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But the divine Plato, and Lycurgus the Lacedæmonian, not only forbad all costly ornaments to be introduced into their model states, but they would not permit even silver or gold to be brought into them, thinking that of the products of mines, iron and copper were sufficient, and banishing the other metals as injurious to those states which were in good order. But Zeno the Stoic, thinking everything unimportant except the legitimate and honest use of the precious metals, [p. 368] forbad either praying for or deprecating them; but still he recommended chiefly the use of those which were more commonly accessible and less superfluous; in order that men, having the dispositions of their minds formed so as neither to fear nor to admire anything which is not honourable on the one hand or discreditable on the other, should use only what is natural as much as possible, and yet should not fear what is of an opposite character, but abstain from such in obedience to reason and not to fear. For nature has not banished any of the above-mentioned things out of the world, but has made subterranean veins of these metals, the working of which is very laborious and difficult, in order that they who desire such things may arrive at the acquisition after toil and suffering; and that not only those men themselves who work in the mines, but those also who collect what has been extracted from the mines, may acquire this much wished for opulence at the expense of countless labours.

Therefore a little of these metals lies on the surface just to serve as a sample of the rest which is beneath, since in the remotest corners of the earth also there are rivers bearing down gold-dust in their waters; and women and men destitute of bodily strength scratching among the sand, detach these particles from the sand, and then they wash them and bring them to the smelting-pot, as my countryman Posidonius says is done among the Helvetians, and among others of the Celtic tribes. And the mountains which used formerly to be called the Rhipeean mountains, and which were subsequently named the Olbian (as if happy), and which are now called the Alps, (they are mountains in Gaul,) when once the woods upon them had caught fire spontaneously, ran with liquid silver. The greater quantity of this metal, however, is found by mining operations carried on at a great depth, and attended by great hardship, according to the statement of Demetrius Phalereus, in consequence of the desire of avarice to draw Pluto himself out of the recesses of the earth; and, accordingly, he says facetiously that—“Men having often abandoned what was visible for the sake of what was uncertain, have not got what they expected, and have lost what they had, being unfortunate by an enigmatical sort of calamity.”

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