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It is also in silver-mines that minium1 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 bodies2 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 Jupiter3 with this colour.

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

1 The minium spoken of in this and the following Chapter is our Cinnabar, a bisulphurate of mercury. This ore is the great source of the mercury of commerce, from which it is obtained by sublimation. When pure, it is the same as the manufactured vermilion of commerce.

2 Intended, no doubt, to be typical of blood and carnage; and indicative of a very low state of civilization.

3 See B. xxxv. c. 45.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), A´NULUS
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