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The scoria of silver is called by the Greeks "helcysma."1 It has certain restringent and refrigerative effects upon bodies, and, like molybdæna, of which we shall make further mention when speaking2 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,"3 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."4 There are three5 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.6

The most approved kind is that of Attica; the next being that which comes from Spain. Chrysitis is the produce of the metallic vein,7 argyritis is obtained from the silver itself, and molybditis is the result of the smelting of lead,8 a work that is done at Puteoli; to which last circumstance, in fact, molybditis owes its name.9 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 per- ceived from the name, it is in reality the scum of a substance in a state of fusion—of the future metal, in fact. It differs from scoria in the same way that the scum of a liquid differs from the lees, the one10 being an excretion thrown out by the metal while purifying itself, the other11 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;12 a third variety being molybdæna, of which we shall have to make further mention when treating of lead.13 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 ptisan14 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 fossil15 salt, they change the water from time to time, and then dry it during the forty hot- test days of summer. In some instances the practice is, to boil it in water in a swine's paunch, and then to take it out and rub it with nitre; after which, following the preceding method, they pound it in a mortar with salt. Some again never boil it, but pound it only with salt, and then rinse it with water.

Scum of silver is used as an ingredient in eye-salves, and, in the form of a liniment, by females, for the purpose of removing spots and blemishes caused by scars, as also in washes for the hair. Its properties are desiccative, emollient, refrigerative, temperative, and detergent. It fills up cavities in the flesh produced by ulceration, and reduces tumours. For all these purposes it is employed as an ingredient in plaster, and in the liparæ previously mentioned.16 In combination with rue, myrtle, and vinegar, it removes erysipelas: and, with myrtle and wax, it is a cure for chilblains.

1 From ἕλκω, "to drag"—in consequence of its viscous consistency, Hardouin says.

2 In B. xxxiv. c. 53.

3 Cerates, adipose or oleaginous plasters. See B. xxiii. c. 81.

4 "Spuma argenti." This he uses as a general name for fused oxide of lead, the Litharge of commerce.

5 Ajasson thinks it possible that the "chrysitis," or "golden" litharge, may have been the yellow deutoxide of lead; the argyritis, or "silver" litharge, the white variety of the same deutoxide; and the "molybditis," or "leaden" litharge, a general name for sulphuret of lead and silver; of lead and antimony; of lead, antimony, and bismuth; and of lead, antimony, and copper. Or perhaps, he thinks, they may have been the respective names of yellow or golden litharge, white or silver litharge, and terne. With the latter opinion Delafosse seems to coincide.

6 "Tubulis." These cakes were probably made in a tubular form.

7 "Vena;" meaning the ore probably in its raw state, and mixed with earth. All these distinctions are probably unfounded.

8 See B. xxxiv. c. 53.

9 Of "Puteolana."

10 The litharge.

11 The scoria.

12 Nothing whatever is known as to the identity of these varieties of litharge. Indeed the words themselves are spelt in various ways in the respective MSS.

13 In B. xxxiv. c. 53, where he identifies it with "galena," mentioned in Chapter 31 of this Book.

14 See B. xviii. c. 13, B. xxi. c. 61, and B. xxii. c. 66.

15 Sal gem, or common salt.

16 In this Chapter. See note 36 above.

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