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1 The Isle of Elba, which has been celebrated for the extent and the richness of its iron mines both by the ancients and the moderns.—B. Ajasson remarks that it appears to be a solid rock composed of peroxide of iron.
2 " Clavis caligariis." See B. viii. c. 44, B. ix. c. 33, and B. xxii. c. 46.
3 There have been numerous opinions on the meaning of this word, and its signification is very doubtful. Beckmann has the following remarks in reference to this passage:—"In my opinion, this was the name given to pieces of steel completely manufactured and brought to that state which rendered them fit for commerce. At present steel comes from Biscay in cakes, from other places in bars, and both these were formerly called 'stricturæ,' because they were employed chiefly for giving sharpness to instruments, or tools, that is, for steeling them. In speaking of other metals, Pliny says that the finished productions at the works were not called 'stricturæ' (the case, for example, with copper), though sharpness could be given to instruments with other metals also. The words of Pliny just quoted are read different ways, and still remain obscure. I conjecture that he meant to say, that some steel-works produced things which were entirely of steel, and that others were employed only in steeling—'ad densandas incudes malleorumve rostra.' I shall here remark that these 'stricturæ ferri' remind us of the ' striges auri,' (see B. xxxiii. c. 19), such being the name given to native pieces of gold, which, without being smelted, were used in commerce."—Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 327. Bohn's Edition.
4 " A stringenda acie." The iron was probably formed into thin, long bars, in thickness resembling a steel used for sharpening. The French word acier, meaning "steel," may possibly come from the Latin " acies"—" edge," as Beckmann has suggested.
5 Situate at the spot now known as "Bambola," near Calatayud. The river Salo ran near it, the waters of which, as here mentioned, were celebrated for their power of tempering steel. The poet Martial was a native of this place.
6 Supposed to be the modern Tarragona.
7 See B. iii. c. 21.
8 See B. vi. cc. 20-24, B. vii. c. 2, and B. xii. cc. 1, 41. This Seric iron has not been identified. Ctesias, as quoted by Photius, mentions Indian iron. See Beckmann, Vol. II. p. 228. Bohn's Edition.
9 Thought by Beckmann, quoting from Bottiger, possibly to bear reference to a transfer trade of furs, through Serica, from the North of Asia. See Vol. II. p. 307. As to the Seric tisssues, see B. xxxvii. c. 77.
10 Or "Persian." The steel of Damascus had in the middle ages a high reputation.
11 See B. iii. cc. 24, 27. Horace speaks of the "Norican sword" on two occasions.—B.
12 See B. iii. cc. 9, 17.
13 See B. xviii. c. 67, and B. xxxvi. c. 38.
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