The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Natural History of Pliny, Volume 6 (of 6)

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Title: The Natural History of Pliny, Volume 6 (of 6)

Author: the Elder Pliny

Translator: John Bostock

Henry T. Riley

Release date: July 19, 2020 [eBook #62704]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Turgut Dincer, Mr. Franco Sogliani, Brian
Wilcox and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Archive)


The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.







H. T. RILEY, Esq., B.A.,






Chap.   Page

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


The torpedo: nine remedies


The sea-hare: five remedies


Marvels of the Red Sea


The instincts of fishes


Marvellous properties belonging to certain fishes


Places where fish eat from the hand


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


Places where bitter fish are found, salt, or sweet


When sea-fish were first eaten by the people of Rome. The ordinance of King Numa as to fish


Coral: forty-three remedies and observations


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


Amphibious animals. Castoreum: sixty-six remedies and observations


The tortoise: sixty-six remedies and observations


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


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


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

iv 18.

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


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


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


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


Sea-weed: two remedies


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


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


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


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


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


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


Remedies for cough and diseases of the chest


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


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


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


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


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


Remedies for incontinence of urine. The ophidion: one remedy


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


Remedies for epilepsy


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


Remedies for lethargy, cachexy, and dropsy


Remedies for burns and for erysipelas


Remedies for diseases of the sinews


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


Methods of extracting foreign bodies from the flesh


Remedies for ulcers, carcinomata, and carbuncle


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


Remedies for female diseases. The glauciscus: one remedy


Methods of removing superfluous hair. Depilatories


Remedies for the diseases of infants


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


Antaphrodisiacs and aphrodisiacs. The hippopotamus: one remedy. The crocodile: one remedy


Remedies for the diseases of animals


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


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


Additional names of fishes found in the poem of Ovid






What was the first recommendation of gold


The origin of gold rings


The quantity of gold possessed by the ancients


The right or wearing gold rings


The decuries of the judges

vi 8.

Particulars connected with the equestrian order


How often the name of the equestrian order has been changed


Gifts for military services, in gold and silver


At what period the first crown of gold was presented


Other uses made of gold, by females


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


Considerations on man’s cupidity for gold


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


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


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


At what period ceilings were first gilded


For what reasons the highest value is set upon gold


The method of gilding


How gold is found






The first statues of gold


Eight remedies derived from gold




The use made of chrysocolla in painting


Seven remedies derived from chrysocolla


The chrysocolla of the goldsmiths, known also as santerna


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






Stimmi, stibi, alabastrum, larbasis, or platy-ophthalmon


Seven remedies derived from stimmi


The scoria of silver. Six remedies derived from it


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


The discovery and origin of minium




The employment of cinnabaris in painting


The various kinds of minium. The use made of it in painting


Hydrargyros. Remedies derived from minium


The method of gilding silver


Touchstones for testing gold


The different kinds of silver, and the modes of testing it




Egyptian silver

vii 47.

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


At what period the Roman people first made voluntary contributions


Instances of luxury in silver plate


Instances of the frugality of the ancients in reference to silver plate


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


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


The enormous price of silver plate


Statues of silver


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


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




Two remedies derived from cæruleum


The ores of brass


The different kinds of copper


The Corinthian brass


The Delian brass


The Æginetan brass


Stands for lamps


Ornaments of the temples made of brass


Couches of brass


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


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


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


In honour of what foreigners public statues were erected at Rome


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


At what period all the statues erected by private individuals were removed from the public places


The first statues publicly erected by foreigners


That there were statuaries in Italy also at an early period


The immoderate prices of statues

viii 18.

The most celebrated colossal statues in the city


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


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


The method of preserving copper




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


The scoria of copper


Stomoma of copper: forty-seven remedies


Verdigris: Eighteen remedies




Scolex of copper: eighteen remedies


Chalcitis: seven remedies


Sory: three remedies


Misy: thirteen remedies


Chalcanthum, or shoemakers’ black: sixteen remedies




Spodos: five remedies


Fifteen varieties of antispodos






Particulars relative to the Servilian triens


Iron ores


Statues of iron; chased works in iron


The different kinds of iron, and the mode of tempering it


The metal called live iron


Methods of preventing rust


Seven remedies derived from iron


Fourteen remedies derived from rust


Seventeen remedies derived from the scales of iron. Hygremplastrum


The ores of lead


Stannum. Argentarium


Black lead


Fifteen remedies derived from lead


Fifteen remedies derived from the scoria of lead


Spodium of lead


Molybdæna: fifteen remedies


Psimithium, or ceruse; six remedies


Sandarach: eleven remedies




The honour attached to painting


The honour attached to portraits

ix 3.

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


When these shields were first placed in private houses


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


The antiquity of painting in Italy


Roman painters


At what period foreign paintings were first introduced at Rome


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


What pictures the Emperors have exhibited in public


The art of painting


Pigments other than those of a metallic origin. Artificial colours


Sinopis: eleven remedies


Rubrica; Lemnian earth: four remedies


Egyptian earth


Ochra: remedies derived from rubrica






Melinum: six remedies. Ceruse


















Armenium: one remedy




Anularian white


Which colours do not admit of being laid on a wet coating


What colours were used by the ancients in painting


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


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


The first contest for excellence in the pictorial art


Artists who painted with the pencil


Various other kinds of painting


An effectual way of putting a stop to the singing of birds


Artists who have painted in eucaustics or wax, with either the cestrum or the pencil


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

x 41.

Encaustic painting


The colouring of tissues


The inventors of the art of modelling


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


The most famous modellers


Works in pottery


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


Formacean walls


Walls of brick. The method of making bricks


Sulphur, and the several varieties of it: fourteen remedies


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


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


Samian earth: three remedies


The various kinds of eretria


The method of washing earths for medicinal purposes


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


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


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


The earth of Galata; of Clypea; of the Baleares; and of Ebusus


Luxury displayed in the use of various kinds of marble


Who was the first to employ marble in public buildings


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


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


At what period marble was first used in buildings


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


Who was the first to encrust the walls of houses at Rome with marble


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


The method of cutting marble into slabs. The sand used in cutting marble


Stone of Naxos. Stone of Armenia


The marbles of Alexandria


Onyx and alabastrites: six remedies

xi 13.

Lygdinus; corallitic stone; stone of Alabanda; stone of Thebais; stone of Syene




The obelisk which serves as a dial in the Campus Martius


Marvellous works in Egypt. The pyramids


The Egyptian Sphinx


The Pharos




Hanging gardens. A hanging city


The Temple of Diana at Ephesus


Marvels connected with other temples


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


Marvellous buildings at Rome, eighteen in number


The magnet: three remedies


Stone of Scyros


Sarcophagus, or stone of Assos: ten remedies




Osseous stones. Palm stones. Corani. Black stones


Molar stones. Pyrites: seven remedies


Ostrocites: four remedies. Amianthus: two remedies


Geodes: three remedies


Melitinus: six remedies


Gagates: six remedies


Spongites: two remedies


Phrygian stone


Hæmatites: five remedies. Schistos: seven remedies


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


Aëtites. Taphiusian stone. Callimus


Samian stone: eight remedies


Arabian stone: six remedies


Pumice: nine remedies


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


Stone of Siphnos. Soft stones


Specular stones








The various kinds of silex


Other stones used for building


The various methods of building






The various kinds of sand. The combinations of sand with lime


Defects in building. Plasters for walls


Columns. The several kinds of columns

xii 57.

Five remedies derived from lime






Pavements. The Asarotos œcos


The first pavements in use at Rome


Terrace-roof pavements


Græcanic pavements


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


The origin of glass


The various kinds of glass, and the mode of making it


Obsian glass and Obsian stone


Marvellous facts connected with fire


Three remedies derived from fire and from ashes


Prodigies connected with the hearth


The first use of precious stones


The jewel of Polycrates


The jewel of Pyrrhus


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


The first dactyliothecæ at Rome


Jewels displayed at Rome in the triumph of Pompeius Magnus


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


The nature of murrhine vessels


The nature of crystal


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


Amber: the many falsehoods that have been told about it


The several kinds of amber: the remedies derived from it


Lyncurium: two asserted remedies


The various precious stones, classified according to their principal colours


Adamas: six varieties of it. Two remedies




Twelve varieties of the smaragdus


Defects in the smaragdus


The precious stone called tanos. Chalcosmaragdos


Beryls: eight varieties of them. Defects in beryls


Opals: seven varieties of them


Defects in opals: the modes of testing them


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

xiii 24.

Onyx: the several varieties of it


Carbunculus: twelve varieties of it


Defects in carbunculus, and the mode of testing it




Sandastros. Sandaresos


Lychnis: four varieties of it




Sarda: five varieties of it


Topazos: two varieties of it




Prasius: three varieties of it






Iaspis: fourteen varieties of it. Defects found in iaspis


Cyanos: the several varieties of it




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




Chrysolithos: seven varieties of it




Leucochrysos: four varieties of it


Melichrysos. Xuthon


Pæderos, sangenon, or tenites










Ceraunia: four varieties of it


Iris: two varieties of it




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


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


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


Daphnea. Diadochos. Diphyes. Dionysias. Draconitis


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

xiv 59.

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


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


Idæi dactyli. Icterias. Jovis gemma. Indica. Ion


Lepidotis. Lesbias. Leucophthalmos. Leucopœcilos. Libanochrus. Limoniatis. Liparea. Lysimachos. Leucochrysos


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


Nasamonitis. Nebritis. Nipparene


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


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


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


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


Veneris crines. Veientana


Zathene. Zmilampis. Zoraniscæa


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


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


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


Precious stones that suddenly make their appearance. Cochlides


The various forms of precious stones


The methods of testing precious stones


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

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,2 as they constantly ebb and flow, and so regulate the currents of the sea as though they were the waters of one vast river.

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 ship4 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 advantage5 in the onset, and charged with a redoubled impetuosity. In our own time, too, one of these fish arrested the ship of the Emperor6 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 ship3 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 surprised8 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 already10 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 shells11 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 for4 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 exhalations16 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 5 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 esteemed.

Persons when poisoned21 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 mussels23 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,6 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-flies26 by the smell.


The statements which Ovid has made as to the instincts of fish, in the work27 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, furrows32 the sand with its tail, and so conceals itself, until the net has passed over it. The muræna,33 trusting in the slippery smoothness34 of its rounded back, boldly faces the meshes of the net, and by repeatedly wriggling its body, makes its escape. The polyp35 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 aware37 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,7 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 muræna39 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 already41 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-giant42 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-fish43 smell of iron.44 The hardest of all fishes, beyond a doubt, is that known as the “orbis:”45 it is spherical, destitute46 of scales, and all head.478


Trebius Niger informs us that whenever the loligo48 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 eat51 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 Temple54 there; and at the Fountain of Chabura in Mesopotamia, already mentioned.55


At Myra, too, in Lycia, the fish in the Fountain of Apollo,9 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 Hierapolis56 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 Stabiæ57 in Campania, the melanuri58 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 concealed.


Nor is it by any means the least surprising fact, that off the island of Pele,59 the town of Clazomenæ,60 the rock61 [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 diversity64 of their food.

Apion says that the largest among the fishes is the sea-pig,65 known to the Lacedæmonians as the “orthagoriscos;”10 he states also that it grunts66 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 Beneventum67 in Italy, salted provisions of all kinds require68 to be salted over again.


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 without69 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 couches70 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 spoken71 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,11 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,12 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 venomous77 than the pastinaca, a sea-fish which kills trees even with its sting, as already78 stated. And yet, poisonous as it is, the galeos79 pursues it; a fish which,13 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 testes82 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 of14 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 hysterical86 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 cerastes91 or prester92 with panax93 or15 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 viscus94 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 tortoises101 which live in muddy waters, and tortoises101 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 for16 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 one17 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 dyed104 with this gall. For the cure of injuries inflicted by the salamander, it will be quite sufficient to drink the broth of boiled tortoise-flesh.

There is, again, a third105 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,18 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 laid107 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 ships108 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;19 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 already109 stated in what country the honey is venomous: the fish known as the dorade110 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 already113 stated, entirely neutralizes its effects. This last fish, too, either applied topically or taken as food, acts as an antidote to the venom114 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-star117 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.20


Stings inflicted by the sea-dragon118 or by the sea-scorpion, are cured by an application119 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 sarda125 is particularly good. Salt fish is employed also as a topical application for the bite of the mad dog; and even in cases where21 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 Magi131 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 22to 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 double133 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 already135 stated. The Greeks call them “phryni:” they are the largest in size of all the frogs, have two protuberances136 like horns, and are full137 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 one.

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 23the 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 snake140 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 scytale144 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. 24They 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 coracinus147 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 25as 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 deteriorated150 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 carpathum153 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 good.


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 part154 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 spots155 where numerous rivers discharge themselves into the sea; hence it is that the pelagia156 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 Grynium157 and of Myrina,158 for example. Generally speaking, they increase in size with the increase of the moon, as already stated by us when159 treating of the aquatic animals: but it is at the beginning of summer, more particularly, 26and 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 Circeii161 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 meat162 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 27Lake 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 Cyzicus165 are larger than those of Lake Lucrinus,166 fresher167 than those of the British coasts,168 sweeter169 than those of Medulæ,170 more tasty171 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 foot176 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 refreshing178 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 28produce 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 useful180 as a counterpoison.


According to Nicander, sea-weed is also a theriac.181 There are numerous varieties of it, as already182 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 property183 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 nitre185 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 peucedanum190 and oil of roses.


The fat of all kinds of fish, both fresh-water as well as sea 30fish, 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 callionymus193 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 coracinus197 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 indurations199 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 31“calamitæ,” are used; the blood of them being applied with vine gum to the eyelids, after the hairs have been removed.

Powdered shell201 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 bone203 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 Pontus205 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 32with 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 frog207 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. Meges209 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 numbers210 during the rains of autumn. Ashes of burnt 33leeches, 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, 34and 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-fish220 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 pastinaca221 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 Dionysius223 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, 35in 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’s226 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 mæna229 in combination with three oboli of honey, liver of the pastinaca230 boiled in oil, or ashes of the dolphin or hippocampus231 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 oil232 in appearance: 36this 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-glue233 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 nests234 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 37with 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 Andreas237 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 mænæ239 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 castoreum244 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 hammoniacum247 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 juices248 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 39purpose. 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 conch250 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 40rock-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 myax258 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 dorycnium260 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 tethea267 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 kidneys.

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 42administered270 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, castoreum273 should be taken, with seed of daucus274 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 Niceratus276 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 sole277 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 43and for urinary calculi; the stone, also, that is found in the tail281 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.

Scallops288 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 44male 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 silurus292 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 mænæ293 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 coracinus298 disperses inflammatory tumours; an effect which is equally produced by using the calcined 45intestines 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 already305 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 slime307 of snails is recommended, applied in the form of a liniment.



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 burn310 African snails, both shells and flesh, and to administer the ashes with wine311 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-frogs312 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’s314 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 47of 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 mussels320 and other shell-fish has a tendency to make flesh.


Epileptic patients, as already321 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. Castoreum323 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-weasel324 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. Hippocampi326 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 48longest 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 been329 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 balæna333 or of the sea-calf334 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 vertebræ335 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, tetheæ337 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 siluri340 are reduced to ashes and applied with vinegar.

Prurigo and itch-scab, not only in man but in quadrupeds 50as well, are most efficaciously treated with the liver of the pastinaca341 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 antipathy346 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 reeds348 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-glasses350 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 necessity351 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 salt352 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 antipathy355 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 52purple, the meat of salted fish, bruised river-crabs, or flesh of the silurus356 (a river-fish that is found in other streams as well as the Nilus357), 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 spodium.358


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 cunila361 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 coracinus365 disperse carbuncles, an effect equally produced by the ashes of salted surmullets.366 Some persons, however, use 53the 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 disappear.


To remove warts, the liver of the glanis367 is applied to the part; ashes also of heads of mæmæ368 bruised with garlic—substances which should be used raw where it is thyme-warts369 that require to be removed—the gall of the red sea-scorpion,370 smarides371 pounded and applied, or alex372 thoroughly boiled. Ashes of calcined heads of mænæ373 are used to rectify malformed nails.


The milk is increased in females by eating the glauciscus374 in its own liquor, or else smarides375 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 hairs376 growing upon those parts. The squatina,377 applied topically, prevents the mamillæ from becoming too distended. Lint greased with dolphin’s378 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 54mænæ,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 Africa386 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. Hippocrates387 prescribes them as a promoter of menstruation, and as an expellent of the dead fœtus, beaten up with five388 roots of lapathum and rue and some soot, and administered in honied wine. Crabs, boiled and taken in their liquor, with lapathum389 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 55to 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 salt395 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 resin396 in a leaden box; a recipe 56which we find given by the midwife Salpe397 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 torpedo401 applied with alum on the sixteenth day of the moon. The thick matter emitted by the small frogs, which we have described when treating402 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 already403 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-fish406 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 57sponge 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 siriasis409 in infants. When the frog is removed, it will be found quite dry, they say.


A surmullet410 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 thereof.


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 erythinus416 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, 58is 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 Cyprian423 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, deafness424 is the consequence.

The ink of the sæpia425 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 59on 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 different429 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 unable430 to make ourselves acquainted with. In addition, too, to the various countries above mentioned, we have Taprobane431 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 monsters433 that are found in this element. 60We 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 tortoises450 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 hippopotami458 and crocodiles,459 common to the sea, the land, and the rivers; tunnies460 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 61eel,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 aselli483 were it not smaller; the colias,484 otherwise known as the fish of Parium485 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 pelamis489 which returns at the end of forty days from the Euxine to the Palus Mæotis); the cordyla490—which is also a small pelamis, so called at the time when it enters the Euxine from the Palus Mæotis—the cantharus,491 the callionymus492 or uranoscopus, the cinædus, the only493 fish that is of a yellow colour; the cnide, known to us as the sea-nettle;494 the different kinds of 62crabs,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 spokes504 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 scorpion512 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 63the galeos,521 the garos,522 the hippos,523 the hippuros,524 the hirundo,525 the halipleumon,526 the hippocampus,527 the hepar,528 the ictinus529 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 surmullet538 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 pelamides553 and one that never returns to the Palus Mæotis, like the tritomus554 in appearance, and best when old—the orbis,555 64the orthagoriscus,556 the phager,557 the phycis558 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 rhine576 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 sarda582—such being the name of an elongated pelamis583 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 65aulos, donax, onyx or dactylus; the spondylus,597 the smaris,598 the starfish,599 and the sponges.600 There is the sea-thrush601 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 shores613 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 chrysophrys617 a fish of a golden colour, the parus,618 the tragus,619 the melanurus620 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 channes622 conceives of itself, that the 66glaucus623 never makes its appearance in summer, that the pompilus624 always accompanies vessels in their course, and that the chromis625 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 shank628 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 beings.

Summary.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, nine hundred and ninety.

Roman Authors quoted.—Licinius Macer,631 Trebius Niger,632 67Sextius Niger633 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, electrum649 or copper.650 In another place, to satisfy the requirements of luxury, our researches extend to gems and pigments, with which to adorn our fingers651 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 69signs 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 name655 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 70for 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 murrhine661 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 72inwards, 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 sinister671 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 73it 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 crown680 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 assumed682 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 ring684 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 74makes mention of them; for although he speaks of the practice of sending tablets685 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 challenge688 of the enemy, they made any use of rings689 for the purpose; and when he enumerates the articles that were manufactured at the forge690 of the gods, he speaks of this as being the origin691 of fibulæ692 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 75shield 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 third696 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 76were just now speaking on the subject of rings, it may be as well to add, by way of passing remark, that upon the officer700 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 younger702 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 table703 of the days for pleading,704 which till then the populace had to ascertain each day from a few 77great 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 rings710 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 not712 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 brass714 in the Græcostasis,715 78then 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 three717 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 Cæpio718 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 79wearing 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 mark726 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 not727 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 gold728 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 finger731 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 finger732 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 cabinet733 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 labour734 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 81rings!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 theft738 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 nomenclator739 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 82thrown in the sea, was recovered from a fish that was caught; and this Polycrates, we know, was put to death743 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 ring744 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 tunic746 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 heralds747 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,” 83the former name being reserved solely for the members of the squadrons751 furnished with war-horses at the public charge.

Of these judices, too, there were at first but four752 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—“tribunes753 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 ninth756 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 hunting758 out grounds for prosecuting759 the keepers 84of 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 Caius762 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 85who, 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.” Hence765 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—He771 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 torcs772 of gold to the auxiliaries and foreign troops, while to Roman citizens they only granted silver773 ones: bracelets774 too, were given by them to citizens, but never to foreigners.


But, a thing that is more surprising still, crowns775 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 Dictator776 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, 87also, 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, making779 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 victims780 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 fibulæ781 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 criminality782 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 arms784 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 88gems: but are they to cover their feet785 as well with gold, and so, between the stola786 of the matrons and the garb of the plebeians, establish an intermediate787 or equestrian788 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 Harpocrates790 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 next792 crime committed against the welfare of mankind was on the part of him who was the first to coin a denarius793 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 defeat794 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 90twenty 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 libræ805 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 unciæ808 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, when809 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 91Clodian 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 denarii812 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 hunger813 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, 92but, before814 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 Aquilius816 the Roman general, whom he had taken prisoner: such were the results of cupidity.

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 filagreed817 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 Spartacus819 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 93insult 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 yearly822 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 leaves824 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 thousand825 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 94a 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 arena830 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 of831 silver; and the same was the case at those celebrated by L. Muræna. The Emperor Caius had a scaffold832 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 thousand833 pounds’ weight, contributed by Nearer Spain, and another of nine thousand pounds, 95presented 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 Palace836 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 million839 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 no840 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 millions841 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, 96after 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 Catulus843 was far from being unanimously approved of for having gilded the brazen tiles of the Capitol!


We have already stated, in the Seventh844 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 clearer845 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 stars846 that is so prized in gold, seeing that the various gems847 and other things of the same tint, are in no such particular request. Nor yet is it for its weight or malleability848 that gold has been preferred to other metals, it being inferior in both these respects to lead—but it is because gold is the only849 substance in nature that suffers850 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 97to 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 fifty855 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 Fortune856 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 masses858 or in the form of dust;859 and whereas 98all 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 woven862 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 scarf864 made entirely of woven gold without any other material. For this long time past, gold has been interwoven in the Attalic865 textures, an invention of the kings of Asia.


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 99state 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 nature869 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 already871 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 Tagus874 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 100name 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 sapphirus880 of the East, and in the stone of Thebais881 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 furnace883 has the name of “sudor”884 given to it. The impurities 101that 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 Giants886 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 102like 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 away890 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 desire.

Another labour, too, quite equal to this, and one which entails even greater expense, is that of bringing rivers891 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 103from 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 ulex896 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 104away; for otherwise the shafts would soon be choked up by it.

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 already899 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 works.


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 105the orpiment itself was no more than four denarii per pound. Since his time, the experiment has never been repeated.


In all905 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 artificial909 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 represents910 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 poison.911


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 106erected in the Temple of the goddess Anaïtis. To what particular region this name belongs, we have already913 stated, it being that of a divinity914 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 Leontini916 was the first to erect a solid statue of gold, in the Temple at Delphi, in honour of himself, about the seventieth917 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 107carried 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 melanthium920 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


Chrysocolla922 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; 108much 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 alum925 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 turbistum926 are added to the dye; such being the name of two drugs which compel it to absorb the colouring matter.


When chrysocolla has been thus dyed, painters call it “orobitis,” and distinguish two kinds of it, the cleansed927 orobitis,928 which is kept for making lomentum,929 and the liquid, the balls 109being 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 sanded934 chrysocolla, they underlay coats of atramentum935 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 cæruleum937 instead of real chrysocolla, and used for painting, 110making 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 chrysocolla939 is known by medical men as “acesis,” and is altogether different from orobitis.


The goldsmiths also employ a chrysocolla940 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 together.



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 stone947 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 next949 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 melt950 it, except 112in combination with lead951 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 Hannibal956 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 hundred957 paces; and throughout the whole of this distance there are water-bearers958 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 113by the name of “crudaria.”959 In ancient times, the excavations used to be abandoned the moment alum960 was met with, and no further961 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 traced962 with silver should be black.


There is a mineral also found in these veins of silver, which yields a humour that is always963 liquid, and is known as “quicksilver.”964 It acts as a poison965 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 male976 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 calliblepharic979 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 116the 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 choicest983 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 grease985 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 117It has certain restringent and refrigerative effects upon bodies, and, like molybdæna, of which we shall make further mention when speaking987 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 three990 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 118from 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 one995 being an excretion thrown out by the metal while purifying itself, the other996 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 ptisan999 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 fossil1000 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 119never 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 minium1002 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 bodies1003 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 Jupiter1004 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 120of 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, rubrica1007 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 error1008 caused by the two meanings of 121the 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 shortly1010 show it to be.


The ancients used to paint with cinnabaris1011 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 rubrica1014 and of sinopis, substances of which I shall make further mention in the appropriate places.1015

Cinnabaris1016 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, 122from 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 exceed1019 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 kind1021 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 given1022 the name of quicksilver; for if those are subjected to the action of fire they will yield silver—but another kind of stone1023 that is found with them. These barren1024 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 123their 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 rollers1029 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 writing1030 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 hydrargyros1031 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 125plan of substituting an inferior material, as already mentioned.1036


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 superior1039 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 126in 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 numerous1044 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 monstrous1045 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 Thracian1046 buckler; whether it is depressed in the middle or elevated; whether the surface has a direction1047 transversely or obliquely; or whether it runs horizontally or vertically; the peculiar configuration of the surface which receives the shadows, 127causing 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 present1048 occasion—the best, in the times of our ancestors, were those of Brundisium,1049 composed of a mixture of1050 stannum and copper: at a later period, however, those made of silver were preferred, Pasiteles1051 being the first who made them, in the time1052 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, curtail1059 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 erected1060 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 129the 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 millions1067 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 130time, 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 still1072 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 Bithynian1074—for I here make no mention of kings, be it 131remarked. 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 contributions1075 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 plate1080 that 132we are in search of, and silver deeply chiselled around the marginal lines of the figures painted1081 upon it; and now we are building up on our sideboards fresh tiers1082 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 carriages1084 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, 133but 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 meal1089 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 same1091 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 Punic1096 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 chargers1097 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 steward1098 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 who1100 were to be the guests served therefrom?


Cornelius Nepos says that before the victory gained1101 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 different1103 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 resemblance1106 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 Asia1108 that first introduced luxury into Italy; for we 136find 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. This1109 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 Attalus1111 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 ploughman1116 of Arpinum, a general who had risen from the ranks!1117


It is generally believed, but erroneously, that silver was 137first 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 first1118 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 Fuscus1122—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 inlaid?

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 138company 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 ever1127 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 139Boëthus,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 Antipater1133 too, it has been said, laid, rather than engraved,1134 a Sleeping Satyr upon a drinking-bowl.1135 Next to these come Stratonicus1136 of Cyzicus, and Tauriscus:1137 Ariston1138 also, and Eunicus,1139 of Mytilene are highly praised; Hecatæus1140 also, and, about the age of Pompeius Magnus, Pasiteles,1141 Posidonius1142 of Ephesus, Hedystratides1143 who engraved battle-scenes and armed warriors, and Zopyrus,1144 who represented the Court of the Areopagus 140and the trial of Orestes,1145 upon two cups valued at twelve thousand sesterces. There was Pytheas1146 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 copies1150 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, sil1152 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 marbled1154 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 clear1155 141sil, 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 dust.

Polygnotus1157 and Micon1158 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.

Cæruleum1159 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 142however, is submitted to a dyeing process, it being boiled with a plant1162 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 Vestorian1165 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 indicum1168 was first imported to Rome, the price being seventeen1169 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 Eretrian1170 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 144it 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 Bassus1186 who wrote on Medicine in Greek, Sextius Niger1187 who did the same.

Foreign Authors quoted.—Theophrastus,1188 Democritus,1189 145Juba,1190 Timæus1191 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 Attalus1201 the physician, Xenocrates1202 the son of Zeno, Theomnestus,1203 Nymphodorus,1204 Iollas,1205 Apollodorus,1206 Pasiteles1207 who wrote on Wonderful Works, Antigonus1208 who wrote on the Toreutic art, Menæchmus1209 146who did the same, Xenocrates1210 who did the same, Duris1211 who did the same, Menander1212 who wrote on Toreutics, Heliodorus1213 who wrote on the Votive Offerings of the Athenians, Metrodorus1214 of Scepsis.




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 148another 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 body1221 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 149its 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 aurichalcum1231 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 metal.


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 works1233 150has so infinitely increased, the reputation of the art itself1234 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 gods1235 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 art.1236

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, 151are 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 first1241 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 Boarium1242 at Rome. This is a specimen of the Æginetan metal, as the Jupiter in the Temple of Jupiter 152Tonans, in the Capitol, is of the Delian. Myron1243 used the former metal and Polycletus1244 the latter; they were contemporaries and fellow-pupils, but there was great rivalry between them as to their materials.


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 named1247 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 153Mummius,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 Vesta1251 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 154tripods,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 155was 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 patrons.


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 156some 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 horseback1270 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 157being 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 as1276 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 158been 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 slain1288 while on this embassy, the senate ordered his statue to be placed in the most conspicuous1289 spot; and that 159spot 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 Tiber.”1290


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 men1292 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 Phalercus1293 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 honour.

But Annius Fetialis1297 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 161people 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 spear.1304



Various circumstances prove, that the art of making statues was commonly practised in Italy at an early period. The statue in the Cattle Market1305 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 Metrodorus1308 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 163Greeks 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 theatre1312 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 Luculli1314 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 Lysippus1316 alone is said to have executed no less than fifteen hundred1317 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 164denarius1318 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 party1319 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 Verrucosus1322 did not 165touch 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 166had 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 artists.

But all these gigantic statues of this kind have been surpassed in our own age by that of Mercury, made by Zenodotus1332 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 sketches1335 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 167the 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 Sphinx1339 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 consular1341 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 Palace.1343



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 Demeas1361 the 169Clitorian: 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 Praxiteles1371 and Euphranor;1372 in the hundred and seventh, Aëtion1373 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 170having acquired great celebrity without any instructor: Zeuxis1380 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 Fortune1396 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, 172they 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 toreutic1407 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 Satyr1416 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 174any 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 Pancratiast1423 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 serpent1426 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 pupil1431 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, 175and 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-scraper1433, 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 Apoxyomenos1435 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 176of 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 cave1444 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 Temple1452 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 178the 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 Alcmena1461 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 179Leæna1464 of Amphicrates1465 is highly commended. The courtesan1466 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 Bœdas1471 a figure in adoration; Baton, an Apollo and a Juno, which are in the Temple of Concord1472 at Rome.

Ctesilaüs1473 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.

Cephisodotus1476 is the artist of an admirable Minerva, now erected in the port of Athens; as also of the altar before the 180Temple of Jupiter Servator,1477 at the same place, to which, indeed, few works are comparable.

Canachus1478 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. One1481 fore-foot, too, and the alternate hind-foot are so made as firmly to grip the base, the socket being1482 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. Desilaüs1484 made a Doryphoros1485 and a wounded Amazon; and Demetrius1486 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 181on 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 Protesilaüs1491 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 Cliduchus1496 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

Hegias1500 is celebrated for his Minerva and his King Pyrrhus, his youthful Celetizontes,1501 and his statues of Castor and Pollux, 182before 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 pupil1506 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 perfumes.

We have a young bull by Menæchmus,1511 pressed down beneath a man’s knee, with its neck bent back:1512 this Menæchmus 183has also written a treatise on his art. Naucydes1513 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 Epithyusa.1516

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 Epistates1518 exercising the Athletes. Strongylion1519 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, 184also, 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.

Xenocrates1525 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 185been 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. Apellas1539 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; Aristodemus1541 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 gracefulness.

There were two artists of the name of Cephisodotus:1544 the 186earlier of them made a figure of Mercury nursing Father Liber1545 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. Daïppus1549 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. Micon1553 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.


Tisicrates1556 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 Phalaris1558 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.

Sthennis1559 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; Simon1560 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 Scopas.1562

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 188Myagrus,1569 Polycrates, Polyidus,1570 Pythocritus, Protogenes, a famous painter, whom we shall have occasion to mention hereafter;1571 Patrocles, Pollis, Posidonius1572 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 example1581 so little followed, may be known.

While speaking of statues, there is one other that should not be omitted, although its author is unknown, that of Hercules 189clothed 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. Lucullus1583 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 190the 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-hand1591 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 191tenth part of lead1593 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-lead1596 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 statues.


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 resources1597 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, 192beyond 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 193second time upon a fire of pure charcoal, and when duly incinerated, is quenched in Aminean1604 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.

Nymphodorus1605 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. Iollas1606 recommends the same process; except that he selects the purest specimens of native cadmia.


Cadmia1607 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 alum1608 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 194pounded 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 copper1611 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 spontaneously.


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 195unacquainted 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.


Verdigris1617 is also applied to many purposes, and is prepared 196in 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 misy1625 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 198Cyprian 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.


Chalcitis1628 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 199upon 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 sory1633 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 chalcitis.


Some persons have stated, that misy1634 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 200force 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 menstruation.


The Greeks, by the name1636 which they have given to it, have indicated the relation between shoemakers’ black1637 and copper; for they call it “chalcanthum.”1638 Indeed there is no substance1639 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. 201Across 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 vitreous1640 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 202and 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 pompholyx1644 and spodos1645 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 spodos1646 is the best. It is formed by fusing 203cadmia 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 olive1650 furnish it, the cultivated olive, the quince-tree, and the lentisk; unripe mulberries also, before 204they 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-glue1653 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 smegma1654 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 205is 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 Messala1659 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 206acquit 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 mortality.


Iron ores are to be found almost everywhere; for they exist 207even 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, 208too, 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 Turiasso1672 in Spain, and Comum1673 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 Parthian1676 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 Noricum1677 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 209water, 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 Cantabria1686 which are 210washed 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 211in which iron has been plunged at a white heat, is useful, as a potion, in many diseases, dysentery1693 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 212particularly 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 hygremplastrum1697 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 213the stream of water which is passed through them detaching certain black pebbles, mottled with small white spots and of the same weight1704 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 together1715 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 seven.1716

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 use1717 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 215the 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 Alesia1719 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 petorita1721 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 fashion!

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 lead1724 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 Britannia1725 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 216and 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 217noxious 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 stibi1733 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 procidence1734 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 218lead which has been prepared this way is preferred to the spodium of Cyprus.


The scoria1736 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 spodium1737 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 219furnaces 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 silver1743 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 220mentioned.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 221delicate 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 colour.1751

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 Bassus1761 who wrote in Greek on Medicine, Sextus Niger1762 who did the same, Fabius Vestalis.1763

Foreign Authors quoted.—Democritus,1764 Metrodorus1765 of Scepsis, Menæchmus1766 who wrote on the Toreutic art, Xenocrates1767 who did the same, Antigonus1768 who did the same, Duris1769 who did the same, Heliodorus1770 who wrote on the Votive Offerings of the Athenians, Pasiteles1771 who wrote on Wonderful Works, Timæus1772 who wrote on the Medicines derived 222from 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 Xenocrates1785 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 mysteries1787 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, 224and so varying its uniformity; and this, for the purpose of representing the marble of Numidia1791 variegated with ovals, and that of Synnada1792 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 persons.

And yet the very same persons adorn the palæstra and the anointing-room1796 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 birthday1798 by a sacrifice, and keep his festival, known as the “Icas,”1799 every month: and these too, people who 225wish 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 wax1801 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 Salvittos1806—for 226that 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 say.

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 means1809 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 227better 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 shields1810 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 consul1812 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 228subtleties 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 Scipios1816 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 lustra1818 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 229second 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 Cleanthes1822 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 future1824 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 230same 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 before.1832

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. 231Q. 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 233exhibition of pictures into such high estimation, by consecrating an Ajax and a Medea1845 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 Curia1852 which he consecrated in the Comitium;1853 one of which was a Nemea1854 seated upon a lion, and bearing a palm in her hand. Close to 234her is an Old Man, standing with a staff, and above his head hangs the picture of a chariot with two horses. Nicias1855 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. Philochares1857 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 hereafter.1858


Thus much then with reference to the dignity of this now expiring art. We have already1859 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 employed.

The art of painting at last became developed, in the invention 235of light and shade, the alternating contrast of the colours serving to heighten the effect of each. At a later period, again, lustre1861 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 either1863 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 supplies1864 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.


Sinopis1868 was discovered in Pontus; and hence its name, from the city of Sinope there. It is produced also in Egypt, 236the 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 That1871 which is of the deepest red is the most in use for colouring compartitions. The sinopis known as the dull1872 kind, being of a very tawny complexion, sells also at the price of eight asses per pound; it is used principally for the lower1873 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 eyelids.


Some persons have wished to make out that sinopis is nothing else but a kind of rubrica1874 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 237was 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 antidotes.


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 ochra1877 is prepared, the rubrica being burnt1878 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 238and 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.


Parætonium1882 is so called from the place1883 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 Cimolian1885 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 already1888 explained when speaking of the ores of lead; there was also a native ceruse, formerly found on the 239lands 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.


Usta1890 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 territory1894 which produces it. Nicomachus1895 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 applied1896 with water, does not dry with rapidity, the presence of purulent matter is apprehended.


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 240mode of preparing sandarach we have described1898 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 sandyx1901 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 already1902 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. 241For 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 bones1904 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; 242the 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 chalk1911 is dyed along with purple1912 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 Lanuvium.1914

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 cæruleum1915 beneath, and purpurissum, with egg,1916 upon it.


Next in esteem to this is indicum,1917 a production of India, being a slime1918 which adheres to the scum upon the reeds there. 243When powdered, it is black in appearance, but when diluted in water it yields a marvellous combination of purple and cæruleum. There is another1919 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 Selinusian1920 earth, or anularian1921 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 244known 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 “anularian1925 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 245being applied to walls, but is in common use1931 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; melinum1934 for the white, Attic sil1935 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 slime1937 of her rivers, and the corrupt blood of her dragons1938 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 246have already stated,1939 that it is the material, and not the efforts of genius, that is now the object of research.


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 247of 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 toreutic1942 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 Panænus1943 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 248distinguished the sexes1950 in painting, and attempted to imitate every kind of figure; and Cimon1951 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 painting1953 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 249the 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 Portico1955 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 Temple1956 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 Timarete1960 also practised the art of painting.


In the ninetieth Olympiad lived Aglaophon,1961 Cephisodorus, Erillus, and Evenor, the father of Parrhasius, one of the 250greatest 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 glory1962 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 Heraclea1964 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 251determination 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 Nobilior1971 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 Concord1973 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 Antigonus1974 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 253proper 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 implacability1976 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 Commander1977 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 Archigallus1978 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 Liber1981 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 Runner1982 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 254spirit, 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 orators1987 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 uncle1988 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, 255in 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 Helladic1992 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 Victory1995 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 graphic1997 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 256is 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 toreutic1998 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 Apelles2001 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 beauty2003 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 257too, 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 split2005 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. 258He 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, 259telling 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 generally2012 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, 260and 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 stewards2014 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 Temple2017 of his father2018 Cæsar; a work which has been celebrated 261in 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 four2023 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 Clitus2026 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 Habron2027 by him, that is greatly admired; at Rhodes a Menander,2028 king of Caria, and an Ancæus;2029 at 262Alexandria, 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 moderation2030 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 naked2032 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 Neoptolemus2034 on horse-back, fighting with the Persians; an Archeläus,2035 with his Wife and Daughter; and an Antigonus on foot, with a 263cuirass 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 lines2036 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 Aristides2039 of Thebes; the first of all the painters to give full expression to the mind2040 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, 264though 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 Liber2043 also, and an Artamene, two fine pictures now to be seen in the Temple of Ceres2044 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 period2047 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 265which, it is asserted, is the fact, that in decorating the Propylæum2049 of the Temple of Minerva, situate in one of the most celebrated spots in Athens, where he has painted the fine picture2050 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, 266bore 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 Demetrius2056 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 267painter. 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 already2059 stated.

At the same period also, lived Asclepiodorus,2060 who was greatly admired by Apelles for his proportions. The tyrant Mnason2061 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 Mother2066 of the Gods seated on a Lion; the fine picture of the Bacchantes, with Satyrs moving stealthily towards 268them; 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 Nicophanes2070 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 269himself 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 Callicles2078 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 Porticos2080 of Octavia. In the Portico of Philippus,2081 also, there is a Father Liber2082 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 Pompeius2084 we have his Cadmus and Europa. On the other hand, again, he painted a 270figure in a ridiculous costume, known jocosely as the Gryllus; and hence it is that pictures of this class2085 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 making2090 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 uncovered2091 271edifices 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 Palace2093 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 Pausias2101 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 pencil2102 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. 274In 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 Scaurus.2109

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 275Theseus; 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 Nicias2116 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 Temple2120 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 Temple2122 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 276Athens a representation of the Necyomantea2124 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 Porticos2125 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 277branches. 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 Ajax2131 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 278branch,2139 I must not pass in silence those who occupy the next rank. Aristoclides decorated the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Antiphilus2140 is highly praised for his picture of a Boy blowing a Fire, which illumines an apartment handsomely furnished, and throws a light2141 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 Aristophon2143 has painted an Ancæus2144 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 Scyllus2146 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 bargain2148 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 pupil2152 of Apelles, was famous for a burlesque 279picture of his representing Jupiter in labour with Bacchus,2153 with a mitra2154 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 Œchalia2155 and his Laodamia.

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 Pompeion2158 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 280it 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 Theorus2164 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 Porticos2165 of Philippus: a Cassandra2166 also, in the Temple of Concord; a Leontium, the mistress of Epicurus, in an attitude of meditation; and a King Demetrius.2167 Theon2168 has painted the Frenzy2169 of Orestes, and a Thamyras2170 playing on the lyre; Tauriscus, a Discobolus,2171 a Clytæmnestra, a Pan in miniature, a Polynices claiming2172 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 Tyndaridæ2174 of Nicomachus, the Medea of Timomachus,2175 and the Venus of Apelles,2176 already mentioned. For in such 281works 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 death.

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; Heraclides2179 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 282her 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 encaustic2186 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, 283no 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 process.


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 Nymphæum2190 at Corinth, until the destruction of that city by Mummius.2191 Others, again, assert that the first inventors of the plastic art were Rhœcus2192 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.

284Butades 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 “plastæ.”


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 Lysistratus2197 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 Tuscan2200 in the temples; and that, when the temple was afterwards repaired, the painted coatings of the walls were 285cut 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 Pasiteles2207 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 often2209 286mentioned, 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 named2210 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 murrhine2211 vases or vessels of crystal, but from ladles2212 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, pipes2213 for conveying water, conduits2214 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 coffins2216 made of earthenware; M. Varro, for instance, who 287was 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 Adria2218 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 already2222 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, 288ordered 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 murrhine2223 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 Samian2225 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 houses.2228


But there are other resources also, which are derived immediately from the earth. Who, indeed, cannot but be surprised 289at 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 subduing2231 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 mind.


And then, besides, have we not in Africa and in Spain walls2233 of earth, known as “formacean” walls? from the fact that they are moulded, rather than built, by enclosing earth 290within 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 earth2234 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 male2236 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 palm2237—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 bricks2239 made, which float in water, when dry; the material being a sort of 291pumice-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 asylum2241 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 already2243 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.

292There 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 293also 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 already2252 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 liquid2253 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 burden.

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 294properties 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 already2260 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 295that are made of alumen;2261 by which name is understood a sort of brine2262 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 dyeing2263 wool of bright colours, and the black, on the other hand, for giving wool a tawny or a sombre tint. Gold, too, is purified2264 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, 296and turns black on the application of nut-galls; for which reason it is known by the name of “paraphoron.”2269

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 297fingers. 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 name2276 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 serous2277 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 298as 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 already.2278


In succession to these, we shall now have to speak of various other kinds of earth2279 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 Eretrian2282 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 mentioned2283 in our description of the pigments.


All these earths—for we will take the present opportunity of mentioning it—are well washed in water, and then dried 299in 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 Selinusian2284 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. Pnigitis2285 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 Cimolian2286 earth, but are not so energetic.

Ampelitis2287 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 cretaceous2289 earths there are several varieties; and among 300them, 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 Bubon2293 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 weight2295 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 301the 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 scoured2298 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 dispersed2299 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 Tymphæan2301 gypsum in place of Cimolian earth.


There is another cretaceous earth, known as “argentaria,”2302 from the brightness2303 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 victory2304 in the Circus, and for marking the feet of slaves on sale, that were brought from beyond sea. Such, for instance, were Publilius2305 Lochius, the 302founder 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 keeper2309 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, Menas2311 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 serpents.

Summary.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, nine hundred and fifty-six.

Roman Authors quoted.—Messala2315 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 Apion2337 304the 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 Xenocrates2350 the son of Zeno, Theomnestus.2351





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 306search amid the regions of the clouds for vessels2354 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 censorial2355 laws, which forbid the kernels2356 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 307when the largest of these columns, pillars of Lucullan2358 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 earthenware2360 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 Dipœnus2362 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 time2363 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 309that 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 vines2367 but by the works of the sons of Archermus as well. The people of Lasos2368 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 Temple2369 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 figure2372 of Silenus made its appearance.

310We must not omit to remark, that the art of sculpture is of much more ancient2373 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 Agoracritus2377 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 311the Temple of the Great Mother, in the same city, another work2380 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-born2382 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 speaking2383 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 Ceramicus2384 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 312Cnidos. 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 preferred2386 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 beauties2388 of the statue admit of 313being 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 Liber2390 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 occasioned2393 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 Schools2394 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 Success2395 and Good Fortune, in the Capitol; as also some Mænades,2396 and figures known as Thyiades2397 and Caryatides;2398 314some Sileni,2399 to be seen in the memorial buildings of Asinius Pollio, and statues of Apollo and Neptune.

Cephisodotus,2400 the son of Praxiteles, inherited his father’s talent. There is, by him, at Pergamus, a splendid Group2401 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.

Scopas2402 rivals these artists in fame: there are by him, a Venus2403 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 Bends2405 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 Canephori2406 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, and2408 sea-horses,2409 Tritons, the train of Phorcus,2410 315whales,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 Sosian2413 Apollo, there is an equal degree of uncertainty, whether it is the work2414 of Scopas or of Praxiteles. So, too, as to the Father Janus, a work that was brought from Egypt and dedicated in his Temple2415 by Augustus, it is a question by which of these two artists2416 it was made: at the present day, however, it is quite hidden from us by the 316quantity 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 Schools2417 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 Olympus2421 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 lives.

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 circumference2427 of this building is, in all, four hundred and forty feet, 317and the breadth from north to south sixty-three, the two fronts2428 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 318the 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 Propylæum2435 at Athens; the workmanship of Socrates the sculptor, a different person from the painter2436 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 estimation.

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, already2445 mentioned, but a native of Tralles:2446 a Jupiter Hospitalis2447 by Papylus, a pupil of Praxiteles: Zethus and Amphion, with Dirce, the Bull,2448 and the halter, all sculptured from a single block of 319marble, 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, Menecrates2449 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 Philiscus2452 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 group2460 of this nature in all the world. The same artist also executed a Venus at the Bath, and Polycharmus another Venus, in an erect2461 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 320temple, 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 already2462 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 321with 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 Thespian2467 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 Grecian2469 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.

322Arcesilaüs,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 Coponius.

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 temples2476 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 spirals2477 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. The2479 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.

323Some 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 Temple2483 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 person2484 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 324something 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 painting2487 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 seventh2488 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. 325For 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 Carystus2491 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 326division, 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.

The2496 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 recommended2497 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 stone2499 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 touchstone2501 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 ophites2503 in the circumstance that the latter is marked with streaks which resemble serpents2504 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 328wounds 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 place2508 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 blocks2511 of any dimensions, however large. Vitrasius Pollio, who was steward2512 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 name2514 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 height2516 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 Memnon2517 there; remarkable, it is said, for 329emitting a sound each morning when first touched by the rays of the rising sun.


Our forefathers imagined that onyx2518 was only to be found in the mountains of Arabia, and nowhere else; but Sudines2519 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 place2521 with reference to this stone; for four2522 small pillars of it were erected by Cornelius Balbus in his Theatre2523 as something quite marvellous: and I myself have seen thirty columns, of larger size, in the banquetting-room which Callistus2524 erected, the freedman of Claudius, so well known for the influence which he possessed.

(8.) This2525 stone is called “alabastrites”2526 by some, and is hollowed out into vessels for holding unguents, it having the reputation of preserving them from corruption2527 better than anything else. In a calcined state, it is a good ingredient for 330plaisters.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; corallitic2531 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 district2532 which produces it: though 331it 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 called2536 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. Sesosthes2540 erected four of them in the above-named city, forty-eight cubits in height. Rhamsesis,2541 too, who was 332reigning at the time of the capture of Troy, erected one, a hundred and forty cubits high. Having quitted the spot where the palace of Mnevis2542 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 Callixenus2547 gives the name of Phœnix. For this purpose, 333a 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 Puteolan2551 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, 334that 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 Pythagoras2554 visited Egypt. It is eighty-five feet2555 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 Martius2556 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 hour2557 on the day of the winter solstice. After this period, the shadow would go on, day by day, gradually decreasing, and then again2558 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 335and 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 third2559 obelisk2560 at Rome is in the Vaticanian2561 Circus, which was constructed by the Emperors Caius2562 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 remains2564 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 idle2565 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 336might 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 Mœris2568 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 African2569 side of it, upon a rocky sterile elevation. They lie between the city of Memphis and what we have mentioned2570 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 337height, from the belly to the summit of the asp on the head, sixty-two.2572

The largest2573 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 onions2575 alone.

The largest Pyramid occupies seven2576 jugera of ground, and the four angles are equidistant, the face of each side being eight hundred and thirty-three2577 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 338and 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 nitre2580 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. For2581 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 discovered2582 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 339of 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 the2584 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 Ptolemæus2585 on this occasion, he gave permission to the architect, Sostratus2586 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 danger2587 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 340whom 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 mazes2590 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. This2591 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 341into 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 Nemesis2594 in as many sacred shrines; besides numerous pyramids, forty ells2595 in height, and covering six aruræ2596 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 thorn2600 boiled in oil.

As for the Cretan Labyrinth, what I have already stated must suffice for that. The Labyrinth of Lemnos2601 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 342were, 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 left.

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 Dodona2606 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 343downright 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 Asia2610 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 fleeces2611 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 Chersiphron2613 was the architect who presided over the work.

344The great marvel in this building is, how such ponderous architraves2614 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 architraves2615 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 345Stone;”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 Bridge2622 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 346the 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 347of 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 city2628 which we recently mentioned, navigation had to be carried on beneath Rome; an event which happened in the ædileship2629 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 348citizens adopting this method of escaping their troubles. For this evil, however, the king devised a singular remedy, and one that has never2630 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 them.

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 consulship2631 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 349City environed by the palaces of the Emperors Caius2632 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-chambers2634 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 greatest2637 work that has ever been 350made 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 citizens2638 to erect six2639 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 previously2640 stated, were eight-and-thirty feet in height; and, placed between these columns, as already2641 mentioned, were brazen statues, three thousand in number. The area2642 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 Attalic2643 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 revenge.

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, 351as 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!

352This 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’s2648 harangues at a future day, and that, at the Rostra, he may still have the power of shaking the tribes, nicely balanced2649 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 Appian2652 Aqueduct, and those of the 353Anio2653 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 Virgin2657 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 work2658 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 infinite2659 extent since his time.

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, 354places 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 355grounds for hoping that it will never be at a loss for a supply of materials for its gratification.


Upon quitting the marbles to pass on to the other more remarkable stones, who can for a moment doubt that the magnet2665 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 already2666 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.

Sotacus2670 describes five2671 different kinds of magnet; the Æthiopian magnet; that of Magnesia, a country which borders 356on 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 property2674 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 357which repels and rejects all kinds of iron. Of the attractive and repulsive properties of iron, we have spoken2677 more than once.


In the Isle of Scyros2678 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, 358in 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 bring2683 forth other stones. Theophrastus states, also, that a fossil2684 ivory is found, both white and black; that the earth, too, produces bones, and that osseous2685 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 Tænarian2688 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 corani2689 are harder than Parian marble. He states, also, that 359the 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 stones2690 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 stones2691 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, 360applied 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 ostracites2699 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 mamillæ.

Amianthus2700 resembles alumen2701 in appearance, and suffers no diminution from the action of fire. This substance effectually counteracts all noxious spells, those wrought by magicians in particular.


Geodes2702 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, 361like honey. Bruised and incorporated with wax, it is curative of pituitous eruptions, spots upon the skin, and ulcerations of the fauces. It removes epinyctis2704 also, and, applied as a pessary, in wool, it alleviates pains in the uterus.


Gagates2705 is a stone, so called from Gages, the name of a town and river in Lycia.2706 It is asserted, too, that at Leucolla2707 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 odour2709 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 362axinomancy;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 hæmatites2716 have a certain affinity between them. The latter is found in mines, and, when burnt, has just the colour2717 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.

363 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 magnet2721 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 black2725 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 hæmatites2727 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 fourth2728 kind, he says, is known as “hepatites,”2729 364while raw, and as “miltites”2730 when calcined; a substance good for burns, and more efficacious than rubrica2731 for all the purposes for which that mineral is employed. The fifth2732 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 blood.2733

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 aëtites2735 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 365those 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 stone2738 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 already2740 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.


Arabian2742 stone resembles ivory in appearance; and in a 366calcined 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 Catullus2746 says, for polishing books, are found of the finest quality in the islands of Melos and Nisyros2747 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 habit2750 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 367that grape-juice2751 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 Etesian2752 stone before all others, and, next to that, to Thebaic stone, already mentioned2753 as being called “pyrrhopœcilon,” and known as “psaranus” by some. The third rank has been assigned to chrysites,2754 a stone nearly allied to Chalazian2755 stone. For medicinal purposes, however, basanites2756 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 Parian2758 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 stone2762 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 stone2764 of Comum2765 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 stone2766 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 pavonaceous2767 style, if that is preferred. Such are the stones that admit of being cut into thin slabs.


As to specular2768 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 369from 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 nature.

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 stone2772 370that 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 within2775 the building.

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 already2776 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 pitch2781 for their houses and lime2782 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 stone2783 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 stone2784 of Tibur can stand everything except heat, which makes it crack.


The black silex2785 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 372purposes, 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 “diatoichon.”2792

373The reticulated2793 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.


Cato2795 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 water!


There are three kinds of sand: fossil2797 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 marbled2799 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 375ancient 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 spirals2801 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.


Maltha2802 is a cement prepared from fresh lime; lumps of which are quenched in win