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Little inferior to it for the preservation of unguents, in the opinion of many, is the stone, called "lygdinus,"1 that is found in Paros, and never of a larger size than to admit of a dish or goblet being made of it. In former times, it was only imported from Arabia, being remarkable for its extreme whiteness.

Great value is placed also upon two other kinds of stone, of quite a contrary nature; corallitic2 stone, found in Asia, in blocks not more than two cubits in thickness, and of a white some-what approaching that of ivory, and in some degree resembling it; and Alabandic stone, which, on the other hand, is black, and is so called from the district3 which produces it: though it is also to be found at Miletus, where, however, it verges somewhat more upon the purple. It admits of being melted by the action of fire, and is fused for the preparation of glass.

Thebaic stone, which is sprinkled all over with spots like gold, is found in Africa, on the side of it which lies adjacent to Egypt; the small hones which it supplies being peculiarly adapted, from their natural properties, for grinding the ingredients used in preparations for the eyes. In the neighbourhood of Syene, too, in Thebais, there is a stone found that is now known as "syenites,"4 but was formerly called "pyrrhopœcilon."5

1 By some persons it has been considered to be the same with the "lychnitis," or white marble, mentioned in Chapter 4 of this Book. Ajasson is of opinion that it has not been identified.

2 Ajasson is in doubt whether this stone was really a marble or a gypsic alabaster. It received its name from the river Curalius or Coural, near which it was found; and it was also known as Sangaric marble. Ajasson thinks that the ancient milk-white marble, still found in Italy, and known to the dealers in antiquities as Palombino, may have been the "corallitic" stone. He also mentions the fine white marble known as Grechetto.

3 See B. v. c. 29. Sulphuret of manganese is now known as Alabandine; it is black, but becomes of a tarnished brown on exposure to the air. It is not improbable that this manganese was used for colouring glass, and that in Chapter 66 of this Book Pliny again refers to manganese when speaking of a kind of "magnet" or load-stone. See Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. pp. 237–8, Bohn's Edition; who thinks, that in the present passage Pliny is speaking of a kind of marble. It is the fact, however, that Pyrolusite, or grey ore of manganese, is used, at a red heat, for discharging the brown and green tints of glass. See also B. xxxiv. c. 42, and the Note.

4 Syenite is the name still given to feldspar, hornblende, and quartz, passing into each other by insensible gradations, and resembling granite.

5 "Varied with red spots," similar to our red granite.

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