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During the reign of Nero, there was a stone found in Cappadocia, as hard as marble, white, and transparent even in those parts where red veins were to be seen upon it; a property which has obtained for it the name of "phengites."1 It was with this stone2 that Nero rebuilt the Temple of Fortune, surnamed Seia,3 originally consecrated by King Servius, enclosing it within the precincts of his Golden Palace.4 Hence it was that, even when the doors were closed, there was light in the interior during the day; not transmitted from without, as would be the case through a medium of specular-stone, but having all the appearance of being enclosed within5 the building.

In Arabia, too, according to Juba, there is a stone, transparent like glass, which is used for the same purposes as specular-stone.

1 From φεγγὸς, "brightness." Beckmann is of opinion that this was a calcareous or gypseous spar (Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 66); but Ajasson seems to think that it was very similar to Parian marble, which was sometimes called by this name.

2 This is more likely to apply to a white marble than to a calcareous or gypseous spar. Suetonius says, c. 14, that Domitian, when he suspected that plots were forming against him, caused the porticos in which he walked to be lined with Phengites, which by its reflection showed what was going on behind his back.

3 See B. xviii. c. 2.

4 See Chapter 24 of this Book.

5 Beckmann says, in reference to this passage, supposing that a kind of spar is meant by the word phengites—"It is probable that the openings of the walls of the building where the windows used to be, were in this instance filled up with phengites, which, by admitting a faint light, prevented the place from being dark, even when the doors were shut."—Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 66. Bohn's Edition.

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