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I am not surprised that this colour should have been held in such high esteem; for already, in the days of the Trojan War, rubrica1 was highly valued, as appears from the testimony of Homer, who particularly notices the ships that were coloured with it, whereas, in reference to other colours and paintings, he but rarely notices them. The Greeks call this red earth "miltos," and give to minium the name of "cinnabaris," and hence the error2 caused by the two meanings of the same word; this being properly the name given to the thick matter which issues from the dragon when crushed beneath the weight of the dying elephant, mixed with the blood of either animal, as already described.3 Indeed this last is the only colour that in painting gives a proper representation of blood. This cinnabaris, too, is extremely useful as an ingredient in antidotes and various medicaments. But, by Hercules ! our physicians, because minium also has the name of "cinnabaris," use it as a substitute for the other, and so employ a poison, as we shall shortly4 show it to be.

1 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.

2 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.

3 In B. viii. c. 12.

4 In Chapter 41.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CORO´NA
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