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Parætonium1 is so called from the place2 of that name in Egypt. It is sea-foam,3 they say, solidified with slime, and hence it is that minute shells are often found in it. It is prepared also in the Isle of Crete, and at Cyrenæ. At Rome, it is adulterated with Cimolian4 earth, boiled and thickened. The price of that of the highest quality is fifty denarii per six pounds. This is the most unctuous of all the white colours, and the most tenacious as a coating for plaster, the result of its smoothness.

1 A white, much used for fresco painting. Ajasson is of opinion, that Pliny, in this Chapter, like the other ancient authors, confounds two earths that are, in reality, totally different,—Hydrosilicate of magnesia, or Steatite, and Rhomboidical carbonate of line.

2 See B. v. c. 6.

3 Ajasson thinks that possibly our compact magnesite, meerschaum, or sea-foam, may be the substance here alluded to.

4 See Chapter 57 of this Book.

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