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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,1 above Ephesus, the sand of which has just the colour of the kermes berry.2 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.

1 See B. v. c. 31.

2 See B. xvi. c. 12, and B. xxiv. c. 4.

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