CHAP. 57.—DAPHNEA. DIADOCHOS. DIPHYES. DIONYSIAS.
is mentioned by Zoroaster as curative of epilepsy.
is a stone that resembles the beryl. Of diphyes3
there are two kinds, the white and the black, male and female,
with a line dividing the characteristics of either sex. Dionysias4
is hard and black, and covered with red spots. Triturated in
water, this stone imparts to it the flavour of wine, and it is
generally thought to be a preservative against intoxication.
or dracontia is a stone produced from the brain of
but unless the head of the animal is cut off
while it is alive, the stone will not assume the form of a gem,
through spite on the part of the serpent, when finding itself at
the point of death: hence it is that, for this purpose, the head
is cut off when it is asleep.7
Sotacus, who tells us that he once saw a stone of this kind in
the possession of a king, says that persons go in search of it in
a chariot drawn by two horses; and that, the moment they see
the serpent, they strew narcotic drugs in its way, and then cut
off its head when asleep. According to him, this stone is
white and pellucid, and admits of no polishing or engraving.