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The people of Egypt stain their silver vessels, that they may see represented in them their god Anubis;1 and it is the custom with them to paint,2 and not to chase, their silver. This usage has now passed to our own triumphal statues even; and, a truly marvellous fact, the value of silver has been enhanced by deadening its brilliancy.3 The following is the method adopted: with the silver are mixed two-thirds of the very finest Cyprian copper, that known as "coronarium,"4 and a proportion of live sulphur equal to that of the silver. The whole of these are then melted in an earthen vessel well luted with potter's clay, the operation being completed when the cover becomes detached from the vessel. Silver admits also of being blackened with the yolk of a hard-boiled egg; a tint, however, which is removed by the application of vinegar and chalk.

The Triumvir Antonius alloyed the silver denarius with iron: and in spurious coin there is an alloy of copper employed. Some, again, curtail5 the proper weight of our denarii, the legitimate proportion being eighty-four denarii to a pound of silver. It was in consequence of these frauds that a method was devised of assaying the denarius: the law ordaining which was so much to the taste of the plebeians, that in every quarter of the City there was a full-length statue erected6 in honour of Marius Gratidianus. It is truly marvellous, that in this art, and in this only, the various methods of falsification should be made a study:7 for the sample of the false denarius is now an object of careful examination, and people absolutely buy the counterfeit coin at the price of many genuine ones!

1 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.

2 Under the word "pingit," he probably includes the art of enamelling silver.

3 "Fulgoris excæcati."

4 "Chaplet" copper.

5 He either alludes to the practice of clipping the coin, or else to the issue of forged silver denarii, short of weight.

6 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.

7 By public enactment probably; samples of the false denarius being sold for the purpose of showing the difference between it and the genuine coin.

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