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The black silex1 is in general the best; but in some localities, it is the red, and occasionally the white; as in the Anician quarries at Tarquinii, near Lake Volsinius,2 for example, and those at Statonia,3 the stone of which is proof against fire even.4 These stones, sculptured for monumental purposes, are subject to no deterioration by lapse of time: moulds, too, are made from them, for the purpose of fusing copper. There is a green silex, also, which offers a most powerful resistance to the action of fire, but is never found in any large quantities, and, in all cases, in an isolated form, and not as a constituent part of solid rock. Of the other kinds, the pale silex is but rarely used for erections: being of globular form, it is not liable to injury, but at the same time it is insecure for building purposes, unless it is well braced and tightly held together. Nor yet does river silex offer any greater security, for it always has the appearance of being wet.

1 A general name for Silica, Flint, or Quartz, and the several varieties.

2 See B. iii. c. 8.

3 See B. ii. c. 96, B. iii. c. 9, and B. xiv. c. 8.

4 Ajasson thinks that Travertine is meant; a tufa, or carbonate of lime, which is common in Tuscany.

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