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Creta

(sc. terra). Chalk or clay; so called from its abundance in the island of Crete (Creta), and so in Greek Κρητικὴ γῆ. The creta proper was simply chalk; creta Eretria was a species of earth found near Eretria in Euboea and used in medicine as an astringent; creta Sarda was fuller's earth, used in cleaning garments (see Fullo); creta Cimolia was a better kind of the same; and creta Selinusia (from Selinus in Sicily) furnished women with one of their numerous face-powders. (See Cerussa; Fucus.) Of some species of creta, vessels were made, on which see Fictilé. From the whiteness of chalk, it was spoken of tropically as denoting luck, contrasted with carbo (Pers. v. 108 with the commentators). The feet of slaves exposed for sale were chalked (Juv.i. 111), possibly to aid in tracking them if they escaped; hence gypsati pedes in Tibull. ii. 3, 60. The word cretati is sometimes applied to candidates for office, from the white robes they wore=candidati. See Ambitus.

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