This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 We now enter upon the Sixth division of Pliny's work, containing an account of mineral substances of all descriptions.—Dr. Bostock.
2 "Ipsæ opes." The metals were looked upon by the ancients as the only true riches. It is in this sense that Ovid says, Metam. B. i.: "Effodiuntur opes, irritamenta malorum." Pliny applies the term "pretia rerum" to metals, as forming the unit of value.
3 Electrum is described in c. 23, as gold mixed with a certain quantity of silver. The word "electrum" is also used to signify amber, as in B. iii. c. 30.—B.
4 "Æs;" by "æs" is here probably meant copper, as the author is speaking of what is dug out of the earth; it is more fully described in the first two Chapters of the next Book. According to the analysis of Klaproth, the œs of the ancients, when employed in works of art, cutting instruments, statues, vases, &c., was the "bronze" of the moderns, a mixture of copper and tin, in which the proportion of tin varied, from a little more than 2 to 1.14 per cent. according as the object was to procure a flexible or a hard substance. Agricola speaks of "æs" as synonymous with "cuprum," and Pliny will be found several times in the present Book, speaking of "æs Cyprium," meaning probably the finest kind of copper, and that without alloy.—B.
5 Pliny has already referred to this topic in B. ii. c. 63.—B.
6 Or shades below.
7 "Illa quæ non nascuntur repente."
8 "Chrysocolla" is fully described in Chapter 26 of this Book.—B.
9 Meaning "gold glue," or "gold solder."
10 There is considerable variation in the text of this passage, as found in the different editions. In that of Dalechamps, the Variorum, and those of De Laët and Sillig, the sentence concludes with the words "nomen ex auro custodiens;" while in those of Valpy, Lemaire, Poinsinet, Ajasson, and others, we find substituted for them the words, "Non natura," "Nomen natura," "Nomine natura," or "Nomen naturam."—B. The first reading is warranted by the Bamberg MS.
11 "Auri sanies." More properly speaking, "the corrupt matter discharged by gold." See Chapter 26.
12 "Minium" is treated of in Chapter 36 of this Book.—B.
13 "Pretia rerum." The value of the raw material.
14 Pliny here refers both to the art of producing figures in relief on drinking vessels made of the precious metals, and also of giving them particular forms. A well-known line of Juvenal, Sat. ii. 1. 95, affords a striking illustration of the depraved taste which existed in his time.—B. Lampridius also speaks of vessels of silver "defiled with representations of a most libidinous character;" and Capitolinus speaks of "phallovitroboli," glass drinking vessels shaped like a phallus.
15 "Murrhina" or "myrrhina," are described in B. xxxvii. c. 8; they were, perhaps, onyxes or opals, though possibly the term was not strictly confined to these substances, but signified any transparent minerals, that exhibited a variety of colours. Salmasius, however, ridicules the idea of their being onyxes, and is of opinion that these vessels were made of porcelain; Exer. Plin. p. 144.—B.
16 See B. xxxvii. c. 9.
17 He alludes to the cups known as "chrysendeta," adorned with circlets of gold, exquisite chasings, and groups of precious stones. See Juvenal, Sat. v. 1. 42.
18 The "Smaragdus" is described in B. xxxvii. c. 13.
19 "Et aurum jam accessio est."
20 "Sacrum famæ." This is the reading given by the Bamberg MS.
in substitution for "aurum, sacra fames" and other readings of a similar
nature, in which Pliny was thought by the commentators to allude to the
famous lines of Virgil—
"Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
Auri sacra fames!"
Had he alluded to the passage of Virgil, it is not probable that he would have used the expression in the plural, "celeberrimi auctores."
21 Il. B. vii. ll. 472–5.—B.
22 Il. B. vi. l. 236.
23 We may infer that this was the reason why the figure of an ox or other animal was impressed on the earliest Roman coins.—B.
24 As Hardouin remarks, "This story is told by others, of Gyges, and not of Midas." He refers to Cicero, De Off. B. iii. c. 9, in confirmation of his assertion.—B. Both Gyges and Midas were noted for their wealth.
25 "Sinistræ." The play here upon the word "sinister" cannot be so well transferred into the English language; but it bears reference to the double meaning of the word, "on the left hand," and "unlucky," "illomened," or, as we say "sinister." We may remark, that rings were very generally employed by the Romans, not merely as ornaments, but as indications of office and rank.—B.
26 From Corinth, it was said: Damaratus of Corinth being the father of the first Tarquin. See B. xxxv. c. 5.
27 On the subject of "Bullæ," golden balls, worn hy the children of the nobles, see Dr. Smith's Dict. Antiq. p. 168.—B.
28 As to the "Toga prætexta," see B. viii. c. 74.
29 "Lorum." This word literally signifies a leather strap or thong, and Pliny is supposed by Hardouin to mean simply, that, in this latter case the strap was worn without the bulla, which was in other cases attached to it. Juvenal, Sat. v. l. 164, speaks of the "lorum" of the children of the poor.—B.
31 Festus says that this was the Oscan name for a ring. It would appear to be allied to the word "unguis," which means a nail of the finger or toe, and would perhaps signify a "nail ornament."
32 As meaning a seal or signet, for which purpose, as we shall find explained in the sequel, the ring was used.
33 This seems to be the meaning of "Vulgoque sic triumphabant."
34 As to these crowns, see B. xxi. c. 4.
35 As to some other particulars connected with this usage, see the end of B. xxviii. c. 7.
36 And yet, as Hardouin remarks, before his time, when Scipio was besieging Carthage, the bodies of the Roman tribunes, when selected for burial by Hasdrubal, were distinguished by their rings of gold. The object of Marius, no doubt, was to ingratiate himself with the upper classes.
37 A. U. C. 651.
38 Known as the "anulus pronubus," or "engaged ring," according to Dalechamps.
39 "Codicillos." Il. B. vi. l. 168.
40 See B. xiii. c. 21.
41 Od. B. viii. ll. 424, 443, 447.
42 See the Iliad. B. iii. and B. vii. l. 175, et seq.
43 His meaning is, that although were used, lots or balls made of earth, we do not read that the impressions on them were made by the aid of signet-rings.
44 "Fabrieæ deûm." He alludes to the forge of Vulcan, described in the Eighteenth Book of the Iliad, l. 400, et seq.
45 This seems to be the meaning of "In primordio factitâsse."
46 The "fibulæ" were the brooches of the ancients, consisting of a pin, and of a curved portion furnished with a hook. See Dr. Smith's Diet. Antiq. p. 417.
47 As the meaning of this passage has been the subject of much discussion with commentators, we give it in full, as found in the Edition of Sillig. "Et quisquis primus instituit, cunctanter id fecit, lævis manibus latentibusque induit, cum, si honos securus fuisset, dextrâ fuerit ostentandus. Quodsi impedimentum potuit in eo aliquod intelligi, etiam serior is usus argumentum est, et majus in lævâ fuisset, quâ seutum capitur." Sillig is of opinion that Pliny is here alluding to the reason given by Ateius Capito (quoted in Maerobius, Saturn. B. vii. c. 13), for wearing the ring on the left hand. It was so worn, he says, from an apprehension that the precious stone with which it was set, might receive injury from the continual use made of the right hand.
48 Under the folds of the toga.
49 Il. B. xvii. l. 52.
50 The reading in most MSS. is the "fourth consulship." This, however, is an error which has been rectified by the Bamberg and some other MSS. Pompey was but thrice consul. M. Crassus was the person generally accused of the act of robbery here alluded to.
51 Who took the golden tore (torques) from the Gaul whom he slew; whence his name.
52 "Cum auro pugnare solitos."
53 "Quod equidem in augurio intellectum est, cum Capitolinus duplum reddidisset." The meaning of this passage is obscure, and cannot with certainty be ascertained. Holland renders it, "To the light and knowledge whereof we come by means of revelation from Augurie, which gave us to understand, that Jupiter Capitolinus had rendered again the foresaid summe in duple proportion." Littré gives a similar translation. Ajasson translates it, "This, at least, is what we may presume, from the fact of there being discovered double the amount expected;" following the explanation given by Hardouin.
54 The "ædituus," or "temple keeper." See B. xxxvi. 4.
55 Beneath which there was poison concealed, Hardouin says. Hannibal killed himself in a similar manner; also Demosthenes, as mentioned in the next Chapter.
56 The adopted son of the great Marius. This event happened in his consulship, B.C. 82. After his defeat by Sylla at Sacriportus, he retired into the fortified town of Præneste, where he had deposited the treasures of the Capitoline temple. The temple, after this conflagration, was rebuilt by order of Sylla.
57 Called the "Fasti;" probably because this was the first word of the title.
58 "Dies fasti." These were the days on which the courts sat, and the Prætor, who was the chief judge, gave his decisions. The word "fasti" is derived from the ancient Latin "for," or from the old Greek word φάω, both signifying "to speak:" consequently the "dies fasti" were "the speaking days," and the "dies nefasti" the "non-speaking days," in allusion to the restrictions put upon the judgments of the Prætor.
59 This complex state of the Roman Calendar long remained one of the sources from which the priesthood and the patrician order derived their power and influence over the plebeians. Having no other method of ascertaining what days were "fasti," and what were "nefasti," the lower classes were obliged either to apply to the priests and nobles for information, or to await the proclamation by the priests of the various festivals about to take place.
60 Appius Claudius Cæcus, the Censor and jurisconsult, who constructed the Appian Way.
61 A.U.C. 440, or B.C. 314.
62 In the war, probably, with the twelve nations of Etruria, who were conquered by the Consul Fabius A.U.C. 444. See Livy, B. ix.
63 The father of the former C. Pœtilius Libo, was Consul A.U.C. 428: the father of the latter, Cneius Domitius Calvinus, was Consul A.U.C. 432.
64 "Anulos abjectos."
65 The "phaleræ" were bosses of metal, often gold, attached to the harness of the horse. See B. vii. c. 29.
66 He would probably imply hereby that, as he states subsequently, at this period gold rings were not as yet worn by all the members of the senate.
67 A.U.C. 449.
68 "Ædiculam æream"—of brass or bronze.
69 For the explanation of this term, see B. vii. c. 60.
70 See B. x. c. 2. Livy tells us that this shrine or temple was built in the area or place of Vulcan.
71 Livy, B. xxiii. speaks of one modius as being the real quantity. Florus, B. ii. c. 16, says two modii: but Saint Augustin, De Civit. Dei. B. iii. c. 19, and most other writers, mention three modii.
72 Q. Servilius Cæpio. He and M. Livius Drusus had been most intimate friends, and each had married the other's sister. The assassination of Drusus was supposed by some to have been committed at the instigation of Cæpio. The latter lost his life in an ambush, B.C. 90.
73 See B. xxviii. c. 41.
74 See B. ii. c. 85.
75 M. Calpurnius Flamma. See B. xxii. c. 6.
76 A patrician family; branches of which were the Cincinnati, the Capitolini, the Crispini, and the Flaminini.
77 This is an erroneous assertion, both as to the East, and as to Egypt. See instances to the contrary in Genesis, c. xli. v. 42; and in Esther, c. iii. verses 10, 12, and c. viii. verses 2, 8, 10.
78 "Literis contenta solis."
79 The Thirty-seventh Book. See also his remarks in B. ii. c. 63: "We tear out earth's entrails in order to extract the gems with which we may load our fingers. How many hands are worn down that one little joint may be ornamented!" Martial, Epigr. B. v. Ep. 11, speaks of his friend Stella as wearing on the joint of one finger sardonyxes, emeralds, and jaspers.
80 "Violari." See B. xxxvii. c. 1.
81 A fashion much followed at the present day.
82 This also is a not uncommon fashion at the present day.
83 From the "Trinummus" of Plautus, A. iv. s. 4, we learn that the ring worn by slaves was called "condalium." From the "Truculentus" of Plautus we learn also that these rings were sometimes made of bronze. The "jus anuli," or right of wearing a gold ring, was never conceded to slaves.
84 See B. iv. c. 23. In the Origines of Isidorus Hispalensis, B. xix. c. 32, we find mention made of "A Samothracian gold ring, with an iron bezil, so called from the place of its invention." Pliny has already made allusion to the luxurious habits of the slaves, in B. xiii. c. 4; and B. xviii. c. 2; a subject upon which Juvenal enlarges in his Third Satire.
85 The reasons are mentioned by Ateius Capito, as quoted by Macrobius, Saturnal. B. vii. c. 13: also by Apion the Grammarian, as quoted by Aulus Gellius, B. x. c. 10.
86 The ring of each finger had its own appropriate name.
87 The "dactyliotheca," or "ring-box."
88 Juvenal, Sat. i. l. 26, et. seq., speaks of the summer rings of the Roman fops, and their fingers sweating beneath the weight.
89 Martial, Epigr. B. xiv., speaks of the numerous accidents to which a weighty ring was liable.
90 Hannibal, too, for instance, as mentioned in Note 51 to the preceding Chapter.
91 He alludes, probably, to forgeries perpetrated through the agency of false signets.
92 Plautus, Cicero, Horace, and Martial, each in his own age, bears testimony to the truth of this statement.
93 Or remembrancer; a slave whose duty it was to remind his master of the name of each member of his household; see B. xxix. c. 8. Athenæus, B. vi., speaks of as many as twenty thousand slaves belonging to one household. Demetrius, the freedman of Pompey, mentioned in B. xxxv. c. 58, had a retinue of slaves equal to an army in amount.
94 Meaning "Marci puer," or "Luci puer"—"Marcius' boy," or "Lucius' boy."
95 Suetonius says, c. 73, that Tiberius, in his last illness, awoke after a long lethargy, and demanded his signet-ring, which his son-in-law, Caligula, had removed from his finger, under the supposition that he was dead. Macro, to avoid any unpleasant results in the way of punishment, caused the emperor to be smothered with the pillows and bedclothes.
96 This famous and somewhat improbable story of the ring of Polycrates is told by Valerius Maximus, B. vi. c. 9; Herodotus, B. iii.; and Cicero, De Finibus, B. iv. Pliny again mentions it in B. xxxvii. cc. 2, 4.
97 He was crucified by Oroetes, the Persian satrap of Sardis.
98 "Anulo exsiliente."
99 In Chapter 13 of this Book.
100 The laticlave tunic. See B. viii. c. 73, and B. ix. c. 63.
102 See the list of writers at the end of B. ix.
103 "Equus militaris."
104 See B. xxix. c. 8. The "Decuriæ" of "judices," or "judges," were so called, probably, from ten (decem) having been originally chosen from each tribe. As to the Decuriæ of the judices, see Smith's Diet. Antiq. pp. 531–2. The account given by Pliny is confused in the extreme.
105 "Turmæ." Squadrons of thirty "equites" or horsemen; ten of which squadrons were attached to each legion.
106 Before the time of Augustus, there were but three decuries.
107 A law introduced by Aurelius Cotta, B.C. 70, enacted that the Judices should be chosen from the three classes—of Senators, Equites, and Tribuni æarii, or Tribunes of the treasury, these last being taken from the body of the people, and being persons possessed of some property.
108 Members selected by lot.
110 Tacitus says that this took place the year before, in the consulship of C. Sulpicius, and D. Haterius. See the Annales, B. iii. c. 86.
111 Brother of the Emperor Galba.
113 Suetonius says that Tiberius instructed the ædiles to prohibit stews and eating-houses: from which we may conclude, Hardouin says, that C. Sulpicius Galba was an ædile.
114 Or, in other words, belonging to the equestrian order. The Roman equites often followed the pursuits of bankers, and farmers of the public revenues.
115 A law passed in the time of Julius Cæsar, B.C. 69, which permitted Roman equites, in case they or their parents had ever had a Census equestris, to sit in the fourteen rows fixed by the Lex Roscia Theatralis.
117 Conjointly with L. Vitellius.
118 Or farmers of the public revenues; the "publicans" of Scripture. In reality, they were mostly members of the equestrian order, and the words "equites" and "publicani" are often used as synonymous.
119 "This passage seems to be the addition of some ignorant copyist. It is indeed a remarkable fact, that we have no inscription in which we see the Equites named after the people as well as the Senate."—Laboulaye, Essai sur les lois Criminelles des Romains: Paris, 1845, p. 224.
120 According to Livy, B. i. c. 15, the Celeres were three hundred Roman knights whom Romulus established as a body-guard. Their name, probably, was derived from the Greek κέλης, a "war-horse," or "charger," and the body consisted, no doubt, of the patricians in general, or such of them as could keep horses. Another origin assigned to the appellation is "Celer," the name of a chieftain, who was a favourite of Romulus. The adjective "celer," "swift," owes its origin, probably, to the title of these horsemen.
121 A title derived, possibly, as Delafosse suggests, "a flectendis habenis," from "managing the reins."
122 Called "Trossum" or "Trossulum," it is supposed. The remains of a town are still to be seen at Trosso, two miles from Montefiascone in Tuscany. The Greek word τρωξαλλὶς, a "cricket," and the Latin "torosulus," "muscular," have been suggested as the origin of this name. Ajasson suggests the Latin verb "truso," to "push on," as its origin.
123 See the end of this Book.
124 From the ambiguous nature of the name, it being in later times an expression of contempt, like our word "fop," or "beau." In this latter sense, Salmasius derives it from the Greek τρυσσὸς, "effeminate."
125 This concluding passage is omitted in most editions.
126 See B. vii. c. 29.
127 Dionysius of Halicarnassus is therefore probably wrong in his assertion that tores of gold were given to Siccius Dentatus, a Roman citizen, as the reward of valour.
128 See B. vii. c. 29.
129 On this subject, see B. xvi. c. 3, and B. xxi. c. i.
130 A.U.C. 323, or 431 B.C.
131 Situate about fourteen miles from Rome, and on the road to the town called La Colonna.
132 A.U.C. 479, and B.C. 275. In the following year Merenda himself was consul, with Manius Curius Dentatus.
133 "Testamento prælegavit." Properly speaking, "prælegare" was "to bequeath a thing to be given before the inheritance was divided." The crown thus left by Piso was to be three pounds in weight.
134 Oxen, namely. The smaller victims had the head encircled with chaplets.
135 The clasps by which the "sagum" or military cloak was fastened on the shoulders.
136 See the beginning of Chapter 4 of the present Book.
137 Isidorus Hispalensis, Orig. B. xix. c. 30, says that bracelets were formerly so called from the circumstance of being conferred on warriors as the reward of bravery—"ob virtutem." Scævola, Ulpian, and others speak of "viriolæ" as ornaments worn by females.
138 See B. xxxvii. c. 6.
139 In allusion to the use of gold as an ornament for the shoes and sandal-ties.
140 A dress worn over the tunic, and which came as low as the ankles or feet. The stola was the characteristic dress of the Roman matrons of rank; other females being restricted to the use of the toga, which did not reach so low.
141 Between the matrons of rank whose feet were not to be seen at all, and the plebeian females, whose feet were seen, but comparatively unadorned.
142 In the same way that the gold ring was the distinguishing mark of the Equites, so would the gold ankle-jewels be the characteristic of this new order of females. In the use of the word "Equcstrem," Ajasson absolutely detects an indelicate allusion, and rallies our author on thus retaining "the aroma of the camp!"
143 "Pædagogiis." The origin of our word "page." The pages of the Romans were decorated with gold ankle-jewels and other ornaments for the legs.
144 Or Horus, the god of silence. Ajasson is of opinion that this impression on the seal was symbolical of the secrecy which ought to be preserved as to written communications.
145 To the Emperor's presence.
146 The first crime having been committed by him who introduced the use of gold rings. See the beginning of c. 4 of this Book.
147 The golden denarius was known also as the "aureus" or "gold coin." It was worth 25 silver denarii. As to the modern value of the money used by the ancients, see the Introduction to Vol. III. The golden denarius is mentioned also in B. xxxiv. c. 17, and in B. xxxvii. c. 3.
148 A.U.C. 479.
149 Meaning, literally, the "little pound," in reference to the diminished weight of the "as."
150 Meaning "two pounds," or in other words, "two asses." See B. xxxiv. c. 2. As to the weight of the "libra," or pound, see the Introduction to Vol. III.
151 "Brasse bullion, or in masse."—Holland.
152 "Money weighed out," i.e. "expenses."
153 "Money weighed out for the payment of interest."
154 "To weigh out money for payment," i.e. "to pay."
155 "A weight of money."
156 "Weighers-out;" meaning "keepers of accounts," or "paymasters."
157 "Weighers-out" of the soldiers' wages; i.e. "paymasters."
158 From "pecus," a sheep. See B. xviii. c. 3.
159 "Pounds" or "asses."
160 The third of an "as."
161 The fourth of an "as."
162 Or ounces; being one-fourth of the "as," of one "libra" in weight. See Introduction to Vol. III.
163 A.U.C. 663.
164 The same as the quinarius, one-half of the denarius. In B. xx. c. 100, it is mentioned as a weight. See also the Introduction to Vol. III.
165 As, originally, there were 288 "scripula," or scruples, to the "libra" or pound, this would appear to give 5760 sestertii to the pound of gold, and not 900 merely. Though this apparent discrepancy has generally puzzled the commentators, the solution, as suggested by M. Parisot, in the Notes to Ajasson's Translation, appears equally simple and satisfactory. He suggests that in the "as," or "libra," of two ounces, there were 288 scruples. Now, the scruple remaining the same, when the as or libra was reduced to one ounce, it would contain but 144 of these scruples. Then, on making the as the sixteenth part of a denarius instead of the tenth, it would lose three-eighths of its value in scruples, or in other words, 54 scruples, thus making it worth but 90 scruples. Then again, as above stated, by the Papirian Law, the weight or value of the libra or as was reduced one-half, making its value in scruples only 45; or, in other words, five thirty-seconds of its original value, when worth two unciæ or ounces. This number of scruples to the libra would give, at the rate of twenty sesterces to the scruple of gold, exactly 900 sesterces to the libra of gold.
166 Or "aurei."
167 "Fames auri." Similar to the words of Virgil, "Auri sacra fames." "The curst greed for gold." See Note 17 to Chapter 3 of this Book.
168 Another version of this story was, that he extracted the brain, and inserted lead in its place.
169 See B. xiv. c. 16.
170 In B.C. 88, M. Aquilius proceeded to Asia Minor as one of the consular legati to prosecute the war against Mithridates. On being defeated near Protomachium, he was delivered up to Mithridates by the inhabitants of Mytilene, and after being treated in the most barbarous manner, was put to death by pouring molten gold down his throat.
171 "Insperso." Sillig is of opinion that Pliny is here speaking of the work now known by Italian artists as tausia or lavoro all' agemina.
172 Hardouin thinks that Pliny is here making allusion to the Greek word "chrysendeta," vessels "encircled with gold." It is frequently used in Martial's works.
173 See B. xv. c. 38.
174 It is against such practices as these that Martial inveighs, B. i, Ep. 28, and B. ix. Ep. 12.
175 A slave only; and not by any of his brother patricians. Antony was rendered infamous by his proscriptions.
176 Appian and Livy mention the fine as consisting of ten thousand talents in all, or in other words, eight hundred thousand pounds of silver (at eighty pounds to the talent). Sillig is therefore of opinion that Pliny is in error here in inserting the word "annua." The payment of the ten thousand talents, we learn from the same authorities, was spread over fifty years.
177 Asia Minor.
178 "Folia." Hardouin prefers the reading "solia," meaning "thrones," or "chairs of state," probably.
179 Ajasson refuses to place credit in this statement.
180 This vase of Semiramis was her drinking bowl, in much the same sense that the great cannon at Dover was Queen Elizabeth's "pocket pistol."
181 The country to which, in previous times, the Argonauts had sailed in quest of the Golden Fleece, or in other words in search of gold, in which those regions were probably very prolific.
182 See B. vi. c. 4.
183 This story of the defeat of the great Ramses-Sesostris by a petty king of Colchis, would almost appear apocryphal. It is not improbable, how ever, that Sesostris, when on his Thracian expedition, may have received a repulse on penetrating further north, accustomed as his troops must have been, to a warmer climate.
184 Of the amphitheatre.
185 Covered, probably, with plates of silver.
186 "Pegma." A scaffold with storeys, which were raised or depressed, to all appearance, spontaneously. Caligula is the emperor meant.
187 Another reading is "seven" pounds in weight, and "nine" pounds; which would appear to be more probable than seven thousand, and nine thousand, as given by the Bamberg MS. It is just possible, however, that the latter may have been the united weights of all the coronets contributed by Spain and Gaul respectively, the word "inter" being an interpolation.
188 See B. iv. c. 31, B. xi. c. 47, and B. xviii. c. 20.
189 Hence known as the "Golden Day," according to Dion Cassius, B. lxiii.
190 For further particulars as to the Golden Palace, see B. xxxvi. c. 24.
191 A.U.C. 597.
192 Or Marsic War. See B. ii. c. 85.
193 There is an error in this statement, probably, unless we understand by it the small libra or pound of two ounces, mentioned in c. 13 of this Book.
194 This remark is confirmatory of the incorrectness of the preceding statement.
195 The reading here is doubtful.
196 A.U.C. 612.
197 See B. xix. c. 6.
198 Chapter 57.
199 In fact, no colour at all.
200 In this climate, the light of most of the stars has the complexion, not of gold, but of silver.
201 The topaz, for instance.
202 For ductility and malleability, both which terms may perhaps be included in the "facilitas" of Pliny, gold is unrivalled among the metals. As to weight, it is heavier than lead, the specific gravity of gold being 19.258, and that of lead 11 352. Pliny is therefore wrong in both of these assertions.
203 He forgets asbestus here, a substance which he has mentioned in B. xix. c. 4.
204 Chlorine, however, and nitro-muriatic acid corrode and dissolve gold, forming a chloride of gold, which is soluble in water. Ajasson remarks, that gold becomes volatilized by the heat of a burning glass of three or four feet in diameter; and that when it acts as the conductor of a strong current of electricity, it becomes reduced to dust instantaneously, presenting a bright greenish light.
206 See B. xviii. c. 23, where he calls the chaff used for this purpose by the name of "acus."
207 The present mode of assaying the precious metals, is by fusing them upon a cupel with lead.
208 For which purpose, lead was used, no doubt, in drawing the lines in the MSS. of the ancients. See Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. 11. p. 389, Bohn's Ed.
209 This is far surpassed at the present day, its malleability being such that it may be beaten into leaves not more than one two hundred and eighty thousandth of an inch in thickness, and its ductility admitting of one grain being drawn out into five hundred feet of wire. For further particulars as to the gold leaf of the ancients, and the art of gilding, as practised by them, see Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 391, et seq. Bohn's Edition.
210 See B. xxxvi. c. 64.
211 He alludes to what are now known as pepitas, oval grains of rivergold. "Striges" is the reading in the Bamberg MS., "strigles" in the former editions.
212 "Massa." As we should say at the present day, "nuggets."
214 The contrary is now known to be the case; gold is sometimes, though rarely, found in an oxidized state.
215 As to the solvents of gold, see Note 2 above. Stahl says that three parts of sub-carbonate of potash, dissolved in water, and heated with three parts of sulphur and one part of gold, will yield a complete solution of the metal.
216 Aldrovandus relates, in his "Museum Metallicum," that the grave of the Emperor Honorius was discovered at Rome about the year 1544, and that thirty-six pounds' weight of gold were procured from the mouldering dress that covered the body. See, on the subject of gold threads, Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 415. Bohn's Edition.
217 The "cloth of gold" of the present day, is made of threads of silk or hair, wound round with silver wire flattened and gilded.
219 See B. viii. c. 74. Beckmann is of opinion, from a passage of Silius Italicus, B. xiv. 1. 661, that the cloth of Attalns was embroidered with the needle. See this subject fully discussed in his Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 415. See also Dr. Yates's "Textrinum Antiquorum," pp. 371, 464.
220 "Without entering into any research respecting the minerals employed for this cement, called 'leucophoron,' one may readily conceive that it must have been a ferruginous ochre, or kind of bole, which is still used as a ground. Gilding of this kind must have suffered from dampness, though many specimens of it are still preserved."—Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 294. Bohn's Edition.
221 B. xxxv. c. 17.
222 Literally, "fluid silver." "The first name here seems to signify native quicksilver, and the second that separated from the ore by an artificial process." Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 72.
223 In Chapters 32 and 41 of this Book.
224 As to the identity of the "alumen" of Pliny, see B. xxxv. c. 52.
225 In the preceding Chapter.
226 See B. xi. c. 36.
227 See B. vii. c. 2.
228 See B. iv. c. 17.
229 Ajasson remarks, that the Castilians still call the surface earth of auriferous deposits by the name of segullo. He also doubts the correctness of Pliny's assertion as to the produce of the mines of Dalmatia.
230 See B. xxxiv. c. 47.
231 We learn from Ajasson that numerous pits or shafts are still to be seen in Spain, from which the Romans extracted gold. At Riotento, he says, there are several of them.
232 Both meaning "channel gold."
233 "Marmoris glareæ." Under this name, he no doubt means quartz and schist
234 See B. xxxvii. c. 39.
235 See B. xxxvi. c. 13.
236 "Channel-gold" or "trench-gold."
237 Becoming volatilized, and attaching itself in crystals to the side of the chimney.
238 Or "sweat." This "sweat" or "silver" would in reality be a general name for all the minerals that were volatilized by the heat of the furnace; while under the name of "scoria" would be comprised pyrites, quartz, petrosilex, and other similar substances.
239 The cupel or crucible is still known in Spain by the name of tasco.
240 Who were said to have heaped one mountain on another in their war with the gods.
241 Deep mines in Spain are still called arrugia, a term also used to signify gold beneath the surface. According to Grimm, arruzi was the ancient High German name for iron.
242 See B. xxiii. c. 27.
243 The breaking-machines, used for crushing the silex.
244 "Cædunt" is certainly a preferable reading to "cadunt," though the latter is given by the Bamberg MS.
245 A similar method of washing auriferous earth or sand in the mines, is still employed in some cases.
246 The bringing of water into one channel."
247 Or as Holland quaintly renders it, "Some flying spirit or winged devill of the air."
248 Magnesian carbonate of lime, or dolomite, Ajasson thinks.
250 It does not appear to have been identified; and it can hardly be the same as the Ulex Europæus of modern Natural History, our Furze or Gorse.
251 That of sinking shafts, described already in this Chapter.
252 All these names, no doubt, are of Spanish origin, although Salmasius would assign them a Greek one.
253 In B. iii. c. 24.
254 See B. iii. c. 21.
255 "Auripigmentum." Yellow sulphuret of arsenic. See B. xxxiv. c. 56.
256 "Lapis specularis." See B. xxxvi. c. 45.
258 It was accidently mixed with the ore of arsenic, no doubt, unless, indeed, the emperor was imposed upon.
259 This is almost, but not quite, universally the case.
260 In Spain. See B. iii. c. 4, B. iv. c. 34, and B. ix. c. 2. The locality alluded to is now unknown.
261 A name also given by the ancients to amber. Artificial "electrum," or gold alloyed with silver, was known in the most ancient times.
262 The gold found by sinking shafts. See Chapter 21.
263 See B. ix. c. 65.
264 Od. B. iv. 1. 71.
265 Pliny no doubt has been imposed upon in this instance.
266 "Solid hammer-work," in opposition to works in metal, cast and hollow within.
267 In B. v. c. 20, most probably. See also B. xvi. c. 64.
268 The worship of Anaitis was probably a branch of the Indian worship of Nature. The Greek writers sometimes identify this goddess with their Artemis and their Aphrodite.
269 Holland has strangely mistaken the meaning of the veteran's reply; "Yea, sir, that it is; and that methinks you should know best, for even now a leg of his you have at supper, and all your wealth besides is come unto you by that saccage." He then adds, by way of Note, "For Augustus Cæsar defeited Antonie, and was mightily enriched by the spoile of him."
270 In Sicily. According to Valerius Maximus and other writers, a statue of solid gold was erected by the whole of Greece, in the temple at Delphi, in honour of Gorgias, who was distinguished for his eloquence and literary attainments. The leading opinion of Gorgias was, that nothing had any real existence.
271 The ninetieth Olympiad, about the year 420 B.C., is much more probably the correct reading; as it was about the seventieth Olympiad, or somewhat later, that Gorgias was born.
272 See B. xxxiv. c. 29.
273 See B. xxix. c. 38. and B. xxxvi. cc. 27, 38.
274 Or gith. See B. xx. c. 71.
275 Similar to the notion still prevalent, that the application of pure gold will remove styes on the eyelids.
276 It has been supposed by some, that the "Chrysocolla" of the ancients, as well as the "Cæruleum," mentioned in c. 57 of this Book, were the produce of cobalt; but the more generally received opinion is that "chrysocolla" (gold-solder) was green verditer, or mountain-green, carbonate and hydrocarbonate of copper, green and blue, substances which are sometimes found in gold mines, but in copper mines more particularly. It must not be confounded with the modern chrysocolla or Borax.
277 In Chapter 21 of this Book.
278 The "Reseda luteola," Dyer's weed, or Wild woad. See Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 478–481, where the identity of the Chrysocolla of the ancients is discussed at considerable length.
279 As to the identity of this substance, see B. xxxv. c. 52.
280 These drugs have not been identified.
281 "Elutam." Though this is the reading given by the Bamberg MS., "luteam" seems preferable; a name owing, probably, to its being coloured with the plant "lutum," as mentioned at the end of this Chapter.
282 So called, probably, from being made up into little balls resembling the "orobus" or vetch.
283 A powder, probably, prepared from "cæruleum." See the end of the present Chapter, and Chapter 57 of this Book. Littré renders the words "in lomentum," kept "in the form of power," without reference to the peculiar pigment known as "lomentum."
284 "Sudore resolutis."
285 A strong proof that chrysocolla was a preparation from copper, and not cobalt. Copper owes its name to the Isle of Cyprus, in which it was found in great abundance. See Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 480. Bohn's Edition.
286 The colour now known by painters as Emerald green.
287 As a "trigarius." See B. xxviii. c. 72, and B. xxix. c. 5. From Suetonius, c. 18, we learn that the Emperor Caligula, also, had the Circus sanded with minium and chrysocolla. Ajasson is of opinion that the chrysocolla thus employed was a kind of yellow mica or talc.
288 "Arenosam." He alludes, probably, to the kind previously mentioned as "aspera" or "rough chrysocolla."
289 For its identification, see B. xxxiv. cc. 26, 32.
290 See B. xxxv. cc. 12, 18.
291 Making a spurious kind of "lomentum," possibly, a pigment mentioned in c. 57 of this Book. This passage seems to throw some light. upon the words "in lomentum," commented upon in Note 81 above.
292 As to durability, probably.
293 It was the mineral, probably, in an unprepared state.
294 Gold-glue or gold-solder.
295 See B. xxxi. c. 46, as to the "nitrum" of Pliny. Galen, in de- scribing the manufacture of "santerna," omits the nitre as an ingredient.
296 "Argentosum." The "electrum," probably, mentioned in c. 23.
297 As to the "cadmia" of Pliny, see B. xxxiv. c. 22.
298 "Plumbum album." Tin, most probably. See B. xxxiv. cc. 47, 48, 49. Also Beckmann's Hist. Inv., Vol. II. p. 219. Bohn's Edition.
299 Of doubtful identity. See B. xxxiv. c. 48.
300 See Chapter 19 of this Book.
301 "Thracius lapis." This stone, which is mentioned also by Nicander, Galen, Simplicius, and Dioscorides, has not been identified. Holland has the following Note on this passage: "Which some take for pit-cole, or sea-cole rather, such as commeth from Newcastle by sea; or rather, a kind of jeat (jet)." In either case, he is probably wide of the mark, neither coal nor jet igniting on the application of water.
302 Or mistletoe.
303 In due succession to gold.
304 See B. xxxiv. cc. 17, 53.
305 "Plumbum nigrum"—"Black lead," literally: so called by the ancients, in contradistinction to "plumbum album," white lead," our "tin," probably.
306 Lead ore; identified with "molybdæna" in B. xxxiv. c. 53. Native sulphurate of lead is now known as "galena." See Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 211, where this passage is commented upon.
307 This Beckmann considers to be the same as the "galena" above mentioned; half-vitrified lead, the "glätte" of the Germans.
308 The specific gravity of lead is 11.352, and of silver only 10.474.
310 It is supposed that these shafts were in the neighbourhood of Castulo, now Cazlona, near Linares in Spain. It was at Castulo that Hannibal married his rich wife Himilce; and in the hills north of Linares there are ancient silver mines still known as Los Pozos de Anibal.
311 A mile and a half.
312 The proper reading here, as suggested by Sillig, is not improbably "aquatini," "water-carriers." That, however, found in the MSS. is "Aquitani;" but those were a people, not of Spain, but of Gaul. Hardouin suggests that "Accitani" may be the correct reading, a people of that name in Spain being mentioned in B. iii. c. 5.
313 Meaning "raw" silver, apparently.
314 "Alumen." See B. xxxv. c. 52.
315 Kircher speaks of this being still the case in his time.
316 See Chapter 19 of this Book.
317 "Vomica liquoris æterni." Mercury or quicksilver becomes solidified and assumes a crystalline texture at 40° below zero. It is found chiefly in the state of sulphuret, which is decomposed by distillation with iron or lime. It is also found in a native state.
318 "Argentum vivum," "living silver."
319 Ajasson thinks that this is not to be understood literally, but that Pliny's meaning is, that mercury is a universal dissolvent.
320 "Permanans tabe dirâ."
321 The specific gravity of mercury is 13.598, that of hammered gold 19.361. Platinum is only a recent discovery.
322 "Id unum ad se trahit."
323 "The first use of quicksilver is commonly reckoned a Spanish invention, discovered about the middle of the sixteenth century; but it appears from Pliny, that the ancients were acquainted with amalgam and its use, not only for separating gold and silver from earthy particles, but also for gilding."—Beckmann, Hist. Inv., Vol. I. p. 15. Bohn's Edition.
324 See the description of the mode of gilding, given in Chapter 20 of this Book. Beckmann has the following remarks on the present passage; "That gold-leaf was affixed to metals by means of quicksilver, with the assistance of heat, in the time of Pliny, we are told by himself in more passages than one. The metal to be gilded was prepared by salts of every kind, and rubbed with pumice-stone in order to clean it thoroughly (see Chapter 20), and to render the surface a little rough. This process is similar to that used at present for gilding with amalgam, by means of heat, especially as amalgamation was known to the ancients. But, to speak the truth, Pliny says nothing of heating the metal after the gold is applied, or of evaporating the quicksilver, but of drying the cleaned metal before the gold is laid on. Had he not mentioned quicksilver, his gilding might have been considered as that with gold leaf by means of heat, dorure en feuille à feu, in which the gold is laid upon the metal after it has been cleaned and heated, and strongly rubbed with blood-stone, or polished steel. Felibien (Principes de l'Architecture. Paris, 1676, p. 280) was undoubtedly right when he regretted that the process of the ancients, the excellence of which is proved by remains of antiquity, has been lost."—Hist. Inv. Vol. II. pp. 294, 295. Bohn's Edition.
325 Beckmann finds considerable difficulties in this description—"I acknowledge that this passage I do not fully comprehend. It seems to say that the quicksilver, when the gold was laid on too thin, appeared through it, but that this might be prevented by mixing with the quicksilver the white of an egg. The quicksilver then remained under the gold: a thing which is impossible. When the smallest drop of quicksilver falls upon gilding, it corrodes the noble metal, and produces an empty spot. It is, therefore, incomprehensible to me how this could be prevented by using the white of an egg. Did Pliny himself completely understand gilding? Perhaps he only meant to say that many artists gave out the cold-gilding. where the gold-leaf was laid on with the white of an egg, as gilding by means of heat."—Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 295.
326 Chapter 42 of this Book. See also Chapter 20, in Note 20, to which it has been mentioned as artificial quicksilver.
327 He is speaking of Antimony.
328 From its whiteness.
329 Under the name of "female stimmi," Ajasson thinks that pure, or native, antimony is meant, more particularly the lamelliform variety, remarkable for its smoothness. He thinks it possible, also, that it may have derived its Greek name "larbason," or "larbasis," from its brittleness.
330 Ajasson thinks that under this name, crude antimony or sulphuret of antimony may have been included; as also sulphuret of lead, sulphuret of antimony and copper, and sulphuret of antimony and silver; the last of which is often found covered with an opaque pellicle.
331 "Globis." The fracture of sulphuret of antimony is, in reality, small subconchoïdal.
332 "Eye dilating." Belladonna, a preparation from the Atropa belladonna, is now used in medicine for this purpose. A similar effect is attributed in B. xxv. c. 92, to the plant Anagallis. In reality, the application of prepared antimony would contract the eyelids, and so appear to enlarge the eyes. This property is peculiar, Ajasson remarks, to sulphuret of antimony, and sulphuret of antimony and silver.
333 Preparations "for beautifying the eyebrows." See B. xxi. c. 73, B. xxiii. c. 51, and B. xxxv. c. 56. Omphale, the Lydian queen, who captivated Hercules, is represented by the tragic poet Ion, as using "stimmi" for the purposes of the toilet. It was probably with a preparation of antimony that Jezebel "painted her face, and tired her head." 2 Kings, ix. 30. The "Kohl" used by the females in Egypt and Persia is prepared from antimony.
334 "Spuma argenti." See the next Chapter.
335 According to Dioscorides, it was prepared as a cosmetic by enclosing it in a lump of dough, and then burning it in the coals till reduced to a cinder. It was then extinguished with milk and wine, and again placed upon coals, and blown till ignition.
336 As to the "nitrum" of the ancients, see B. xxxi. c. 46.
337 "Flos"—literally the "flower."
338 "From this passage we may infer that the metal antimony was occasionally seen by the ancients, though not recognized by them as distinct from lead."—Dana's System of Mineralogy, p. 418. New York, 1850.
341 In B. xxxiv. c. 53.
342 Cerates, adipose or oleaginous plasters. See B. xxiii. c. 81.
343 "Spuma argenti." This he uses as a general name for fused oxide of lead, the Litharge of commerce.
344 Ajasson thinks it possible that the "chrysitis," or "golden" litharge, may have been the yellow deutoxide of lead; the argyritis, or "silver" litharge, the white variety of the same deutoxide; and the "molybditis," or "leaden" litharge, a general name for sulphuret of lead and silver; of lead and antimony; of lead, antimony, and bismuth; and of lead, antimony, and copper. Or perhaps, he thinks, they may have been the respective names of yellow or golden litharge, white or silver litharge, and terne. With the latter opinion Delafosse seems to coincide.
345 "Tubulis." These cakes were probably made in a tubular form.
346 "Vena;" meaning the ore probably in its raw state, and mixed with earth. All these distinctions are probably unfounded.
347 See B. xxxiv. c. 53.
348 Of "Puteolana."
349 The litharge.
350 The scoria.
351 Nothing whatever is known as to the identity of these varieties of litharge. Indeed the words themselves are spelt in various ways in the respective MSS.
352 In B. xxxiv. c. 53, where he identifies it with "galena," mentioned in Chapter 31 of this Book.
353 See B. xviii. c. 13, B. xxi. c. 61, and B. xxii. c. 66.
354 Sal gem, or common salt.
355 In this Chapter. See note 36 above.
356 The minium spoken of in this and the following Chapter is our Cinnabar, a bisulphurate of mercury. This ore is the great source of the mercury of commerce, from which it is obtained by sublimation. When pure, it is the same as the manufactured vermilion of commerce.
357 Intended, no doubt, to be typical of blood and carnage; and indicative of a very low state of civilization.
358 See B. xxxv. c. 45.
359 See B. v. c. 31.
360 See B. xvi. c. 12, and B. xxiv. c. 4.
361 The same as the miltos mentioned below, "miltos" being the word used by Homer, II. II. 637. This substance is totally different from the minium of the preceding Chapters, and from that mentioned in c. 40. It is our red ochre, peroxide of iron, mixed in a greater or less degree with argillaceous earth.
362 See B. xxix. c. 8; where he speaks of the mistake made by the physicians in giving mineral vermilion or minium to their patients instead of Indian cinnabar. The latter substance is probably identical with that which is now used for varnishes, being imported from India, and still known as " dragons' blood," the resin of the Ptero-carpus draco, or Calamus palm.
363 In B. viii. c. 12.
364 In Chapter 41.
365 The dragon's blood, mentioned in the preceding Chapter.
366 "Single colour paintings." See B. xxxv. cc. 5, 11, 34, 36.
367 Mentioned in Chapter 37.
368 The "miltos" of the preceding Chapter. See Note 55 above.
369 In B. xxxv. c. 13, et seq.
370 He is here speaking of our cinnabar, or vermilion, mentioned in Chapter 36.
371 See B. vi. cc. 27, 28, 32.
372 See B. iii. c. 3, Vol. I. p. 163. He alludes to the district of Almaden, in Andalusia, still famous for its quicksilver mines.
373 When sold by the "publicani," or farmers of the revenue.
374 Of the publicani.
375 Red oxide of lead, a much inferior pigment to cinnabar, or the minium of Chapter 36.
376 In Chapter 32 of this Book.
377 Dana informs us that minium is usually associated with galena and with calamine. Syst. Mineral, p. 495.
378 "Steriles." Barren of silver, probably; though Hardouin thinks that it means "barren of lead." Holland renders it "barraine and void of the right vermilion."
379 In Chapter 37.
380 B. xxxv. c. 24.
381 When hired by the job for colouring walls or objects of art. See B. xxxv. c. 12.
382 See B. xvi. c. 12, and B. xxiv. c. 4.
383 "Candelis." The Abate Requeno thinks that these "candelæ" were used as a delicate cauterium, simply to keep the wax soft, that it might receive a polish from the friction of the linen.
384 Hence the use of it in the middle ages; a reminiscence of which still exists in our word "rubric."
385 Or artificial quicksilver. In reality, hydrargyrus is prepared from the genuine minium of Pliny, the cinnabar mentioned in Chapter 36: it being obtained by the sublimation of sulphuret of mercury.
386 In Chapters 20 and 32.
387 This, probably, is the meaning of "lubrico humore compluere."
388 See the end of Chapter 38.
389 Artificial quicksilver is still used for this purpose. See Note 24 to Chapter 32 of this Book; also Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 295. Bohn's Edition.
390 In Chapter 32. He alludes to the use of glair of eggs.
391 Literally "whetstone." He is speaking of the stone known to us as Touchstone, Lydian stone, or Basanite—"a velvet-black siliceous stone or flinty jasper, used on account of its hardness and black colour for trying the purity of the precious metals. The colour left on the stone after rubbing the metal across it, indicates to the experienced eye the amount of the alloy." —Dana, Syst. Mineral. p. 242.
392 In Lydia. See B. v. cc. 30, 31.
393 As a test. At the present day, concentrated nitric acid is dropped on the mark left by the metal; and the more readily the mark is effaced, the less pure is the metal.
394 This seems to be the meaning of "si sudet protinus."
395 A very far-fetched explanation, and very wide of the mark.
396 "Paulum propulsa."
397 Which he supposes a concave surface to do.
398 This passage is noticed by Beckmann, in his account of Mirrors; Vol. II. p. 58. Bohn's Edition.
399 Distorting the image reflected, by reason of the irregularities of the surface. See Seneca, Nat. Quæst. B. i. c. 5.
400 "Parma Thræcidica."
401 He probably means, whether the surface is made convex or concave at these different angles.
402 A subject to which he returns iu various parts of B. xxxvi.
403 See B. xxxiv. c. 48.
404 As to the identification of "stannum," on which there have been great differences of opinion, see B. xxxiv cc. 47, 48, and the Notes.
405 For some account of this artist, see Chapter 55 and the Notes at the end of this Book.
406 "Silver mirrors were known long before this period, as is proved by a passage in the Mostellaria of Plautus, A. 1, S. 3. 1. 101, where they are distinctly mentioned. To reconcile this contradiction, Meursius remarks that Pliny speaks only of his countrymen, and not of the Greeks, who had such articles much earlier, though the scene in Plautus is at Athens."— Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 62. Bohn's Edition.
407 "Nuper credi cœptum certiorem imaginem reddi auro opposito aversis."—"Of what Pliny says here I can give no explanation. Hardouin (qy. if not Dalechamps ?) is of opinion that mirrors, according to the newest invention, at that period were covered behind with a plate of gold, as our mirrors are with an amalgam. But as the ancient plates of silver were not transparent, how could the gold at the back of them produce any effect in regard to the image ? May not the meaning be that a thin plate of gold was placed at some distance before the mirror, in order to throw more light upon its surface ? Whatever may have been the case, Pliny himself seems not to have had much confidence in the invention."— Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 62.
408 Dr. Watson (Chemical Essays. Vol. IV. p. 246) seems to think that Pliny is here speaking of glass mirrors: "If we admit that Pliny was acquainted with glass mirrors, we may thus understand what he says respecting an invention which was then new, of applying gold behind a mirror. Instead of an amalgam of tin, some one had proposed to cover the back of the mirror with an amalgam of gold, with which the ancients were certainly acquainted, and which they employed in gilding." See Chapter 20 of the present Book. On the above passage by Dr. Watson, Beckmann has the following remarks: "This conjecture appears, at any rate, to be ingenious; but when I read the passage again, without prejudice, I can hardly believe that Pliny alludes to a plate of glass in a place where he speaks only of metallic mirrors; and the overlaying with amalgam requires too much art to allow me to ascribe it to such a period without sufficient proof. I consider it more probable, that some person had tried, by means of a polished plate of gold, to collect the rays of light, and to throw them either on the mirror or the object, in order to render the image brighter."—Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 72.
409 The dog-headed divinity. The seat of his worship was at Cynopolis, mentioned in B. v. c. 11. Under the Empire his worship became widely spread both in Greece and at Rome.
410 Under the word "pingit," he probably includes the art of enamelling silver.
411 "Fulgoris excæcati."
412 "Chaplet" copper.
413 He either alludes to the practice of clipping the coin, or else to the issue of forged silver denarii, short of weight.
414 During the prætorship of Marius Gratidianus. He was on terms of great intimacy with Cicero, and was murdered by Catiline in a most barbarous manner during the proscriptions of Sylla.
415 By public enactment probably; samples of the false denarius being sold for the purpose of showing the difference between it and the genuine coin.
416 Twenty times one hundred thousand, &c.
417 As signifying a "debt owing to another."
418 "The Rich."
419 This seems the best translation for "decoxisse creditoribus suis," which literally means that he "boiled" or "melted away" his fortune from his creditors. In this remark Pliny is more witty than usual.
420 The Triumvir. The first person mentioned in Roman history as having the cognomen "Dives," is P. Licinius Crassus, the personage mentioned in B. xxi. c. 4. As he attained the highest honours of the state, and died universally respected, he cannot be the person so opprobriously spoken of by Pliny.
421 The meaning appears to be doubtful here, as it is not clear whether "sesterces," or "sestertia," "thousands of sesterces," is meant.
422 Who cut off his head after his death, and poured molten gold down his throat.
423 Originally the slave of Antonia, the mother of Claudius. Agrippina, the wife of Claudius, admitted him to her embraces, and in conjunction with her he for some time ruled the destinies of the Roman Empire. He was poisoned by order of Nero, A.D. 63.
424 C. Julius Callistus, the freedman of Caligula, in whose assassination he was an accomplice. The physician Scribonius Largus dedicated his work to Callistus.
425 A freedman of the Emperor Claudius, whose epistolary correspondence he superintended. He was put to death on the accession of Nero, A.D. 54.
426 In which case it would be dangerous to speak of them.
427 A.U.C. 746.
428 According to some authorities, he was a Lydian. He derived his wealth from his gold mines in the neighbourhood of Celænæ in Phrygia, and would appear, in spite of Pliny's reservation, to have been little less than a king. His five sons accompanied Xerxes; but Pythius, alarmed by an eclipse of the sun, begged that the eldest might be left behind. Upon this, Xerxes had the youth put to death, and his body cut in two, the army being ordered to march between the portions, which were placed on either side of the road. His other sons were all slain in battle, and Pythius passed the rest of his life in solitude.
429 "Stipem spargere."
430 A.U.C. 568.
431 In performance of a vow made in the war with King Antiochus. See Livy, B. xxxix.
432 So called from the silversmiths who respectively introduced them. The Gratian plate is mentioned by Martial, B. iv. Epigr. 39.
433 "Etenim tabernas mensis adoptamus."
434 "Anaglypta." Plate chased in relief. It is mentioned in the Epigram of Martial above referred to.
435 "Asperitatemque exciso circa liniarum picturas,"—a passage, the obscurity of which, as Littré remarks, seems to set translation at defiance.
436 He alludes, probably to tiers of shelves on the beaufets or sideboards —"repositoria"—similar to those used for the display of plate in the middle ages. Petronius Arbiter speaks of a round "repositorium," which seems to have borne a considerable resemblance to our "dumb waiters." The "repositoria" here alluded to by Pliny were probably made of silver.
438 "Carrucæ." The "carruca" was a carriage, the name of which only occurs under the emperors, the present being the first mention of it. It had four wheels and was used in travelling, like the "carpentum." Martial, B. iii. Epig. 47, uses the word as synonymous with "rheda." Alexander Severus allowed the senators to have them plated with silver. The name is of Celtic origin, and is the basis of the mediæval word "carucate," and the French carrosse.
439 So called from his victory over the Allobroges.
440 In allusion to the case of P. Cornelius Rufinus, the consul, who was denounced in the senate by the censors C. Fabricius Luscinus and Q. Æmilius Rufus, for being in possession of a certain quantity of silver plate. This story is also referred to in B. xviii. c. 8, where ten pounds is the quantity mentioned.
441 This is said ironically.
442 Sextus Ælius Pœtus Catus, Consul B.C. 198.
444 L. Paulus Æmilius.
445 It being lent from house to house. This, no doubt, was said ironically, and as a sneer at their poverty.
446 Now Arles. It was made a military colony in the time of Augustus. See B. iii. c. 5, and B. x. c. 57.
447 "Pellitum." There has been considerable doubt as to the meaning of this, but it is most probable that the "privilege of the fur," or in other words, a license to be clad in certain kinds of fur, was conferred on certain men of rank in the provinces. Holland considers it to be the old participle of "pello," and translates the passage "banished out of the country and nation where his father was born."
448 "Triclinia." The couches on which they reclined when at table.
449 See B. ix. c. 13.
450 This pattern, whatever it may have been, is also spoken of by Cicero, pro Murenâ, and by Valerius Maximus, B. vii. c. 1.
453 "Conservi"—said in keen irony.
454 Giants, at least, one would think.
455 Over the party of Marius.
456 See B. ix. c. 13.
457 "Compacta;" probably meaning inlaid like Mosaic.
458 See B. xiii. c. 29, B. xv. c. 7, and B. xvi. cc. 26, 27, 84.
459 Meaning, "drum sideboards," or "tambour sideboards," their shape, probably, being like that of our dumb waiters.
460 The name given to which was "lanx," plural "lances."
461 His age and country are uncertain. We learn, however, from Chapter 55 of this Book, that he flourished before the burning of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, B.C. 356. He is frequently mentioned in the classical writers. See also B. vii. c. 39.
462 He includes, probably, under this name both Asia Minor and Syria. See a similar passage in Livy, B. xxxix.
463 This passage is rejected by Sillig as a needless interpolation.
464 Asia Minor.
465 King of Pergamus.
466 Over King Antiochus.
467 He alludes to the destruction of Corinth, by L. Mummius Achaïcus.
468 A drinking cup with handles, sacred to Bacchus. See B. xxxiv. c. 25.
470 In allusion to the plebeian origin of C. Marius, who was born at the village of Cereatæ, near Arpinum. It is more than probable that the story that he had worked as a common peasant for wages, was an invention of the faction of Sylla.
471 "Ille arator Arpinas, et manipularis imperator."
472 Meaning the first king of that name. He was son of Mithridates IV., king of Pontus.
473 Appian says that there "was a gold statue of this Mithridates, exhibited in the triumph of Pompey, eight cubits in height," Plutarch speaks of another statue of the same king, exhibited by Lucullus, six feet in height.
474 "Compedes." See Chapter 12 of this Book.
475 The translation of this passage is somewhat doubtful. We will, therefore, subjoin that of Holland, who adopts the other version. "As we may see by our proud and sumptuous dames, that are but commoners and artizans' wives, who are forced to make themselves carquans and such ornaments for their shoes, of silver, because the rigour of the statute provided in that case will not permit them to weare the same of gold."
476 A rhetorician who taught at Rome in the reign of Augustus. The poet Ovid was one of his pupils. His rival in teaching declamation was Porcius Latro.
477 Of an improper intimacy with his pupils.
478 Rings of silver being passed through the prepuce. This practice is described by Celsus, B. vii. c. 25.
479 "Videret hinc dona fortium fieri, aut in hæc frangi."
480 In B. vii. c. 39, and in Chapter 53 of this Book.
481 "Quatuor paria ab eo omnino facta sunt." Sillig, in his Dictionary of Ancient Artists, finds a difficulty in this passage. "The term 'omnino' seems to imply that the productions in question, all of which perished, were the only works executed by this artist; but we find several passages of ancient writers, in which vases, &c. engraved by Mentor, are mentioned as extant. Thus, then, we must conclude, either that the term 'omnino' should be understood in the sense of 'chiefly,' 'pre-eminently,' or that the individuals claiming to possess works of Mentor, were themselves misinformed, or endeavoured to deceive others." If, however, we look at the word "paria" in a strictly technical sense, the difficulty will probably be removed. Pliny's meaning seems to be that Mentor made four pairs, and no more, of some peculiar kind of vessel probably, and that all these pairs were now lost. He does not say that Mentor did not make other works of art, in single pieces. Thiersch, Act. Acad. Monac. v. p. 128, expresses an opinion that the word "omnino" is a corruption and that in it lies concealed the name of the kind of plate that is meant.
482 See B. vii. c. 39.
483 His age and country are unknown.
484 From Pausanias we learn that he was a statuary and engraver on plate, born at Carthage; but Raoul Rochette thinks that he was a native of Chalcedon. He is mentioned also by Cicero, In Verrem, 4. 14, and in the Culex, 1. 66, ascribed by some to Virgil.
485 His country is uncertain. According to the statements of Pausanias, B. i. c. 28, he must have been a contemporary of Phidias, about Olymp. 84, B.C. 444. He is mentioned also by Propertius, Martial, and Statius.
486 His birth-place is unknown, but he probably lived about the time of Phidias, and we learn from Pausanias that he was living when the plague ceased at Athens, in B.C. 429. He is mentioned also by Cicero, Ovid, Quintilian, Lucian, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
487 Nothing further is known of this artist.
488 "Collocavisse verius quam cælasse."
490 He lived probably about Olymp. 126; but his country is unknown. He is mentioned by Athenæus. See also B. xxxiv. c. 19.
491 Nothing whatever is known of him, unless indeed he is identical with the Tauriscus mentioned in B. xxxvi. c. 5.
492 Nothing is known of his age or country. He is also mentioned in B. xxxiv. c. 19.
493 His age and country are unknown. See B. xxxiv. c.19.
494 Nothing further is known of him. See B. xxxiv. c. 19.
495 See the end of this Book.
496 Beyond the mention made of him in B. xxxiv. c. 19, no particulars relative to him are known.
497 Other readings of this name are "Lædus Stratiotes," "Ledis Thracides," "Hieris Thracides," and "Lidistratices." The Bamberg MS. has "Hedys Trachides." Salmasius, Hardouin, and Sillig propose "Leostratides," and Thiersch "Lysistratides."
498 Nothing further is known of him.
499 For the murder of his mother Clytæmnestra.
500 Nothing is known of this artist.
501 From Troy.
502 "Coquos," literally, "cooks."
503 "Cooks in miniature."
504 By the process of moulding, probably.
505 "Crustarius." Of this artist nothing further is known.
506 Yellow or brown Ochre, probably. Ajasson thinks that under this name may be included peroxide of iron, hydroxide of iron in a stalactitic and mamillary form, and compact peroxide of iron, imparting a colour to argillaceous earth.
507 "Scaly and ochrey brown iron ore are decomposed earthy varieties, often soft like chalk; yellow ochre is here included."—Dana, Syst. Mineral, p. 436.
510 "Abacos." Small compartments or partitions in a square form on the walls of rooms.
511 See B. vii. c. 57, where he is called an Athenian, whereas he was a native of Thasos. He was one of the most eminent painters of antiquity, and flourished in the age of Pericles. See a further account of him in B. xxxv. c. 35.
512 Son of Phanochus, and contemporary of Polygnotus. See B. xxxv. c. 25, where it is stated that in conjunction with Polygnotus, he either invented some new colours, or employed them in his paintings on a better plan than that previously adopted.
513 "It is possible that the 'cæruleum' of the ancients may in some cases have been real ultramarine, but properly and in general, it was only copper ochre."—Beckmann's Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 472. Bohn's Edition. Delafosse identifies it with blue carbonate and hydrocarbonate of copper, one of the two azurites.
514 "Candidiorem nigrioremve, et crassiorem tenuioremve."
515 Beckmann thinks that Pliny is here alluding to an artificial kind of "cæruleum." "Pliny clearly adds to it an artificial colour, which in my opinion was made in the same manner as our lake; for he speaks of an earth, which when boiled with plants, acquired their blue colour."—Hist. Inv., Vol. II. p. 480.
516 Supposed by Hardouin to have been "glastum" or "woad," the Isatis tinctoria of Linnæus, mentioned in B. xxii. c. 2.
517 "In suâ coquitur herbâ."
518 A blue powder; see Chapter 27 of this Book. Beckmann has the following remarks on this and the preceding lines: "The well-known passage of Pliny in which Lehmann thinks he can with certainty discover cobalt, is so singular a medley that nothing to be depended on can be gathered from it. The author, it is true, where he treats of mineral pigments, seems to speak of a blue sand which produced different shades of blue paint, according as it was pounded coarser or finer. The palest powder was called lomentum, and this Lehmann considers as our powder-blue. I am, however, fully convinced that the cyanus of Theophrastus, the cæruleum of Pliny, and the chrysocolla (see Chapter 26), were the blue copper earth already mentioned, which may have been mixed and blended together."— Hist. Inv. Vol. I. pp. 480, 481. Bohn's Edition.
519 According to Vitruvius, B. vii. c. 11, the manufactory of Vestorius was at Puteoli, now Pozzuoli. This was probably the same C. Vestorius who was also a money-lender and a friend of Atticus, and with whom Cicero had monetary transactions. He is mentioned as "Vestorium meum," in the Epistles of Cicero to Atticus.
520 For colouring surfaces of clay or cretaceous earth. This kind was also manufactured by Vesturius, most probably.
521 "Idem et Puteolani usus, præterque ad fenestras." "The expression here, usus ad fenestras, has been misapplied by Lehmann, as a strong proof of his assertion; for he explained it as if Pliny had said that a blue pigment was used for painting window-frames; but glass windows were at that time unknown. I suspect that Pliny meant to say only that one kind of paint could not be employed near openings which afforded a passage to the light, as it soon decayed and lost its colour. This would have been the case in particular with lake, in which there was a mixture of vegetable particles."—Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. I. p. 480.
522 "Indian" pigment. Probably our "indigo." It is again mentioned, and at greater length, in B. xxxv. c. 27. See also Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. pp. 259, 267. Bohn's Edition.
523 This is probably a more correct reading than "seven."
524 See B. xxxv. c. 19. Vitruvius, B. vii. c. 14, describes an exactly similar method adopted by dyers for imitating the colour of Attic sil, or ochre, mentioned in Chapter 56.
525 A quarter in the city of Capua, inhabited by druggists and perfumers; see B. xvi. c. 18, and B. xxxiv. c. 25.
526 In some MSS. the reading here is "Domitius," and in others the name is omitted altogether. We learn from the writings of Suetonius, that the Emperor Domitian devoted himself to literary pursuits in his younger days, and Quintilian and the younger Pliny speak of his poetical productions as equal to those of the greatest masters. Sillig expresses an opinion that Pliny may possibly have borrowed something from his works, and inserted his name, with a view of pleasing the young prince and his father, the Emperor Vespasian.
527 He is quoted in Chapter 9 of this Book, where it appears that he took his cognomen on account of his friendship for C. Gracchus. He wrote a work, "De Potestatibus," which gave an account of the Roman magistrates from the time of the kings. A few fragments of this work, which was highly esteemed by the ancients, are all that remain.
528 See end of B. ii.
529 See end of B. iii.
530 See end of B. ii.
531 Valerius Messala Corvinus. See end of B. ix.
532 See end of B. vii.
533 Calvus Licinius Macer was the son of C. Licinius Macer, a person of prætorian rank, who, on being impeached of extortion by Cicero, committed suicide. We learn from our author, B. xxxiv. c. 50, that in his youth he devoted himself to study with the greatest zeal, and applied himself with singular energy to intellectual pursuits. His constitution, however, was early exhausted, and he died in his 35th or 36th year, leaving behind him twenty-one orations. We learn from Cicero and Quintilian that his compositions were carefully moulded after the models of the Attic school, but were deficient in ease and freshness. As a poet he was the author of many short pieces, equally remarkable for their looseness and elegance. He wrote also some severe lampoons on Pompey and Cæsar, and their respective partisans. Ovid and Horace, besides several of the prose writers, make mention of him.
534 See end of B. ii.
535 See end of B. ii.
536 Cornelius Bocchus. See end of B. xvi.
537 Annius or Annæus Fetialis. See end of B. xvi.
538 See end of B. viii.
539 See end of B. vii.
540 See end of B. xx.
541 See end of B. xii.
542 See end of B. iii.
543 See end of B. ii.
544 See end of B. v.
545 The person mentioned in Chapter 13 of this Book, is probably different from those of the same name mentioned at the end of Books ii. and iv. If so, no further particulars are known of him.
546 It seems impossible to say which of the physicians of this name is here alluded to. See end of Books iv. and xii.
547 See end of B. xx.
548 See end of B. xii.
549 See end of B. xiii.
550 See end of B. xii.
551 See end of B. xii.; and for Sallustius Dionysius, see end of B. xxxi.
552 See end of B. xxix.
553 See end of B. xii.
554 See end of B. xii.
555 As King Attalus was very skilful in medicine, Hardouin is of opinion that he is the person here meant; see end of B. viii.
556 A different person, most probably, from the writer of Pliny's age, mentioned in B. xxxvii. c. 2. The Xenocrates here mentioned is probably the same person that is spoken of in B. xxxv. c. 36, a statuary of the school of Lysippus, and the pupil either of Tisicrates or of Euthycrates, who flourished about B.C. 260.
557 There were two artists of this name, prior to the time of Pliny; a sculptor, mentioned by him in B. xxxiv. c. 19, and a painter, contemporary with Apelles, mentioned in B. xxxv. c. 36. It is impossible to say which of them, if either, is here meant.
558 See end of B. iii.
559 See end of B. xii.
560 It is impossible to say which writer of this name is here meant. See end of Books iv., viii., xi., and xx.
561 A statuary, sculptor, and chaser in silver, who flourished at Rome about B.C. 60. He was a native of Magna Græcia, in the south of Italy. He is not only mentioned in Chapter 55 of the present Book, but also in B. xxxv. c. 45, as an artist of the highest distinction. His narrow escape from a panther, while copying from nature, is mentioned in B. xxxvi. c. 4. His five Books on the most celebrated works of sculpture and chasing were looked upon as a high authority in art. He was also the head of a school of artists.
562 A writer on painting of this name is mentioned by Diogenes Laertius, B. vii. c. 12. He is probably the same as the person here mentioned, and identical with the Greek sculptor mentioned by Pliny in B. xxxiv. c. 19, who probably flourished about 240 B.C. The Toreutic Art, "Toreutice," was the art of making raised work in silver or bronze, either by graving or casting: but the exact meaning of the word is somewhat uncertain.
563 Menæchmus of Sievon, probably; see end of B. iv., also B. xxxiv. c. 19.
564 If he is really a different person from the Xenocrates mentioned above, nothing is known of him.
565 See end of B. vii.
566 Possibly one of the persons mentioned at the end of Books viii., xix., and xxxi. If not, nothing whatever is known of him.
567 An Athenian writer, surnamed "Periegetes." The work here mentioned, is alluded to by other writers under different names. From a passage in Athenæus, he is supposed to have lived after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.
568 See end of B. iii.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.