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In the first rank among these is carbunculus,1 so called from its resemblance to fire; though in reality it is proof against the action of that element:2 hence it is that some persons call these stones "acaustoi."3 There are various kinds of carbunculus, the Indian and the Garamantic, for example, which last has been also called the Carchedonian,4 in compliment to the former opulence of Great Carthage.5 To these are added the Æthiopian and the Alabandic stones, the latter of which are found at Orthosia6 in Caria, but are cut and polished at Alabanda.7 In addition to this, each kind is subdivided into the male carbunculus and the female, the former of which is of a more striking brilliancy, the brightness of the latter being not so strong. In the male varieties too, we see some in which the fire is clearer than in others; while some, again, are of a darker8 hue, or else have their brilliancy more deeply seated, and shine with a more powerful lustre than others when viewed in the sun.

The most highly esteemed, however, is the amethyst-coloured9 stone, the fire at the extremity of which closely approaches the violet tint of amethystos: next in value to which, are the stones known as "syrtites," radiant with a wavy, feathery,10 refulgence. They are found more particularly, it is said, where the reflection is most powerful of the rays of the sun. Satyrus says that the carbunculus11 of India has no lustre, that it is mostly soiled, and that in all cases its brilliancy is of a tawny complexion. The Æthiopian stones, he says, are dense, emit no lustre, and burn with a concentrated flame. According to Callistratus, the refulgence of this stone should be of a whitish hue, and, when placed upon a table, it should heighten by its lustre other stones placed near it that are clouded at the edge. Hence it is, that many writers speak of this stone as the white carbunculus, while the Indian stone, with its comparatively feeble lustre, is known by the name of " lignyzon."12 The Carchedonian stones, they say, are of much smaller size than the others; but those of India admit of being hollowed out, and making vessels that will hold as much as one sextarius13 even.

According to Archelaüs, the Carchedonian carbunculus is of a more swarthy appearance than the others, but, when exposed to the light of the fire or sun, and viewed obliquely, the brilliancy of it is much more intense than that of the rest. He says, too, that this stone, when overshadowed by a roof, has a purple tint; that when viewed in the open air, it is of a flame colour; and that, when exposed to the rays of the sun, it scintillates. He states also that wax, if sealed with these stones, in the shade even, will melt. Many authors have asserted that the Indian stones are paler than the Carchedonian, and that, quite the converse of these last, they are all the less brilliant when viewed obliquely; as also, that in the male Carchedonian stone there are luminous points like stars within, while, in the case of the female stone, the whole of its refulgence is thrown beyond it. The stones of Alabanda too, it is said, are darker than the other kinds, and rough on the surface. In the vicinity also of Miletus, there are stones of this description found in the earth, resembling those of Alabanda in colour, and proof against the action of fire.

According to Theophrastus,14 these stones are to be found also at Orchomenus in Arcadia and in the Isle of Chios;15 the former16 of which are of a darker hue, and are used for making mirrors. He says too, that at Trœzen they are found of various colours and mottled with white spots, those found at Corinth being of a more pallid, whitish, hue. He states also, that they are sometimes imported from Massilia. Bocchus informs us in his writings, that these stones are extracted from the ground at Olisipo;17 at the cost of great labour, however, in consequence of the parched, argillaceous, nature of the soil.

1 Literally meaning a "red-hot coal." The carbunculus of Pliny is supposed to include not only the red, or Iron and Iron-lime garnet, but the Spinelle ruby also, or Oriental ruby.

2 There is some truth in this, as some few kinds both of the Garnet and Ruby are infusible. Of the ruby, the red varieties change to brown, black, and opaque even, as the temperature increases, and on cooling become first green, and then nearly colourless, but at last resume their red colour.

3 From the Greek; meaning "incombustible."

4 From καρχήδων, the Greek name for Carthage.

5 Carthago Magna, so called in contradistinction to Carthage Nova, or New Carthage, in Spain.

6 See B. v. c. 29.

7 In the vicinity of Orthosia. It is from this place that one kind of garnet is now called "Almandine." There is also the Almandine, or violet-coloured ruby. See Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 238. Bohn's Edition. It is probable that Carthage was the great entrepôt for the car-bunch of the Garamantes and Æthiopia, where Red sapphire, Red corundum, or Oriental ruby, was probably found.

8 A variety, perhaps, of Iron garnet, or Iron-lime garnet.

9 Desfontaines suggests that this may have been the Balas ruby, or possibly the Syrian Garnet, of a violet purple colour. Not improbably it is the Almandine ruby.

10 "Pinnato fulgore." This mottled appearance is to be seen in the interior of some red garnets.

11 Common garnets, probably.

12 Sillig suggests that this may be from λιγνὺς, "soot." The reading, however, is extremely doubtful.

13 See Introduction to Vol. III. If this is the truth, they were made of some of the crystals of the garnet, probably.

14 De Lapid. sec 61.

15 "Pliny has here committed a gross mistake, which has not been observed by Hardouin. Theophrastus, in the passage alluded to, does not speak of a ruby, but the well-known black marble of Chio; though he calls both carbunculus, a name given to the ruby, on account of its likeness to a burning coal, and to the black marble on account of its resemblance to a quenched coal or cinder; and the latter, as well as the Obsidian stone. was sometimes used for mirrors."—Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. pp. 67, Bohn's Edition.

16 "Illos." He should have said "hos"—"the latter."

17 See B. iv. c. 35; the present Lisbon.

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