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1 Chapter 57.
2 In fact, no colour at all.
3 In this climate, the light of most of the stars has the complexion, not of gold, but of silver.
4 The topaz, for instance.
5 For ductility and malleability, both which terms may perhaps be included in the "facilitas" of Pliny, gold is unrivalled among the metals. As to weight, it is heavier than lead, the specific gravity of gold being 19.258, and that of lead 11 352. Pliny is therefore wrong in both of these assertions.
6 He forgets asbestus here, a substance which he has mentioned in B. xix. c. 4.
7 Chlorine, however, and nitro-muriatic acid corrode and dissolve gold, forming a chloride of gold, which is soluble in water. Ajasson remarks, that gold becomes volatilized by the heat of a burning glass of three or four feet in diameter; and that when it acts as the conductor of a strong current of electricity, it becomes reduced to dust instantaneously, presenting a bright greenish light.
9 See B. xviii. c. 23, where he calls the chaff used for this purpose by the name of "acus."
10 The present mode of assaying the precious metals, is by fusing them upon a cupel with lead.
11 For which purpose, lead was used, no doubt, in drawing the lines in the MSS. of the ancients. See Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. 11. p. 389, Bohn's Ed.
12 This is far surpassed at the present day, its malleability being such that it may be beaten into leaves not more than one two hundred and eighty thousandth of an inch in thickness, and its ductility admitting of one grain being drawn out into five hundred feet of wire. For further particulars as to the gold leaf of the ancients, and the art of gilding, as practised by them, see Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 391, et seq. Bohn's Edition.
13 See B. xxxvi. c. 64.
14 He alludes to what are now known as pepitas, oval grains of rivergold. "Striges" is the reading in the Bamberg MS., "strigles" in the former editions.
15 "Massa." As we should say at the present day, "nuggets."
17 The contrary is now known to be the case; gold is sometimes, though rarely, found in an oxidized state.
18 As to the solvents of gold, see Note 2 above. Stahl says that three parts of sub-carbonate of potash, dissolved in water, and heated with three parts of sulphur and one part of gold, will yield a complete solution of the metal.
19 Aldrovandus relates, in his "Museum Metallicum," that the grave of the Emperor Honorius was discovered at Rome about the year 1544, and that thirty-six pounds' weight of gold were procured from the mouldering dress that covered the body. See, on the subject of gold threads, Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 415. Bohn's Edition.
20 The "cloth of gold" of the present day, is made of threads of silk or hair, wound round with silver wire flattened and gilded.
22 See B. viii. c. 74. Beckmann is of opinion, from a passage of Silius Italicus, B. xiv. 1. 661, that the cloth of Attalns was embroidered with the needle. See this subject fully discussed in his Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 415. See also Dr. Yates's "Textrinum Antiquorum," pp. 371, 464.
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