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Chalcitis1 is the name of a mineral, from which, as well as cadmia, copper is extracted by heat. It differs from cadmia in this respect, that this last is procured from beds below the surface, while chalcitis is detached from rocks that are exposed to the air. Chalcitis also becomes immediately friable, being naturally so soft as to have the appearance of a compressed mass of down. There is also this other distinction between them, that chalcitis is a composition of three other substances, copper, misy, and sory,2 of which last we shall speak in their appropriate places.3 The veins of copper which it contains are oblong. The most approved kind is of the colour of honey; it is streaked with fine sinuous veins, and is friable and not stony. It is generally thought to be most valuable when fresh, as, when old, it becomes converted into sory. It is highly useful for removing fleshy excrescences in ulcers, for arresting hæmorrhage, and, in the form of a powder, for acting as- tringently upon the gums, the uvula, and the tonsillary glands.4 It is applied in wool, as a pessary, for affections of the uterus; and with leek juice it is formed into plasters for diseases of the genitals. This substance is macerated for forty days in vinegar, in an earthen vessel luted with dung; after which it acquires a saffron colour. When this composition is mixed with an equal proportion of cadmia, it forms the medicament known as "psoricon."5 If two parts of chalcitis are combined with one of cadmia, the medicament becomes more active; and it is rendered still more powerful if vinegar is used instead of wine. For all these purposes, calcined chalcitis is the most efficacious.

1 The name, no doubt, of a copper ore which has not been identified. Delafosse suggests that it may have been an ore of iron and copper pyrites in combination with a silky copper malachite. See Chapter 2 of this Book, and B. xxxv. c. 52.

2 Brongniart is of opinion that the "sory" of Pliny is the sulphate of copper, probably with an excess of acid. He informs us that he has received a specimen of a native sulphate of copper from Cuença, in Spain, which possesses all the characteristics of "sory" as here described. He considers it more difficult to ascertain the chemical composition of "misy," but is disposed to consider it as a mixed sulphate of iron and copper.—B.

3 In the next two Chapters.—B.

4 We have a similar account of its medicinal virtues given us by Dioscorides; Celsus also enumerates chalcitis among the corrosives, or cauteries, "quæ exedunt corpus." He also recommends it for affections of the eyes.—B.

5 "Sore ointment."

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