
vicinity of Alabastrum, a city of Thebais, and they distinguish two
varieties of it, the prasoïdes[3116] and the chrysopteron;[3117] which
last is similar to chrysoprasus,[3118] all the shades of it tending,
more or less, to resemble the colouring principle of the leek. Topazos
is the largest of all the precious stones, and is the only one among
those of high value that yields to the action of the file, the rest
being polished by the aid of stone of Naxos.[3119] It admits, too, of
being worn by use.


With this stone we must also couple another, which resembles it
more closely in appearance than in value, the stone known as
“callaina,”[3120] and of a pale green colour. It is found in the
countries[3121] that lie at the back of India, among the Phycari,
namely, who inhabit Mount Caucasus, the Sacæ, and the Dahæ. It is
remarkable for its size, but is covered with holes and full of
extraneous matter; that, however, which is found in Carmania is of a
finer quality, and far superior. In both cases, however, it is only
amid frozen and inaccessible rocks that it is found, protruding from
the surface, like an eye in appearance, and slightly adhering to the
rock; not as though it formed an integral part of it, but with all
the appearance of having been attached to it. People so habituated as
they are to riding on horseback, cannot find the energy and dexterity
requisite for climbing the rocks to obtain the stones, while, at the
same time, they are quite terrified at the danger of doing so. Hence
it is, that they attack the stones with slings from a distance, and
so bring them down, moss and all. It is with this stone that the
people pay their tribute, and this the rich look upon as their most
graceful ornament for the neck.[3122] This constitutes the whole of
their wealth, with some, and it is their chief glory to recount how
many of these stones they have brought down from the mountain heights
since the days of their childhood. Their success, however, is extremely
variable;[3123] for while some, at the very first throw, have brought
down remarkably fine specimens, many have arrived at old age without
obtaining any.

Such is the method of procuring these stones; their form being given
them by cutting, a thing that is easily effected. The best of them
have just the colour of smaragdus, a thing that proves that the most
pleasing property in them is one that belongs of right to another
stone. Their beauty is heightened by setting them in gold, and there
is no stone to which the contrast of the gold is more becoming. The
finest of them lose their colour by coming in contact with oil,
unguents, or undiluted wine even; whereas those of a poorer quality
preserve their colour better. There is no stone, too, that is more
easily counterfeited in glass. Some writers say, that this stone is
to be found in Arabia also, in the nest of the bird known as the


There are numerous other kinds also of green stones. To the more common
class belongs prasius;[3125] one variety of which is disfigured with
spots[3126] like blood, while another kind is marked with three streaks
of white. To all these stones chrysoprasus[3127] is preferred, which is
also similar to the colouring matter of the leek, but varies in tint
between topazos and gold. This stone is found of so large a size as to
admit of drinking-boats[3128] even being made of it, and is cut into
cylinders very frequently.


India, which produces these stones, produces nilion[3129] also, a stone
that differs from the last in its dull, diminished lustre, which, when
steadily looked upon, soon fades from the sight. Sudines says that it
is to be found also in the Siberus, a river of Attica. In appearance it
resembles a smoke-coloured topazos, or, in some cases, a topazos with
a tint like honey. According to Juba, Æthiopia produces it, upon the
shores of the river known to us as the Nilus; to which circumstance, he
says, it owes its name.


Molochitis[3130] is not transparent, being of a deeper green, and more
opaque than smaragdus; its name is derived from the mallow,[3131] which
it resembles in colour. It is highly esteemed for making seals, and
it is endowed by Nature with medicinal properties which render it a
preservative for infants against certain dangers which menace them.
This stone is a native of Arabia.[3132]


Iaspis,[3133] too, is green, and often transparent; a stone which, if
surpassed by many others, still retains the renown which it acquired in
former times. Many countries produce this stone: that of India is like
smaragdus in colour; that of Cyprus is hard, and of a full sea-green;
and that of Persia is sky-blue, whence its name, “aërizusa.”[3134]
Similar to this last is the Caspian iaspis. On the banks of the river
Thermodon the iaspis is of an azure colour; in Phrygia, it is purple;
and in Cappadocia of an azure purple, sombre, and not refulgent.
Amisos[3135] sends us an iaspis like that of India in colour, and
Chalcedon,[3136] a stone of a turbid hue.

But it is of less consequence to distinguish the several localities
that furnish it, than it is to remark upon the degrees of excellence
which they present. The best kind is that which has a shade of purple,
the next best being the rose-coloured, and the next the stone with
the green colour of the smaragdus; to each of which the Greeks have
given names[3137] according to their respective tints. A fourth kind,
which is called by them “boria,”[3138] resembles in colour the sky
of a morning in autumn; this, too, will be the same that is known as
“aërizusa.”[3139] There is an iaspis also which resembles sarda[3140]
in appearance, and another with a violet tint. Not less numerous, too,
are the other kinds that are left undescribed; but they are all blue to
a fault,[3141] or else resemble crystal in appearance, or the tints of
the myxa[3142] plum. There is the terebenthine[3143]-coloured iaspis
also; improperly so called, in my opinion, as it has all the appearance
of being a composition of numerous gems of this description.

The best of these stones are set in an open bezel, the gold of which
only embraces the margins of the stone, leaving the upper and lower
surfaces uncovered. One great defect in them is a subdued lustre,
and a want of refulgence when viewed from a distance. Grains also
like salt appear within the stone, and all the other defects which
are common[3144] to precious stones in general. Sometimes they are
imitated in glass; a fraud, however, which may be easily detected, from
the material throwing out its refulgence, instead of concentrating
it within itself. To this class also belongs the stone called
“sphragis,”[3145] which is only reckoned as belonging to the domain of
precious stones, from the circumstance that it is the best of all for
making signets.[3146]

(9.) Throughout all the East, it is the custom, it is said, to wear
iaspis by way of amulet. The variety of this stone which resembles
smaragdus in colour is often found with a white line running
transversely through the middle; in which case it is known as
“monogrammos:”[3147] when it is streaked with several lines, it is
called “polygrammos.”[3148] Here, too, I may take the opportunity of
exposing the falsehoods[3149] of the magicians, who pretend that this
stone is beneficial for persons when speaking in public. There is a
stone also that is formed of iaspis and onyx combined, and is known
as “iasponyx.”[3150] Sometimes this stone has a clouded appearance;
sometimes it has spots upon the surface like snow;[3151] and sometimes
it is stellated with red spots.[3152] One kind resembles salt of
Megara[3153] in appearance, and another is known as capnias,[3154]
and looks as if it had been smoked. We have seen in our day an
iaspis[3155] fifteen inches in length, of which a figure of Nero was
made, armed with a cuirass.


We must also give a separate account of cyanos,[3156] a name which,
until very recently, was given to a species of iaspis, on account of
its cærulean colour. The best kind is that of Scythia,[3157] the next
best being the produce of Cyprus, and, last of all, that of Egypt.
An artificial[3158] kind is much in use, that is prepared by dyeing
other substances; and this invention is looked upon as one of the
great glories of the kings of Egypt, the name of the king who first
discovered it being still preserved in their annals. This stone, too,
is divided into male and female, and sometimes it has the appearance of
being powdered with a golden dust, in much the same way as sapphiros.


For sapphiros,[3159] too, is refulgent with spots[3160] like gold. It
is also of an azure colour, though sometimes, but rarely, it is purple;
the best kind being that which comes from Media. In no case, however,
is this stone diaphanous; in addition to which, it is not suited for
engraving when intersected with hard particles of a crystalline[3161]
nature. Those among them that have the colour of cyanos are generally
thought to be the male stones.


We will now commence with another class of precious stones, those of
a purple colour, or whose tints are derived from purple. To the first
rank belongs the amethystos[3162] of India; a stone which is also found
in the part of Arabia that adjoins Syria and is known as Petra, as also
in Lesser Armenia, Egypt, and Galatia; the very worst of all, and the
least valued, being those of Thasos and Cyprus. The name which these
stones bear, originates, it is said, in the peculiar tint of their
brilliancy, which, after closely approaching the colour of wine, passes
off into a violet without being fully pronounced; or else, according to
some authorities, in the fact that in their purple there is something
that falls short of a fiery colour, the tints fading off and inclining
to the colour of wine.

All these stones are transparent and of an agreeable violet colour,
and are easy[3163] to engrave. Those of India have in perfection the
very richest shades of purple, and it is to attain this colour that the
dyers[3164] in purple direct all their endeavours; it presenting a fine
mellowed appearance to the eye, and not dazzling the sight, as in the
case with the colours of the carbunculus. Another variety approaches
more nearly the hyacinth in colour: the people of India call this tint
“socon,” and the stone itself “socondion.” A third stone of this class
is of a more diluted colour, and is known as “sapenos,” being identical
with “pharanitis,” so called from a country[3165] on the frontiers of
Arabia that produces it. Of a fourth kind, the colour is like that of
wine; and in a fifth it borders very closely upon that of crystal,
the purple gradually passing off into white. This last kind is but
little valued; for a fine amethyst should always have, when viewed
sideways[3166] and held up to the light, a certain purple refulgence,
like that of carbunculus, slightly inclining to a tint of rose.

Some prefer giving these stones the name of “pæderos”[3167] or of
“anteros,”[3168] while to many they are known as “Venus’[3169] eyelid,”
a name which would seem to be particularly appropriate to the colour
and general appearance of the gem. The falsehoods of the magicians
would persuade us that these stones are preventive of inebriety, and
that it is from this that they have derived[3170] their name. They tell
us also, that if we inscribe the names of the sun and moon upon this
stone, and then wear it suspended from the neck, with some hair of
the cynocephalus[3171] and feathers of the swallow, it will act as a
preservative against all noxious spells. It is said too, that worn in
any manner, this stone will ensure access to the presence of kings; and
that it will avert hail and the attacks of locusts, if a certain prayer
is also repeated which they mention. They make similar promises, too,
in reference to the smaragdus, if graven with the figure of an eagle
or of a scarabæus: statements which, in my opinion, they cannot have
committed to writing without a feeling of contempt and derision for the
rest of mankind.


Very different from this stone is hyacinthos,[3172] though partaking
of a colour that closely borders upon it. The great difference between
them is, that the brilliant violet which is so refulgent in the
amethystos, is diluted in the other stone. Though pleasing at first
sight, its beauty fades before the eye is satiated; indeed, so far is
it from satisfying the sight, that it almost wholly fails to attract
the eye, its lustre disappearing more rapidly than the tints of the
flower[3173] known by the same name.


Æthiopia, which produces hyacinthos, produces chrysolithos[3174] also,
a transparent stone with a refulgence like that of gold. The stones
of India are the most highly esteemed, as also those found among the
Tibareni,[3175] provided these last are not of a mottled hue. The worst
in quality are those of Arabia, the colour of them being turbid and
mottled, and their brilliancy interrupted by cloudy spots: even too,
when they happen to be limpid, they have all the appearance of being
full, as it were, of a peculiar dust. The best stones are those which,
when placed by the side of gold, impart to it a sort of whitish hue,
and so give it the appearance of silver. When this is the case, they
are set in a bezel that is open on either side; but when the stone is
of inferior quality, a ground of aurichalcum[3176] is placed beneath.


Though it has now altogether gone out of use for jewellery, there
is a precious stone known as “chryselectrum,”[3177] the colour of
which inclines to that of amber;[3178] but only when viewed by a
morning[3179] light. The stones of Pontus are known by their lightness.
Some of them are hard and reddish, while others, again, are soft and
of a soiled appearance. According to Bocchus, these stones are found
in Spain as well; in a spot where, according to him, fossil crystal
has been discovered, in sinking to the water-level for wells.[3180] He
tells us also that he once saw a chrysolithos twelve[3181] pounds in


There is also a stone known as “leucochrysos,”[3182] with a white vein
running across it. To this class, too, belongs capnias;[3183] a stone
also which resembles glass in appearance; and another which reflects
a tint like that of saffron. These stones are imitated in glass, to
such a degree of perfection, that it is impossible to distinguish them
by the eye. The touch, however, detects the difference, the imitation
being not so cold as the real stone.


To this class also belongs melichrysos,[3184] a stone which has all the
appearance of pure honey, seen through transparent gold. India produces
these stones, and, although hard, they are very brittle, but not
unpleasing to the sight. The same country, too, produces xuthon,[3185]
a stone much used by the lower classes there.


At the very head of the white stones is pæderos;[3186] though it may
still be questionable to which of the colours it in reality belongs.
As to the name, it has been so much bandied about among other precious
stones of conspicuous beauty, that it has quite assumed the privilege
of being a synonymous term[3187] for all that is charming to the eye.
Still, however, there is one[3188] stone in particular which fully
merits all the commendation that might be expected for a stone with so
prepossessing a name: for in itself it reunites the transparency of
crystal, the peculiar green of the sky, the deep tints of purple, and a
sort of bright reflex, like that of a golden-coloured wine; a reflex,
indeed, that is always the last to meet the eye, but is always crowned
with the lustrous hues of purple. The stone, in fact, has all the
appearance of having been bathed in each of these tints, individually,
and yet in the whole of them at once. There is no precious stone either
that has a clearer water than this, or that presents a more pleasing
sweetness to the eye.

Pæderos of the finest quality comes from India, where it is known
as “sangenon;” the next best being that of Egypt, called “tenites.”
That of third-rate quality is found in Arabia, but it is rough upon
the surface. Next, we have the stone of Pontus, the radiance of which
is softer than in that of Thasos, which, in its turn, is of a more
mellowed colour than the stones of Galatia, Thrace, and Cyprus. The
defects commonly found in these stones are, a want of brilliancy, a
confusion with colours which do not properly belong to them, and the
other imperfections which are found in stones in general.[3189]


Next among the white stones is “asteria,”[3190] a gem which holds its
high rank on account of a certain peculiarity in its nature, it having
a light enclosed within, in the pupil of an eye as it were. This light,
which has all the appearance of moving within the stone, it transmits
according to the angle of inclination at which it is held; now in one
direction, and now in another. When held facing the sun, it emits
white rays like those of a star, and to this, in fact, it owes its
name.[3191] The stones of India are very difficult to engrave, those of
Carmania being preferred.


Of a similar white radiance is the stone that is known as
“astrion,”[3192] closely resembling crystal in its nature, and found
in India and upon the coasts of Pallene.[3193] In the centre of it
there shines internally a brilliant star, with a refulgence like that
of the moon when full. Some will have it that this stone receives its
name from the fact that, when held opposite to the stars, it absorbs
the light they emit and then returns it. The finest stones, they say,
are those of Carmania, there being none more entirely free from all
defects. They add, also, that a stone of inferior quality is known as
“ceraunia,”[3194] and that, in the worst of all, the light is very
similar to that given by a lamp.


Astriotes,[3195] too, is a stone that is highly esteemed, and
Zoroaster, they say, has sung its wondrous praises as an adjunct of the
magic art.


Sudines says, that astrobolos[3196] resembles the eye of a fish in
appearance, and that it has a radiant white refulgence when viewed in
the sun.


Among the white stones also, there is one known as “ceraunia,”[3197]
which absorbs the brilliancy of the stars. It is of a crystalline
formation, of a lustrous azure colour, and is a native of Carmania.
Zenothemis admits that it is white, but asserts that it has the figure
of a blazing star within. Some of them, he says, are dull, in which
case it is the custom to steep them for some days in a mixture of nitre
and vinegar; at the end of which period the star makes its appearance,
but gradually dies away by the end of as many months.

Sotacus mentions also two other varieties of ceraunia, one black and
the other red; and he says that they resemble axes in shape. Those
which are black and round,[3198] he says, are looked upon as sacred,
and by their assistance cities and fleets are attacked and taken: the
name given to them is “bætyli,” those of an elongated form being known
as “cerauniæ.”[3199] They make out also that there is another kind,
rarely to be met with, and much in request for the practices of magic,
it never being found in any place but one that has been struck by


The next name mentioned by these authors is that of the stone called
“iris;”[3201] which is found, in a fossil state, in a certain island
of the Red Sea, forty miles distant from the city of Berenice. It is
partly composed of crystal, and hence it is that some have called it
“root of crystal.” It takes its name “iris” from the properties which
it possesses; for, when struck by the rays of the sun in a covered
spot, it projects upon the nearest walls the form and diversified
colours of the rainbow; continually changing its tints, and exciting
admiration by the great variety of colours which it presents. That it
is hexahedral in form, like crystal, is generally agreed; but some say
that it is rough on the sides and of unequal angles; and that, when
exposed to a full sun, it disperses the rays that are thrown upon it,
while at the same time, by throwing out a certain brightness[3202]
before it, it illumines all objects that may happen to be adjacent. The
stone, however, as already stated, only presents these colours when
under cover; not as though they were in the body of the stone itself,
but, to all appearance, as if they were the result of the reflected
light upon the surface of the wall. The best kind is the one that
produces the largest arcs, with the closest resemblance to the rainbow.

“Iritis” is the name of another stone, similar to the last in all other
respects, but remarkable for its extreme hardness. Horus says, in his
writings, that this stone, calcined and triturated, is a remedy for the
bite of the ichneumon, and that it is a native of Persia.


The stone called “leros”[3203] is similar in appearance, but does not
produce the same effects. It is a crystal, with streaks of white and
black running across it.


Having now described the principal precious stones, classified
according to their respective colours, I shall proceed to mention the
rest of them in their alphabetical order.

(10.) Achates[3204] was a stone formerly in high esteem, but now
held in none. It was first found in Sicily, near a river of that
name; but has since been discovered in numerous other localities. In
size it exceeds any other stones of this class, and the varieties of
it are numerous, the name varying accordingly. Thus, for example,
we have iaspachates,[3205] cerachates,[3206] smaragdachates,[3207]
hæmachates,[3208] leucachates,[3209] dendrachates,[3210] marked with
small shrubs, as it were; autachates,[3211] which when burnt has a
smell like that of myrrh; and coralloachates,[3212] spotted all over,
like sapphiros, with drops of gold, and commonly found in Crete, where
it is also known as “sacred” achates. This last, it is thought, is good
for wounds inflicted by spiders and scorpions; a property which I could
really believe to belong to the stones of Sicily, for, the moment they
breathe the air of that province, scorpions lose their venom.

The stones, too, that are found in India are possessed of similar
properties, and of other great and marvellous properties as well; for
they present the appearance in them of rivers,[3213] woods,[3214]
beasts of burden, and forms even, like ivy[3215] and the trappings of
horses. Medical men, too, make grinding-hones[3216] of these stones,
and indeed the very sight of them is beneficial for the eyes: held
in the mouth, they allay thirst. Those found in Phrygia have no
green in them, and those of Thebes in Egypt are destitute of red and
white veins. These last are good as a counterpoison to the venom of
the scorpion, and the stones of Cyprus are held in similar repute.
Some persons set the highest value upon those stones which present a
transparency like that of glass. They are found also in Trachinia, in
the vicinity of Mount Œta, upon Mount Parnassus, in the Isle of Lesbos,
in Messene, where they resemble the flowers that grow in the hedges,
and at Rhodes.

The magicians make other distinctions in reference to these stones:
those, they tell us, which have spots upon them like the spots on the
lion’s skin, are efficacious as a protection against scorpions; and
in Persia, they say, these stones are used, by way of fumigation,
for arresting tempests and hurricanes, and for stopping the course
of rivers, the proof of their efficacy being their turning the water
cold, if thrown into a boiling cauldron. To be duly efficacious, they
must be attached to the body with hairs from a lion’s mane. The hair,
however, of the hyæna is held in abomination for this purpose, as being
a promoter of discord in families. The stone that is of an uniform
colour renders athletes invincible, they say: the way of testing it is
to throw it, along with colouring matter, into a pot full of oil; after
being kept for a couple of hours gently on the boil, if genuine, it
will impart an uniform colour of vermilion to the mixture.

Acopos[3217] is a stone like nitre[3218] in appearance, porous,
and starred with drops of gold: gently boiled with oil and applied
as an unguent, it relieves lassitude, if we choose to believe it.
Alabastritis[3219] is a stone which comes from Alabastron in Egypt
and Damascus in Syria: it is of a white colour, spotted with various
other tints. Calcined with fossil salt and pulverized, it is a cure
for affections of the mouth and teeth, it is said. Alectoria[3220]
is the name given to a stone that is found in the crop of poultry,
like crystal in appearance, and about as large as a bean in size:
Milo[3221] of Crotona, some will have it, was thought to be in the
habit of carrying this stone about him, a thing that rendered him
invincible in his athletic contests. Androdamas[3222] has the shining
colour of silver, like adamas;[3223] it is always quadrangular, like
small cubes in shape. The magicians are of opinion that it was thus
named from the fact that it subdues anger and violence in man. Whether
argyrodamas[3224] is the same stone or not, authors do not inform us.
Antipathes[3225] is a black stone, and not transparent: the mode of
testing it, is by boiling it in milk, to which, if genuine, it imparts
a colour like that of myrrh. A person might probably expect to find
some extraordinary virtues in this stone, seeing that, among so many
other substances possessed of antipathetic properties, it is the only
one that bears this name. The magicians will have it that it possesses
the power of counteracting fascinations.

Arabica[3226] is a stone which closely resembles ivory in appearance,
and, indeed, might easily be taken for it, were it not for its superior
hardness: persons who have this stone about them, it is thought, will
experience a cure of diseases of the sinews. Aromatitis,[3227] too, is
a stone that is found in Arabia, as also in the vicinity of Phiræ in
Egypt: it is always full of small stones, and like myrrh in colour and
smell, a thing that makes it much in request with ladies of rank.[3228]
Asbestos[3229] is found in the mountains of Arcadia, and is of an iron
colour. Democritus informs us that aspisatis[3230] is a native of
Arabia, that it is of a fiery colour, and that patients should wear
it attached to the body with camels’ dung; he says, too, that it is
found in the nests of certain birds[3231] in Arabia. The same writer
also mentions another stone of this name, that is found at Leucopetra
in the same country, of a silver colour, radiant, and an excellent
preservative against delirium. In India, he says, and on Mount Acidane
in Persia, there is a stone found that is known as “atizoë,”[3232]
of a silver lustre, three fingers in length, like a lentil in shape,
possessed of a pleasant smell, and considered necessary by the Magi
at the consecration of a king. Augetis[3233] is thought by many to be
identical with callaina.[3234] Amphidanes,[3235] which is also known as
“chrysocolla,”[3236] is a stone found in that part of India where the
ants[3237] throw up gold, and in it there are certain square pieces,
like gold in appearance. The nature of this stone, it is asserted, is
similar to that of the magnet; in addition to which, it is said to have
the property of increasing gold.

Aphrodisiaca[3238] is a stone of a reddish white colour.
Apsyctos,[3239] when heated by fire, retains the warmth so long as
seven days; it is black and ponderous, and is streaked with red
veins. It is good too, it is thought, as a preservative against cold.
According to Iacchus, Ægyptilla[3240] is a kind of white and black
sarda, intersected with veins; but the stone commonly known by that
name is black at the lower part, and azure on the surface. It takes its
name from the country that produces it.


Of balanites[3241] there are two kinds, the one of a greenish hue,
and the other like Corinthian bronze in appearance; the former comes
from Coptos, and the latter from Troglodytica. They are both of them
intersected by a flame-like vein, which runs through the middle.
Coptos, too, sends us batrachitis;[3242] one kind of which is like a
frog in colour, another has the tint of ebony, and a third is blackish
inclining to red. Baptes[3243] is a soft stone, and of a most excellent
smell. Beli oculus[3244] is a stone of a whitish hue, surrounding a
black pupil in the middle, which shines amid a lustre like that of
gold. This stone, in consequence of its singular beauty, has been
consecrated to the deity[3245] held in the highest veneration by the
people of Assyria. According to Democritus, there is also a stone
called belus, and found at Arbela; it is about the size of a walnut,
and looks[3246] like glass. Baroptenus or barippe is black, and
covered with knots of a white and blood-red colour: the use of it as
an amulet is avoided, as being apt to produce monstrosities.

Botryitis[3247] is sometimes black and sometimes purple-red,[3248]
and resembles a bunch of grapes[3249] in form, when making its first
appearance. Zoroaster says, that bostrychitis[3250] is a stone which
is more like the hair of females than anything else. Bucardia[3251]
resembles an ox-heart in appearance, and is only found at Babylon.
Brontea[3252] is a stone like the head of a tortoise, which falls with
thunder, it is supposed: if too, we are to believe what is said, it has
the property of quenching the fire in objects that have been struck by
lightning. Bolos[3253] is the name of a stone found in Iberia,[3254]
similar to a clod of earth in appearance.


Cadmitis differs only from the stone that is known as ostracitis[3255]
in being sometimes surrounded with blisters of an azure colour.
Callais[3256] is like sapphiros[3257] in colour, only that it is
paler and more closely resembles the tint of the water near the
sea-shore in appearance. Capnitis,[3258] in the opinion of some,
is a peculiar species of stone: it is covered with numerous spiral
streaks, of a smoky colour, as already[3259] stated in the appropriate
place. Cappadocia[3260] is a native of Phrygia, and resembles ivory
in appearance. Callaica[3261] is the name given to a stone like a
clouded callaina;[3262] a number of them are always found united, it
is said. Catochitis[3263] is a stone found in Corsica, of larger size
than the other precious stones; and of a more wonderful nature, if the
story is true, that it retains the hand like gum, when placed upon it.
Catoptritis[3264] is found in Cappadocia, and, from its whiteness,
reflects figures like a mirror. Cepitis[3265] or cepolatitis is a white
stone, with veins upon it uniting together. Ceramitis[3266] has a
colour like that of earthenware.

Cinædia[3267] is a stone found in the brain of a fish[3268] of a
corresponding name. It is white and oblong, and possessed of marvellous
virtues, if we are to put faith in what is said, that it announces
before-hand whether the sea will be tranquil or stormy.[3269]
Ceritis[3270] is a stone like wax: circos[3271] resembles the plumage
of the hawk: corsoides[3272] is like white hair in appearance.
Coralloachates[3273] is very similar to coral, marked with drops of
gold; and corallis, a native of India and Syene, resembles minium[3274]
in appearance. Crateritis[3275] is in colour a medium between
chrysolithos[3276] and amber, and is remarkable for its hardness.
Crocallis[3277] is a gem like the cherry in its tints. Cyitis[3278]
is a stone found in the vicinity of Coptos; it is white, and to all
appearance has an embryo stone within, the rattling of which may be
heard on shaking it. Chalcophonos[3279] is a black stone, but when
struck it clinks like brass: tragic actors are recommended to carry
it about them. Of chelidonia[3280] there are two varieties, both
resembling the swallow in colour: one of them is purple on one side,
and the other is purple besprinkled with black spots. Chelonia[3281]
is the eye of the Indian tortoise, and is the most marvellous of all
the stones, if we believe the lying stories told by the magicians. For,
according to them, this stone, placed upon the tongue after rinsing
the mouth with honey, will ensure power of divination, if this is done
at full moon or new moon, for one whole day. If, however, this plan
is adopted while the moon is on the increase, the power of divination
will be acquired before sun-rise only, and if upon other days, from the
first[3282] hour to the sixth.

Chelonitis,[3283] too, is a stone that resembles the tortoise[3284] in
appearance, and the many virtues of which are talked of for calming
storms and tempests. As to the one that has all the appearance of
being sprinkled with spots of gold, if thrown with a scarabæus into
boiling water, it will raise a tempest, they say. Chloritis[3285] is a
stone of a grass-green colour: according to the magicians, it is found
in the crop of the motacilla,[3286] being engendered with the bird.
They recommend also that it should be set in iron, for the purpose
of working certain portentous marvels which they promise, as usual.
Choaspitis is a stone so called from the river Choaspes,[3287] of a
brilliant, golden colour mixed with green. Chrysolampis[3288] is a
native of Æthiopia, and is pale by day, but of a fiery lustre by night.
Chrysopis[3289] has all the appearance of gold.[3290] Ceponides[3291]
is found at Atarna, a borough, and once a city, of Æolis. It is
transparent, presents numerous tints, and has sometimes the appearance
of glass, sometimes of crystal, and sometimes of iaspis. Indeed, the
stones of this kind that are tarnished even, are possessed of such
singular brilliancy as to reflect objects like a mirror.


Daphnea[3292] is mentioned by Zoroaster as curative of epilepsy.
Diadochos[3293] is a stone that resembles the beryl. Of diphyes[3294]
there are two kinds, the white and the black, male and female, with a
line dividing the characteristics of either sex. Dionysias[3295] is
hard and black, and covered with red spots. Triturated in water, this
stone imparts to it the flavour of wine, and it is generally thought to
be a preservative against intoxication. Draconitis[3296] or dracontia
is a stone produced from the brain of the dragon;[3297] but unless the
head of the animal is cut off while it is alive, the stone will not
assume the form of a gem, through spite on the part of the serpent,
when finding itself at the point of death: hence it is that, for this
purpose, the head is cut off when it is asleep.[3298]

Sotacus, who tells us that he once saw a stone of this kind in the
possession of a king, says that persons go in search of it in a chariot
drawn by two horses; and that, the moment they see the serpent, they
strew narcotic drugs in its way, and then cut off its head when asleep.
According to him, this stone is white and pellucid, and admits of no
polishing or engraving.


The stone encardia[3299] is also called “ariste.”[3300] There are
three varieties of it; one of a black colour, with a figure in relief
upon it like a heart; a second of a green colour, and like a heart in
shape; and a third, with a black heart upon it, the rest of the stone
being white. Enorchis[3301] is a white stone, the fragments of which,
when it is split asunder, resemble the testes in shape. Exebenus,
Zoroaster tells us, is a white, handsome stone, employed by goldsmiths
for polishing gold. Erythallis,[3302] though a white stone, assumes a
red hue when viewed at an inclined angle. Erotylos,[3303] also known
as “amphicomos”[3304] and “hieromnemon,”[3305] is highly praised by
Democritus for its use in the art of divination.

Eumeces[3306] is a stone of Bactriana, like silex in appearance;
placed beneath the head, it produces visions in the night of an
oracular description. Eumithres[3307] is called by the Assyrians
“gem of Belus,”[3308] the most sacred of all their gods; it is of a
leek-green colour, and greatly in request for superstitious purposes.
Eupetalos[3309] is a stone that has four different tints, azure, fiery,
vermilion, and apple-colour. Eureos[3310] is similar to an olive-stone
in form, streaked like a shell, and moderately white. Eurotias[3311]
has all the appearance of concealing its black colour beneath a coat
of mould. Eusebes[3312] is the stone, it is said, of which the seat was
made in the Temple of Hercules at Tyrus, from which the pious [only]
could raise themselves without difficulty. Epimelas[3313] is a white
gem, with a black hue reflected from its surface.


Galaxias,[3314] by some called “galactitis,”[3315] is a stone that
closely resembles those next mentioned, but is interspersed with
veins of blood-red or white. Galactitis[3316] is of the uniform
colour of milk; other names given to it are, leucogæa,[3317]
leucographitis,[3318] and synnephitis,[3319] and, when pounded in
water, both in taste and colour it marvellously resembles milk.
This stone promotes the secretion of the milk in nursing women, it
is said; in addition to which, attached to the neck of infants, it
produces saliva, and it dissolves when put into the mouth. They say,
too, that it deprives persons of their memory: it is in the rivers
Nilus and Acheloüs that it is produced. Some persons give the name of
“galactitis” to a smaragdus surrounded with veins of white. Gallaica
is a stone like argyrodamas,[3320] but of a somewhat more soiled
appearance; these stones are found in twos and threes clustered
together. The people of Media send us gassinade,[3321] a stone like
orobus in colour, and sprinkled with flowers, as it were: it is found
at Arbela. This stone, too, conceives,[3322] it is said; a fact which
it admits when shaken; the conception lasting for a period of three
months. Glossopetra,[3323] which resembles the human tongue, is not
engendered, it is said, in the earth, but falls from the heavens
during the moon’s eclipse; it is considered highly necessary for the
purposes of selenomancy.[3324] To render all this however, still
more incredible, we have the evident untruthfulness of one assertion
made about it, that it has the property of silencing the winds.
Gorgonia[3325] is nothing but a coral, which has been thus named
from the circumstance that, though soft in the sea, it afterwards
assumes the hardness of stone: it has the property of counteracting
fascinations,[3326] it is said. Goniæa,[3327] it is asserted, and with
the same degree of untruthfulness, ensures vengeance upon our enemies.


Heliotropium[3328] is found in Æthiopia, Africa, and Cyprus: it is
of a leek-green colour, streaked with blood-red veins. It has been
thus named,[3329] from the circumstance that, if placed in a vessel
of water and exposed to the full light of the sun, it changes to a
reflected colour like that of blood; this being the case with the stone
of Æthiopia more particularly. Out of the water, too, it reflects the
figure of the sun like a mirror, and it discovers eclipses of that
luminary by showing the moon passing over its disk. In the use of
this stone, also, we have a most glaring illustration of the impudent
effrontery of the adepts in magic, for they say that, if it is combined
with the plant[3330] heliotropium, and certain incantations are then
repeated over it, it will render the person invisible who carries it
about him.

Hephæstitis[3331] also, though a radiant stone, partakes of the
properties of a mirror in reflecting objects. The mode of testing
it is to put it into boiling water, which should immediately become
cold. If exposed to the rays of the sun, it should instantly cause
dry fuel to ignite:[3332] Corycus[3333] is the place where it is
found. Hermuaidoion[3334] is so called from the resemblance to
the male organs which it presents, on a ground that is sometimes
white, sometimes black, and sometimes of a pallid hue, with a circle
surrounding it of a golden colour. Hexecontalithos[3335] receives
its name from the numerous variety of colours which, small as it is,
it presents: it is found in Troglodytica.[3336] Hieracitis[3337] is
entirely covered with mottled streaks, resembling a kite’s feathers
alternately with black. Hammitis[3338] is similar in appearance to
the spawn of fish: there is also one variety of it which has all
the appearance of being composed of nitre,[3339] except that it is
remarkably hard. Hammonis cornu[3340] is reckoned among the most sacred
gems of Æthiopia; it is of a golden colour, like a ram’s horn in shape,
and ensures prophetic dreams, it is said.

Hormiscion[3341] is one of the most pleasing stones to the sight;
it is of a fiery colour, and emits rays like gold, tipped at the
extremity with a whitish light. Hyænia[3342] is derived from the eyes
of the hyæna, it is said, the animal being hunted to obtain it; placed
beneath the tongue, if we believe the story, it will enable a person
to prophesy the future. Hæmatitis,[3343] of the very finest quality,
comes from Æthiopia, but it is found in Arabia and Africa as well.
It is a stone of a blood-red colour, and we must not omit to mention
the assurance given [by the magicians], that the possession of it
reveals treacherous designs on the part of the barbarians. Zachalias
of Babylon, in the books which he dedicated to King Mithridates,
attributing the destinies of man to certain properties innate in
precious stones, is not content with vaunting the merits of this stone
as curative of diseases of the eyes and liver, but recommends it also
as ensuring success to petitions addressed to kings. He also makes it
play its part in lawsuits and judgments, and even goes so far as to
say that it is highly beneficial to be rubbed with it on the field of
battle. There is another stone of the same class, called “menui” by the
people of India, and “xanthos”[3344] by the Greeks: it is of a whitish,
tawny colour.


The stones called Idæi dactyli,[3345] and found in Crete, are of an
iron colour, and resemble the human thumb in shape. The colour of
icterias[3346] resembles that of livid skin, and hence it is that it
has been thought so excellent a remedy for jaundice. There is also
another stone of this name, of a still more livid colour; while a
third has all the appearance of a leaf. This last is broader than the
others, almost imponderous, and streaked with livid veins. A fourth
kind again is of the same colour, but blacker, and marked all over with
livid veins. Jovis gemma[3347] is a white stone, very light, and soft:
another name given to it is “drosolithos.”[3348] Indica[3349] retains
the name of the country that produces it: it is a stone of a reddish
colour, and yields a purple liquid[3350] when rubbed. There is another
stone also of this name, white, and of a dusty appearance. Ion[3351] is
an Indian stone, of a violet tint: it is but rarely, however, that it
is found of a deep, full, colour.


Lepidotis[3352] is a stone of various colours, and resembles the
scales of fish in appearance. Lesbias, so called from Lesbos which
produces it, is a stone found in India as well. Leucophthalmos,[3353]
which in other respects is of a reddish hue, presents all the
appearance of an eye, in white and black. Leucopœcilos[3354] is white,
variegated with drops of vermilion of a golden hue. Libanochrus[3355]
strongly resembles frankincense, and yields a liquid like honey.
Limoniatis[3356] would appear to be the same as smaragdus; and all
that we find said about liparea[3357] is, that employed in the form
of a fumigation, it allures all kinds of wild beasts. Lysimachos
resembles Rhodian marble, with veins of gold: in polishing it, it is
reduced very considerably in size, in order to remove all defects.
Leucochrysos[3358] is a kind of chrysolithos interspersed with white.


What kind of stone memnonia[3359] is, we do not find mentioned.
Medea[3360] is a black stone, said to have been discovered by
the Medea[3361] of fable: it has veins of a golden lustre, and
yields a liquid like saffron in colour and with a vinous flavour.
Meconitis[3362] strongly resembles poppies. Mithrax[3363] comes
from Persia and the mountains of the Red Sea: it is of numerous
colours, and reflects various tints when exposed to the sun.[3364]
Morochthos[3365] is a stone of a leek-green colour, from which a milk
exudes. Mormorion[3366] is a transparent stone from India, of a deep
black colour, and known also as “promnion.” When it has a mixture of
the colour[3367] of carbunculus, it is from Alexandria; and when it
shares that of sarda,[3368] it is a native of Cyprus. It is found also
at Tyrus and in Galatia; and, according to Xenocrates, it has been
discovered at the foot of the Alps. These stones are well adapted for
cutting in relief.[3369] Murrhitis[3370] has just the colour of myrrh,
and very little of the appearance of a gem: it has the odour also of an
unguent, and smells like nard when rubbed. Myrmecias[3371] is black,
and has excrescences upon it like warts. Myrsinitis[3372] has a colour
like that of honey, and the smell of myrtle. “Mesoleucos”[3373] is
the name given to a stone when a white line runs through the middle;
and when a black vein intersects any other colour, it is called


Nasamonitis is a blood-red stone, marked with black veins. Nebritis,
a stone sacred to Father Liber,[3375] has received its name from its
resemblance to a nebris.[3376] There is also another stone of this
kind, that is black. Nipparene[3377] bears the name of a city and
people of Persia, and resembles the teeth of the hippopotamus.


Oica is the barbarian name given to a stone which is pleasing for its
colours, black, reddish yellow, green, and white. Ombria,[3378] by
some called “notia,”[3379] falls with showers and lightning, much in
the same manner as ceraunia[3380] and brontea,[3381] the properties
of which it is said to possess. There is a statement also, that if
this stone is placed upon altars it will prevent the offerings from
being consumed. Onocardia[3382] is like kermesberry in appearance,
but nothing further is said about it. Oritis,[3383] by some called
“sideritis,”[3384] is a stone of globular form, and proof against
the action of fire. Ostracias,[3385] or ostracitis, is a testaceous
stone, harder than ceramitis,[3386] and similar in all respects to
achates,[3387] except that the latter has an unctuous appearance when
polished: indeed, so remarkably hard is ostracitis, that with fragments
of it other gems are engraved. Ostritis[3388] receives its name from
its resemblance to an oyster-shell. Ophicardelon is the barbarian name
for a stone of a black colour, terminated by a white line on either
side. Of Obsian[3389] stone we have already spoken in the preceding
Book. There are gems, too, of the same name and colour, found not only
in Æthiopia and India, but in Samnium as well, and, in the opinion of
some, upon the Spanish shores that lie towards the Ocean.


Panchrus[3390] is a stone which displays nearly every colour.
Pangonus[3391] is no longer than the finger: the only thing that
prevents it from being taken for a crystal, is, its greater number of
angles. What kind of stone paneros[3392] is, Metrodorus does not inform
us; but he gives some lines, by no means without elegance, that were
written upon this stone by Queen Timaris, and dedicated to Venus; from
which we have reason to conclude that certain fecundating virtues were
attributed to it. By some writers it is called panerastos.[3393] Of
the stone called “pontica”[3394] there are numerous varieties: one is
stellated, and presents either blood-red spots, or drops like gold,
being reckoned in the number of the sacred stones. Another, in place of
stars, has streaks of the same colour, and a fourth presents all the
appearance of mountains and valleys.

Phloginos,[3395] also called “chrysitis,”[3396] strongly resembles
Attic ochre,[3397] and is found in Egypt. Phœnicitis[3398] is a stone
so called from its resemblance to a date. Phycitis receives its name
from its resemblance to sea-weed.[3399] Perileucos[3400] is the name
given to a gem, in which a white colour runs down from the margin of
the stone to the base. Pæanitis,[3401] by some called “gæanis,”[3402]
conceives, it is said, and is good for females at the time of
parturition: this stone is found in Macedonia, near the monument[3403]
of Tiresias there, and has all the appearance of congealed water.


Solis gemma[3404] is white, and, like the luminary from which it takes
its name, emits brilliant rays in a circular form. Sagda is found
by the people of Chaldæa adhering to ships, and is of a leek-green
colour. The Isle of Samothrace gives its name to a stone[3405] which
it produces, black and imponderous, and similar to wood in appearance.
Sauritis[3406] is found, they say, in the belly of the green lizard,
cut asunder with a reed. Sarcitis[3407] is a stone, like beef in
appearance. Selenitis[3408] is white and transparent, with a reflected
colour like that of honey. It has a figure within it like that of the
moon, and reflects the face of that luminary, if what we are told
is true, according to its phases, day by day, whether on the wane
or whether on the increase: this stone is a native of Arabia, it is
thought. Sideritis[3409] is a stone like iron, the presence of which
in lawsuits creates discord. Sideropœcilos,[3410] which is a variety of
the same stone, is a native of Æthiopia, and is covered with variegated

Spongitis has its name from its resemblance to sponge. Synodontitis
is a stone found in the brain of the fish known as “synodus.”[3411]
Syrtitis is a stone that used formerly to be found on the shores of the
Syrtes,[3412] though now it is found on the coasts of Lucania as well:
it is of a honey colour, with a reflected tint of saffron, and contains
stars of a feeble lustre within. Syringitis[3413] is hollow throughout,
like the space between the two joints in a straw.


Trichrus[3414] comes from Africa: it is of a black colour, but yields
three different liquids, black at the lower part, blood-red in the
middle, and of an ochre colour at the top. Thelyrrhizos[3415] is of an
ashy or russet colour, but white at the lower part. Thelycardios[3416]
is like a heart in colour, and is held in high esteem by the people
of Persia, in which country it is found: the name given to it by them
is “mulc.” Of thracia[3417] there are three varieties; a green stone,
one of a more pallid colour, and a third with spots like drops of
blood. Tephritis[3418] is crescent-shaped, with horns like those of the
new moon, but it is of an ashy colour. Tecolithos[3419] has all the
appearance of an olive stone: it is held in no estimation as a gem, but
a solution of it will break and expel urinary calculi.


Veneris crines[3420] is the name given to a stone that is remarkably
black and shining, with an appearance like red hair within. Veientana
is an Italian stone, found at Veii: it is black, divided by a line of


Zathene, according to Democritus, is a native of Media. It is like
amber in colour, and, if beaten up with palm-wine and saffron, it will
become soft like wax, yielding a very fragrant smell. Zmilampis is
found in the river Euphrates: it resembles marble of Proconnesus in
appearance, and is of a sea-green colour within. Zoraniscæa is found
in the river Indus: it is a stone used by magicians, it is said, but I
find no further particulars relative to it.


There is also another method of classifying stones; according to
the resemblance which they bear to various other objects. Thus,
for example, the different parts of the body give the following
names to stones:—Hepatitis[3421] is so called from the liver; and
steatitis[3422] from its resemblance to the fat of various animals.
Adadunephros, adaduophthalmos, and adadudactylos, mean “kidney of
Adad,” “eye of Adad,” and “finger of Adad,” a god[3423] of the Syrians
so called. Triophthalmos[3424] is a stone found in conjunction with
onyx, which resembles three human eyes at once.


Other stones, again, derive their names from various animals.
Carcinias[3425] is so called from the colour of the sea-crab;
echitis,[3426] from the colour of the viper; scorpitis,[3427] from
either the colour or the shape of the scorpion; scaritis, from the
fish called scarus;[3428] triglitis, from the sur-mullet;[3429]
ægophthalmos, from the eye of the goat; hyophthalmos, from the eye of
the swine; geranitis, from the neck of the crane; hieracitis, from the
neck of the hawk; and aëtitis, from the colour of the white-tailed
eagle. Myrmecitis[3430] presents the appearance of an ant crawling
within, and cantharias,[3431] of a scarabæus. Lycophthalmos[3432] is
a stone of four different colours; on the exterior it is ruddy and
blood-red, and within it is black, surrounded with a line of white,
closely resembling the eye of the wolf in every respect. Taos[3433] is
a stone with colours like those of the peacock. Timictonia, I find, is
the name of a stone, like the asp in colour.


Hammochrysos[3434] resembles sand in appearance, but sand mixed with
gold. Cenchritis[3435] has all the appearance of grains of millet
scattered here and there. Dryitis[3436] resembles the trunk of a
tree, and burns like wood. Cissitis,[3437] upon a white, transparent
surface, has leaves of ivy running all over it. Narcissitis[3438] is
distinguished by veins on the surface, and has a smell like that of the
narcissus. Cyamias[3439] is a black stone, but when broken, produces a
bean to all appearance. Pyren[3440] is so called from its resemblance
to an olive-stone: in some cases it would appear to contain the
back-bone[3441] of a fish. Phœnicitis[3442] resembles a palm-date in
form. Chalazias[3443] resembles a hailstone, both in form and colour:
it is as hard as adamant, so much so, indeed, that in the fire even it
retains its coolness, it is said. Pyritis,[3444] though a black stone,
burns the fingers when rubbed by them. Polyzonos[3445] is a black stone
traversed by numerous zones of white.

Astrapæa[3446] has rays like flashes of lightning, running across the
middle on a ground of white or blue. In phlogitis,[3447] there is, to
all appearance, a flame burning within, but not reaching the surface
of the stone. In anthracitis,[3448] there are sometimes sparks, to
all appearance, flying to and fro. Enhygros[3449] is always perfectly
round, smooth, and white; but when it is shaken a liquid is heard to
move within, just like the yolk within an egg. Polythrix[3450] presents
the appearance of hair upon a green surface; but it causes the hair to
fall off, it is said. Leontios and pardalios[3451] are names given to
stones, from their resemblance to the skin of the lion and panther.
Drosolithos[3452] has received its name from its colour. Melichrus
is a honey-coloured stone, of which there are several varieties.
Melichloros[3453] is a stone of two colours, partly honey-coloured,
partly yellow. Crocias[3454] is the name given to a stone which
reflects a colour like that of saffron; polias, to a stone resembling
white hair in colour; and spartopolias, to a stone more thinly
sprinkled with white.

Rhoditis is like the rose in colour, chalcitis resembles copper,
and sycitis[3455] is in colour like a fig. Bostrychitis[3456] is
covered with branches of a white or blood-red colour, upon a ground
of black; and chernitis[3457] has, on a stony surface, a figure like
that of two hands grasping each other. Anancitis[3458] is used in
hydromancy, they say, for summoning the gods to make their appearance;
and synochitis,[3459] for detaining the shades from below when they
have appeared. If white dendritis[3460] is buried beneath a tree
that is being felled, the edge of the axe will never be blunted,
it is asserted. There are many other stones also, of a still more
outrageously marvellous nature, to which, admitted as it is that they
are stones, barbarous names have been given: we have refuted, however,
a quite sufficient number of these portentous lies already.


New species of precious stones are repeatedly brought into existence,
and fresh ones are found all at once, destitute of names. Thus, for
example, there was a stone formerly discovered in the gold-mines of
Lampsacus, which, on account of its extraordinary beauty, was sent to
King Alexander, as we learn from Theophrastus.[3461] Cochlides,[3462]
too, which are now so common, are rather artificial productions than
natural, and in Arabia there have been found vast masses of them; which
are boiled, it is said, in honey, for seven days and nights without
intermission. By doing this, all earthy and faulty particles are
removed; after which, the mass, thus cleansed and purified, is adorned
by the ingenuity of artists with variegated veins and spots, and cut
into such shapes as may be most to the taste of purchasers. Indeed,
these articles, in former times, were made of so large a size, that
they were employed in the East as frontals for the horses of kings, and
as pendants for their trappings.[3463]

All precious stones in general are improved in brilliancy by being
boiled in honey, Corsican honey more particularly; but acrid substances
are in every respect injurious to them. As to the stones which are
variegated, and to which new colours are imparted by the inventive
ingenuity of man, as they have no name in common use, they are usually
known by that of “physis;”[3464] a name which claims for them, as it
were, that admiration which we are more ready to bestow upon the works
of Nature. But really, these artificial stones have names without end,
and I could never think of recounting the infinite series of them,
coined as they have been by the frivolous tendencies of the Greeks.

Having already described the more noble gems, and indeed those of
inferior quality which are found among the stones that are held in
high esteem, I must content myself with knowing that I have pointed
out those kinds which are the most deserving of mention. It will be
as well, however, for the reader to bear in mind, that, according to
the varying number of the spots and inequalities on their surface,
according to the numerous intersections of lines and their multiplied
tints and shades, the names of precious stones are subject to repeated
changes; the material itself, for the most part, remaining just the


We will now make some observations in reference to precious stones in
general, following therein the opinions that have been expressed by
various authors. Stones with a level surface are preferred to those
which are concave or protuberant on the face. An oblong shape is the
one that is most approved of, and, next to that, the lenticular[3465]
form, as it is called. After this, the stone with a plane surface and
circular is admired, those which are angular being held in the least
esteem. There is considerable difficulty in distinguishing genuine
stones from false; the more so, as there has been discovered a method
of transforming genuine stones of one kind into false stones of
another.[3466] Sardonyx, for example, is imitated by cementing together
three other precious stones, in such a way that no skill can detect the
fraud; a black stone being used for the purpose, a white stone, and one
of a vermilion[3467] colour, each of them, in its own way, a stone of
high repute. Nay, even more than this, there are books in existence,
the authors of which I forbear to name,[3468] which give instructions
how to stain crystal in such a way as to imitate smaragdus and other
transparent stones, how to make sardonyx of sarda, and other gems in a
similar manner. Indeed, there is no kind of fraud practised, by which
larger profits are made.


On the contrary, we will make it our business to point out the methods
of detecting these false stones, seeing that it is only proper to put
luxury even on its guard against fraud. In addition to the particulars
which we have already given, when treating of each individual kind
of precious stone, it is generally agreed that transparent stones
should be tested by a morning light, or even, if necessary, so late
as the fourth[3469] hour, but never after that hour. The modes of
testing[3470] stones are numerous: first, by their weight, the genuine
stone being the heavier of the two; next, by their comparative
coolness, the genuine stone being cooler than the other to the mouth;
and, next to that, by their substance; there being blisters perceptible
in the body of the fictitious stone, as well as a certain roughness on
the surface; filaments, too, an unequal brilliancy, and a brightness
that falls short before it reaches the eye. The best[3471] mode of
testing is to strike off a fragment with an iron saw; but this is a
thing not allowed by the dealers, who equally refuse to let their gems
be tested by the file. Dust of Obsian[3472] stone will not leave a mark
upon the surface of a genuine stone: but where the gem is artificial,
every mark that is made will leave a white scratch upon it. In
addition to this, there is such a vast diversity in their degrees of
hardness, that some stones do not admit of being engraved with iron,
and others can only be cut with a graver blunted at the edge. In all
cases, however, precious stones may be cut and polished by the aid
of adamas[3473] an operation which may be considerably expedited by
heating the graver. The rivers which produce precious stones, are the
Acesinus[3474] and the Ganges; and, of all countries, India is the most
prolific of them.


Having now treated of all the works of Nature, it will be as well to
take a sort of comparative view of her several productions, as well
as the countries which supply them. Throughout the whole earth, then,
and wherever the vault of heaven extends, there is no country so
beautiful, or which, for the productions of Nature, merits so high a
rank as Italy, that ruler and second parent of the world; recommended
as she is by her men, her women, her generals, her soldiers, her
slaves, her superiority in the arts, and the illustrious examples of
genius which she has produced. Her situation, too, is equally in her
favour; the salubrity and mildness of her climate; the easy access
which she offers to all nations; her coasts indented with so many
harbours; the propitious breezes, too, that always prevail on her
shores; advantages, all of them, due to her situation, lying, as she
does, midway between the East and the West, and extended in the most
favourable of all positions. Add to this, the abundant supply of her
waters, the salubrity of her groves, the repeated intersections of her
mountain ranges, the comparative innocuousness of her wild animals, the
fertility of her soil, and the singular richness of her pastures.

Whatever there is that the life of man ought not to feel in want of, is
nowhere to be found in greater perfection than here; the cereals, for
example, wine, oil, wool, flax, tissues, and oxen. As to horses, there
are none, I find, preferred to those of Italy for the course;[3475]
while, for mines of gold, silver, copper, and iron, so long as it
was deemed lawful to work them,[3476] Italy was held inferior to no
country whatsoever. At the present day, teeming as she is with these
treasures, she contents herself with lavishing upon us, as the whole
of her bounties, her various liquids, and the numerous flavours
yielded by her cereals and her fruits. Next to Italy, if we except the
fabulous regions of India, I would rank Spain, for my own part, those
districts, at least, that lie in the vicinity of the sea.[3477] She is
parched and sterile in one part, it is true; but where she is at all
productive, she yields the cereals in abundance, oil, wine, horses,
and metals of every kind. In all these respects, Gaul is her equal, no
doubt; but Spain, on the other hand, outdoes the Gallic provinces in
her spartum[3478] and her specular stone,[3479] the products of her
desert tracts, in her pigments that minister to our luxuries, in the
ardour displayed by her people in laborious employments, in the perfect
training of her slaves, in the robustness of body of her men, and in
their general resoluteness of character.

As to the productions themselves, the greatest value of all, among
the products of the sea, is attached to pearls: of objects that lie
upon the surface of the earth, it is crystals that are most highly
esteemed: and of those derived from the interior, adamas,[3480]
smaragdus,[3481] precious stones, and murrhine,[3482] are the things
upon which the highest value is placed. The most costly things that are
matured by the earth, are the kermes-berry[3483] and laser;[3484] that
are gathered from trees, nard[3485] and Seric tissues;[3486] that are
derived from the trunks of trees, logs of citrus[3487]-wood; that are
produced by shrubs, cinnamon,[3488] cassia,[3489] and amomum;[3490]
that are yielded by the juices of trees or of shrubs, amber,[3491]
opobalsamum,[3492] myrrh,[3493] and frankincense;[3494] that are found
in the roots of trees, the perfumes derived from costus.[3495] The most
valuable products furnished by living animals, on land, are the teeth
of elephants; by animals in the sea, tortoise-shell; by the coverings
of animals, the skins which the Seres[3496] dye, and the substance
gathered from the hair of the she-goats of Arabia, which we have spoken
of under the name of “ladanum;”[3497] by creatures that are common to
both land and sea, the purple[3498] of the murex. With reference to
the birds, beyond plumes for warriors’ helmets, and the grease that is
derived from the geese of Commagene,[3499] I find no remarkable product
mentioned. We must not omit, too, to observe, that gold, for which
there is such a mania with all mankind, hardly holds the tenth rank as
an object of value, and silver, with which we purchase gold, hardly the

HAIL to thee, Nature, thou parent of all things! and do thou deign to
show thy favour unto me, who, alone of all the citizens of Rome, have,
in thy every department,[3500] thus made known thy praise.[3501]

SUMMARY.—Facts, narratives, and observations, one thousand three

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—M. Varro,[3502] the Register of the
Triumphs,[3503] Mæcenas,[3504] Iacchus,[3505] Cornelius Bocchus.[3506]

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—King Juba,[3507] Xenocrates[3508] the son of
Zeno, Sudines,[3509] Æschylus,[3510] Philoxenus,[3511] Euripides,[3512]
Nicander,[3513] Satyrus,[3514] Theophrastus,[3515] Chares,[3516]
Philemon,[3517] Demostratus,[3518] Zenothemis,[3519] Metrodorus,[3520]
Sotacus,[3521] Pytheas,[3522] Timæus[3523] the Sicilian, Nicias,[3524]
Theochrestus,[3525] Asarubas,[3526] Mnaseas,[3527] Theomenes,[3528]
Ctesias,[3529] Mithridates,[3530] Sophocles,[3531] King
Archelaüs,[3532] Callistratus,[3533] Democritus,[3534] Ismenias,[3535]
Olympicus,[3536] Alexander[3537] Polyhistor, Apion,[3538] Horus,[3539]
Zoroaster,[3540] Zachalias.[3541]


[1] It is in the last six Books of Pliny, and those only, we regret
to say, that we are enabled to avail ourselves of the new readings of
the Bamberg MS., which has been so admirably collated by M. Ian. In a
vast number of passages previously looked upon as hopelessly corrupt,
or else not at all suspected of being in a mutilated state, this MS.
supplies words and clauses, the existence of which in the original was
hitherto unknown; indeed by its aid the indefatigable Sillig has been
enabled, if we may be allowed the term, almost to _rewrite_ the last
six Books of Pliny. From a perusal of these new readings, as Dr. Smith
has justly remarked, we have reason to infer “that the text of the
earlier Books is still in a very defective state, and that much of the
obscurity of Pliny may be traced to this cause.”

[2] The Echeneis remora of Linnæus. See B. ix. c. 41.

[3] He alludes to the “rostra,” or metal beaks, with which the prows of
the ships of war were furnished.

[4] An absurd tradition, no doubt, invented, probably, to palliate the
disgrace of his defeat.

[5] From the delay caused by the stoppage of the prætorian ship.

[6] Caligula.

[7] For Astura and Antium, see B. iii. c. 9.

[8] And well it might surprise him. If there was any foundation at all
for the story, there can be little doubt that a trick was played for
the purpose of imposing upon Caligula’s superstitious credulity, and
that the rowers as well as the diving sailors were privy to it.

[9] “Limax.” A singular comparison, apparently.

[10] In B. ix. c. 41.

[11] See B. ix. c. 41, where he is speaking of a murex, a fish which
bears no such affinity to the remora as to warrant our author’s
expression, “Idem valere omnia ea genera.”

[12] Properly meaning “delay.” “Remora” is another reading, and perhaps
a better one, as the word is found in Plautus.

[13] In B. ix. c. 41.

[14] From λύειν τὰς ὠδίνας, “to release from the pains of childbirth.”

[15] See B. ix. c. 67.

[16] Ajasson remarks that it was owing probably to this opinion that
it was formerly the belief, that by holding the breath a person could
render himself proof against the shock of the torpedo; a precaution
recommended by Kæmpfer, in his “Amenitates Exoticæ,” p. 514. Ed. 1712.

[17] “Quâdam aurâ sui corporis adficiat membra” seems a preferable
reading to “Quâdam aurâ corporis sui adficiat membra,” as given by the
Bamberg MS., and adopted by Sillig.

[18] See B. ix. c. 72, and the Note.

[19] A fabulous story, Ajasson remarks, but one that was commonly
believed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Gessner, however, a
conscientious enquirer into the mysteries of Nature, asserts (_de
Aquatilibus_, p. 563) that, to his own knowledge, the sight of this
fish was productive of the symptoms here mentioned. Beckmann reckons
the Aplysia depilans (with which the Sea-hare of the ancients is
identified) in the number of the animal poisons, and remarks that (as
we find stated by Cœlius Rhodiginus, B. xxvi. c. 30) the Emperor Titus
was dispatched by the agency of this poison, administered to him by the
direction of his brother Domitian. _Hist. Inv._ vol. I. p. 51. _Bohn’s

[20] Athenæus says, B. viii., that the Scarus pursues it and devours it.

[21] “Quibus impactus est.” A curious expression; if indeed it is the
correct reading.

[22] See B. ix. c. 72.

[23] Mituli. See B. ix. c. 74.

[24] “Cetos.”

[25] Ajasson remarks, in confutation of this story, that there are few
rivers in Arabia of such a breadth.

[26] See B. xi. c. 34.

[27] Of this work, began by Ovid during his banishment in Pontus, and
probably never completed, only a fragment of one hundred and thirty-two
lines has come down to us. Pliny again makes reference to it, in the
last Chapter of the present Book.

[28] Or “Treatise on Fishes.”

[29] See B. ix. c. 69, and B. xi. c. 61.

[30] Quoted from the Halieuticon.

[31] The wolf fish. The Perca labrax of Linnæus. See B. ix. cc. 24, 28,
74, 79, and B. x. c. 89.

[32] From the Halieuticon of Ovid.

[33] See B. ix. cc. 14, 35, 39, 48, 74, 79, 81.

[34] From the Halieuticon.

[35] From the Halieuticon.

[36] See B. ix. cc. 21, 26, 67.

[37] From the Halieuticon.

[38] From the Halieuticon. See Note 31 above, if indeed the same fish
is meant. See also B. xxxi. c. 44, and the Note.

[39] From the Halieuticon.

[40] See B. ix. c. 85.

[41] In B. ix. c. 39. Aristotle, however, as there stated, was not of
the same opinion.

[42] See B. xx. c. 98.

[43] “Novacula piscis.” Pliny is the only ancient author that mentions
this fish. There are numerous varieties of it, among which the
best known are the Coryphæna novacula of Linnæus, the Rason of the
Mediterranean, highly esteemed as an article of food, and the Coryphæna
pentedactyle of Bloch, identical with the _Hemiptéronote à cinq
taches_, of Lacépède.

[44] An absurdity, owing, no doubt, to its name.

[45] Or “globe-fish.” The Mola, orbis marinus, or sun-fish of modern
Natural History, the _Lune de mer_, or _poisson-lune_ of the French.
Though the skin is harsh and tough, there is no firmness in its flesh,
which is of a gluey consistency.

[46] In reality it _has_ scales, but they are almost imperceptible,
from their minuteness.

[47] Or rather, as Dalechamps observes, “all belly.”

[48] See B. ix. cc. 44, 45, and B. xviii. c. 87.

[49] See B. ix. cc. 1, 21 and c. 53 of the present Book. There are two
varieties of it, the Xiphias gladius of Bloch and Lacépède, and the
Xiphias machæra of Shaw.

[50] See B. v. c. 1.

[51] Martial, B. iv. Ep. 30, speaks of this being the case at the
fishponds of Baiæ, where the Emperor’s fish were in the habit of making
their appearance when called by name.

[52] A village of Caria, celebrated for its sanctuary of Zeus Stratios.
Ælian, Hist. Anim. B. xii. c. 30, says that there was a spring of clear
water, within the sanctuary, which contained fish with golden necklaces
and rings.

[53] “Inaures.” He probably means ornaments suspended from the gills, a
thing which, in the case of eels, might be done.

[54] “Senum delubrum.” Ælian speaks of tame fish in the Old Men’s
Harbour (λιμὴν) at Chios.

[55] In B. xxxi. c. 22.

[56] The seat of the worship of the half-fish goddess Addirga,
Atergatis, Astarte, or Derceto. See B. v. c. 19. The original names of
Hierapolis (the Holy City) were Bambyce and Mabog.

[57] See B. iii. c. 9.

[58] A Greek name signifying “black-tails.” See c. 53 of this Book.
Holland translates it “the black-tailed ruffe” or “sea-bream.”

[59] See B. v. c. 38.

[60] See B. v. c. 31, and B. xxxi. c. 43.

[61] See B. iii. c. 14.

[62] See B. v. cc. 3, 4.

[63] See B. iii. cc. 16, 26.

[64] Ajasson thinks that this may possibly be true to some small extent.

[65] Identical with the fish called “orbis,” already mentioned in c. 5
of this Book. Ajasson remarks that though these fish have been known to
weigh as much as three hundred pounds, there are many others which grow
to a larger size, the sturgeon, and the silurus, for instance.

[66] Ajasson thinks that this notion may possibly have been derived
from the name, which not improbably was given to it from the spongy and
oleaginous nature of the flesh.

[67] See B. iii. c. 16.

[68] Owing, perhaps, to the moisture of the atmosphere.

[69] We learn from Festus, that he prohibited the use also of the
scarus, a fish _with_ scales.

[70] “Ad pulvinaria.” Literally, “At the cushions;” in reference
to the practice of placing the statues of the gods upon pillows at
the Lectisternia, which were sacrifices in the nature of feasts,
at which images of the gods were placed reclining on couches, with
tables and food before them, as if they were really partaking of the
things offered in sacrifice. Livy, B. v. c. 13. gives an account of a
Lectisternium celebrated with great pomp, which he asserts to have been
the first instance of the practice.

[71] In B. ix. c. 54.

[72] See B. iii. c. 11.

[73] Theophrastus reckons coral among the precious stones, and the
Pseudo-Orpheus among the minerals. Pliny would seem to be at a loss
whether to consider it as an animal or a vegetable. In reality it is
the production of marine organized bodies of an arborescent habit,
known as Corallina, with jointed stems, supported on a kind of root
divided into branches, which are likewise jointed.

[74] Because κειρεῖται, it is “cut short” in the sea, a far-fetched
derivation, apparently.

[75] Solinus informs us that Zoroaster attributed certain mysterious
properties to coral.

[76] A practice still retained, though the original intention of it has
been lost sight of. As to the form of the coral now used by infants,
see Note 2171 to B. xxviii. c. 7.

[77] In reality, the Pastinaca or Sting-ray is _not_ venomous; but the
wounds inflicted by the sting in its tail are highly dangerous, from
their tendency to gangrene.

[78] In B. ix. c. 72. As Ajasson remarks, it is quite possible that the
sting of the Pastinaca might penetrate to the heart of a young tree,
and so kill it; but that is no proof of its being poisonous. See also
B. ix. cc. 40, 67.

[79] Or Mustela, the sea-weasel, mentioned in B. ix. c. 29, and in c.
37 of the present Book. See also Note 2407 to B. ix. c. 29. Ajasson is
of opinion that under the names of “Galeos” and “Mustela,” the ancients
confounded the Squalus galeus and the Squalus mustelus of Linnæus.

[80] See B. xix. c. 15, and B. xxii. c. 49.

[81] As water, and are consequently amphibious.

[82] The Castoreum of the ancients, the “castor” of our Materia Medica,
is _not_ in reality produced from the testes of the beaver, as was
supposed by the ancients, but from two oval pouches situate near the
anus of the animal of either sex. There are four of these pouches in
all, two containing a species of fat, and two larger ones including
in their membranous cells a viscous fetid substance, which forms the
castor of medicine. It is considered to be an antispasmodic.

[83] “Folliculos.” A very appropriate term, as Ajasson remarks.

[84] See B. xii. c. 49, and B. xxxiv. c. 14.

[85] See B. xxv. c. 70.

[86] Castor is still given to females to inhale, when suffering from

[87] See B. xx. c. 54.

[88] See B. xxiv. c. 38.

[89] See B. viii. c. 41, B. x. c. 95, and B. xi. cc. 24, 28.

[90] See B. xxix. c. 32.

[91] See B. viii. c. 35, and B. xvi. c. 80.

[92] See B. xx. c. 81; B. xxii. c. 13; B. xxiii. c. 23, and B. xxiv. c.

[93] See B. xii. c. 57.

[94] Or Mistletoe; see B, xvi. c. 92.

[95] As to the identity of the “nitrum” of the ancients, see B. xxxi.
c. 46 and the Notes.

[96] See B. xx. c. 76.

[97] Under the head of “testudines,” he includes the tortoises,
terrapenes, and turtles, which form an order of reptiles, known in
Natural History as Chelonia, and characterised by the body being
enclosed between a double shield or shell, out of which protrude the
head, tail, and four extremities.

[98] See B. ix. cc. 11, 12.

[99] Our tortoises so called.

[100] Our Chelonides, or turtles.

[101] The Emydes and Trionyches of Modern Natural History.

[102] Or turtle.

[103] See B. x. c. 86.

[104] To make it of a yellow or golden colour, Dalechamps says.

[105] Identified by Ajasson with the Emys lutaria of Modern Natural

[106] Our Houseleek. See B. xxv. c. 102.

[107] Because it is then powerless, and can make no effort to rise.

[108] An absurd story, founded, no doubt, on the extremely slow pace of
the tortoise. Ajasson remarks that it is the fresh-water tortoise, more
particularly, that is so slow in its movements.

[109] In B. xxi. c. 44.

[110] Or Gilt-head. “Aurata.” See B. ix. c. 25.

[111] In B. viii. c. 38. See also B. xxviii. c. 30.

[112] Among others, in B. vii. c. 13, and B. xxviii. c. 23.

[113] In B. xxviii. c. 23.

[114] As to this point, see c. 12 of this Book, and the Notes.

[115] He must mean the Sea-dragon, mentioned in B. ix. c. 43, and in
c. 53 of the present Book; for he has already stated in B. xxix. c.
20, that the serpent called “draco” is destitute of venom. See also B.
viii. cc. 13, 14, 22, 41, and B. x. cc. 5, 92, 95, 96.

[116] See B. viii. c. 41, B. x. c. 95, and B. xi. cc. 24, 28, 29.

[117] See B. ix. cc. 71, 86, and c. 53 of the present Book.

[118] See Note 115 above.

[119] Rondelet asserts, B. vi. c. 19, that he himself had cured the
sting of the sea-dragon by an application of the liver of that fish.

[120] See B. xxix. c. 32.

[121] See B. viii. c. 35, B. xi. c. 43, and B. xvi. c. 80.

[122] See B. xxiii. c. 29.

[123] Nicander, in his Theriaca, classes the Elops among the innocuous
serpents. In B. ix. c. 27, we are informed that one name given to the
Acipenser was “Elops.” But see the remark made in c. 54 of this Book.

[124] See B. xxiii. c. 80.

[125] From c. 53 of the present Book, we learn that the Sarda was a
kind of Pelamis, or young tunny, which was pickled, like our Anchovy.

[126] See Note 115 above.

[127] Tunny cut into slices, and pickled. See B. ix. c. 18.

[128] See B. ix. cc. 40, 67, 74, 83.

[129] See B. viii. c. 48, B. xi. cc. 19, 76, 116, B. xxv. c. 76.

[130] See B. x. c. 86.

[131] Under the name “magi,” he is probably speaking here, not of the
ordinary magicians, but the Magi of the East, from whom Democritus
largely borrowed.

[132] A piece of wit on the part of our author, in which he seldom

[133] See B. xi. c. 76.

[134] From “rubus,” a “bramble.”

[135] In B. viii. c. 48. It is not improbable that the “rubetæ” of the
ancients were toads.

[136] Projections of the bones in which the eyes are set, as Dalechamps

[137] “Plenæ veneficiorum.” It was long a matter of doubt whether the
toad is really poisonous, but it has been recently ascertained that the
pustules on the skin contain a most active poison.

[138] “Solium” and “oleum” are the readings here, but we adopt the
conjecture of M. Ian, and substitute “ollam.”

[139] “Averting dogs.”

[140] The Enhydris, probably. See B. xxx. c. 8.

[141] See B. xxvi. c. 33.

[142] “Cancri fluviatiles.” Our crawfish, the Potamobios of Leach.

[143] See B. xix. cc. 31, 36, 44, and B. xx. c. 48.

[144] It is difficult to say whether he means the shrew-mouse here,
the bite of which was supposed to be poisonous, or the serpent called
Scytale, mentioned by Lucan, B. ix. l. 717.

[145] See Note 143 above.

[146] The Crab. This is giving the serpent credit for too much wisdom;
an acquaintance, in fact, with the fantastic names which mankind have
bestowed upon the signs of the Zodiac.

[147] See B. ix. c. 32.

[148] The same as the Orbis or Orthagoriscus of Chapters 5 and 9 of
this Book, the Mola or sun-fish of the Mediterranean. See B. ix. c. 17.

[149] Or sting-ray. See B. ix. c. 72.

[150] There is considerable truth in this observation.

[151] The sea-horse, the Syngnathus hippocampus of Linnæus. See B. ix.
c. 1.

[152] See B. xxi. c. 105.

[153] The same, probably, as the “opocarpathon” of B. xxviii. c. 45, a
substance which does not appear to have been identified with any degree
of certainty. See also c. 31 of the present Book.

[154] B. ix. c. 79.

[155] Ajasson remarks that these statements are consistent with fact.

[156] “Deep-sea” oysters.

[157] In Asia Minor. See B. v. c. 32, where it is called “Grynia.”

[158] In Lemnos. See B. iv. c. 23, and B. v. c. 32.

[159] This is an error: the statement is made, not in B. ix., but in B.
ii. c. 109.

[160] See B. ix. c. 74. It is at the spawning season that this milky
liquid is found in the oyster; a period at which the meat of the fish
is considered unwholesome as food. We have a saying that the oyster
should never be eaten in the months without an r; that the same, too,
was the opinion in the middle ages is proved by the Leonine line:

“Mensibus erratis vos ostrea manducatis.”

“In the r’d months you may your oysters eat.”

[161] See B. iii. c. 9. Horace speaks of the oysters of Circeii, B. ii.
Sat. 4. l. 33.

[162] There has been considerable discussion among the commentators
as to the meaning of the word “spondylus” here. We are inclined to
adopt the opinion of Venette, and to think that it means the so-called
“meat” of the oyster. It must be short, and consequently plump and
comparatively destitute of beard, and it must not be fleshy, as that
would imply a degree of toughness not desirable in an oyster. The
words “nec fibris laciniata ac tota in alvo,” only seem to be an
amplification of the preceding ones, “spondylo brevi et non carnoso.”

[163] Literally, “Having beautiful eyebrows.”

[164] See B. ix. c. 79.

[165] See B. v. c. 40.

[166] See B. iii. c. 9.

[167] “Dulciora.”

[168] Those of Rutupæ, the present Richborough in Kent, were highly
esteemed by the Romans. See Juvenal, Sat. 4. l. 141.

[169] “Suaviora.”

[170] The district in the vicinity of Bordeaux, now called Medoc. The
oysters of Medulæ are mentioned in terms of praise by Ausonius, Epist.
vii. and Epist. cxliii.

[171] “Acriora.”

[172] See B. iii. c. 4.

[173] See B. v. c. 32.

[174] See B. iii. c. 23.

[175] See B. iii. c. 9.

[176] They probably gave the name of “oyster” to some other shell-fish
of large size. In Cook’s Voyages we read of cockles in the Pacific,
which two men were unable to carry.

[177] From τρὶς, “thrice,” and δάκνω, “to bite.”

[178] Ajasson remarks that many persons are unable to digest oysters,
in an uncooked state.

[179] Ajasson remarks that calcined oyster-shells formed an ingredient
in the famous lithontriptic of Mrs. Stephens, a so-called remedy which
obtained for her a considerable reward, voted by the English Parliament
in the middle of last century.

[180] A statement purely imaginary, Ajasson thinks; the liquid of this
class of shell-fish containing no element whatever to fit it for an

[181] Or antidote.

[182] In B. xxvi. c. 66.

[183] Many varieties of sea-weed are now known, Ajasson says, to
possess this property, and are still used by savage nations for
colouring the body. In Europe, the use of indigo, madder, and other
tinctorial plants of a more decided character, has caused them to be
entirely neglected for dyeing purposes.

[184] Probably the Syngnathus hippocampus of Linnæus. See B. ix. c. 1.

[185] As to the Nitrum of the ancients, see B. xxxi. c. 46.

[186] Or Cuttlefish. See B. ix. c. 44.

[187] See B. ix. c. 35.

[188] See c. 17 of the present Book.

[189] This seems to be the meaning of “conchyliorum” here, though in
most instances Pliny uses it as synonymous with the purple. See B. ix.
cc. 60, 61, 64.

[190] See B. xxv. c. 70.

[191] This assertion reminds us of the healing effects of the fish with
which Tobit cured his father’s blindness. See Tobit, c. xi. v. 13.

[192] See c. 13 of this Book.

[193] Identified by Ajasson with the white Rascasse of the
Mediterranean. Hardouin combats the notion that this was the fish, the
gall of which was employed by Tobit for the cure of his father, and is
inclined to think that the Silurus was in reality the fish; a notion no
better founded than the other, Ajasson thinks.

[194] In his “Messenia,” for instance. The fragment has been preserved
by Ælian, Hist. Anim. B. xiii. c. 4. Ajasson remarks that the ancients
clearly mistook the swimming bladder of the fish for the gall.

[195] Or “heaven-gazer.”

[196] The original has “ab oculo quem,”—but we have adopted the reading
suggested by Dalechamps, “Ab oculis quos in superiore capite.” Ajasson
says that the white rascasse has the eyes so disposed on the upper part
of the head as to have the appearance of gazing upwards at the heavens.
Hence it is that at Genoa, the fish is commonly known as the _prête_ or

[197] See B. ix. c. 32.

[198] See Chapter 17 of the present Book.

[199] “Albugines.”

[200] Meaning, literally, “Fallen from Jupiter,” in reference to their
supposed descent from heaven in showers of rain.

[201] Cortex.

[202] See B. xxxiv. cc. 22, 23.

[203] “Ossiculo.”

[204] Literally, “fish-glue.” We can hardly believe Pliny that any fish
was known by this name. Hardouin takes the fish here spoken of to be
identical with that mentioned in B. ix. c. 17, as being caught in the
Borysthene, and destitute of bones. It is most probable, however, that
the “ichthyocolla” of the ancients, or “fish-glue,” was the same as our
isinglass, and that it was prepared from the entrails of various fish,
the sturgeon more particularly, the Acipenser huso of Linnæus.

[205] The best isinglass still comes from Russia.

[206] “Nativi coloris.” See B. viii. c. 23. Beckmann says, in reference
to the present passage: “We manufacture the wool of our brown sheep in
its natural colour, and this was done also by the ancients.”—_Hist.
Inv._ vol. ii. p. 110, _Bohn’s Ed._

[207] The “calamites” above mentioned, so called from “calamus,” a reed.

[208] The Bryonia Cretica of Linnæus; see B. xxiii. c. 16.

[209] An eminent surgeon, born at Sidon in Phœnicia, who practised at
Rome, probably in the first century B.C.

[210] “Mutis,” “silent,” or “voiceless” frogs, as suggested by Gessner,
Hist. Anim. B. ii., would almost seem to be a preferable reading here
to “multis,” “many.”

[211] Another reading is “tænia,” a fish mentioned by Epicharmus,
Athenæus informs us, and considered by Ajasson to be probably identical
with the Cepola rubescens, or Cepola tænia of Linnæus.

[212] The same as the Batis of the Greeks, Hardouin thinks, the Raia
batis, a kind of skate.

[213] See B. ix. c. 28.

[214] See the preceding Chapter.

[215] See c. 13 of the present Book.

[216] See B. ix. c. 71.

[217] As to “nitrum,” see B. xxxi. c. 46.

[218] See B. xxxi. c. 43.

[219] See Note 189 to Chapter 23 of this Book.

[220] “Canicula.” See B. ix. cc. 11, 70.

[221] Or sting-ray.

[222] Tunny cut in slices. See B. ix. c. 18.

[223] See end of B. xxxi.

[224] For the purpose, probably, of assuaging the pain of tooth-ache by
their coolness.

[225] See B. ix. cc. 40, 67.

[226] “Cetum.” See B. ix. cc. 40, 74.

[227] Ajasson is of opinion that here and in c. 19 Pliny has mistaken
the _otter_ for a serpent, the mammiferæ only having eye or canine
teeth. Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. i. c. i., calls the otter by the name
of “Enhydris.” See B. xxx. c. 8, where Pliny speaks of the “Enhydris”
as a “male white serpent.”

[228] Or seal. See B. ix. c. 15.

[229] See B. ix. c. 42. Holland calls the mæna the “cackerel.”

[230] Or sting-ray.

[231] See B. ix. c. 1.

[232] Much like the cod-liver oil, held in such high repute at the
present day.

[233] “Icthyocolla.” See Chapter 24 of the present Book.

[234] Of course this assertion as to the nest of the kingfisher is
altogether fabulous, and the sea-productions here described by Pliny
were long considered, though destitute of leaves, flowers, and fruit,
to belong to the vegetable kingdom. Peyssonnel, however, made the
discovery that they belong to the animal kingdom, and that they owe
their origin to a species of polyp.

[235] Or kingfisher. See B. x. c. 47.

[236] “Oculorum cicatrices.”

[237] See end of B. xx.

[238] See end of B. viii.

[239] See B. ix. c. 42.

[240] See B. ix. cc. 40, 67. The Bamberg MS. has here “rhine,” (the
fish again mentioned in Chapter 53 of this Book) instead of “rana;” a
reading which Sillig rejects. Hardouin conjectures that “raia” is the
correct reading, the sea-frog having no sting or stickle in the tail.

[241] See B. ix. c. 67.

[242] Or sea-lizard, a fish again mentioned in Chapter 53 of this Book.
Ælian also speaks of it, Hist. Nat. B. xii. c. 25; but it has not been
hitherto identified.

[243] See c. 25 of this Book.

[244] See c. 13 of this Book.

[245] See B. xxxi. c. 43.

[246] See B. ix. cc. 17, 25, 75.

[247] It is not clear whether he means the gum ammoniac of B. xii. c.
49, and B. xxiv. c. 14, or the sal ammoniac of B. xxxi. c. 39.

[248] “Saliva.” See the recipe of Sallustius Dionysius in Chapter 26 of
this Book.

[249] The Dryophites of Rondelet, Dalechamps says.

[250] Identical with the Strombus of cc. 39, 46, and 53 of this Book.

[251] See B. ix. c. 1.

[252] Littré remarks that Pliny here seems to speak of the “Tethea”
as a mollusk; whereas in c. 31, from his expression “Fungorum verius
generis quam piscium,” he would appear to be describing a zoophyte.

[253] See B. ix. cc. 17, 25, 75.

[254] See B. ix. cc. 24, 48, 67, 74, 75.

[255] See B. xx. c. 38.

[256] A rock fish, according to Athenæus, B. vii. Rondelet, B. vi.
c. 7, identifies it with the fish called _girello_ by the people of
Liguria, the _donzella_ of other districts.

[257] Sliced tunny. See B. ix. c. 18.

[258] A genus which comprises the “myes,” mentioned in B. ix. c. 56,
according to Dalechamps.

[259] See B. ix. c. 60.

[260] See B. xxi. c. 105.

[261] See B. xxviii. c. 45, and Chapter 20 of the present Book.

[262] Identical with our mussel, probably.

[263] Holland identifies this with the cockle, but it is probably a
smaller kind of mussel.

[264] See B. xxxiv. c. 50.

[265] We learn from Chapter 53 of this Book, that one class of the
“Chamæ,” or gaping cockles, was known as “Pelorides.” Horace also
mentions them.

[266] See B. xxxi. c. 46.

[267] See Note 251 above. Sillig would here read “tetheum,” apparently,
in the singular.

[268] Described in B. xxvii. c. 29.

[269] A city not far from the Canopic branch of the Nile.

[270] “Dantur” seems a preferable reading to “datur.”

[271] See B. ix c. 42.

[272] Our crawfish, the Astacus potamobios of Leach.

[273] See Chapter 13 of this Book.

[274] See B. xix. c. 27, and B, xxv. c. 64.

[275] See B. ix. cc. 23, 77.

[276] See end of B. xxxi.

[277] See B. ix. cc. 20, 24, 36.

[278] See B. ix. cc. 24, 48, 67, 74, 75.

[279] “Rhombus.” See B. ix. cc. 20, 36, 67, 79.

[280] See Chapters 23, 34, 30 and 53 of this Book.

[281] Rondelet, B. vi. c. 19, suggests “capite”—“in the head”—but the
present reading is supported by the text of Plinius Valerianus, B. ii.
c. 39, and of Marcus Empiricus, c. 28.

[282] As to the identity of the Enhydris, see Chapters 19 and 26 of the
present Book: also B. xxx. c. 8.

[283] Probably the Βλεννὸς of Oppian, B. i. c. 108. Dalechamps
identifies it with the mullet called “myxon,” apparently the same fish
as the “bacchus” mentioned in Chapter 25 of this Book. Rondelet appears
to identify it with some other sea-fish, small, and extremely rare. On
the other hand, the fish mentioned by Oppian is thought by Littré to
be the “gobius” of the Latins, (“gobio” or “cobio,” mentioned by Pliny
in B. ix. c. 83, and in c. 53 of the present Book), which is generally
considered the same as our gudgeon, and was a worthless fish, “vilis
piscis,” as Juvenal says. One of the Linnæan orders of fishes is called
“Blennius,” the blenny.

[284] See B. ix. c. 28.

[285] See B. ix. c. 68.

[286] Or sea-lungs. See B. ix. c. 71, and B. xviii. c. 85.

[287] Or crawfish.

[288] “Pectines.” See B. ix. cc. 51, 52, 68, 74, 112.

[289] Athenæus adds a fourth name, “solen;” and a fifth was “dactylus,”
see B. ix. c. 87. According to Dalechamps, the name “donax” was given
to one kind of scallop, from its fancied resemblance to a thick,
hollow, river-reed, and that of “onyx” from the resemblance of its
colour to that of the finger-nails.

[290] It is not improbable that he may mean the same animal that has
been mentioned in cc. 19 and 26 of this Book, the Enhydris. See also B.
xxx. c. 8.

[291] See B. xxix. c. 22.

[292] See B. ix. cc. 17, 25, 75.

[293] See B. ix. c. 42, and Chapter 27 of this Book.

[294] See B. ix. cc. 18, 19, and Chapter 53 of this Book.

[295] Salted tunny. See B. ix. c. 18.

[296] See B. ix. cc. 24, 48, 74, 75.

[297] Our crawfish.

[298] See B. ix. cc. 24, 32.

[299] See B. ix. c. 24.

[300] See Chapters 23, 24, 30, 32, and 53 of the present Book. Also B.
xx. c. 53.

[301] See B. ix. c. 42.

[302] “Perca.” See B. ix. c. 24.

[303] See Note 294 above.

[304] See B. ix. c. 14.

[305] In B. ix. c. 14.

[306] Ajasson remarks that many writers have identified the Smaris with
the Sardine or the Anchovy. In his opinion, however, it is neither; but
he thinks that under this head were included seven or eight varieties
of the Pickerel, the principal of which are, the Sparus smaris of
Linnæus and Lacépède, the Sparus mana of Linnæus, or Sparus mendola of
Lacépède, and the Sparus haffara of Lacépède and Linnæus.

[307] See Chapter 22 of the present Book.

[308] See B. ix. c. 1.

[309] Literally, the “little serpent.” Some think that it is the
Ophidium barbatum of Linnæus. Rondelet identifies it, B. xiv. c. 2,
with the small fish called _donzella_ by the people of Montpellier. See
c. 31, Note 256.

[310] See B. xxx. c. 22.

[311] See B. xiv. c. 8.

[312] “Rubetæ.” See c. 18 of this Book; also B. viii. c. 48; B. xi. cc.
19, 76, 116, and B. xxv. c. 76.

[313] See B. ix. c. 72; B. xxv. c. 77, and Chapter 3 of this Book.

[314] Or seal-skin. See B. viii. c. 49, and B. ix. c. 15.

[315] In B. xxvii. c. 33.

[316] In B. xxvi. c. 66.

[317] Or “sea-lungs.” See B. ix. c. 71, B. xviii. c. 5, and Chapters
32, 46, and 52 of the present Book. Ajasson remarks that this is still
the common name of many kinds of Medusæ.

[318] Our crawfish.

[319] See B. ix. cc. 17, 25, 75.

[320] “Mituli.” See Chapter 31 of the present Book.

[321] In B. viii. c. 49.

[322] See Note 314 above.

[323] See Chapter 13 of the present Book.

[324] See B. ix. c. 29.

[325] See B. ix. cc. 35, 76.

[326] See B. ix. c. 1.

[327] See B. ix. c. 28.

[328] See B. ix. c. 24.

[329] “Ablatis unguibus.”

[330] “Rubeta.”

[331] Our crawfish.

[332] Because the nightingale sings at night, instead of sleeping.

[333] See B. ix. cc. 2, 5, 6, 7, 15.

[334] Or seal.

[335] “Spondylus.”

[336] See Chapter 29 of this Book.

[337] See Chapters 30 and 31 of the present Book.

[338] See B. xviii. c. 19.

[339] “Crebriore anhelitu.”

[340] See B. ix. cc. 17, 25, 75.

[341] Or sting-ray. See B. ix. cc. 37, 40, 67, 72.

[342] Ichthyocolla. See Chapter 24 of this Book.

[343] See Chapter 13 of this Book.

[344] See B. ix. c. 30.

[345] See B. ix. c. 46.

[346] This seems to be the meaning of “naturâ dissidente,” if it is the
correct reading. That, however, suggested by Dalechamps would seem to
be preferable, “naturâ retinente,”—“it being the nature of its flesh to
cling to the knife.”

[347] See Chapter 24 of this Book.

[348] “Calami.”

[349] “Bloodsuckers.”

[350] “Cucurbitæ medicinales.”

[351] This does not appear to be considered the case at the present day.

[352] A method still employed.

[353] See B. x. c. 27.

[354] “Invehunt virus remedio verso.” The reading is probably corrupt,
but the meaning is pretty evident.

[355] See B. xxix. c. 17, and c. 47 of this Book.

[356] See B. ix. cc. 17, 25, 75.

[357] See B. ix. c. 17. Ajasson says that it is also found of enormous
size, in the Danube and in the Theisse.

[358] See B. xxxiv. c. 33.

[359] See B. ix. c. 42.

[360] See Note 356 above.

[361] “Cunila capitata.” See B. xx. c. 65.

[362] See B. xxxiv. c. 55.

[363] Tunny sliced and salted; see B. ix. c. 18.

[364] See B. xxxi. c. 44.

[365] See B. ix. cc. 24, 32.

[366] See B. ix. c. 30.

[367] See B. ix. c. 67.

[368] See Note 359 above.

[369] “Thymia.”

[370] Ajasson thinks that the ancients knew but one kind of
sea-scorpion, but in different states, the Cottus scorpius, probably,
of Linnæus.

[371] See Chapter 34 of this Book.

[372] See Note 364 above.

[373] See Note 359 above.

[374] This fish has not been identified. It is possible, however, that
it may be the same as the “glaucus” mentioned in B ix. c. 25.

[375] See Note 371 above.

[376] See B. xxvi. c. 92.

[377] See B. ix. cc. 14, 40, 67.

[378] An asserted remedy, founded, as Ajasson remarks, upon nothing
but a pun, the resemblance between δελφὶς, a “dolphin,” and
δελφὺς, the “womb.”

[379] See Chapters 29 and 39 of this Book.

[380] See B. ix. c. 42.

[381] See B. xx. c. 65.

[382] In other words, seal-oil.

[383] Or sea-lungs. See Chapter 36 of this Book.

[384] Or crawfish.

[385] See B. ix. c. 17; also Chapter 43 of this Book.

[386] Meaning Egypt, probably; see the passages referred to in the
preceding note.

[387] De Morb. Mulier. I. 128.

[388] We would adopt the suggestion of M. Ian, and read “quinis cum,”
in preference to “cum quinis;” “fire crabs with roots of lapathum and

[389] See B. xx. c. 85.

[390] See Chapter 13 of the present Book.

[391] See B. xii. c. 57.

[392] See B. ix. cc. 24, 48, 74, 75.

[393] Or sting-ray. See B. ix. c. 72.

[394] The callosity is here meant, Hardouin supposes, which covers the
purple in the shell. See Chapter 41 of this Book.

[395] “Salis flore.” See B. xxxi. c. 42.

[396] “Cedrium.” See B. xvi. c. 21, and B. xxiv. c. 11.

[397] See end of B. xxviii.

[398] Or “sea-lungs.” See Chapter 36 of this Book.

[399] See B. ix. c. 67.

[400] See B. ix. c. 68.

[401] See Note 392 above.

[402] In Chapter 24 of this Book.

[403] See the preceding Note.

[404] See Chapter 42 of this Book.

[405] In the case of infants, probably.

[406] “Canicula.” See B. ix. cc. 11, 70.

[407] Or “crawfish.”

[408] “Crebro humefacto” seems a preferable reading to “cerebro
humefacto” though supported by the Bamberg MS.

[409] See B. xxii. c. 29, and B. xxx. c. 47.

[410] See B. ix. c. 30.

[411] Identified with the “erythinus” of B. ix. c. 23, and mentioned in
the next Chapter.

[412] See B. ix. c. 1.

[413] Or Remora. See B. ix. c. 41.

[414] See B. viii. c. 39.

[415] See Note 392 above.

[416] See B. ix. c. 23.

[417] See Chapter 24 of this Book.

[418] See B. ix. c. 1.

[419] “Rubeta.” See B. viii. c. 48, B. xi. cc. 19, 76, 116, B. xxv. c.
76, and c. 18 of this Book.

[420] See B. xv. c. 36, and B. xx. c. 22.

[421] “Remedies for lassitude.” See B. xxiii. cc. 45, 80; B. xxvii. c.
13, and B. xxix. cc. 13, 37.

[422] See B. xvi. c. 66, and B. xxiv. c. 50.

[423] See B. xvi. c. 66, and B. xxiv. c. 50.

[424] See B. xxiv. c. 50.

[425] See B. ix. cc. 20, 44, 74, 78.

[426] “Ablato priore lumine.” Hardouin justly ridicules this assertion.
This ink, as Ajasson remarks, is intensely black.

[427] See B. ix. c. 71, and Chapter 36 of this Book.

[428] This _seems_ to be the meaning of “adeo ut baculum ita præluceat.”

[429] Some MSS. have here “164,” the Bamberg MS. and others “144.”
Owing to the corrupt state of the text in many parts of this Chapter,
it is impossible to say which reading is correct.

[430] “Invenire non potuimus” seems a preferable reading to “invenire

[431] Modern Ceylon. See B. vi. cc. 23, 24, B. vii. c. 2, and B. ix. c.

[432] “Quæ nascuntur certa sunt.” A bold assertion. The various fishes
now known amount to many thousands; and there are still vast numbers,
no doubt, with which science has not hitherto become acquainted.

[433] “Belluæ.”

[434] He may possibly allude to the plants mentioned in B. xiii. cc.
48, 49, 50, 51, and 52; though Hardouin seems to think it impossible
to discover what he means, seeing that he is speaking of sea-monsters,
beings with animal life. See also B. ix. c. 3.

[435] See B. ix. c. 3.

[436] See B. ix. cc. 2, 5.

[437] See B. ix. c. 3; probably the same as the “pristis” of B. ix. c.

[438] See B. ix. c. 4.

[439] See B. ix. c. 4.

[440] See B. ix. c. 4.

[441] “Homines marini.” See B. ix. c. 4.

[442] See B. ix. c. 3.

[443] See B. ix. c. 5.

[444] See B. ix. c. 4.

[445] See B. ix. c. 88, and B. xi. c. 62.

[446] See B. ix. c. 67.

[447] See B. ix. c. 7.

[448] See B. ix. c. 15.

[449] Odyssey, B. iv. l. 436.

[450] Turtles. See B. ix. c. 13.

[451] See Chapter 13 of this Book.

[452] See B. viii. c. 47; also Chapters 26 and 32 of this Book.

[453] See B. ix. c. 70.

[454] The name of a fish unknown. Sillig conjectures that Pliny may
have had in view the fish called “dromades” by Aristotle. “Dromones” is
another reading, a sort of small crab.

[455] Littré translates this “horned ray.”

[456] “Gladii.” See B. ix. cc. 1, 21; the same, probably as the
“xiphias” mentioned at the end of this Chapter.

[457] See B. ix. c. 1.

[458] See B. viii. c. 39.

[459] See B. viii. c. 37.

[460] See B. ix. c. 18, 20. Holland says, “Some take ‘thynni’ for
the milters and ‘thynnides’ for the spawners.” In this translation,
however, he identifies the “thynnides” with the “pelamides,” or young
tunnies, mentioned in this Chapter and in B. ix. c. 18.

[461] See B. ix. cc. 17, 25.

[462] See B. ix. cc. 24, 32.

[463] “Percæ.” See B. ix. c. 24.

[464] See B. ix. c. 27.

[465] “Aurata.” See B. ix. c. 25.

[466] See B. ix. cc. 25, 28.

[467] Considered by some to be the whiting. Littré identifies it with
the Perca labrax of Linnæus.

[468] See B. ix. c. 74; where it is called “apua.”

[469] The “sea-fox.” See B. ix. c. 67.

[470] “Anguilla.” See B. ix. cc. 2, 37, 38.

[471] Or sea-spider. See B. ix. c. 72.

[472] The same as the _bogue_ of the coasts of Narbonne, according to
Rondelet, B. v. c. 11.

[473] See Chapter 25 of the present Book.

[474] See B. ix. c. 28.

[475] Or frog-fish. See B. ix. c. 40.

[476] “Sea-needles.” Identified by some with the horn-fish, horn-back,
or needle-fish.

[477] “Needle-fish.”

[478] “Acorn-fish.” A shell-fish, according to Rondelet, B. i. c. 30,
which frequents the clefts of rocks.

[479] “Sea-raven.” According to some authorities, identical with the
Trigla hirundo of Linnæus. Hardouin says that it is the fish called
_capone_ by the people of Rome.

[480] See B. ix. c. 71.

[481] The same, probably, as the “gobio,” mentioned in B. ix. c. 83.

[482] See B. ix. c. 28.

[483] See B. ix. cc. 25, 28.

[484] Thought by some to be a kind of mackerel, by others to be a
tunny. Rondelet says, B. viii. c. 8, that it is a fish still called
_coguiol_ by the people of Marseilles.

[485] In the Hellespont.

[486] Or Sexis, according to Pintianus.

[487] Or “sea-lizards.”

[488] See B. ix. c. 18. He surely does not intend to include this among
his “one hundred and seventy-six different kinds of aquatic animals”!

[489] Or young tunny. See B. ix. c. 18.

[490] See B. ix. c. 18.

[491] Rondelet says, B. v. c. 4, that it is a fish still known (in
his time) as _cantheno_, by the people of Narbonne. Ovid, in his
Halieuticon, l. 103, speaks of the unpleasant flavour of its juices.

[492] See Chapter 24 of the present Book.

[493] Of course, as Hardouin says, he does not include the shell-fishes
in this assertion. The fish with this uncomplimentary name has not been

[494] “Urtica.” See B. ix. c. 68.

[495] See B. ix. c. 51.

[496] Or “chamæ;” different varieties of gaping cockles.

[497] Or “monster” cockles.

[498] Or “sweet” cockles.

[499] See Chapter 27 of this Book.

[500] See B. ix. c. 54.

[501] Or “cochli.” As to the various kinds of cochleæ, see B. ix. c. 51.

[502] “Five-fingered.” So called from some peculiarity in their shape.

[503] Considered by some to be the striated mussel, the Pecten of

[504] “Radii.”

[505] This is not improbably the meaning of the very elliptical
sentence, “Quibus radii cantant.”

[506] See B. ix. c. 1.

[507] The “dog’s-face,” literally. This fish has not been identified:
indeed the reading is doubtful.

[508] A kind of crab or crayfish. See B. xxvii. c. 2.

[509] Literally, the “dog’s right hand.” This fish has not been
identified: Hardouin suggests that it may have been a zoöphyte.

[510] See B. ix. c. 43, and Chapters 17 and 26 of this Book.

[511] Or “little dragon.”

[512] The sea-scorpion, probably.

[513] See B. ix. c. 23; also Chapters 31 and 50 of this Book.

[514] Or Remora. See B. ix. c. 41; also Chapter 1 of this Book.

[515] See B. ix. cc. 14, 74.

[516] See B. ix. c. 32.

[517] See Chapter 46 of the present Book.

[518] See B. ix. c. 67.

[519] Possibly the same as the “Conger” of B. ix. c. 24.

[520] A fish similar, most probably, to the “gerricula” previously
mentioned. Holland calls it a “pilchard” or “herring.”

[521] A kind of squalus. See B. ix. c. 70.

[522] See B. xxxi. c. 43.

[523] Or “horse.” The crab, probably, mentioned in B. ix. c. 51.

[524] See B. ix. c. 24.

[525] Or sea-swallow. See B. ix. c. 43.

[526] “Lungs of the sea.” The same as the Pulmones, or sea-lungs
mentioned in B. ix. c. 71, and in Chapter 36 of this Book.

[527] See B. ix. c. 1.

[528] Or “sea-liver.” A sort of rock-fish, according to Athenæus.

[529] The same as the “milvus” or “sea-kite,” mentioned in B. ix. c. 43.

[530] See Chapter 31 of this Book. Instead of this fish and the
preceding one, most of the editions mention the “elacatenes,” a
cetaceous fish, according to Athenæus, much used for salting.

[531] “Sea-lizards.”

[532] See B. ix. c. 45.

[533] “Locusta.” See B. ix. c. 50.

[534] “Lucerna.” See B. ix. c. 43.

[535] Neither this fish nor the “larinus” has been identified.

[536] See B. ix. c. 72, and Chapter 3 of this Book.

[537] See B. ix. c. 51.

[538] See B. ix. c. 30.

[539] See B. ix. c. 20.

[540] See B. ix. c. 26.

[541] See Chapter 8 of this Book. Holland translates this—“The blacke
taile perch, (which some take for a ruffe, others for a sea-breame).”

[542] See B. ix. c. 42.

[543] A fish of the Nile, according to Ælian. “Meryx” is another
reading, a kind of Scarus, it is thought.

[544] See B. ix. c. 23.

[545] A shell-fish. See B. ix. c. 56.

[546] See Chapter 31 of this Book.

[547] See Chapter 31 of this Book.

[548] See B. ix. c. 61.

[549] The “eye-fish.” A kind of lamprey has been suggested.

[550] See Chapter 35 of this Book.

[551] See B. ix. c. 21.

[552] “Sea-ears.” A kind of oyster, Holland says.

[553] See B. ix. c. 20.

[554] He speaks of it as a kind of Pelamis, a little further on.

[555] The sun-fish. See Chapter 5 of this Book.

[556] The same, probably, as the “orbis.” See Chapters 5 and 9 of the
present Book.

[557] Or phagrus. See B. ix. c. 24.

[558] See B. ix. c. 42.

[559] A young tunny. See B. ix. c. 20.

[560] A “choice bit.” See B. ix. c. 20.

[561] See B. ix. c. 17.

[562] This fish has not been identified.

[563] See B. ix. c. 36.

[564] Or sting-ray. See B. ix. c. 40.

[565] See B. ix. c. 48.

[566] See B. ix. c. 51.

[567] See B. v. c. 39.

[568] Probably the place of that name in Sicily, mentioned in B. ii. c.
94, and B. iii. c. 14.

[569] See B. iii. c. 26.

[570] See B. iii. c. 22.

[571] “Pectunculus.” See Note 566 above.

[572] See B. ix. c. 60.

[573] An unknown fish. The reading is doubtful.

[574] See B. ix. c. 66.

[575] See B. ix. c. 66.

[576] See B. ix. c. 40.

[577] “Rhombus.” See B. ix. c. 36.

[578] See B. ix. c. 29.

[579] See B. ix. c. 36.

[580] See B. ix. c. 30.

[581] The same, perhaps, as the “pinnotheres” of B. ix. c. 66, a kind
of shrimp.

[582] See Chapter 17 of this Book.

[583] See B. ix. c. 18.

[584] See B. ix. c. 19.

[585] See B. ix. c. 32.

[586] Considered by Sillig to be the same as the “Saurus” of Chapter 28
of this Book; the “sea-lizard,” apparently.

[587] It does not seem to have been identified; though Rondelet says
that it is the same as the _Rascasse_ of the Mediterranean.

[588] See B. xx. c. 53, and Chapters 23, 30, 32, 34, and 35 of this

[589] This fish has not been identified; indeed the reading is very

[590] See B. ix. c. 24.

[591] A fish similar to the preceding one, probably; some kind of
ombre, Littré thinks.

[592] See B. ix. c. 67.

[593] Probably the same as the “Myrus” of B. ix. c. 39.

[594] See B. ix. c. 45.

[595] See Chapter 30 of this Book.

[596] See Chapter 32 of this Book.

[597] A sort of mollusk, Littré thinks. There is a shell-fish known as
the Spondylus gæderopus of Linnæus.

[598] See Chapters 34, 45, and 46, of this Book.

[599] See B. ix. c. 86.

[600] See B. ix. c. 69.

[601] See B. ix. c. 20.

[602] A sort of tunny, probably.

[603] See Chapter 6 of this Book. Probably the same as the “gladius” of
this Chapter, and of B. ix. cc. 1, 21.

[604] Considered by Littré to be the Shad.

[605] See B. ix. c. 67.

[606] See Chapter 30 of this Book.

[607] See B. ix. c. 18.

[608] See B. ix. c. 18.

[609] See B. ix. c. 52, and Chapter 1 of this Book.

[610] See B. ix. c. 1, and c. 49 of this Book.

[611] See Note 603 above.

[612] The Halieuticon, already mentioned in Chapter 5 of this Book.

[613] At the town of Tomi, whither he was banished by Augustus Cæsar.

[614] See B. ix. c. 24.

[615] See B. ix. cc. 23, 77, and Chapters 31, 50, of this Book.

[616] The same, probably, as the “iulis” mentioned in the preceding

[617] The “golden brow.” The same as the “Aurata” or “dorade” of B. ix.
c. 25, and Chapters 16 and 53 of this Book.

[618] An unknown fish; the reading is doubtful.

[619] The “goat-fish.” It does not appear to have been identified.

[620] Literally, the “black tail.” See the preceding Chapter.

[621] According to Rondelet, a fish resembling the Coracinus.

[622] See B. ix. c. 23.

[623] See B. ix. c. 25.

[624] See B. ix. c. 47.

[625] See B. ix. c. 42.

[626] See B. ix. c. 27. Ajasson is of opinion that the “helops” is the
Russian sturgeon, the “acipenser,” the common sturgeon.

[627] Resembling a “stake” in appearance. It bee been suggested that
this is the Esox sphyræna.

[628] “Perna.” Hardouin says that from the diminutive of this,
“pernula,” the modern word “pearl” is derived.

[629] A sort of “tursio,” Dalechamps says. See B. ix. c. 11.

[630] See B. iii. c. 12.

[631] See end of B. xix.

[632] See end of B. viii.

[633] See end of B. xii.

[634] See end of B. xviii.

[635] See end of B. xii.

[636] See end of B. ix.

[637] According to Suetonius, Fescennius Iacchus was a grammarian who
taught in Cisalpine Gaul. See also B. xxxvii. c. 54.

[638] See end of B. xxxi.

[639] See end of B. v.

[640] See end of B. xx.

[641] See end of B. xxviii.

[642] See end of B. xxx.

[643] See end of B. xxxi.

[644] See end of B. xxviii.

[645] See end of B. ii.

[646] See end of B. viii.

[647] We now enter upon the Sixth division of Pliny’s work, containing
an account of mineral substances of all descriptions.—_Dr. Bostock._

[648] “Ipsæ opes.” The metals were looked upon by the ancients as the
only _true_ riches. It is in this sense that Ovid says, Metam. B. i.:
“Effodiuntur opes, irritamenta malorum.” Pliny applies the term “pretia
rerum” to metals, as forming the unit of value.

[649] Electrum is described in c. 23, as gold mixed with a certain
quantity of silver. The word “electrum” is also used to signify amber,
as in B. iii. c. 30.—B.

[650] “Æs;” by “æs” is here probably meant copper, as the author is
speaking of what is dug out of the earth; it is more fully described
in the first two Chapters of the next Book. According to the analysis
of Klaproth, the æs of the ancients, when employed in works of art,
cutting instruments, statues, vases, &c., was the “bronze” of the
moderns, a mixture of copper and tin, in which the proportion of tin
varied, from a little more than 2 to 1.14 per cent, according as the
object was to procure a flexible or a hard substance. Agricola speaks
of “æs” as synonymous with “cuprum,” and Pliny will be found several
times in the present Book, speaking of “æs Cyprium,” meaning probably
the finest kind of copper, and that without alloy.—B.

[651] Pliny has already referred to this topic in B. ii. c. 63.—B.

[652] Or shades below.

[653] “Illa quæ non nascuntur repente.”

[654] “Chrysocolla” is fully described in Chapter 26 of this Book.—B.

[655] Meaning “gold glue,” or “gold solder.”

[656] There is considerable variation in the text of this passage, as
found in the different editions. In that of Dalechamps, the Variorum,
and those of De Laet and Sillig, the sentence concludes with the
words “nomen ex auro custodiens;” while in those of Valpy, Lemaire,
Poinsinet, Ajasson, and others, we find substituted for them the words.
“Non natura,” “Nomen natura,” “Nomine natura,” or “Nomen naturam.”—B.
The first reading is warranted by the Bamberg MS.

[657] “Auri sanies.” More properly speaking, “the corrupt matter
discharged by gold.” See Chapter 26.

[658] “Minium” is treated of in Chapter 36 of this Book.—B.

[659] “Pretia rerum.” The value of the raw material.

[660] Pliny here refers both to the art of producing figures in relief
on drinking vessels made of the precious metals, and also of giving
them particular forms. A well-known line of Juvenal, Sat. ii. l. 96,
affords a striking illustration of the depraved taste which existed in
his time.—B. Lampridius also speaks of vessels of silver “defiled with
representations of a most libidinous character;” and Capitolinus speaks
of “phallovitroboli,” glass drinking vessels shaped like a phallus.

[661] “Murrhina” or “myrrhina.” are described in B. xxxvii. c. 8;
they were, perhaps, onyxes or opals, though possibly the term was not
strictly confined to these substances, but signified any transparent
minerals, that exhibited a variety of colours. Salmasius, however,
ridicules the idea of their being onyxes, and is of opinion that these
vessels were made of porcelain; Exer. Plin. p. 144.—B.

[662] See B. xxxvii. c. 9.

[663] He alludes to the cups known as “chrysendeta,” adorned with
circlets of gold, exquisite chasings, and groups of precious stones.
See Juvenal, Sat. v. l. 42.

[664] The “Smaragdus” is described in B. xxxvii. c. 13.

[665] “Et aurum jam accessio est.”

[666] “Sacrum famæ.” This is the reading given by the Bamberg MS. in
substitution for “aurum, sacra fames” and other readings of a similar
nature, in which Pliny was thought by the commentators to allude to the
famous lines of Virgil—

  “Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, Auri sacra fames!”

Had he alluded to the passage of Virgil, it is not probable that he
would have used the expression in the plural, “celeberrimi auctores.”

[667] Il. B. vii. ll. 472-5.—B.

[668] Il. B. vi. l. 236.

[669] We may infer that this was the reason why the figure of an ox or
other animal was impressed on the earliest Roman coins.—B.

[670] As Hardouin remarks, “This story is told by others, of Gyges,
and not of Midas.” He refers to Cicero, De Off. B. iii. c. 9, in
confirmation of his assertion.—B. Both Gyges and Midas were noted for
their wealth.

[671] “Sinistræ.” The play here upon the word “sinister” cannot be so
well transferred into the English language; but it bears reference to
the double meaning of the word, “on the left hand,” and “unlucky,”
“ill-omened,” or, as we say “sinister.” We may remark, that rings were
very generally employed by the Romans, not merely as ornaments, but as
indications of office and rank.—B.

[672] From Corinth, it was said: Damaratus of Corinth being the father
of the first Tarquin. See B. xxxv. c. 5.

[673] On the subject of “Bullæ,” golden balls, worn by the children of
the nobles, see Dr. Smith’s Dict. Antiq. p. 168.—B.

[674] As to the “Toga prætexta,” see B. viii. c. 74.

[675] “Lorum.” This word literally signifies a leather strap or thong,
and Pliny is supposed by Hardouin to mean simply, that, in this latter
case the strap was worn without the bulla, which was in other cases
attached to it. Juvenal, Sat. v. l. 164, speaks of the “lorum” of the
children of the poor.—B.

[676] Δακτύλιον, from δάκτυλος, a “finger.”

[677] Festus says that this was the Oscan name for a ring. It would
appear to be allied to the word “unguis,” which means a nail of the
finger or toe, and would perhaps signify a “nail ornament.”

[678] As meaning a seal or signet, for which purpose, as we shall find
explained in the sequel, the ring was used.

[679] This seems to be the meaning of “Vulgoque sic triumphabant.”

[680] As to these crowns, see B. xxi. c. 4.

[681] As to some other particulars connected with this usage, see the
end of B. xxviii. c. 7.

[682] And yet, as Hardouin remarks, before his time, when Scipio was
besieging Carthage, the bodies of the Roman tribunes, when selected for
burial by Hasdrubal, were distinguished by their rings of gold. The
object of Marius, no doubt, was to ingratiate himself with the upper

[683] A.U.C. 651.

[684] Known as the “anulus pronubus,” or “engaged ring,” according to

[685] “Codicillos.” Il. B. vi. l. 168.

[686] See B. xiii. c. 21.

[687] Od. B. viii. ll. 424, 443, 447.

[688] See the Iliad, B. iii. and B. vii. l. 175, _et seq._

[689] His meaning is, that although κληρὸι were used, lots or
balls made of earth, we do not read that the impressions on them were
made by the aid of signet-rings.

[690] “Fabricæ deûm.” He alludes to the forge of Vulcan, described in
the Eighteenth Book of the Iliad, l. 400, _et seq._

[691] This seems to be the meaning of “In primordio factitâsse.”

[692] The “fibulæ” were the brooches of the ancients, consisting of a
pin, and of a curved portion furnished with a hook. See Dr. Smith’s
Dict. Antiq. p. 417.

[693] As the meaning of this passage has been the subject of much
discussion with commentators, we give it in full, as found in the
Edition of Sillig. “Et quisquis primus instituit, cunctanter id fecit,
lævis manibus latentibusque induit, cum, si honos securus fuisset,
dextrâ fuerit ostentandus. Quodsi impedimentum potuit in eo aliquod
intelligi, etiam serior is usus argumentum est, et majus in lævâ
fuisset, quâ scutum capitur.” Sillig is of opinion that Pliny is here
alluding to the reason given by Ateius Capito (quoted in Macrobius,
Saturn. B. vii. c. 13), for wearing the ring on the left hand. It was
so worn, he says, from an apprehension that the precious stone with
which it was set, might receive injury from the continual use made of
the right hand.

[694] Under the folds of the toga.

[695] Il. B. xvii. l. 52.

[696] The reading in most MSS. is the “fourth consulship.” This,
however, is an error which has been rectified by the Bamberg and some
other MSS. Pompey was but _thrice_ consul. M. Crassus was the person
generally accused of the act of robbery here alluded to.

[697] Who took the golden torc (torques) from the Gaul whom he slew;
whence his name.

[698] “Cum auro pugnare solitos.”

[699] “Quod equidem in augurio intellectum est, cum Capitolinus duplum
reddidisset.” The meaning of this passage is obscure, and cannot
with certainty be ascertained. Holland renders it, “To the light
and knowledge whereof we come by means of revelation from Augurie,
which gave us to understand, that Jupiter Capitolinus had rendered
again the foresaid summe in duple proportion.” Littré gives a similar
translation. Ajasson translates it, “This, at least, is what we may
presume, from the fact of there being discovered double the amount
expected;” following the explanation given by Hardouin.

[700] The “ædituus,” or “temple keeper.” See B. xxxvi. 4.

[701] Beneath which there was poison concealed, Hardouin says. Hannibal
killed himself in a similar manner; also Demosthenes, as mentioned in
the next Chapter.

[702] The adopted son of the great Marius. This event happened in his
consulship, B.C. 82. After his defeat by Sylla at Sacriportus, he
retired into the fortified town of Præneste, where he had deposited
the treasures of the Capitoline temple. The temple, after this
conflagration, was rebuilt by order of Sylla.

[703] Called the “Fasti;” probably because this was the first word of
the title.

[704] “Dies fasti.” These were the days on which the courts sat, and
the Prætor, who was the chief judge, gave his decisions. The word
“fasti” is derived from the ancient Latin “for,” or from the old
Greek word φάω, both signifying “to speak:” consequently the
“dies fasti” were “the speaking days,” and the “dies nefasti” the
“non-speaking days,” in allusion to the restrictions put upon the
judgments of the Prætor.

[705] This complex state of the Roman Calendar long remained one of
the sources from which the priesthood and the patrician order derived
their power and influence over the plebeians. Having no other method of
ascertaining what days were “fasti,” and what were “nefasti,” the lower
classes were obliged either to apply to the priests and nobles for
information, or to await the proclamation by the priests of the various
festivals about to take place.

[706] Appius Claudius Cæcus, the Censor and jurisconsult, who
constructed the Appian Way.

[707] A.U.C. 440, or B.C. 314.

[708] In the war, probably, with the twelve nations of Etruria, who
were conquered by the Consul Fabius A.U.C. 444. See Livy, B. ix.

[709] The father of the former C. Pœtilius Libo, was Consul A.U.C. 428:
the father of the latter, Cneius Domitius Calvinus, was Consul A.U.C.

[710] “Anulos abjectos.”

[711] The “phaleræ” were bosses of metal, often gold, attached to the
harness of the horse. See B. vii. c. 29.

[712] He would probably imply hereby that, as he states subsequently,
at this period gold rings were not as yet worn by _all_ the members of
the senate.

[713] A.U.C. 449.

[714] “Ædiculam æream”—of brass or bronze.

[715] For the explanation of this term, see B. vii. c. 60.

[716] See B. x. c. 2. Livy tells us that this shrine or temple was
built in the area or place of Vulcan.

[717] Livy, B. xxiii. speaks of _one_ modius as being the real
quantity. Florus, B. ii. c. 16, says _two_ modii: but Saint Augustin,
De Civit. Dei. B. iii. c. 19, and most other writers, mention _three_

[718: Q. Servilius Cæpio. He and M. Livins Drusus had been most
intimate friends, and each had married the other’s sister. The
assassination of Drusus was supposed by some to have been committed at
the instigation of Cæpio. The latter lost his life in an ambush, B.C.

[719: See B. xxviii. c. 41.

[720: See B. ii. c. 85.

[721: M. Calpurnius Flamma. See B. xxii. c. 6.

[722: A patrician family; branches of which were the Cincinnati, the
Capitolini, the Crispini, and the Flaminini.

[723: This is an erroneous assertion, both as to the East, and as to
Egypt. See instances to the contrary in Genesis, c. xli. v. 42; and in
Esther, c. iii. verses 10, 12, and c. viii. verses 2, 8, 10.

[724: “Literis contenta solis.”

[725: The Thirty-seventh Book. See also his remarks in B. ii. c. 63:
“We tear out earth’s entrails in order to extract the gems with which
we may load our fingers. How many hands are worn down that one little
joint may be ornamented!” Martial, Epigr. B. v. Ep. 11, speaks of
his friend Stella as wearing on the joint of one finger sardonyxes,
emeralds, and jaspers.

[726] “Violari.” See B. xxxvii. c. 1.

[727] A fashion much followed at the present day.

[728] This also is a not uncommon fashion at the present day.

[729] From the “Trinummus” of Plautus, A. iv. s. 4, we learn that the
ring worn by slaves was called “condalium.” From the “Truculentus” of
Plautus we learn also that these rings were sometimes made of bronze.
The “jus anuli,” or right of wearing a gold ring, was never conceded to

[730] See B. iv. c. 23. In the Origines of Isidorus Hispalensis, B.
xix. c. 32, we find mention made of “A Samothracian gold ring, with
an iron bezil, so called from the place of its invention.” Pliny has
already made allusion to the luxurious habits of the slaves, in B.
xiii. c. 4; and B. xviii. c. 2; a subject upon which Juvenal enlarges
in his Third Satire.

[731] The reasons are mentioned by Ateius Capita, as quoted by
Macrobius, Saturnal. B. vii. c. 13: also by Apion the Grammarian, as
quoted by Aulus Gellius, B. x. c. 10.

[732] The ring of each finger had its own appropriate name.

[733] The “dactyliotheca,” or “ring-box.”

[734] Juvenal, Sat. i. l. 26, _et seq._, speaks of the summer rings of
the Roman fops, and their fingers sweating beneath the weight.

[735] Martial, Epigr. B. xiv., speaks of the numerous accidents to
which a weighty ring was liable.

[736] Hannibal, too, for instance, as mentioned in Note 701 to the
preceding Chapter.

[737] He alludes, probably, to forgeries perpetrated through the agency
of false signets.

[738] Plautus, Cicero, Horace, and Martial, each in his own age, bears
testimony to the truth of this statement.

[739] Or remembrancer; a slave whose duty it was to remind his master
of the name of each member of his household; see B. xxix. c. 8.
Athenæus, B. vi., speaks of as many as twenty thousand slaves belonging
to one household. Demetrius, the freedman of Pompey, mentioned in B.
xxxv. c. 58, had a retinue of slaves equal to an army in amount.

[740] Meaning “Marci puer,” or “Luci puer”—“Marcius’ boy,” or “Lucius’

[741] Suetonius says, c. 73, that Tiberius, in his last illness,
awoke after a long lethargy, and demanded his signet-ring, which
his son-in-law, Caligula, had removed from his finger, under the
supposition that he was dead. Macro, to avoid any unpleasant results
in the way of punishment, caused the emperor to be smothered with the
pillows and bedclothes.

[742] This famous and somewhat improbable story of the ring of
Polycrates is told by Valerius Maximus, B. vi. c. 9; Herodotus, B.
iii.; and Cicero, De Finibus, B. iv. Pliny again mentions it in B.
xxxvii. cc. 2, 4.

[743] He was crucified by Oroetes, the Persian satrap of Sardis.

[744] “Anulo exsiliente.”

[745] In Chapter 13 of this Book.

[746] The laticlave tunic. See B. viii. c. 73, and B. ix. c. 63.

[747] “Præcones.”

[748] See the list of writers at the end of B. ix.

[749] “Equus militaris.”

[750] See B. xxix. c. 8. The “Decuriæ” of “judices,” or “judges,” were
so called, probably, from ten (decem) having been originally chosen
from each tribe. As to the Decuriæ of the judices, see Smith’s Dict.
Antiq. pp. 531-2. The account given by Pliny is confused in the extreme.

[751] “Turmæ.” Squadrons of thirty “equites” or horsemen; ten of which
squadrons were attached to each legion.

[752] Before the time of Augustus, there were but _three_ decuries.

[753] A law introduced by Aurelius Cotta, B.C. 70, enacted that the
Judices should be chosen from the three classes—of Senators, Equites,
and Tribuni ærarii, or Tribunes of the treasury, these last being
taken from the body of the people, and being persons possessed of some

[754] Members selected by lot.

[755] “Nongenti.”

[756] Tacitus says that this took place the year before, in the
consulship of C. Sulpicius, and D. Haterius. See the Annales, B. iii.
c. 86.

[757] Brother of the Emperor Galba.

[758] “Aucupatus.”

[759] Suetonius says that Tiberius instructed the ædiles to prohibit
stews and eating-houses: from which we may conclude, Hardouin says,
that C. Sulpicius Galba was an ædile.

[760] Or, in other words, belonging to the equestrian order. The Roman
equites often followed the pursuits of bankers, and farmers of the
public revenues.

[761] A law passed in the time of Julius Cæsar, B.C. 69, which
permitted Roman equites, in case they or their parents had ever had a
Census equestris, to sit in the fourteen rows fixed by the Lex Roscia

[762] Caligula.

[763] Conjointly with L. Vitellius.

[764] Or farmers of the public revenues; the “publicans” of Scripture.
In reality, they were mostly members of the equestrian order, and the
words “equites” and “publicani” are often used as synonymous.

[765] “This passage seems to be the addition of some ignorant copyist.
It is indeed a remarkable fact, that we have _no_ inscription in
which we see the Equites named _after_ the people as well as the
Senate.”—Laboulaye, _Essai sur les lois Criminelles des Romains_:
Paris, 1845, p. 224.

[766] According to Livy, B. i. c. 15, the Celeres were three hundred
Roman knights whom Romulus established as a body-guard. Their name,
probably, was derived from the Greek κέλης, a “war-horse,”
or “charger,” and the body consisted, no doubt, of the patricians in
general, or such of them as could keep horses. Another origin assigned
to the appellation is “Celer,” the name of a chieftain, who was a
favourite of Romulus. The adjective “celer,” “swift,” owes its origin,
probably, to the title of these horsemen.

[767] A title derived, possibly, as Delafosse suggests, “a flectendis
habenis,” from “managing the reins.”

[768] Called “Trossum” or “Trossulum,” it is supposed. The remains of
a town are still to be seen at Trosso, two miles from Montefiascone in
Tuscany. The Greek word τρωξαλλὶς, a “cricket,” and the Latin
“torosulus,” “muscular,” have been suggested as the origin of this
name. Ajasson suggests the Latin verb “truso,” to “push on,” as its

[769] See the end of this Book.

[770] From the ambiguous nature of the name, it being in later times
an expression of contempt, like our word “fop,” or “beau.” In this
latter sense, Salmasius derives it from the Greek τρυσσὸς,

[771] This concluding passage is omitted in most editions.

[772] See B. vii. c. 29.

[773] Dionysius of Halicarnassus is therefore probably wrong in his
assertion that torcs of _gold_ were given to Siccius Dentatus, a Roman
citizen, as the reward of valour.

[774] See B. vii, c. 29.

[775] On this subject, see B. xvi. c. 3, and B. xxi. c. i.

[776] A.U.C. 323, or 431 B.C.

[777] Situate about fourteen miles from Rome, and on the road to the
town called La Colonna.

[778] A.U.C. 479, and B.C. 275. In the following year Merenda himself
was consul, with Manius Curius Dentatus.

[779] “Testamento prælegavit.” Properly speaking, “prælegare” was “to
bequeath a thing to be given before the inheritance was divided.” The
crown thus left by Piso was to be three pounds in weight.

[780] Oxen, namely. The smaller victims had the head encircled with

[781] The clasps by which the “sagum” or military cloak was fastened on
the shoulders.

[782] See the beginning of Chapter 4 of the present Book.

[783] Isidorus Hispalensis, Orig. B. xix. c. 30, says that bracelets
were formerly so called from the circumstance of being conferred on
warriors as the reward of bravery—“ob virtutem.” Scævola, Ulpian, and
others speak of “viriolæ” as ornaments worn by females.

[784] See B. xxxvii. c. 6.

[785] In allusion to the use of gold as an ornament for the shoes and

[786] A dress worn over the tunic, and which came as low as the ankles
or feet. The stola was the characteristic dress of the Roman matrons of
rank; other females being restricted to the use of the toga, which did
not reach so low.

[787] Between the matrons of rank whose feet were not to be seen
at all, and the plebeian females, whose feet _were_ seen, but
comparatively unadorned.

[788] In the same way that the gold ring was the distinguishing mark of
the Equites, so would the gold ankle-jewels be the characteristic of
this new order of females. In the use of the word “Equestrem,” Ajasson
absolutely detects an indelicate allusion, and rallies our author on
thus retaining “the aroma of the camp!”

[789] “Pædagogiis.” The origin of our word “page.” The pages of the
Romans were decorated with gold ankle-jewels and other ornaments for
the legs.

[790] Or Horus, the god of silence. Ajasson is of opinion that this
impression on the seal was symbolical of the secrecy which ought to be
preserved as to written communications.

[791] To the Emperor’s presence.

[792] The _first_ crime having been committed by him who introduced the
use of gold rings. See the beginning of c. 4 of this Book.

[793] The golden denarius was known also as the “aureus” or “gold
coin.” It was worth 25 silver denarii. As to the modern value of the
money used by the ancients, see the Introduction to Vol. III. The
golden denarius is mentioned also in B. xxxiv. c. 17, and in B. xxxvii.
c. 3.

[794] A.U.C. 479.

[795] Meaning, literally, the “little pound,” in reference to the
diminished weight of the “as.”

[796] Meaning “two pounds,” or in other words, “two asses.” See B.
xxxiv. c. 2. As to the weight of the “libra,” or pound, see the
Introduction to Vol. III.

[797] “Brasse bullion, or in masse.”—_Holland._

[798] “Money weighed out,” _i.e._ “expenses.”

[799] “Money weighed out for the payment of interest.”

[800] “To weigh out money for payment,” _i.e._ “to pay.”

[801] “A weight of money.”

[802] “Weighers-out;” meaning “keepers of accounts,” or “paymasters.”

[803] “Weighers-out” of the soldiers’ wages; _i.e._ “paymasters.”

[804] From “pecus,” a sheep. See B. xviii. c. 3.

[805] “Pounds” or “asses.”

[806] The third of an “as.”

[807] The fourth of an “as.”

[808] Or ounces; being one-fourth of the “as,” of one “libra” in
weight. See Introduction to Vol. III.

[809] A.U.C. 663.

[810] The same as the quinarius, one-half of the denarius. In B. xx. c.
100, it is mentioned as a weight. See also the Introduction to Vol. III.

[811] As, originally, there were 288 “scripula,” or scruples, to the
“libra” or pound, this would appear to give 5760 sestertii to the
pound of gold, and not 900 merely. Though this apparent discrepancy
has generally puzzled the commentators, the solution, as suggested by
M. Parisot, in the Notes to Ajasson’s Translation, appears equally
simple and satisfactory. He suggests that in the “as,” or “libra,” of
_two ounces_, there were 288 scruples. Now, the scruple remaining the
same, when the as or libra was reduced to one ounce, it would contain
but 144 of these scruples. Then, on making the as the sixteenth part
of a denarius instead of the tenth, it would lose three-eighths of its
value in scruples, or in other words, 54 scruples, thus making it worth
but 90 scruples. Then again, as above stated, by the Papirian Law, the
weight or value of the libra or as was reduced one-half, making its
value in scruples only 45; or, in other words, five thirty-seconds of
its original value, when worth two unciæ or ounces. This number of
scruples to the libra would give, at the rate of twenty sesterces to
the scruple of gold, exactly 900 sesterces to the libra of gold.

[812] Or “aurei.”

[813] “Fames auri.” Similar to the words of Virgil, “Auri sacra fames.”
“The curst greed for gold.” See Note 666 to Chapter 3 of this Book.

[814] Another version of this story was, that he extracted the brain,
and inserted lead in its place.

[815] See B. xiv. c. 16.

[816] In B.C. 88, M. Aquilius proceeded to Asia Minor as one of the
consular legati to prosecute the war against Mithridates. On being
defeated near Protomachium, he was delivered up to Mithridates by the
inhabitants of Mytilene, and after being treated in the most barbarous
manner, was put to death by pouring molten gold down his throat.

[817] “Insperso.” Sillig is of opinion that Pliny is here speaking
of the work now known by Italian artists as _tausia_ or _lavoro all’

[818] Hardouin thinks that Pliny is here making allusion to the Greek
word “chrysendeta,” vessels “encircled with gold.” It is frequently
used in Martial’s works.

[819] See B. xv. c. 38.

[820] It is against such practices as these that Martial inveighs, B.
i. Ep. 28, and B. ix. Ep. 12.

[821] A slave only; and not by any of his brother patricians. Antony
was rendered infamous by his proscriptions.

[822] Appian and Livy mention the fine as consisting of ten thousand
talents _in all_, or in other words, eight hundred thousand pounds of
silver (at eighty pounds to the talent). Sillig is therefore of opinion
that Pliny is in error here in inserting the word “annua.” The payment
of the ten thousand talents, we learn from the same authorities, was
spread over fifty years.

[823] Asia Minor.

[824] “Folia.” Hardouin prefers the reading “solia,” meaning “thrones,”
or “chairs of state,” probably.

[825] Ajasson refuses to place credit in this statement.

[826] This vase of Semiramis was her drinking bowl, in much the same
sense that the great cannon at Dover was Queen Elizabeth’s “pocket

[827] The country to which, in previous times, the Argonauts had sailed
in quest of the Golden Fleece, or in other words in search of gold, in
which those regions were probably very prolific.

[828] See B. vi. c. 4.

[829] This story of the defeat of the great Ramses-Sesostris by a petty
king of Colchis, would almost appear apocryphal. It is not improbable,
however, that Sesostris, when on his Thracian expedition, may have
received a repulse on penetrating further north, accustomed as his
troops must have been, to a warmer climate.

[830] Of the amphitheatre.

[831] Covered, probably, with plates of silver.

[832] “Pegma.” A scaffold with storeys, which were raised or depressed,
to all appearance, spontaneously. Caligula is the emperor meant.

[833] Another reading is “seven” pounds in weight, and “nine” pounds;
which would appear to be more probable than seven _thousand_, and nine
_thousand_, as given by the Bamberg MS. It is just possible, however,
that the latter may have been the united weights of _all_ the coronets
contributed by Spain and Gaul respectively, the word “inter” being an

[834] See B. iv. c. 31, B. xi. c. 47, and B. xviii. c. 20.

[835] Hence known as the “Golden Day,” according to Dion Cassius, B.

[836] For further particulars as to the Golden Palace, see B. xxxvi. c.

[837] A.U.C. 597.

[838] Or Marsic War. See B. ii. c. 85.

[839] There is an error in this statement, probably, unless we
understand by it the small libra or pound of two ounces, mentioned in
c. 13 of this Book.

[840] This remark is confirmatory of the incorrectness of the preceding

[841] The reading here is doubtful.

[842] A.U.C. 612.

[843] See B. xix. c. 6.

[844] Chapter 57.

[845] In fact, no colour at all.

[846] In _this_ climate, the light of most of the stars has the
complexion, not of gold, but of silver.

[847] The topaz, for instance.

[848] For ductility and malleability, both which terms may perhaps be
included in the “facilitas” of Pliny, gold is unrivalled among the
metals. As to weight, it is heavier than lead, the specific gravity of
gold being 19.258, and that of lead 11.352. Pliny is therefore wrong in
both of these assertions.

[849] He forgets asbestus here, a substance which he has mentioned in
B. xix. c. 4.

[850] Chlorine, however, and nitro-muriatic acid corrode and dissolve
gold, forming a chloride of gold, which is soluble in water. Ajasson
remarks, that gold becomes volatilized by the heat of a burning-glass
of three or four feet in diameter; and that when it acts as the
conductor of a strong current of electricity, it becomes reduced to
dust instantaneously, presenting a bright greenish light.

[851] The gold thus tested was called “obrussum,” “obryzum,” or
“obrizum,” from the Greek ὄβρυζον, meaning “pure gold.”

[852] See B. xviii. c. 23, where he calls the chaff used for this
purpose by the name of “acus.”

[853] The present mode of assaying the precious metals, is by fusing
them upon a cupel with lead.

[854] For which purpose, lead was used, no doubt, in drawing the lines
in the MSS. of the ancients. See Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 339.
_Bohn’s Ed._

[855] This is far surpassed at the present day, its malleability being
such that it may be beaten into leaves not more than one two hundred
and eighty thousandth of an inch in thickness, and its ductility
admitting of one grain being drawn out into five hundred feet of wire.
For further particulars as to the gold leaf of the ancients, and the
art of gilding, as practised by them, see Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol.
II. p. 391, _et seq._ _Bohn’s Edition._

[856] See B. xxxvi. c. 64.

[857] He alludes to what are now known as _pepitas_, oval grains of
river-gold. “Striges” is the reading in the Bamberg MS., “strigiles” in
the former editions.

[858] “Massa.” As we should say at the present day, “nuggets.”

[859] “Ramentum.”

[860] The contrary is now known to be the case; gold is sometimes,
though rarely, found in an oxidized state.

[861] As to the solvents of gold, see Note 850 above. Stahl says that
three parts of sub-carbonate of potash, dissolved in water, and heated
with three parts of sulphur and one part of gold, will yield a complete
solution of the metal.

[862] Aldrovandus relates, in his “Museum Metallicum,” that the grave
of the Emperor Honorius was discovered at Rome about the year 1544,
and that thirty-six pounds’ weight of gold were procured from the
mouldering dress that covered the body. See, on the subject of gold
threads, Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 415. _Bohn’s Edition._

[863] The “cloth of gold” of the present day, is made of threads of
silk or hair, wound round with silver wire flattened and gilded.

[864] “Paludamento.”

[865] See B. viii. c. 74. Beckmann is of opinion, from a passage
of Silius Italicus, B. xiv. l. 661, that the cloth of Attalus was
embroidered with the needle. See this subject fully discussed in his
Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 415. See also Dr. Yates’s “Textrinum Antiquorum,”
pp. 371, 464.

[866] “Without entering into any research respecting the minerals
employed for this cement, called ‘leucophoron,’ one may readily
conceive that it must have been a ferruginous ochre, or kind of
bole, which is still used as a ground. Gilding of this kind must
have suffered from dampness, though many specimens of it are still
preserved.”—Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 294. _Bohn’s Edition._

[867] B. xxxv. c. 17.

[868] Literally, “fluid silver.” “The first name here seems to signify
native quicksilver, and the second that separated from the ore by an
artificial process.” Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 72.

[869] In Chapters 32 and 41 of this Book.

[870] As to the identity of the “alumen” of Pliny, see B. xxxv. c. 52.

[871] In the preceding Chapter.

[872] See B. xi. c. 36.

[873] See B. vii. c. 2.

[874] See B. iv. c. 17.

[875] Ajasson remarks, that the Castilians still call the surface earth
of auriferous deposits by the name of _segullo_. He also doubts the
correctness of Pliny’s assertion as to the produce of the mines of

[876] See B. xxxiv. c. 47.

[877] We learn from Ajasson that numerous pits or shafts are still to
be seen in Spain, from which the Romans extracted gold. At Riotento, he
says, there are several of them.

[878] Both meaning “channel gold.”

[879] “Marmoris glareæ.” Under this name, he no doubt means quartz and

[880] See B. xxxvii. c. 39.

[881] See B. xxxvi. c. 13.

[882] “Channel-gold” or “trench-gold.”

[883] Becoming volatilized, and attaching itself in crystals to the
side of the chimney.

[884] Or “sweat.” This “sweat” or “silver” would in reality be a
general name for all the minerals that were volatilized by the heat
of the furnace; while under the name of “scoria ” would be comprised
pyrites, quartz, petrosilex, and other similar substances.

[885] The cupel or crucible is still known in Spain by the name of

[886] Who were said to have heaped one mountain on another in their war
with the gods.

[887] Deep mines in Spain are still called _arrugia_, a term also used
to signify gold beneath the surface. According to Grimm, _arruzi_ was
the ancient High German name for iron.

[888] See B. xxiii. c. 27.

[889] The breaking-machines, used for crushing the silex.

[890] “Cædunt” is certainly a preferable reading to “cadunt,” though
the latter is given by the Bamberg MS.

[891] A similar method of washing auriferous earth or sand in the
mines, is still employed in some cases.

[892] “The bringing of water into one channel.”

[893] Or as Holland quaintly renders it, “Some flying spirit or winged
devill of the air.”

[894] Magnesian carbonate of lime, or dolomite, Ajasson thinks.

[895] From the Greek, ἀγωγὴ.

[896] It does not appear to have been identified; and it can hardly be
the same as the Ulex Europæus of modern Natural History, our Furze or

[897] That of sinking shafts, described already in this Chapter.

[898] All these names, no doubt, are of Spanish origin, although
Salmasius would assign them a Greek one.

[899] In B. iii. c. 24.

[900] See B. iii. c. 21.

[901] “Auripigmentum.” Yellow sulphuret of arsenic. See B. xxxiv. c. 56.

[902] “Lapis specularis.” See B. xxxvi. c. 45.

[903] Caligula.

[904] It was accidently mixed with the ore of arsenic, no doubt,
unless, indeed, the emperor was imposed upon.

[905] This is almost, but not quite, universally the case.

[906] In Spain. See B. iii. c. 4, B. iv. c. 34, and B. ix. c. 2. The
locality alluded to is now unknown.

[907] A name also given by the ancients to amber. Artificial
“electrum,” or gold alloyed with silver, was known in the most ancient

[908] The gold found by sinking shafts. See Chapter 21.

[909] See B. ix. c. 65.

[910] Od. B. iv. l. 71.

[911] Pliny no doubt has been imposed upon in this instance.

[912] “Solid hammer-work,” in opposition to works in metal, cast and
hollow within.

[913] In B. v. c. 20, most probably. See also B. xvi. c. 64.

[914] The worship of Anaïtis was probably a branch of the Indian
worship of Nature. The Greek writers sometimes identify this goddess
with their Artemis and their Aphrodite.

[915] Holland has strangely mistaken the meaning of the veteran’s
reply; “Yea, sir, that it is; and that methinks you should know best,
for even now a leg of his you have at supper, and all _your_ wealth
besides is come unto _you_ by that saccage.” He then adds, by way of
Note, “For Augustus Cæsar defeited Antonie, and was mightily enriched
by the spoile of him.”

[916] In Sicily. According to Valerius Maximus and other writers,
a statue of solid gold was erected by the whole of Greece, in the
temple at Delphi, in honour of Gorgias, who was distinguished for his
eloquence and literary attainments. The leading opinion of Gorgias was,
that nothing had any real existence.

[917] The ninetieth Olympiad, about the year 420 B.C., is much more
probably the correct reading; as it was about the seventieth Olympiad,
or somewhat later, that Gorgias was born.

[918] See B. xxxiv. c. 29.

[919] See B. xxix. c. 38. and B. xxxvi. cc. 37, 38.

[920] Or gith. See B. xx. c. 71.

[921] Similar to the notion still prevalent, that the application of
pure gold will remove styes on the eyelids.

[922] It has been supposed by some, that the “Chrysocolla” of the
ancients, as well as the “Cæruleum,” mentioned in c. 57 of this Book,
were the produce of cobalt; but the more generally received opinion is
that “chrysocolla” (gold-solder) was green verditer, or mountain-green,
carbonate and hydrocarbonate of copper, green and blue, substances
which are sometimes found in gold mines, but in copper mines more
particularly. It must not be confounded with the modern chrysocolla or

[923] In Chapter 21 of this Book.

[924] The “Reseda luteola,” Dyer’s weed, or Wild woad. See Beckmann’s
Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 478-481, where the identity of the Chrysocolla of
the ancients is discussed at considerable length.

[925] As to the identity of this substance, see B. xxxv. c. 52.

[926] These drugs have not been identified.

[927] “Elutam.” Though this is the reading given by the Bamberg MS.,
“luteam” seems preferable; a name owing, probably, to its being
coloured with the plant “lutum,” as mentioned at the end of this

[928] So called, probably, from being made up into little balls
resembling the “orobus” or vetch.

[929] A powder, probably, prepared from “cæruleum.” See the end of the
present Chapter, and Chapter 57 of this Book. Littré renders the words
“in lomentum,” kept “in the form of powder,” without reference to the
peculiar pigment known as “lomentum.”

[930] “Sudore resolutis.”

[931] A strong proof that chrysocolla was a preparation from copper,
and not cobalt. Copper owes its name to the Isle of Cyprus, in which
it was found in great abundance. See Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p.
480. _Bohn’s Edition_.

[932] The colour now known by painters as Emerald green.

[933] As a “trigarius.” See B. xxviii. c. 72, and B. xxix. c. 5. From
Suetonius, c. 18, we learn that the Emperor Caligula, also, had the
Circus sanded with minium and chrysocolla. Ajasson is of opinion that
the chrysocolla thus employed was a kind of yellow mica or talc.

[934] “Arenosam.” He alludes, probably, to the kind previously
mentioned as “aspera” or “rough chrysocolla.”

[935] For its identification, see B. xxxiv. cc. 26, 32.

[936] See B. xxxv. cc. 12, 18.

[937] Making a spurious kind of “lomentum,” possibly, a pigment
mentioned in c. 57 of this Book. This passage seems to throw some
light, upon the words “in lomentum,” commented upon in Note 929 above.

[938] As to durability, probably.

[939] It was the mineral, probably, in an unprepared state.

[940] Gold-glue or gold-solder.

[941] See B. xxxi. c. 46, as to the “nitrum” of Pliny. Galen, in
describing the manufacture of “santerna,” omits the nitre as an

[942] “Argentosum.” The “electrum,” probably, mentioned in c. 23.

[943] As to the “cadmia” of Pliny, see B. xxxiv. c. 22.

[944] “Plumbum album.” Tin, most probably. See B. xxxiv. cc. 47, 48,
49. Also Beckmann’s Hist. Inv., Vol. II. p. 219, _Bohn’s Edition_.

[945] Of doubtful identity. See B. xxxiv. c. 48.

[946] See Chapter 19 of this Book.

[947] “Thracius lapis.” This stone, which is mentioned also by
Nicander, Galen, Simplicius, and Dioscorides, has not been identified.
Holland has the following Note on this passage] “Which some take for
pit-cole, or sea-cole rather, such as commeth from Newcastle by sea; or
rather, a kind of jeat (jet).” In either case, he is probably wide of
the mark, neither coal nor jet igniting on the application of water.

[948] Or mistletoe.

[949] In due succession to gold.

[950] See B. xxxiv. cc. 47, 53.

[951] “Plumbum nigrum”—“Black lead,” literally] so called by the
ancients, in contradistinction to “plumbum album,” “white lead,” our
“tin,” probably.

[952] Lead ore; identified with “molybdæna” in B. xxxiv. c. 53. Native
sulphurate of lead is now known as “galena.” See Beckmann’s Hist. Inv.
Vol. II. p. 211, where this passage is commented upon.

[953] This Beckmann considers to be the same as the “galena” above
mentioned; half-vitrified lead, the “glätte” of the Germans.

[954] The specific gravity of lead is 11.352, and of silver only 10.474.

[955] From the words μετ’ ἄλλα, “one after another.”

[956] It is supposed that these shafts were in the neighbourhood of
Castulo, now Cazlona, near Linares in Spain. It was at Castulo that
Hannibal married his rich wife Himilce; and in the hills north of
Linares there are ancient silver mines still known its _Los Pozos de

[957] A mile and a half.

[958] The proper reading here, as suggested by Sillig, is not
improbably “aquatini,” “water-carriers.” That, however, found in the
MSS. is “Aquitani;” but those were a people, not of Spain, but of Gaul.
Hardouin suggests that “Accitani” may be the correct reading, a people
of that name in Spain being mentioned in B. iii. c. 5.

[959] Meaning “raw” silver, apparently.

[960] “Alumen.” See B. xxxv. c. 52.

[961] Kircher speaks of this being still the case in his time.

[962] See Chapter 19 of this Book.

[963] “Vomica liquoris æterni.” Mercury or quicksilver becomes
solidified and assumes a crystalline texture at 40° below zero. It
is found chiefly in the state of sulphuret, which is decomposed by
distillation with iron or lime. It is also found in a native state.

[964] “Argentum vivum,” “living silver.”

[965] Ajasson thinks that this is not to be understood literally, but
that Pliny’s meaning is, that mercury is a universal dissolvent.

[966] “Permanans tabe dirâ.”

[967] The specific gravity of mercury is 13.598, that of hammered gold
19.361. Platinum is only a recent discovery.

[968] “Id unum ad se trahit.”

[969] “The first use of quicksilver is commonly reckoned a Spanish
invention, discovered about the middle of the sixteenth century; but it
appears from Pliny, that the ancients were acquainted with amalgam and
its use, not only for separating gold and silver from earthy particles,
but also for gilding.”—Beckmann, Hist. Inv., Vol. I. p. 15. _Bohn’s

[970] See the description of the mode of gilding, given in Chapter
20 of this Book. Beckmann has the following remarks on the present
passage: “That gold-leaf was affixed to metals by means of quicksilver,
with the assistance of heat, in the time of Pliny, we are told by
himself in more passages than one. The metal to be gilded was prepared
by salts of every kind, and rubbed with pumice-stone in order to clean
it thoroughly (see Chapter 20), and to render the surface a little
rough. This process is similar to that used at present for gilding with
amalgam, by means of heat, especially as amalgamation was known to the
ancients. But, to speak the truth, Pliny says nothing of heating the
metal _after_ the gold is applied, or of evaporating the quicksilver,
but of drying the cleaned metal before the gold is laid on. Had he
not mentioned quicksilver, his gilding might have been considered
as that with gold leaf by means of heat, _dorure en feuille à feu_,
in which the gold is laid upon the metal after it has been cleaned
and heated, and strongly rubbed with blood-stone, or polished steel.
Felibien (_Principes de l’Architecture._ Paris, 1676, p. 280) was
undoubtedly right when he regretted that the process of the ancients,
the excellence of which is proved by remains of antiquity, has been
lost.”—Hist. Inv. Vol. II. pp. 294, 295. _Bohn’s Edition._

[971] Beckmann finds considerable difficulties in this description—“I
acknowledge that this passage I do not fully comprehend. It seems
to say that the quicksilver, when the gold was laid on too thin,
appeared through it, but that this might be prevented by mixing with
the quicksilver the white of an egg. The quicksilver then remained
under the gold: a thing which is impossible. When the smallest drop
of quicksilver falls upon gilding, it corrodes the noble metal, and
produces an empty spot. It is, therefore, incomprehensible to me how
this could be prevented by using the white of an egg. Did Pliny himself
completely understand gilding? Perhaps he only meant to say that many
artists gave out the cold-gilding, where the gold-leaf was laid on with
the white of an egg, as gilding by means of heat.”—Hist. Inv. Vol. II.
p. 295.

[972] Chapter 42 of this Book. See also Chapter 20, in Note 868, to
which it has been mentioned as artificial quicksilver.

[973] He is speaking of Antimony.

[974] From its whiteness.

[975] Under the name of “female stimmi,” Ajasson thinks that pure, or
native, antimony is meant, more particularly the lamelliform variety,
remarkable for its smoothness. He thinks it possible, also, that it
may have derived its Greek name “larbason,” or “larbasis,” from its

[976] Ajasson thinks that under this name, crude antimony or sulphuret
of antimony may have been included; as also sulphuret of lead,
sulphuret of antimony and copper, and sulphuret of antimony and silver;
the last of which is often found covered with an opaque pellicle.

[977] “Globis.” The fracture of sulphuret of antimony is, in reality,
small subconchoïdal.

[978] “Eye dilating.” Belladonna, a preparation from the Atropa
belladonna, is now used in medicine for this purpose. A similar effect
is attributed in B. xxv. c. 92, to the plant Anagallis. In reality,
the application of prepared antimony would contract the eyelids, and
so _appear_ to enlarge the eyes. This property is peculiar, Ajasson
remarks, to sulphuret of antimony, and sulphuret of antimony and silver.

[979] Preparations “for beautifying the eyebrows.” See B. xxi. c.
73, B. xxiii. c. 51, and B. xxxv. c. 56. Omphale, the Lydian queen,
who captivated Hercules, is represented by the tragic poet Ion, as
using “stimmi” for the purposes of the toilet. It was probably with a
preparation of antimony that Jezebel “painted her face, and tired her
head.” 2 Kings, ix. 30. The “Kohl” used by the females in Egypt and
Persia is prepared from antimony.

[980] “Spuma argenti.” See the next Chapter.

[981] According to Dioscorides, it was prepared as a cosmetic by
enclosing it in a lump of dough, and then burning it in the coals till
reduced to a cinder. It was then extinguished with milk and wine, and
again placed upon coals, and blown till ignition.

[982] As to the “nitrum” of the ancients, see B. xxxi. c. 46.

[983] “Flos”—literally the “flower.”

[984] “From this passage we may infer that the metal antimony was
occasionally seen by the ancients, though not recognized by them as
distinct from lead.”—Dana’s System of Mineralogy, p. 418. New York,

[985] Pliny has here mistaken the sense of the word στέαρ,
which in the passage of Dioscorides, B. v. c. 99, borrowed probably
from the same source, evidently means _dough_, and not grease.

[986] From ἕλκω, “to drag”—in consequence of its viscous
consistency, Hardouin says.

[987] In B. xxxiv. c. 53.

[988] Cerates, adipose or oleaginous plasters. See B. xxiii. c. 81.

[989] “Spuma argenti.” This he uses as a general name for fused oxide
of lead, the Litharge of commerce.

[990] Ajasson thinks it possible that the “chrysitis,” or “golden”
litharge, may have been the yellow deutoxide of lead; the argyritis,
or “silver” litharge, the white variety of the same deutoxide; and the
“molybditis,” or “leaden” litharge, a general name for sulphuret of
lead and silver; of lead and antimony; of lead, antimony, and bismuth;
and of lead, antimony, and copper. Or perhaps, he thinks, they may
have been the respective names of yellow or golden litharge, white or
silver litharge, and terne. With the latter opinion Delafosse seems to

[991] “Tubulis.” These cakes were probably made in a tubular form.

[992] “Vena;” meaning the ore probably in its raw state, and mixed with
earth. All these distinctions are probably unfounded.

[993] See B. xxxiv. c. 53.

[994] Of “Puteolana.”

[995] The litharge.

[996] The scoria.

[997] Nothing whatever is known as to the identity of these varieties
of litharge. Indeed the words themselves are spelt in various ways in
the respective MSS.

[998] In B. xxxiv. c. 53, where he identifies it with “galena,”
mentioned in Chapter 31 of this Book.

[999] See B. xviii. c. 13, B. xvi. c. 61, and B. xxii. c. 66.

[1000] Sal gem, or common salt.

[1001] In this Chapter. See note 987 above.

[1002] The minium spoken of in this and the following Chapter is our
Cinnabar, a bisulphurate of mercury. This ore is the great source of
the mercury of commerce, from which it is obtained by sublimation. When
pure, it is the same as the manufactured vermilion of commerce.

[1003] Intended, no doubt, to be typical of blood and carnage; and
indicative of a very low state of civilization.

[1004] See B. xxxv. c. 45.

[1005] See B. v. c. 31.

[1006] See B. xvi. c. 12, and B. xxiv. c. 4.

[1007] The same as the miltos mentioned below, “miltos” being the word
used by Homer, Il. II. 637. This substance is totally different from
the minium of the preceding Chapters, and from that mentioned in c.
40. It is our red ochre, peroxide of iron, mixed in a greater or less
degree with argillaceous earth.

[1008] See B. xxix. c. 8; where he speaks of the mistake made by the
physicians in giving mineral vermilion or minium to their patients
instead of Indian cinnabar. The latter substance is probably identical
with that which is now used for varnishes, being imported from India,
and still known as “dragons’ blood,” the resin of the Ptero-carpus
draco, or Calamus palm.

[1009] In B. viii. c. 12.

[1010] In Chapter 41.

[1011] The dragon’s blood, mentioned in the preceding Chapter.

[1012] “Single colour paintings.” See B. xxxv. cc. 5, 11, 34, 36.

[1013] Mentioned in Chapter 37.

[1014] The “miltos” of the preceding Chapter. See Note 1007 above.

[1015] In B. xxxv. c. 13, _et seq._

[1016] He is here speaking of our cinnabar, or vermilion, mentioned in
Chapter 36.

[1017] See B. vi. cc. 27, 28, 32.

[1018] See B. iii. c. 3, Vol. I. p. 163. He alludes to the district of
Almaden, in Andalusia, still famous for its quicksilver mines.

[1019] When sold by the “publicani,” or farmers of the revenue.

[1020] Of the publicani.

[1021] Red oxide of lead, a much inferior pigment to cinnabar, or the
minium of Chapter 36.

[1022] In Chapter 32 of this Book.

[1023] Dana informs us that minium is usually associated with galena
and with calamine. Syst. Mineral, p. 495.

[1024] “Steriles.” Barren of silver, probably; though Hardouin thinks
that it means “barren of lead.” Holland renders it “barraine and void
of the right vermilion.”

[1025] In Chapter 37.

[1026] B. xxxv. c. 24.

[1027] When hired by the job for colouring walls or objects of art. See
B. xxxv. c. 12.

[1028] See B. xvi. c. 12, and B. xxiv. c. 4.

[1029] “Candelis.” The Abate Requeno thinks that these “candelæ” were
used as a delicate cauterium, simply to keep the wax soft, that it
might receive a polish from the friction of the linen.

[1030] Hence the use of it in the middle ages; a reminiscence of which
still exists in our word “rubric.”

[1031] Or artificial quicksilver. In reality, hydrargyrus is prepared
from the _genuine_ minium of Pliny, the cinnabar mentioned in Chapter
36] it being obtained by the sublimation of sulphuret of mercury.

[1032] In Chapters 20 and 32.

[1033] This, probably, is the meaning of “lubrico humore compluere.”

[1034] See the end of Chapter 38.

[1035] Artificial quicksilver is still used for this purpose. See Note
971 to Chapter 32 of this Book; also Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p.
295. _Bohn’s Edition._

[1036] In Chapter 32. He alludes to the use of glair of eggs.

[1037] Literally “whetstone.” He is speaking of the stone known to us
as Touchstone, Lydian stone, or Basanite—“a velvet-black siliceous
stone or flinty jasper, used on account of its hardness and black
colour for trying the purity of the precious metals. The colour left
on the stone after rubbing the metal across it, indicates to the
experienced eye the amount of the alloy.”—Dana, Syst. Mineral., p. 242.

[1038] In Lydia. See B. v. cc. 30, 31.

[1039] As a test. At the present day, concentrated nitric acid is
dropped on the mark left by the metal; and the more readily the mark is
effaced, the less pure is the metal.

[1040] This seems to be the meaning of “si sudet protinus.”

[1041] A very far-fetched explanation, and very wide of the mark.

[1042] “Paulum propulsa.”

[1043] Which he supposes a concave surface to do.

[1044] This passage is noticed by Beckmann, in his account of Mirrors;
Vol. II. p. 58. _Bohn’s Edition._

[1045] Distorting the image reflected, by reason of the irregularities
of the surface. See Seneca, Nat. Quæst. B. i. c. 5.

[1046] “Parma Thræcidica.”

[1047] He probably means, whether the surface is made convex or concave
at these different angles.

[1048] A subject to which he returns in various parts of B. xxxvi.

[1049] See B. xxxiv. c. 48.

[1050] As to the identification of “stannum,” on which there have been
great differences of opinion, see B. xxxiv. cc. 47, 48, and the Notes.

[1051] For some account of this artist, see Chapter 55 and the Notes at
the end of this Book.

[1052] “Silver mirrors were known long before this period, as is
proved by a passage in the Mostellaria of Plautus, A. 1, S. 3, l. 101,
where they are distinctly mentioned. To reconcile this contradiction,
Meursius remarks that Pliny speaks only of his countrymen, and not of
the Greeks, who had such articles much earlier, though the scene in
Plautus is at Athens.”—Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 62. _Bohn’s

[1053] “Nuper credi cœptum certiorem imaginem reddi auro opposito
aversis.”—“Of what Pliny says here I can give no explanation. Hardouin
(qy. if not Dalechamps?) is of opinion that mirrors, according to the
newest invention, at that period were covered behind with a plate of
gold, as our mirrors are with an amalgam. But as the ancient plates of
silver were not transparent, how could the gold at the back of them
produce any effect in regard to the image? May not the meaning be that
a thin plate of gold was placed at some distance before the mirror,
in order to throw more light upon its surface? Whatever may have been
the case, Pliny himself seems not to have had much confidence in the
invention.”—Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 62.

[1054] Dr. Watson (Chemical Essays, Vol. IV. p. 246) seems to think
that Pliny is here speaking of _glass_ mirrors: “If we admit that Pliny
was acquainted with glass mirrors, we may thus understand what he says
respecting an invention which was then new, of applying gold behind a
mirror. Instead of an amalgam of tin, some one had proposed to cover
the back of the mirror with an amalgam of gold, with which the ancients
were certainly acquainted, and which they employed in gilding.” See
Chapter 20 of the present Book. On the above passage by Dr. Watson,
Beckmann has the following remarks: “This conjecture appears, at any
rate, to be ingenious; but when I read the passage again, without
prejudice, I can hardly believe that Pliny alludes to a plate of glass
in a place where he speaks only of metallic mirrors; and the overlaying
with amalgam requires too much art to allow me to ascribe it to such a
period without sufficient proof. I consider it more probable, that some
person had tried, by means of a polished plate of gold, to collect the
rays of light, and to throw them either on the mirror or the object, in
order to render the image brighter.”—Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 72.

[1055] The dog-headed divinity. The seat of his worship was at
Cynopolis, mentioned in B. v. c. 11. Under the Empire his worship
became widely spread both in Greece and at Rome.

[1056] Under the word “pingit,” he probably includes the art of
enamelling silver.

[1057] “Fulgoris excæcati.”

[1058] “Chaplet” copper.

[1059] He either alludes to the practice of clipping the coin, or else
to the issue of forged silver denarii, short of weight.

[1060] During the prætorship of Marius Gratidianus. He was on terms
of great intimacy with Cicero, and was murdered by Catiline in a most
barbarous manner during the proscriptions of Sylla.

[1061] By public enactment probably; samples of the false denarius
being sold for the purpose of showing the difference between it and the
genuine coin.

[1062] Twenty times one hundred thousand, &c.

[1063] As signifying a “debt owing to another.”

[1064] “The Rich.”

[1065] This seems the best translation for “decoxisse creditoribus
suis,” which literally means that he “boiled” or “melted away” his
fortune from his creditors. In this remark Pliny is more witty than

[1066] The Triumvir. The first person mentioned in Roman history as
having the cognomen “Dives,” is P. Licinius Crassus, the personage
mentioned in B. xxi. c. 4. As he attained the highest honours of the
state, and died universally respected, he cannot be the person so
opprobriously spoken of by Pliny.

[1067] The meaning appears to be doubtful here, as it is not clear
whether “sesterces,” or “sestertia,” “thousands of sesterces,” is meant.

[1068] Who cut off his head after his death, and poured molten gold
down his throat.

[1069] Originally the slave of Antonia, the mother of Claudius.
Agrippina, the wife of Claudius, admitted him to her embraces, and in
conjunction with her he for some time ruled the destinies of the Roman
Empire. He was poisoned by order of Nero, A.D. 63.

[1070] C. Julius Callistus, the freedman of Caligula, in whose
assassination he was an accomplice. The physician Scribonius Largus
dedicated his work to Callistus.

[1071] A freedman of the Emperor Claudius, whose epistolary
correspondence he superintended. He was put to death on the accession
of Nero, A.D. 54.

[1072] In which case it would be dangerous to speak of them.

[1073] A.U.C. 746.

[1074] According to some authorities, he was a Lydian. He derived his
wealth from his gold mines in the neighbourhood of Celænæ in Phrygia,
and would appear, in spite of Pliny’s reservation, to have been little
less than a king. His five sons accompanied Xerxes; but Pythius,
alarmed by an eclipse of the sun, begged that the eldest might be left
behind. Upon this, Xerxes had the youth put to death, and his body cut
in two, the army being ordered to march between the portions, which
were placed on either side of the road. His other sons were all slain
in battle, and Pythius passed the rest of his life in solitude.

[1075] “Stipem spargere.”

[1076] A.U.C. 568.

[1077] In performance of a vow made in the war with King Antiochus. See
Livy, B. xxxix.

[1078] So called from the silversmiths who respectively introduced
them. The Gratian plate is mentioned by Martial, B. iv. Epigr. 39.

[1079] “Etenim tabernas mensis adoptamus.”

[1080] “Anaglypta.” Plate chased in relief. It is mentioned in the
Epigram of Martial above referred to.

[1081] “Asperitatemque exciso circa liniarum picturas,”—a passage, the
obscurity of which, as Littré remarks, seems to set translation at

[1082] He alludes, probably to tiers of shelves on the beaufets or
sideboards—“repositoria”—similar to those used for the display of plate
in the middle ages. Petronius Arbiter speaks of a round “repositorium,”
which seems to have borne a considerable resemblance to our “dumb
waiters.” The “repositoria” here alluded to by Pliny were probably made
of silver.

[1083] “Interradimus.”

[1084] “Carrucæ.” The “carruca” was a carriage, the name of which only
occurs under the emperors, the present being the first mention of it.
It had four wheels and was used in travelling, like the “carpentum.”
Martial, B. iii. Epig. 47, uses the word as synonymous with “rheda.”
Alexander Severus allowed the senators to have them plated with silver.
The name is of Celtic origin, and is the basis of the mediæval word
“carucate,” and the French _carrosse_.

[1085] So called from his victory over the Allobroges.

[1086] In allusion to the case of P. Cornelius Rufinus, the consul, who
was denounced in the senate by the censors C. Fabricius Luscinus and Q.
Æmilius Rufus, for being in possession of a certain quantity of silver
plate. This story is also referred to in B. xviii. c. 8, where _ten_
pounds is the quantity mentioned.

[1087] This is said ironically.

[1088] Sextus Ælius Pœtus Catus, Consul B.C. 198.

[1089] “Prandentem.”

[1090] L. Paulus Æmilius.

[1091] It being lent from house to house. This, no doubt, was said
ironically, and as a sneer at their poverty.

[1092] Now Arles. It was made a military colony in the time of
Augustus. See B. iii. c. 5, and B. x. c. 57.

[1093] “Pellitum.” There has been considerable doubt as to the meaning
of this, but it is most probable that the “privilege of the fur,” or
in other words, a license to be clad in certain kinds of fur, was
conferred on certain men of rank in the provinces. Holland considers
it to be the old participle of “pello,” and translates the passage
“banished out of the country and nation where his father was born.”

[1094] “Triclinia.” The couches on which they reclined when at table.

[1095] See B. ix. c. 13.

[1096] This pattern, whatever it may have been, is also spoken of by
Cicero, pro Murenâ, and by Valerius Maximus, B. vii. c. 1.

[1097] “Lances.”

[1098] “Dispensator.”

[1099] “Conservi”—said in keen irony.

[1100] Giants, at least, one would think.

[1101] Over the party of Marius.

[1102] See B. ix. c. 13.

[1103] “Compacta;” probably meaning inlaid like Mosaic.

[1104] See B. xiii. c. 29, B. xv. c. 7, and B. xvi. cc. 26, 27, 84.

[1105] Meaning, “drum sideboards,” or “tambour sideboards,” their
shape, probably, being like that of our dumb waiters.

[1106] The name given to which was “lanx,” plural “lances.”

[1107] His age and country are uncertain. We learn, however, from
Chapter 55 of this Book, that he flourished before the burning of the
Temple of Diana at Ephesus, B.C. 356. He is frequently mentioned in the
classical writers. See also B. vii. c. 39.

[1108] He includes, probably, under this name both Asia Minor and
Syria. See a similar passage in Livy, B. xxxix.

[1109] This passage is rejected by Sillig as a needless interpolation.

[1110] Asia Minor.

[1111] King of Pergamus.

[1112] Over King Antiochus.

[1113] He alludes to the destruction of Corinth, by L. Mummius Achaïcus.

[1114] A drinking cup with handles, sacred to Bacchus. See B. xxxiv. c.

[1115] Bacchus.

[1116] In allusion to the plebeian origin of C. Marius, who was born
at the village of Cereatæ, near Arpinum. It is more than probable that
the story that he had worked as a common peasant for wages, was an
invention of the faction of Sylla.

[1117] “Ille arator Arpinas, et manipularis imperator.”

[1118] Meaning the first king of that name. He was son of Mithridates
IV., king of Pontus.

[1119] Appian says that there “was a gold statue of this Mithridates,
exhibited in the triumph of Pompey, eight cubits in height.” Plutarch
speaks of another statue of the same king, exhibited by Lucullus, six
feet in height.

[1120] “Compedes.” See Chapter 12 of this Book.

[1121] The translation of this passage is somewhat doubtful. We will,
therefore, subjoin that of Holland, who adopts the other version. “As
we may see by our proud and sumptuous dames, that are but commoners and
artizans’ wives, who are forced to make themselves carquans and such
ornaments for their shoes, of silver, because the rigour of the statute
provided in that case will not permit them to weare the same of gold.”

[1122] A rhetorician who taught at Rome in the reign of Augustus. The
poet Ovid was one of his pupils. His rival in teaching declamation was
Porcius Latro.

[1123] Of an improper intimacy with his pupils.

[1124] Rings of silver being passed through the prepuce. This practice
is described by Celsus, B. vii. c. 25.

[1125] “Videret hinc dona fortium fieri, aut in hæc frangi.”

[1126] In B. vii. c. 39, and in Chapter 53 of this Book.

[1127] “Quatuor paria ab eo omnino facta sunt.” Sillig, in his
_Dictionary of Ancient Artists_, finds a difficulty in this passage.
“The term ‘omnino’ seems to imply that the productions in question,
all of which perished, were the _only_ works executed by this artist;
but we find several passages of ancient writers, in which vases, &c.
engraved by Mentor, are mentioned as extant. Thus, then, we must
conclude, either that the term ‘omnino’ should be understood in the
sense of ‘chiefly,’ ‘pre-eminently,’ or that the individuals claiming
to possess works of Mentor, were themselves misinformed, or endeavoured
to deceive others.” If, however, we look at the word “paria” in a
strictly technical sense, the difficulty will probably be removed.
Pliny’s meaning seems to be that Mentor made four _pairs_, and no more,
of some peculiar kind of vessel probably, and that all these pairs were
now lost. He does not say that Mentor did not make other works of art,
in _single_ pieces. Thiersch, _Act. Acad. Monac._ v. p. 128, expresses
an opinion that the word “omnino” is a corruption, and that in it lies
concealed the name of the kind of plate that is meant.

[1128] See B. vii. c. 39.

[1129] His age and country are unknown.

[1130] From Pausanias we learn that he was a statuary and engraver on
plate, born at Carthage; but Raoul Rochette thinks that he was a native
of Chalcedon. He is mentioned also by Cicero, In Verrem, 4. 14, and in
the Culex, l. 66, ascribed by some to Virgil.

[1131] His country is uncertain. According to the statements of
Pausanias, B. i. c. 28, he must have been a contemporary of Phidias,
about Olymp. 84, B.C. 444. He is mentioned also by Propertius, Martial,
and Statius.

[1132] His birth-place is unknown, but he probably lived about the time
of Phidias, and we learn from Pausanias that he was living when the
plague ceased at Athens, in B.C. 429. He is mentioned also by Cicero,
Ovid, Quintilian, Lucian, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

[1133] Nothing further is known of this artist.

[1134] “Collocavisse verius quam cælasse.”

[1135] “Phiala.”

[1136] He lived probably about Olymp. 126; but his country is unknown.
He is mentioned by Athenæus. See also B. xxxiv. c. 19.

[1137] Nothing whatever is known of him, unless indeed he is identical
with the Tauriscus mentioned in B. xxxvi. c. 5.

[1138] Nothing is known of his age or country. He is also mentioned in
B. xxxiv. c. 19.

[1139] His age and country are unknown. See B. xxxiv. c. 19.

[1140] Nothing further is known of him. See B. xxxiv. c. 19.

[1141] See the end of this Book.

[1142] Beyond the mention made of him in B. xxxiv. c. 19, no
particulars relative to him are known.

[1143] Other readings of this name are “Lædus Stratiotes,” “Ledis
Thracides,” “Hieris Thracides,” and “Lidistratices.” The Bamberg
MS. has “Hedys Trachides.” Salmasius, Hardouin, and Sillig propose
“Leostratides,” and Thiersch “Lysistratides.”

[1144] Nothing further is known of him.

[1145] For the murder of his mother Clytæmnestra.

[1146] Nothing is known of this artist.

[1147] From Troy.

[1148] “Coquos,” literally, “cooks.”

[1149] “Cooks in miniature.”

[1150] By the process of moulding, probably.

[1151] “Crustarius.” Of this artist nothing further is known.

[1152] Yellow or brown Ochre, probably. Ajasson thinks that under
this name may be included peroxide of iron, hydroxide of iron in a
stalactitic and mamillary form, and compact peroxide of iron, imparting
a colour to argillaceous earth.

[1153] “Scaly and ochrey brown iron ore are decomposed earthy
varieties, often soft like chalk; yellow ochre is here included.”—Dana,
Syst. Mineral, p. 436.

[1154] “Marmorosum.”

[1155] “Lucidum.”

[1156] “Abacos.” Small compartments or partitions in a square form on
the walls of rooms.

[1157] See B. vii. c. 57, where he is called an Athenian, whereas he
was a native of Thasos. He was one of the most eminent painters of
antiquity, and flourished in the age of Pericles. See a further account
of him in B. xxxv. c. 35.

[1158] Son of Phanochus, and contemporary of Polygnotus. See B. xxxv.
c. 25, where it is stated that in conjunction with Polygnotus, he
either invented some new colours, or employed them in his paintings on
a better plan than that previously adopted.

[1159] “It is possible that the ‘cæruleum’ of the ancients may in
some cases have been real ultramarine, but properly and in general,
it was only copper ochre.”—Beckmann’s Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 472.
_Bohn’s Edition._ Delafosse identifies it with blue carbonate and
hydrocarbonate of copper, one of the two azurites.

[1160] “Candidiorem nigrioremve, et crassiorem tenuioremve.”

[1161] Beckmann thinks that Pliny is here alluding to an artificial
kind of “cæruleum.” “Pliny clearly adds to it an artificial colour,
which in my opinion was made in the same manner as our lake; for he
speaks of an earth, which when boiled with plants, acquired their blue
colour.”—Hist. Inv., Vol. II. p. 480.

[1162] Supposed by Hardouin to have been “glastum” or “woad,” the
Isatis tinctoria of Linnæus, mentioned in B. xxii. c. 2.

[1163] “In suâ coquitur herbâ.”

[1164] A blue powder; see Chapter 27 of this Book. Beckmann has the
following remarks on this and the preceding lines: “The well-known
passage of Pliny in which Lehmann thinks he can with certainty discover
cobalt, is so singular a medley that nothing to be depended on can be
gathered from it. The author, it is true, where he treats of mineral
pigments, seems to speak of a blue sand which produced different
shades of blue paint, according as it was pounded coarser or finer.
The palest powder was called lomentum, and this Lehmann considers as
our powder-blue. I am, however, fully convinced that the _cyanus_ of
Theophrastus, the _cæruleum_ of Pliny, and the _chrysocolla_ (see
Chapter 26), were the blue copper earth already mentioned, which may
have been mixed and blended together.”—Hist. Inv. Vol. I. pp. 480, 481.
_Bohn’s Edition._

[1165] According to Vitruvius, B. vii. c. 11, the manufactory of
Vestorius was at Puteoli, now Pozzuoli. This was probably the same C.
Vestorius who was also a money-lender and a friend of Atticus, and with
whom Cicero had monetary transactions. He is mentioned as “Vestorium
meum,” in the Epistles of Cicero to Atticus.

[1166] For colouring surfaces of clay or cretaceous earth. This kind
was also manufactured by Vesturius, most probably.

[1167] “Idem et Puteolani usus, præterque ad fenestras.” “The
expression here, _usus ad fenestras_, has been misapplied by Lehmann,
as a strong proof of his assertion; for he explained it as if Pliny
had said that a blue pigment was used for painting window-frames; but
glass windows were at that time unknown. I suspect that Pliny meant to
say only that one kind of paint could not be employed near openings
which afforded a passage to the light, as it soon decayed and lost its
colour. This would have been the case in particular with _lake_, in
which there was a mixture of vegetable particles.”—Beckmann, Hist. Inv.
Vol. I. p. 480.

[1168] “Indian” pigment. Probably our “indigo.” It is again mentioned,
and at greater length, in B. xxxv. c. 27. See also Beckmann, Hist. Inv.
Vol. II. pp. 259, 267. _Bohn’s Edition._

[1169] This is probably a more correct reading than “seven.”

[1170] See B. xxxv. c. 19. Vitruvius, B. vii. c. 14, describes an
exactly similar method adopted by dyers for imitating the colour of
Attic sil, or ochre, mentioned in Chapter 56.

[1171] A quarter in the city of Capua, inhabited by druggists and
perfumers; see B. xvi. c. 18, and B. xxxiv. c. 25.

[1172] In some MSS. the reading here is “Domitius,” and in others the
name is omitted altogether. We learn from the writings of Suetonius,
that the Emperor Domitian devoted himself to literary pursuits in
his younger days, and Quintilian and the younger Pliny speak of his
poetical productions as equal to those of the greatest masters. Sillig
expresses an opinion that Pliny may possibly have borrowed something
from his works, and inserted his name, with a view of pleasing the
young prince and his father, the Emperor Vespasian.

[1173] He is quoted in Chapter 9 of this Book, where it appears that
he took his cognomen on account of his friendship for C. Gracchus. He
wrote a work, “De Potestatibus,” which gave an account of the Roman
magistrates from the time of the kings. A few fragments of this work,
which was highly esteemed by the ancients, are all that remain.

[1174] See end of B. ii.

[1175] See end of B. iii.

[1176] See end of B. ii.

[1177] Valerius Messala Corvinus. See end of B. ix.

[1178] See end of B. vii.

[1179] Calvus Licinius Macer was the son of C. Licinius Macer, a person
of prætorian rank, who, on being impeached of extortion by Cicero,
committed suicide. We learn from our author, B. xxxiv. c. 50, that
in his youth he devoted himself to study with the greatest zeal, and
applied himself with singular energy to intellectual pursuits. His
constitution, however, was early exhausted, and he died in his 35th or
36th year, leaving behind him twenty-one orations. We learn from Cicero
and Quintilian that his compositions were carefully moulded after the
models of the Attic school, but were deficient in ease and freshness.
As a poet he was the author of many short pieces, equally remarkable
for their looseness and elegance. He wrote also some severe lampoons
on Pompey and Cæsar, and their respective partisans. Ovid and Horace,
besides several of the prose writers, make mention of him.

[1180] See end of B. ii.

[1181] See end of B. ii.

[1182] Cornelius Bocchus. See end of B. xvi.

[1183] Annius or Annæus Fetialis. See end of B. xvi.

[1184] See end of B. viii.

[1185] See end of B. vii.

[1186] See end of B. xx.

[1187] See end of B. xii.

[1188] See end of B. iii.

[1189] See end of B. ii.

[1190] See end of B. v.

[1191] The person mentioned in Chapter 13 of this Book, is probably
different from those of the same name mentioned at the end of Books ii.
and iv. If so, no further particulars are known of him.

[1192] It seems impossible to say which of the physicians of this name
is here alluded to. See end of Books iv. and xii.

[1193] See end of B. xx.

[1194] See end of B. xii.

[1195] See end of B. xiii.

[1196] See end of B. xii.

[1197] See end of B. xii.; and for Sallustius Dionysius, see end of B.

[1198] See end of B. xxix.

[1199] See end of B. xii.

[1200] See end of B. xii.

[1201] As King Attalus was very skilful in medicine, Hardouin is of
opinion that he is the person here meant; see end of B. viii.

[1202] A different person, most probably, from the writer of Pliny’s
age, mentioned in B. xxxvii. c. 2. The Xenocrates here mentioned
is probably the same person that is spoken of in B. xxxv. c. 36, a
statuary of the school of Lysippus, and the pupil either of Tisicrates
or of Euthycrates, who flourished about B.C. 260.

[1203] There were two artists of this name, prior to the time of
Pliny; a sculptor, mentioned by him in B. xxxiv. c. 19, and a painter,
contemporary with Apelles, mentioned in B. xxxv. c. 36. It is
impossible to say which of them, if either, is here meant.

[1204] See end of B. iii.

[1205] See end of B. xii.

[1206] It is impossible to say which writer of this name is here meant.
See end of Books iv., viii., xi., and xx.

[1207] A statuary, sculptor, and chaser in silver, who flourished at
Rome about B.C. 60. He was a native of Magna Græcia, in the south of
Italy. He is not only mentioned in Chapter 55 of the present Book, but
also in B. xxxv. c. 45, as an artist of the highest distinction. His
narrow escape from a panther, while copying from nature, is mentioned
in B. xxxvi. c. 4. His five Books on the most celebrated works of
sculpture and chasing were looked upon as a high authority in art. He
was also the head of a school of artists.

[1208] A writer on painting of this name is mentioned by Diogenes
Laertius, B. vii. c. 12. He is probably the same as the person here
mentioned, and identical with the Greek sculptor mentioned by Pliny in
B. xxxiv. c. 19, who probably flourished about 240 B.C. The Toreutic
Art, “Toreutice,” was the art of making raised work in silver or
bronze, either by graving or casting: but the exact meaning of the word
is somewhat uncertain.

[1209] Menæchmus of Sicyon, probably; see end of B. iv., also B. xxxiv.
c. 19.

[1210] If he is really a different person from the Xenocrates mentioned
above, nothing is known of him.

[1211] See end of B. vii.

[1212] Possibly one of the persons mentioned at the end of Books viii.,
xix., and xxxi. If not, nothing whatever is known of him.

[1213] An Athenian writer, surnamed “Periegetes.” The work here
mentioned, is alluded to by other writers under different names. From
a passage in Athenæus, he is supposed to have lived after the time of
Antiochus Epiphanes.

[1214] See end of B. iii.

[1215] The present Book is translated by the late Dr. Bostock, the
translation being corrected by the readings of the Bamberg MS., which
do not appear to have come under his notice. Some Notes by Dr. Bostock
will be also found at the commencement of Books 33 and 35; they are
distinguished by the initial B.

[1216] “Æris Metalla.” The word “Æs” does not entirely correspond to
our word “brass;” the brass of the moderns being a compound of copper
and zinc, while the “Æs” of the ancients was mostly composed of copper
and tin, and therefore, would be more correctly designated by the word
“bronze.” But this last term is now so generally appropriated to works
of art, that it would seem preferable to employ in most cases the more
general terms “copper” or “brass.” For an excellent account of the “Æs”
of the ancients, see Smith’s Dict. Antiq. “Æs.”—B. Mr. Westmacott, in
the above-mentioned article, says that the ancient “Æs” has been found,
upon analysis, to contain no zinc, but in nearly every instance to be
a mixture of copper and tin, like our bronze. Beckmann says, on the
other hand, that the mixture of zinc and copper now called “brass,”
first discovered by ores, abundant in zinc, _was certainly known to
the ancients_. “In the course of time, an ore, _which must have been
calamine_, was added to copper while melting, to give it a yellow
colour.” Hist. Inv. Vol. II. pp. 32, 33. _Bohn’s Edition._ There can
be little doubt that the native _Cadmia_ of Chapter 22 of this Book
was our Calamine, hydrosilicate of zinc, or carbonate of zinc, or else
copper ore impregnated with calamine.

[1217] In B. xxxiii. c. 13.

[1218] “Stipis auctoritas.” The standard in money payments.

[1219] These terms must have come into use when brass, “æs,” was the
ordinary medium, of circulation.—B. Their meaning is, “soldiers’ pay,”
“tribunes of the treasury,” the “public treasury,” “made bondmen for
debt,” and “mulcted of their pay.”

[1220] In B. xxxiii. c. 13.—B.

[1221] “Collegium” The colleges of the priests and of the augurs being
the first two associated bodies.—B.

[1222] In B. xxxiii. c. 31, where we have an account of the ores of

[1223] Pliny again refers to this mineral in the 22d Chapter. We
have no means of ascertaining, with certainty, what is the substance
to which this name was applied by the ancients. The ores of copper
are very numerous, and of various chemical constitutions] the most
abundant, and those most commonly employed in the production of the
pure metal, are the sulphurets, more especially what is termed copper
pyrites, and the oxides. It has been supposed, by some commentators,
that the Cadmia of the ancients was Calamine, which is an ore of zinc;
but we may be confident that the _Æs_ of the ancients could not be
produced from this substance, because, as has been stated above, the
_Æs_ contains no zinc. I must, however, observe that the contrary
opinion is maintained by M. Delafosso.—B. See Note 1216 above.

[1224] The inhabitants of Bergamum, the modern Bergamo.—B. See B. iii.
c. 21.

[1225] Aristotle gives the same account of the copper ore of Cyprus.
Chalcitis is also spoken of by Dioscorides, as an ore of copper.—B. See
further as to “Chalcitis,” in Chapter 29 of this Book.

[1226] There has been much discussion respecting the nature of this
substance, and the derivation of the word. Hardouin conceives it
probable that it was originally written “orichalcum,” _i.e._ “mountain
brass” or “copper.”—B. Ajasson considers it to be native brass,
a mixture of copper and zinc. In the later writers it signifies
artificial brass. The exact composition of this metal is still unknown,
but there is little doubt that Hardouin is right in his supposition as
to the origin of the name.

[1227] Possibly so called from Sallustius Crispus, the historian, who
was one of the secretaries of Augustus.

[1228] There is some doubt respecting the locality of these people;
they are enumerated by Pliny among the inhabitants of the mountainous
districts of Savoy, B. iii. c. 24, and are referred to by Ptolemy.—B.

[1229] Livia.

[1230] It was named “Marian,” after the celebrated Marius, and
“Corduban,” from the place whence it was procured; probably the
mountains near Corduba, in Spain, well known as the birth-place of the
two Senecas and of Lucan.—B. See B. iii. c. 3, and B. xix. c. 43.

[1231] No light is thrown upon the nature either of Cadmia or
Aurichalcum by this statement; we only learn from it that different
compounds, or substances possessing different physical properties, went
under the common appellation of _Æs_, and were, each of them, employed
in the formation of coins.—B.

[1232] “Dupondiariis.” The “as,” it must be remembered, _originally_
weighed one pound. See B. xxxiii. c. 13, and the Introduction to Vol.

[1233] He alludes to the _ancient_ works of art in this compound metal.

[1234] The art of making compound metals.

[1235] Vulcan, namely.

[1236] No one has accidentally stumbled upon the art of making this
composite metal.

[1237] We have an account of the destruction of Corinth, and the
accidental formation of this compound, in Florus, B. ii. c. 16.
Although this account was generally received by the ancients, we may
venture to assert, that it cannot be correct; we cannot conceive the
possibility of such a fusion taking place during the destruction of the
city, or of the complete union of the components, in the mode in which
they have been found to exist.—B.

[1238] B.C. 146.—B.

[1239] “Trulleos.” In an epigram of Martial, B. ix. Ep. 97, the word
“trulla” signifies a chamber-pot.

[1240] From the Greek ἥπαρ, “the liver.”

[1241] The Delian brass is mentioned by Cicero, in his oration “Pro
Roscio Amerino,” s. 46, and in his Fourth oration “In Verrem,” s. 1.—B.
Pausanias, in his “Eliaca,” says that the Spanish copper, or copper of
Tartessus, was the first known.

[1242] Or Cattle Market: in the Eighth Region of the City. See B. xxxv.
c. 7, and Chapter 16 of this Book.

[1243] A distinguished statuary and engraver on silver. He lived in
Olympiad 87. Further mention is made of him by Cicero, Ovid, Strabo,
and Pausanias. See also Chapter 19 of this Book.

[1244] There were several artists of this name. The elder Polycletus, a
native either of Sicyon or of Argos, is probably the one here referred
to. For further particulars of him, see Chapter 19.

[1245] The words in the original are, respectively _candelabra_,
_superficies_, and _scapi_.—B.

[1246] Probably a proverbial expression at Rome, as it is employed by
Juvenal, in an analogous manner, upon another occasion; Sat. iii. l.

[1247] Plutarch speaks of the Geganii as an ancient noble family at

[1248] See B. xxxiii. c. 53.

[1249] A.U.C. 585; we have an account of it in Livy, B. xiv. c. 42.—B.

[1250] This building is referred to by Velleius Paterculus, in the
beginning of the Second Book of his History.—B. According to Aurelius
Victor, it was situated in the Ninth Region of the City.

[1251] The Temple of Vesta is described by Ovid, Fasti, B. vi. l. 265,
_et seq._—B.

[1252] C. Camillus probably, the Roman jurist and friend of Cicero.

[1253] See end of B. ii.

[1254] “Triclinia,” “abaci,” and “monopodia;” these appear to have
been couches for dining-tables, tables furnished with cupboards, and
tables standing on a single foot. Livy, B. xxxix. c. 6, informs us,
that Cneius Manlius, in his triumphal procession, introduced into Rome
various articles of Asiatic luxury; “Lectos æratos, vestem stragulam
preciosam, monopodia, et abacos.” We are not to suppose that the whole
of these articles were made of brass, but that certain parts of them
were formed of this metal, or else were ornamented with brass.—B.

[1255] See end of B. ii.

[1256] “Cortinas tripodum.” These articles of furniture consisted of a
table or slab, supported by three feet, which was employed, like our
sideboards, for the display of plate, at the Roman entertainments.—B.

[1257] “Lychnuchi pensiles;” this term is applied by Suetonius,
Julius, s. 37; we may conceive that they were similar to the modern

[1258] This temple was dedicated by Augustus A.U.C. 726. The lamps in
it, resembling trees laden with fruit, are mentioned by Victor in his
description of the Tenth Quarter of the City.—B.

[1259] See B. v. c. 32.

[1260] We have an account of this event in Livy, B. ii. c. 41, in
Valerius Maximus, and in Dionysius of Halicarnassus.—B.

[1261] “Iconicæ,” “portrait statues,” from εἴκων, of the same
meaning. This term is employed by Suetonius, in speaking of a statue of
Caligula, c. 22.—B.

[1262] Pisistratus. These statues are mentioned in the 19th Chapter of
this Book, as being the workmanship of Praxiteles.—B.

[1263] See B. vii. cc. 31, 34: B. viii. c. 74: and B. ix. c. 63.

[1264] Near the Temple of Janus, in the Eighth Region of the City.

[1265] The Luperci were the priests of Pan, who, at the celebration of
their games, called Lupercalia, were in the habit of running about the
streets of Rome, with no other covering than a goat’s skin tied about
the loins.—B.

[1266] “Pænula.” See B. viii. c. 73.

[1267] We are informed by Cicero, De Off. B. iii. c. 30, and by
Valerius Maximus, B. ii. c. 7, that Marcinus made a treaty with the
Numantines, which the senate refused to ratify, and that he was, in
consequence, surrendered to the enemy. We may suppose that he regarded
the transaction as redounding more to the discredit of the senate than
of himself.—B.

[1268] See end of B. xviii.

[1269] In the First Region of the City, near the Capenian Gate.

[1270] “Celetes;” this appellation is derived from the Greek word
κέλης, “swift,” and was applied to those who rode on
horseback, in opposition to the charioteers—B.

[1271] Poinsinet remarks that Pliny has forgotten the gilded chariot,
with six horses, which Cneius Cornelius dedicated in the Capitol, two
hundred years before Augustus; he also refers to an ancient inscription
in Gruter, which mentions chariots of this description.—B.

[1272] Mænius was consul with Furius Camillus, A.U.C. 416; we have an
account of his victories over the Latins and other neighbouring nations
in Livy, B. viii. c. 14.—B.

[1273] We have an account of this transaction in Livy, B. viii. c. 14.
This trophy is also mentioned by Florus, B. i. c. 11. The “Suggestus”
was an elevated place, formed for various purposes, the stage from
which the orators addressed the people, the place from which the
general addressed his soldiers, and the seat occupied by the emperor at
the public games.—B.

[1274] Florus, B. ii. c. 2, gives an account of the arrangements and
equipment of the Carthaginian fleet, the victory of Duillius, and the
rostral monument erected in its commemoration.—B.

[1275] See B. xviii. c. 4.

[1276] “Unciariâ stipe;” the _uncia_ was the twelfth part of the “as,”
and the word _stips_ was regarded as equivalent to _as_, as being the
usual pay of the soldiers.—B. See Introduction to Vol. III.

[1277] See B. xv. c. 20.

[1278] This circumstance is mentioned by Cicero in his Defence of Milo,
§ 90-1.—B.

[1279] We have some account of Hermodorus in Cicero’s Tusc. Quæs. B. v.
c. 36.—B.

[1280] See B. x. c. 2, B. xviii. c. 3, and B. xxxiii. c. 7.

[1281] Livy, B. ii. c. 10, and Valerius Maximus, B. iii. c. 2, give an
account of this event. A. Gellius incidentally mentions the statue, and
its position in the Comitium, B. iv. c. 5.—B.

[1282] We are informed by Dion Cassius, that there were eight statues
in the Capitol, seven of which were of the kings, and the eighth of
Brutus, who overthrew the kingly government; at a later period the
statue of Cæsar was placed by the side of that of Brutus.—B.

[1283] Suetonius, speaking of this temple, remarks, that though
dedicated to the brothers Castor and Pollux, it was, only known as the
Temple of Castor.—B.

[1284] We have an account of the victory of Tremulus over the Hernici,
and of the statue erected in honour of him, in Livy, B. ix. c. 43.—B.

[1285] This event is referred to by Cicero, Philipp. ix., 5.—B.

[1286] Florus, B. ii. c. 5, gives an account of the murder of P. Junius
and T. Coruncanius.—B.

[1287] In the Bamberg MS. the reading is “unum se. verbum.” Gronovius
is probably right in his conjecture that the word is “senatus consulti.”

[1288] By one Leptines, at Laodicea.

[1289] “Oculatissimo.” The place where there was “the most extended
eyeshot.” It is to this singular expression, probably, that Pliny

[1290] “Quod campum Tiberinum gratificata esset ea populo.”

[1291] A.U.C. 441.

[1292] See B. vii. c. 31.

[1293] His life has been written by Diogenes Laertius, and he is
mentioned by Cicero, de Fin. B. v. c. 19, and by Strabo.—B.

[1294] In B. xxxiii. c. 46.

[1295] We have an account of the exploit of Clælia in Livy, B. ii. c.
13, and in Valerius Maximus, B. iii. c. 2: there is a reference to this
statue in Seneca, de Consol. c. 16.—B.

[1296] To King Porsena.

[1297] See end of B. xvi.

[1298] Plutarch says that it was uncertain whether the statue was
erected to Clælia or to Valeria.—B.

[1299] A.U.C. 596.—B.

[1300] See Chapter 9.

[1301] “In Octaviæ operibus.” These were certain public buildings,
erected in Rome by Augustus, and named by him after his sister Octavia;
they are mentioned by Suetonius.—B.

[1302] Valerius Maximus refers to this event, but he names the
individual Statius Servilius, B. i. c. 8, § 6.—B.

[1303] See B. xxxiii. cc. 50, 54.

[1304] We have an account of the attack by Hannibal on Rome in the
twenty-sixth Book of Livy, but we have no mention of the particular
circumstance here referred to.—B.

[1305] “Forum Boarium.” See Chapter 5.

[1306] Livy, B. i. c. 19, informs us, that Numa made Janus of a form to
denote both peace and war.—B.

[1307] The mode in which the fingers were placed, so as to serve the
purpose here indicated, is supposed to have been by their forming the
letters which were the Roman numerals for the figures in question. We
are informed that some MSS. of Pliny give the number three hundred and
fifty-five only, and there is reason to believe that, in the time of
Numa, this was considered to be the actual number of days in the year.
Some of the commentators, however, are disposed to read three hundred
and sixty-five; and this opinion derives some support from Macrobius,
who refers to this statue as indicating this latter number with its
fingers.—B. The Bamberg MS. gives three hundred and sixty-five.

[1308] See end of B. iii.

[1309] “Misoromæus”—“Roman-hater.” See end of B. iii.

[1310] Pliny himself informs us, in B. xxxv. c. 45, that the statue of
Jupiter in the Capitol, erected by Tarquinius Priscus, was formed of

[1311] The art of moulding or modelling in argillaceous earth; see B.
xxxv. cc. 43, 45.

[1312] See B. xxxvi. c. 2, where he informs us that this theatre was
hardly one month in use.—B.

[1313] Hardouin gives several quotations illustrative of his liberality
in bestowing ornaments in the City, and his inattention to his domestic

[1314] The brothers Lucius and Marcus, the former of whom triumphed in
the Mithridatic, the latter in the Macedonian War.—B.

[1315] See end of B. ii.

[1316] See B. vii. c. 38.

[1317] The absolute number of statues assigned to Lysippus differs
considerably in the different editions, as is the case in almost every
instance where figures are concerned. Pliny gives a further account of
his works in the next two Chapters and in the following Book.—B.

[1318] “Aureum.” See B. xxxiii. c. 13, and B. xxxvii. c. 3.

[1319] In their attack upon Flavius Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian;
A.U.C. 822.

[1320] See B. iv. c. 27.

[1321] It was a statue of Jupiter.

[1322] Better known by the name of Q. Fabius Maximus; he acquired the
soubriquet of Verrucosus from a large wart on the upper lip.—B.

[1323] The Colossus of Rhodes was begun by Chares, but he committed
suicide, in consequence of having made some mistake in the estimate;
the work was completed by Laches, also an inhabitant of Lindos.—B.

[1324] It remained on the spot where it was thrown down for nearly nine
hundred years, until the year 653 A.D., when Moavia, khalif of the
Saracens, after the capture of Rhodes, sold the materials; it is said
that it required nine hundred camels to remove the remains.—B.

[1325] Demetrius Poliorcetes. See B. xxxv. c. 36.

[1326] He is mentioned by Columella, in his Introduction to his work De
Re Rusticâ, in connexion with the most celebrated Grecian artists.—B.

[1327] Suetonius, in describing the temple which Augustus dedicated to
Apollo, on the Palatine Hill, speaks of the Portico with the Latin and
Greek library.—B.

[1328] This victory took place A.U.C. 461; we have an account of it in
Livy, the concluding Chapter of the Tenth Book.—B.

[1329] This was a statue of Jupiter, placed on the Alban Mount, twelve
miles from Rome. At this place the various states of Latium exercised
their religious rites in conjunction with the Romans; it was sometimes
called Latialis.—B. See B. iii. c. 9, and Notes; Vol. I. p. 205.

[1330] The designer of the Colossus at Rhodes.

[1331] Decius is said by Hardouin to have been a statuary, but nothing
is known respecting him or his works.—B. He probably lived about the
time of the Consul P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, A.U.C. 697.

[1332] His country is unknown.

[1333] See B. iv. c. 33.

[1334] St. Jerome informs us, that Vespasian removed the head of Nero,
and substituted that of the Sun with seven rays. Martial refers to it
in the Second Epigram _De Spectaculis_, and also B. i. Ep. 71.—B.

[1335] “Parvis admodum surculis.” There is, it appears, some difficulty
in determining the application of the word _surculis_ to the subject in
question, and we have no explanation of it by any of the commentators.
Can it refer to the frame of wicker work which contained the model into
which the melted metal was poured?—B.

[1336] This observation has been supposed to imply, that Zenodotus
cast his statues in a number of separate pieces, which were afterwards
connected together, and not, as was the case with the great Grecian
artists, in one entire piece.—B.

[1337] See B. xxxiii. c. 55.

[1338] The term _signum_, which is applied to the Corinthian figures,
may mean a medallion, or perhaps a seal-ring or brooch; we only
know that it must have been something small, which might be carried
about the person, or, at least, easily moved from place to place.—B.
_Statuette_, probably.

[1339] Her riddle, and its solution by Œdipus, are too well known to
need repetition here.

[1340] In the following Chapter.

[1341] Consul A.U.C. 787.

[1342] The “Avenger.” In the Forum of Augustus, in the Eighth Region of
the City.

[1343] “Regia.” The palace of Minerva, also in the Forum of Augustus.—B.

[1344] See B. vii. c. 39, B. xxxv. c. 34, and B. xxxvi. c. 4.

[1345] We have an account of this statue, and of the temple in which
it was placed, by Pausanias, B. v. There is no work of Phidias now in
existence; the sculptures in the Parthenon were, however, executed by
his pupils and under his immediate directions, so that we may form some
judgment of his genius and taste.—B. There is a foot in the British
Museum, said to be the work of Phidias.

[1346] An Athenian; see B. xxxvi. c. 5. He is spoken of in high terms
by Pausanias and Valerius Maximus.

[1347] Tutor of Ptolichus of Corcyra, and highly distinguished for his
statues of the slayers of the tyrants at Athens. He is mentioned also
by Lucian and Pausanias.

[1348] The reading is uncertain here, the old editions giving
“Nestocles.” We shall _only_ devote a Note to such artists as are
mentioned by other authors besides Pliny.

[1349] An Athenian; mentioned also by Pausanias.

[1350] There were probably two artists of this name; one an Argive,
tutor of Phidias, and the other a Sicyonian, the person here referred

[1351] A native of Ægina, mentioned by Pausanias. There is also a
statuary of Elis of the same name, mentioned by Pausanias, and to whom
Thiersch is of opinion reference is here made.

[1352] See Chapter 5 of this Book.

[1353] An Argive, mentioned by Pausanias.

[1354] See Chapter 5 of this Book.

[1355] Again mentioned by Pliny, as a native of Rhegium in Italy.

[1356] A native of Paros, mentioned also by Pausanias and Strabo.

[1357] Probably “Perillus,” the artist who made the brazen bull for
Phalaris, the tyrant of Agrigentum. The old reading is “Parelius.”

[1358] This and the following word probably mean one person—“Asopodorus
the Argive.”

[1359] Perhaps the same person that is mentioned by Pausanias, B. vi.
c. 20, as having improved the form of the starting-place at the Olympic

[1360] Mentioned by Pausanias as an Arcadian, and son of Clitor.

[1361] A native of Clitorium in Arcadia, and mentioned also by

[1362] He is said by Pausanias and Athenæus to have been the son, also,
of Myron.

[1363] Son of Motho, and a native of Argos. He was brother and
instructor of the younger Polycletus, of Argos. He is mentioned also by
Pausanias and Tatian.

[1364] He is once mentioned by Pausanias, and there is still extant the
basis of one of his works, with his name inscribed.

[1365] It is supposed that there were two artists of this name, both
natives of Sicyon, the one grandson of the other. They are both named
by Pausanias.

[1366] Probably a Sicyonian; he is mentioned also by Pausanias.

[1367] As Pliny mentions two artists of this name, it is impossible to
say to which of them Pausanias refers as being an Athenian, in B. vi.
c. 4.

[1368] The elder artist of this name. He was an Athenian, and his
sister was the wife of Phocion. He is also mentioned by Plutarch and

[1369] An Athenian; he is mentioned also by Vitruvius, Pausanias, and
Tatian. Winckelmann mentions an inscription relative to him, which,
however, appears to be spurious.

[1370] He is mentioned also by Pausanias, and is supposed by Sillig to
have been a Theban.

[1371] Praxiteles held a high rank among the ancient sculptors, and may
be considered as second to Phidias alone; he is frequently mentioned by
Pausanias and various other classical writers. Pliny gives a further
account of the works of Praxiteles in the two following Books.—B.

[1372] He was also an eminent painter, and is also mentioned by
Quintilian, Dio Chrysostom, and Plutarch.

[1373] Another reading is “Echion.”

[1374] See B. xxxv. cc. 32, 36.

[1375] This great artist, a native of Sicyon, has been already
mentioned in B. vii. c. 39, and in the two preceding Chapters of the
present Book; he is again mentioned in B. xxxv. c. 39.—B. See note 1344

[1376] Also a native of Sicyon. He is mentioned by Tatian.

[1377] Mentioned also by Pausanias, Plutarch, Strabo, and Appian. The
next two names in former editions stand as one, “Euphronides.”

[1378] Supposed to have been an architect, and builder of the Pharos
near Alexandria: see B. xxxvi. c. 18. The same person is mentioned also
by Strabo, Lucian, and Suidas.

[1379] An Athenian. He is mentioned also by Pausanias, Plutarch,
Diogenes Laertius, and Tatian.

[1380] See B. xxxv. c. 36.

[1381] A Sicyonian, pupil of Lysippus. He is also mentioned by
Pausanias; see also B. xxxvi. c. 4.

[1382] Son and pupil of Lysippus. He is mentioned also by Tatian, and
by some writers as the instructor of Xenocrates.

[1383] Sillig thinks that this is a mistake made by Pliny for
“Daïppus,” a statuary mentioned by Pausanias.

[1384] Son of Praxiteles, and mentioned by Tatian in conjunction with
Euthycrates. The elder Cephisodotus has been already mentioned. See
Note 1368.

[1385] Another son of Praxiteles. He is also alluded to by Pausanias,
though not by name.

[1386] His country is uncertain, but he was preceptor of Mygdon of
Soli. See B. xxxv. c. 40.

[1387] Mentioned also by Tatian; his country is unknown.

[1388] It is doubtful whether Pausanias alludes, in B. vi. c. 4, to
this artist, or to the one of the same name mentioned under Olymp. 102.
See Note 1367.

[1389] Sillig suggests that this word is an adjective, denoting the
country of Polycles, in order to distinguish him from the elder

[1390] We learn from Pausanias that he worked in conjunction with
Timarchides. The other artists here mentioned are quite unknown.

[1391] Sillig, in his “Dictionary of Ancient Artists,” observes that
“this passage contains many foolish statements.” Also that there is “an
obvious intermixture in it of truth and falsehood.”

[1392] This is universally admitted to have been one of the most
splendid works of art. It is celebrated by various writers; Pausanias
speaks of it in B. i. See also B. xxxvi. c. 4.—B.

[1393] As being made for the Temple of Diana at Ephesus.

[1394] Probably “Callimorphos,” or “Calliste.” We learn from Pausanias
that it was placed in the Citadel of Athens. Lucian prefers it to every
other work of Phidias.

[1395] A figure of a female “holding keys.” The key was one of the
attributes of Proserpina, as also of Janus; but the latter was an
Italian divinity.

[1396] “Ædem Fortunæ hujusce diei.” This reading, about which there has
been some doubt, is supported by an ancient inscription in Orellius.

[1397] “Artem toreuticen.” See Note at the end of B. xxxiii.

[1398] Pliny has here confounded two artists of the same name; the
Polycletus who was the successor of Phidias, and was not much inferior
to him in merit, and Polycletus of Argos, who lived 160 years later,
and who also executed many capital works, some of which are here
mentioned. It appears that Cicero, Vitruvius, Strabo, Quintilian,
Plutarch, and Lucian have also confounded these two artists; but
Pausanias, who is very correct in the account which he gives us of all
subjects connected with works of art, was aware of the distinction; and
it is from his observations that we have been enabled to correct the
error into which so many eminent writers had fallen.—B.

[1399] Derived from the head-dress of the statue, which had the “head
ornamented with a fillet.” Lucian mentions it.

[1400] The “Spear-bearer.”

[1401] “Canon.” This no doubt was _the same_ statue as the Doryphoros.
See Cicero, Brut. 86, 296.

[1402] Or “strigil.” Visconti says that this was a statue of Tydeus
purifying himself from the murder of his brother. It is represented on
gems still in existence.

[1403] “Talo incessentem.” “Gesner (Chrestom. Plin.) has strangely
explained these words as intimating a person _in the act of kicking
another_. He seems to confound the words _talus_ and _calx_.”—Sillig,
Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1404] “The players at dice.” This is the subject of a painting found
at Herculaneum.—B.

[1405] The “Leader.” A name given also to Mercury, in Pausanias, B.
viii. c. 31. See Sillig, Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1406] “Carried about.” It has been supposed by some commentators, that
Artemon acquired this surname from his being carried about in a litter,
in consequence of his lameness; a very different derivation has been
assigned by others to the word, on the authority of Anacreon, as quoted
by Heraclides Ponticus, that it was applied to Artemon in consequence
of his excessively luxurious and effeminate habits of life.—B. It was
evidently a recumbent figure. Ajasson compares this voluptuous person
to “_le gentleman Anglais aux Indes_”—“The English Gentleman in India!”

[1407] See Note 1397 above.

[1408] “Quadrata.” Brotero quotes a passage from Celsus, B. ii c. 1,
which serves to explain the use of this term as applied to the form
of a statue; “Corpus autem habilissimum quadratum est, neque gracile,
neque obesum.”—B. “The body best adapted for activity is square-built,
and neither slender nor obese.”

[1409] “Ad unum exemplum.” Having a sort of family likeness, similarly
to our pictures by Francia the Goldsmith, and Angelica Kaufmann.

[1410] Myron was born at Eleutheræ, in Bœotia; but having been
presented by the Athenians with the freedom of their city, he
afterwards resided there, and was always designated an Athenian.—B.

[1411] This figure is referred to by Ovid, De Ponto, B. iv. Ep. 1, l.
34, as also by a host of Epigrammatic writers in the Greek Anthology.

[1412] See the Greek Anthology, B. vi. Ep. 2.

[1413] “Player with the Discus.” It is mentioned by Quintilian and
Lucian. There is a copy of it in marble in the British Museum, and
one in the Palazzo Massimi at Home. The Heifer of Myron is mentioned
by Procopius, as being at Rome in the sixth century. No copy of it is
known to exist.

[1414] Seen by Pausanias in the Acropolis at Athens.

[1415] Or “Sawyers.”

[1416] In reference to the story of the Satyr Marsyas and Minerva, told
by Ovid, Fasti, B. vi. l. 697, _et seq._

[1417] Persons engaged in the five contests of quoiting, running,
leaping, wrestling, and hurling the javelin.

[1418] Competitors in boxing and wrestling.

[1419] Mentioned by Cicero In Verrem, Or. 4. This Circus was in the
Eleventh Region of the city.

[1420] See the Anthology, B. iii. Ep. 14, where an epigram on this
subject is ascribed to Anytes or Leonides; but the Myro mentioned is a
female. See Sillig, Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1421] She was a poetess of Teios or Lesbos, and a contemporary of

[1422] “Multiplicasse veritatem.” Sillig has commented at some length
on this passage, Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1423] See Note 1418 above.

[1424] There is a painter of this name mentioned in B. xxxv. c. 43. The
reading is extremely doubtful.

[1425] Mentioned by Plato, De Legibus, B. viii. and by Pausanias, B.
vi. c. 13. He was thrice victorious at the Olympic Games.

[1426] Python.

[1427] From the Greek word Δικαιὸς, “just,” or “trustworthy.”—B.

[1428] Diogenes Laertius mentions a Pythagoras, a statuary, in his
life of his celebrated namesake, the founder of the great school of
philosophy.—B. Pausanias, B. ix. c. 33, speaks of a Parian statuary of
this name.

[1429] See Note 1395 above.

[1430] See end of B. vii.

[1431] Cicero remarks, Brut. 86, 296, “that Lysippus used to say
that the Doryphoros of Polycletus was his master,” implying that
he considered himself indebted for his skill to having studied the
above-mentioned work of Polycletus.—B.

[1432] In Chapter 17 of this Book.—B.

[1433] The same subject, which, as mentioned above, had been treated by

[1434] In the Eighth Region of the City.

[1435] Ἀποξυόμενος, the Greek name of the statue, signifying
one “scraping himself.”

[1436] The head encircled with rays.

[1437] The lines of Horace are well known, in which he says, that
Alexander would allow his portrait to be painted by no one except
Apelles, nor his statue to be made by any one except Lysippus, Epist.
B. ii. Ep. 1, l. 237.—B.

[1438] This expression would seem to indicate that the gold was
attached to the bronze by some mechanical process, and not that the
statue was covered with thin leaves of the metal.—B.

[1439] This story is adopted by Apuleius, in the “Florida,” B. i., who
says that Polycletus was the only artist who made a statue of Alexander.

[1440] A large group of equestrian statues, representing those of
Alexander’s body-guard, who had fallen at the battle of the Granicus.

[1441] A.U.C. 606.

[1442] See the Greek Anthology, B. iv. Ep. 14, where this subject is
treated of in the epigram upon his statue of Opportunity, represented
with the forelock.

[1443] Which is a word of Greek origin, somewhat similar to our word

[1444] At Lebadæa in Bœotia.

[1445] Hardouin seems to think that “fiscina” here means a “muzzle.”
The Epigram in the Greek Anthology, B. iv. c. 7, attributed to King
Philip, is supposed by Hardouin to bear reference to this figure.

[1446] The circumstance here referred to is related by Q. Curtius, B.
ix. c. 5, as having occurred at the siege of the city of the Oxydracæ;
according to other historians, however, it is said to have taken place
at a city of the Malli.—B.

[1447] See Note 1417, above.

[1448] Κατάγουσα; a figure of Ceres, probably, “leading back”
Proserpine from the domains of Pluto. Sillig, however, dissents from
this interpretation; Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1449] Or Bacchus.

[1450] See Pausanias, B. i. c. 20. Sillig says, “Pliny seems to have
confounded two Satyrs made by Praxiteles, for that here named stood
alone in the ‘Via Tripodum’ at Athens, and was quite different from the
one which was associated with the figure of Intoxication, and that of
Bacchus.”—Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1451] “Much-famed.” Visconti is of opinion that the Reposing Satyr,
formerly in the Napoleon Museum at Paris, was a copy of this statue.
Winckelmann is also of the same opinion.

[1452] In the Second Region of the city. According to Cicero, in
Verrem. vi., they were brought from Achaia by L. Mummius, who took them
from Thespiæ, A.U.C. 608.

[1453] See B. xxxvi. c. 4.

[1454] A woman plaiting garlands.

[1455] A soubriquet for an old hag, it is thought.

[1456] A female carrying wine.

[1457] According to Valerius Maximus, B. ii. s. 10, these statues were
restored, not by Alexander, but by his successor Seleucus.—B. Sillig
makes the following remark upon this passage—“Pliny here strangely
confounds the statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton, made by Praxiteles,
with other figures of those heroes of a much more ancient date, made by

[1458] From σαυρὸς a “lizard,” and κτείνω, “to kill.” This statue
is described by Martial, B. xiv. Ep. 172, entitled “Sauroctonos
Corinthius.”—B. Many fine copies of it are still in existence, and
Winckelmann is of opinion that the bronze at the Villa Albani is the
original. There are others at the Villa Borghese and in the Vatican.

[1459] In her worthless favours, probably. Praxiteles was a great
admirer of Phryne, and inscribed on the base of this statue an Epigram
of Simonides, preserved in the Greek Anthology, B. iv. Ep. 12. She was
also said to have been the model of his Cnidian Venus.

[1460] This artist is mentioned also by Cicero, Pausanias, Propertius,
and Ovid, the two latter especially remarking the excellence of his
horses.—B. See B. xxxiii. c. 55.

[1461] The mother of Hercules.—B.

[1462] See B. xxxvi. c. 4. Having now given an account of the artists
most distinguished for their genius, Pliny proceeds to make some
remarks upon those who were less famous, in alphabetical order.—B.

[1463] The “highly approved.”

[1464] Or “Lioness.” See B. vii. c. 23.

[1465] The reading is doubtful here. “Iphicrates” and “Tisicrates” are
other readings.

[1466] The same story is related by Athenæus, B. xiii., and by

[1467] Pisistratus and his sons, Hippias and Hipparchus.

[1468] A lioness.

[1469] She having bitten off her tongue, that she might not confess.

[1470] Hardouin has offered a plausible conjecture, that for the
word “Seleucum,” we should read “Salutem,” as implying that the two
statues executed by Bryaxis were those of Æsculapius and the Goddess of

[1471] Already mentioned as a son of Lysippus.

[1472] In the Eighth Region of the City.

[1473] This reading appears preferable to “Cresilas,” though the latter
is supported by the Bamberg MS.

[1474] Ajasson quotes here the beautiful words of Virgil—“Et dulces
moriens reminiscitur Argos”—“Remembers his lov’d Argos, as he dies.”

[1475] Dalechamps supposes that Pericles was here represented in the
act of addressing the people; Hardouin conceives that this statue
received its title from the thunder of his eloquence in debate, or else
from the mighty power which he wielded both in peace and war, or some
of the other reasons which Plutarch mentions in the Life of Pericles.—B.

[1476] It is doubtful to which of the artists of this name he alludes,
the elder or the younger Cephisodotus, the son of Praxiteles. Sillig
inclines to think the former—Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1477] The “Deliverer.”

[1478] The elder Canachus, probably.

[1479] The “Lovely.” Brotero says that this is believed to be the
Florentine Apollo of the present day. It stood in the Temple at Didymi,
near Miletus, until the return of Xerxes from his expedition against
Greece, when it was removed to Ecbatana, but was afterwards restored by
Seleucus Nicator.

[1480] See B. v. c. 31.

[1481] “Alterno morsu calce digitisque retinentibus solum, ita
vertebrato dente utrisque in partibus ut a repulsu per vices resiliat.”
He seems to mean that the statue is so made as to be capable of
standing either on the right fore foot and the left hind foot, or on
the left fore foot and the right hind foot, the conformation of the
under part of the foot being such as to fit into the base.

[1482] The following are the words of the original: “Ita vertebrato
dente utrisque in partibus.” I confess myself unable to comprehend
them, nor do I think that they are satisfactorily explained by
Hardouin’s comment.—B.

[1483] The “Riders on horseback.”

[1484] It is supposed by Sillig, Dict. Ancient Artists, that this
is the same person as the Cresilas, Ctesilas, or Ctesilaüs, before
mentioned in this Chapter, and that Pliny himself has committed a
mistake in the name.

[1485] A figure of a man “brandishing a spear.” See Note 1400 above.

[1486] He is mentioned by Quintilian as being more attentive to
exactness than to beauty; also by Diogenes Laertius, B. v. c. 85.
Sillig supposes that he flourished in the time of Pericles. Pausanias,
B. i., speaks of his Lysimache.

[1487] The Athenians in their flattery, as we learn from Seneca,
expressed a wish to affiance their Minerva Musica to Marc Antony. His
reply was, that he would be happy to take her, but with one thousand
talents by way of portion.

[1488] He is mentioned by Xenophon, according to whom, he dedicated the
brazen statue of a horse in the Eleusinium at Athens. He was probably
an Athenian by birth.

[1489] Son of Patroclus, who is previously mentioned as having lived in
the 95th Olympiad. He was a native of Sicyon, and flourished about B.C.
400. Several works of his are also mentioned by Pausanias.

[1490] Or “strigil.” See Note 1435 above.

[1491] The first Grecian slain at Troy.

[1492] Famous also as a painter. See B. xxxv. c. 40.—B. Paris, the son
of Priam, was known by both of these names.

[1493] Q. Lutatius Catulus.

[1494] “Bonus Eventus;” Varro, de Re Rustica, B. i. c. 1, applies
this term to one of the deities that preside over the labours of the
agriculturist. His temple was situate near the Baths of Agrippa.—B.

[1495] In the Eighth Region of the City.

[1496] See Note 1395, page 171.

[1497] Pausanias, B. vi., speaks of a statue of Ancient Greece, but the
name of the artist is not mentioned.—B.

[1498] See B. iv. c, 8.

[1499] Brotero informs us, from Ficoroni, that there is a gem still in
existence on which this design of Eutychides is engraved.—B.

[1500] Thiersch considers him to be identical with the elder Hegesias.
He is mentioned also by Pausanias, B. viii. c. 42.

[1501] See Note 1483, above.

[1502] Dedicated by Augustus on the Capitoline Hill, in the Eighth
Region of the City.

[1503] Sillig distinguishes three artists of this name.

[1504] See B. v. c. 40, and B. vii. c. 2.

[1505] The “Sacrificers of the ox.”

[1506] The son also.

[1507] Martial expresses the same idea in his Epigram, B. i. Ep. 7; but
he does not refer to this statue.—B. Two copies of this Ganymede are
still in existence at Rome.

[1508] Pausanias informs us, B. i. and B. ix., that he saw this statue
in the Prytanæum of Athens.—B. Autolycus obtained this victory about
the 89th or 90th Olympiad.

[1509] It was in honour of a victory gained by him in the _pentathlon_
at the Great Panathenæa, that Callias gave the Symposium described by

[1510] Martial, B. ix. Ep. 51, where he is pointing at the analogy
between his poems and 95the works of the most eminent sculptors,
probably refers to this statue:—

“Nos facimus Bruti puerum, nos Lagona vivum.”—B.

The reading “Lagonem,” or “Langonem,” certainly seems superior to that
of the Bamberg MS.—“Mangonem,” a “huckster.”

[1511] For some further mention of him, see end of B. iv.

[1512] Delafosse has pointed out the resemblance between this statue
and one of the works of Michael Angelo, representing David kneeling on
Goliath, and pressing back the giant’s neck.—B.

[1513] A native of Argos, who flourished in the 95th Olympiad. He was
the son of Motho, and brother and instructor of the younger Polycletus
of Argos. Several of his statues are mentioned by Pausanias and Tatian.

[1514] Ajasson thinks that three statues in the Royal Museum at Paris
may possibly be copies of this Discobolus of Naucydes.

[1515] The Goddess of Health, and daughter of Æsculapius. Niceratus was
a native of Athens, and is also mentioned by Tatian.

[1516] A “Female sacrificing.” The reading is very doubtful.

[1517] The “Man cooking entrails.” For some further account of this
statue, see B. xxii. c. 20. This artist is unknown, but Thiersch
suggests that he may have been the father of Cleomenes, whose name
appears on the base of the Venus de Medicis.

[1518] The master of the Gymnasium.

[1519] He is twice mentioned by Pausanias: more particularly for the
excellence of his horses and oxen. His country is unknown.

[1520] “The beautiful-legged.” This statue has been mentioned at the
end of Chapter 18, as having been greatly admired by Nero.

[1521] This, it is supposed, is the statue to which Martial alludes in
his Epigram, mentioned in Note 1510 above.—B.

[1522] There were two artists of this name, both natives of Samos. The
present is the elder Theodorus, and is mentioned by Pausanias as having
been the first to fuse iron for statues. He is spoken of by numerous
ancient authors, and by Pliny in B. vii. c. 57, B. xxxv. c. 45, and B.
xxxvi. c. 19, where he is erroneously mentioned as a Lemnian.

[1523] At Crete: Athenagoras mentions him in conjunction with Dædalus.

[1524] See B. vii. c. 21. Hardouin thinks that this bears reference to
the conquest of the younger Marius by Sylla, mentioned in B. xxxiii. c.
5. Müller and Meyer treat this story of the brazen statue as a fiction.

[1525] Probably the same author that is mentioned at the end of B.
xxxiii. See also B. xxxv. c. 36.

[1526] The Galli here spoken of were a tribe of the Celts, who invaded
Asia Minor, and afterwards uniting with the Greeks, settled in a
portion of Bithynia, which hence acquired the name of Gallo-Græcia or

[1527] See end of B. xxxiii. Attalus I., king of Pergamus, conquered
the Galli, B.C. 239. Pyromachus has been mentioned a few lines before,
and Stratonicus, in B. xxxiii. c. 55, also by Athenæus.

[1528] A native of Carthage. A work of his is mentioned by Cicero, in
Verrem 4, 14, and in the Culex, l. 66, attributed to Virgil. See also
B. xxxiii. c. 55.

[1529] In the Eighth Region of the City.

[1530] We are informed by Pausanias, B. x., that Nero carried off from
Greece 500 bronze statues of gods and men.—B.

[1531] See B. xxxvi. c. 24.

[1532] See B. xxxv. c. 55.

[1533] Mentioned by Pausanias, B. vi. Many of these artists are
altogether unknown.

[1534] See B. xxxiii. c. 55.

[1535] See B. xxxiii. c. 55.

[1536] See B. xxxiii. c. 56, and B. xxxv. c. 35.

[1537] Probably the same artist that has been mentioned in the
preceding page.

[1538] The artist already mentioned as having been represented by

[1539] Pausanias, B. iii., speaks of his statue of Cynisca, a female
who was victor at the Olympic games. Indeed, the victors at these games
were frequently represented in a posture resembling that of adoration.

[1540] A man “scraping himself,” probably. See Note 1435, page 175. The
“Tyrannicides” were Harmodius and Aristogiton.

[1541] Tatian mentions an artist of this name.

[1542] Sillig thinks that this was Seleucus, king of Babylon, B.C. 312.

[1543] See Note 1485 above.

[1544] Pausanias, B. viii., gives an account of a statue of Diana, made
of Pentelican marble, by this Cephisodotus, a native of Athens; he is
supposed to have flourished in the 102nd Olympiad. In the commencement
of this Chapter, Pliny has enumerated a Cephisodotus among the artists
of the 120th Olympiad.—B.

[1545] Bacchus.

[1546] The elder artist of this name. See B. xxxv. c. 34.

[1547] A native of Sicyon; Pausanias, B. v. cc. 17, 21, informs us
that Cleon made a statue of Venus and two statues of Jupiter; he also
mentions others of his works in B. vi.—B.

[1548] A native of Megara. He made a statue of Diagoras the pugilist,
who was victor at the Olympic games, B.C. 464. He is mentioned also by

[1549] Probably the same with the “Laïppus” mentioned in the early part
of this Chapter. Sillig, Dict. Ancient Artists, considers “Daïppus” to
be the right name.

[1550] See Note 1540 above.

[1551] A native of Sicyon, and pupil of Pison, according to Pausanias,
B. vi. c. 3. He flourished about the 100th Olympiad.

[1552] Works of his at Athens are mentioned by Pausanias, B. i. c. 2,
who also states that he was father of Euchir, the Athenian.

[1553] A statuary of Syracuse, son of Niceratus. He made two statues
of Hiero II., king of Syracuse, who died B.C. 215. He must not be
confounded with the painter and statuary of the same name, mentioned in
B. xxxiii. c. 56, and B. xxxv. c. 35. He is mentioned also by Pausanias.

[1554] An Athenian, son of Euctemon. He is mentioned also by Tatian,
and is supposed by Sillig to have flourished about B.C. 420.

[1555] Called Dinomache by Plutarch.

[1556] Already mentioned as a successful pupil of Lysippus.

[1557] He was probably a native of Agrigentum, and flourished about
B.C. 560. The brazen bull of Perillus, and his unhappy fate, are
recorded by many of the classical writers, among others by Valerius
Maximus, B. ix. cc. 2, 9, and by Ovid, Art. Am. B. i. ll. 653-4.—B.

[1558] See B. vii. c. 57.

[1559] Mentioned at the commencement of this Chapter.

[1560] A statuary of Ægina, mentioned also by Pausanias, B. v. c. 27,
in connexion with Dionysius of Argos. He flourished about Olymp. 76.

[1561] Already mentioned in B. xxxiii. c. 55, and previously in this

[1562] “Scopas uterque.” Sillig, Dict. Ancient Artists, expresses
an opinion that these words are an interpolation; but in his last
edition of Pliny, he thinks with M. Ian, that some words are wanting,
expressive of the branch in which these artists excelled. See also B.
xxxvi. cc. 5, 14.

[1563] He is previously mentioned in this Chapter. See p. 179.

[1564] An Athenian artist, son of Eubulides. He is also mentioned by

[1565] A Lacedæmonian artist, also mentioned by Pausanias.

[1566] See B. xxxvi. c. 4.

[1567] Mentioned also by Pausanias, B. i. c. 3.

[1568] Probably _not_ the Athenian statuary mentioned by Pausanias, B.
ix. c. 7. See Sillig, Dict. Ancient Artists.

[1569] A native of Phocis, mentioned also by Vitruvius.

[1570] Also a Dithyrambic poet; mentioned by Diodorus Siculus.

[1571] In B. xxxv. c. 36.

[1572] See B. xxxiii. c. 55.

[1573] Mentioned by Tatian as having made the statue of Eutychis. See
Pliny, B. vii. c. 3.

[1574] He executed a statue of Hephæstion; and an inscription relative
to him is preserved by Wheler, Spon, and Chishull.

[1575] See B. xxxvi. c. 4.

[1576] A native of Sardis; mentioned by Pausanias.

[1577] An Athenian, mentioned also by Pausanias.

[1578] Strabo mentions some of his productions in the Temple at Ephesus.

[1579] “Fritterer away of his works.” He was also an engraver on gold,
and a painter. He is spoken of in high terms by Vitruvius, Pausanias,
and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

[1580] We have an account of Cato’s honourable conduct on this occasion
in Plutarch.—B. See also B. xxix. c. 30.

[1581] “Inane exemplum.” Hardouin thinks that this is said in reference
to his neglect of the example set by his grandfather, Cato the Censor,
who hated the Greeks. See B. vii. c. 31.

[1582] In the poisoned garment, which was the eventual cause of his

[1583] The general who conducted the war against Mithridates.—B.

[1584] See B. xxxiii. c. 46. “Chaplet” copper.

[1585] “Bar” copper, or “malleable.”

[1586] It is very improbable that this effect could be produced by the
cause here assigned; but without a more detailed account of the process
employed, we cannot explain the change of colour.—B.

[1587] Πυρωπὸς, “sparkling like fire.” Similar to, if not identical
with, our tinsel.

[1588] “Cast brass.”

[1589] See Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 415. _Bohn’s Edition._

[1590] In the former Editions the whole of the next ten lines, from
this word down to “sun” is omitted. It is evident that it has been
left out by accident, in consequence of the recurrence of the word
“Campano.” The hiatus has been supplied from the Bamberg MS., and the
reading is supported by the text of Isidorus, Orig. B. xvi. c. 20, s. 9.

[1591] “Collectanei.”

[1592] “Formalis.”

[1593] “Plumbi nigri”—“black lead,” literally, but not what _we_ mean
by that name.

[1594] The “Grecian” colour. It does not appear to have been
identified, nor does it appear what it has to do with moulds.

[1595] “Pot” copper, or brass.

[1596] Beckmann is of opinion that this “plumbum argentarium” was a
mixture of equal parts of tin and lead. Hist. Inv. Vol. II, p. 220.
_Bohn’s Edition._

[1597] Most of these preparations are in reality highly dangerous.
Oxides, however, or salts of copper, have been employed internally
with success, acting by alvine evacuation and by vomiting. The _Crocus
Veneris_ of the old chemists was an oxide of copper. It is still used
by the peasants of Silesia, Ajasson says.

[1598] It is obvious that the “cadmia” here described must be an
essentially different substance from the “cadmia” mentioned in the
second Chapter of this Book, that being a natural production, possibly
calamine or hydrosilicate or carbonate of zinc; while the “cadmia”
of this Chapter is a furnace-calamine, a product of the fusion of
the ore of copper, or zinc.—B. It is evident, too, that copper ores,
impregnated with zinc or calamine, also passed under this name. See
Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. pp. 33-35, _Bohn’s Edition_, where this
subject is discussed at considerable length: also the treatise by
Delafosse, in Lemaire’s Edition of Pliny.

[1599] The metal known to us as “cadmium” was discovered by Professor
Stromeyer in 1818: it is either associated in its ores with zinc, or
forms a native sulphuret.

[1600] “Smoky residue.” None of these substances formed in smelting are
preserved for medicinal purposes at the present day. Tutty is an impure
oxide of zinc.

[1601] “Cluster residue.” From its resemblance to a bunch of grapes.

[1602] “Caked residue.”

[1603] “Shell-formed residue.”

[1604] See B. xiv. c. 16.

[1605] See end of B. iii.

[1606] See end of B. xii.

[1607] We have the same account of the medicinal effects of Cadmia,
and the other preparations mentioned in this Chapter, given by

[1608] For an account of the “alumen” of the ancients, see B. xxxv. c.

[1609] See B. xxxiii. c. 21, and B. xxxvi. c. 13.

[1610] See B. xxxiii. c. 37.

[1611] “Æris flos.” Ajasson makes some correct remarks upon the
difference between the “scoria” and the “flower” of the metal. The
former may be considered as consisting of the metal, mixed with a
certain proportion of heterogeneous matter, which has been separated
during the fusion of the ore, while the latter consists of the pure
metal in a state of mechanical division.—B.

[1612] From the Greek λεπὶς, “husk,” or “scale.”

[1613] Ajasson describes this substance as consisting merely of the
pure metal in a state of minute mechanical division; it would appear,
therefore, to be scarcely, if at all, different from the articles
described in the last Chapter. The word Στόμωμα means a “hard
substance,” or “hard scales,” therefore the application of this term to
a substance like down, “lanugo,” is perhaps not very appropriate.—B.

[1614] Beckmann comments at some length on this passage; Vol. I. p.
328. _Bohn’s Edition._

[1615] “Seplasiæ.” The druggists dwelling in the Seplasia. See B.
xxxiii. c. 58.

[1616] In Chapters 22 and 23, as applied to Cadmia and Cyprian copper,

[1617] “Ærugo.” The researches of modern chemists have ascertained the
composition of verdigris to be a diacetete of copper; the sesquibasic
acetate and the triacetate are also to be considered as varieties
of this substance; we have an exact analysis of these salts in the
“Elements” of the late Dr. Turner, the Sixth Edition, edited by
Professor Liebig and Mr. W. Turner, pp. 931, 2. Most of the processes
described in this Chapter are mentioned by Dioscorides.—B. See also
Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 171, _et seq._, _Bohn’s Edition_.

[1618] According to Brotero, this is the process generally adopted in
France, in preference to the employment of vinegar in a pure state.—B.

[1619] The form of copper which was termed “coronarium” has been
already described in Chapter 22.—B.

[1620] “Atramento sutorio.” “Shoemakers’ black.” See Chapters 27 and 32
of this Book.

[1621] Until it assumes an ashy colour, Dioscorides says.—B.

[1622] See B. xii. cc. 30, 32.

[1623] According to Celsus, this substance obtained its name from
the person who invented or compounded it; he calls it “Collyrium of

[1624] “Atramenti sutorii, quod chalcanthum vocant.” We may presume
that this substance was somewhat different from the “atramentum
sutorium” mentioned in the last Chapter: the word “chalcanthum” means
“flower of copper;” χαλκοῦ ἄνθος.—B. Delafosse identities
it with blue vitriol, sulphate, or hydro-trisulphate of copper. See
Chapter 32.

[1625] See Chapter 31.

[1626] From the Greek σκωλὴξ, “a worm,” “Vermicular Verdigris.”—“The
accounts of this substance in ancient authors seem to some commentators
to be obscure; but in my opinion we are to understand by them that the
ingredients were pounded together till the paste they formed assumed