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 After the bay is the island Ophiodes,1 so called from the accidental circumstance [of its having once been infested with serpents]. It was cleared of the serpents by the king,2 on account of the destruction occasioned by those noxious animals to the persons who frequented the island, and on account of the topazes found there. The topaz is a transparent stone, sparkling with a golden lustre, which however is not easy to be distinguished in the day-time, on account of the brightness of the surrounding light, but at night the stones are visible to those who collect them. The collectors place a vessel over the spot [where the topazes are seen] as a mark, and dig them up in the day. A body of men was appointed and maintained by the kings of Egypt to guard the place where these stones were found, and to superintend the collection of them.
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