|Pliny the Elder, Natural History (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plin. Nat.].|
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IT now remains for us to speak of stones, or, in other words, the leading folly of the day; to say nothing at all of our taste for gems and amber, crystal and murrhine vases. [Note] For everything of which we have previously treated, down to the present Book, may, by some possibility or other, have the appearance of having been created for the sake of man: but as to the mountains, Nature has made those for herself, as a kind of bulwark for keeping together the bowels of the earth; as also for the purpose of curbing the violence of the rivers, of breaking the waves of the sea, and so, by opposing to them the very hardest of her materials, putting a check upon those elements which are never at rest. And yet we must hew down these mountains, forsooth, and carry them off; and this, for no other reason than to gratify our luxurious inclinations: heights which in former days it was reckoned a miracle even to have crossed!
Our forefathers regarded as a prodigy the passage of the Alps, first by Hannibal, [Note] and, more recently, by the Cimbri: but at the present day, these very mountains are cut asunder to yield us a thousand different marbles, promontories are thrown open to the sea, and the face of Nature is being everywhere reduced to a level. We now carry away the barriers that were destined for the separation of one nation from another; we construct ships for the transport of our marbles; and, amid the waves, the most boisterous element of Nature, we convey the summits of the mountains to and fro: a thing, however, that is even less unpardonable than to go on the
search amid the regions of the clouds for vessels [Note] with which to cool our draughts, and to excavate rocks, towering to the very heavens, in order that we may have the satisfaction of drinking from ice! Let each reflect, when he hears of the high prices set upon these things, when he sees these ponderous masses carted and carried away, how many there are whose life is passed far more happily without them. For what utility or for what so-called pleasure do mortals make themselves the agents, or, more truly speaking, the victims of such undertakings, except in order that others may take their repose in the midst of variegated stones? Just as though too, the shades of night, which occupy one half of each man's existence, would forbear to curtail these imaginary delights.
Indeed, while making these reflections, one cannot but feel ashamed of the men of ancient times even. There are still in existence censorial [Note] laws, which forbid the kernels [Note] in the neck of swine to be served at table, dormice too, and other things too trifling to mention: and yet there has been no law passed, forbidding marble to be imported, or the seas to be traversed in search of it!
(2.) It may possibly be observed, that this was, because marble was not then introduced. Such, however, is not the fact; for in the ædileship of M. Scaurus, [Note] three hundred and sixty columns were to be seen imported; for the decorations of a temporary theatre, too, one that was destined to be in use for barely a single month. And yet the laws were silent thereon; in a spirit of indulgence for the amusements of the public, no doubt. But then, why such indulgence? or how do vices more insidiously steal upon us than under the plea of serving the public? By what other way, in fact, did ivory, gold, and precious stones, first come into use with private individuals?
Can we say that there is now anything that we have reserved for the exclusive use of the gods? However, be it so, let us admit of this indulgence for the amusements of the public; but still, why did the laws maintain their silence
when the largest of these columns, pillars of Lucullan [Note] marble, as much as eight-and-thirty feet in height, were erected in the atrium of Scaurus? a thing, too, that was not done privately or in secret; for the contractor for the public sewers compelled him to give security for the possible damage that might be done in the carriage of them to the Palatium. [Note] When so bad an example as this was set, would it not have been advisable to take some precautions for the preservation of the public morals? And yet the laws still preserved their silence, when such enormous masses as these were being carried past the earthenware [Note] pediments of the temples of the gods, to the house of a private individual!
And yet it cannot be said that Scaurus, by way of a first essay in vice, took the City by surprise, in a state of ignorance and totally unguarded against such evils as these. Already had L. Crassus, [Note] the orator, he who was the first to possess pillars of foreign marble, and in this same Palatium too, received from M. Brutus, on the occasion of a dispute, the nickname of the "Palatine Venus," for his indulgence in this kind of luxury. The material, I should remark, was Hymettian marble, and the pillars were but six in number, and not exceeding some twelve feet in height. Our forefathers were guilty of this omission, no doubt, because morals were universally contaminated; and, seeing that things which had been interdicted had been forbidden in vain, they preferred the absence of laws to laws that were no better than a dead letter. These particulars and others in the sequel will show that we are so far improved; for who is there at the present day that has, in his atrium, any such massive columns as these of Scaurus?
But before proceeding to treat of the several varieties of this material, it will be as well to mention the various artists, and the degrees of estimation in which they are held, who have worked in marble. We will, therefore, proceed to review the sculptors who have flourished at different periods.
The first artists who distinguished themselves in the sculpture of marble, were Dipœnus [Note] and Scyllis, natives of the Isle of Crete. At this period the Medians were still in power, and Cyrus had not begun to reign in Persia; their date being about the fiftieth Olympiad. They afterwards repaired to Sicyon, a state which for a length of time [Note] was the adopted country of all such pursuits as these. The people of Sicyon had made a contract with them for the execution of certain statues of the gods; but, before completing the work, the artists complained of some injustice being done them, and retired to Ætolia. Immediately upon this, the state was afflicted with sterility and famine, and dreadful consternation was the result. Upon enquiry being made as to a remedy for these evils, the Pythian Apollo made answer, that Dipœnus and Scyllis must complete the statues of the gods; an object which was attained at the cost of great concessions and considerable sums of money. The statues were those of Apollo, [Note] Diana, Hercules, and Minerva; the last of which was afterwards struck by lightning.
(5.) Before these artists were in existence, there had already appeared Melas, a sculptor of the Isle of Chios; and, in succession to him, his son Micciades, and his grandson Archermus; [Note] whose sons, Bupalus and Athenis, afterwards attained the highest eminence in the art. These last were contemporaries of the poet Hipponax, who, it is well known, lived in the sixtieth Olympiad. Now, if a person only reckons, going upwards from their time to that of their great-grandfather, he will find
that the art of sculpture must have necessarily originated about the commencement of the era of the Olympiads. Hipponax being a man notorious for his ugliness, the two artists, by way of joke, [Note] exhibited a statue of him for the ridicule of the public. Indignant at this, the poet emptied upon them all the bitterness of his verses; to such an extent indeed, that, as some believe, they were driven to hang themselves in despair. This, however, is not the fact; for, at a later period, these artists executed a number of statues in the neighbouring islands; at Delos for example, with an inscription subjoined to the effect, that Chios was rendered famous not only by its vines [Note] but by the works of the sons of Archermus as well. The people of Lasos [Note] still show a Diana that was made by them; and we find mention also made of a Diana at Chios, the work of their hands: it is erected on an elevated spot, and the features appear stern to a person as he enters, and joyous as he departs. At Rome, there are some statues by these artists on the summit of the Temple [Note] of the Palatine Apollo, and, indeed, in most of the buildings that were erected by the late Emperor Augustus. At Delos and in the Isle of Lesbos there were formerly some sculptures by their father to be seen. Ambracia too, Argos, and Cleonæ, were filled with productions of the sculptor Dipœnus.
All these artists, however, used nothing but the white marble of the Isle of Paros, a stone which was known as "lychnites" at first, because, according to Varro, it was cut in the quarries by lamplight. [Note] Since their time, many other whiter marbles have been discovered, and very recently that of the quarries of Luna. [Note] With reference to the marble of Paros, there is one very marvellous circumstance related; in a single block that was split with wedges, a figure [Note] of Silenus made its appearance.
We must not omit to remark, that the art of sculpture is of much more ancient [Note] date than those of painting and of statuary in bronze; both of which commenced with Phidias, in the eighty-third Olympiad, or in other words, about three hundred and thirty-two years later. Indeed, it is said, that Phidias himself worked in marble, and that there is a Venus of his at Rome, a work of extraordinary beauty, in the buildings of Octavia. [Note] A thing, however, that is universally admitted, is the fact that he was the instructor of Alcamenes, [Note] the Athenian, one of the most famous among the sculptors. By this last artist, there are numerous statues in the temples at Athens; as also, without the walls there, the celebrated Venus, known as the Aphroditeἐν χήποις, [Note] a work to which Phidias himself, it is said, put the finishing hand. Another disciple also of Phidias was Agoracritus [Note] of Paros, a great favourite with his master, on account of his extremely youthful age; and for which reason, it is said, Phidias gave his own name to many of that artist's works. The two pupils entering into a contest as to the superior execution of a statue of Venus, Alcamenes was successful; not that his work was superior, but because his fellow-citizens chose to give their suffrages in his favour in preference to a stranger. It was for this reason, it is said, that Agoracritus sold his statue, on the express condition that it should never be taken to Athens, and changed its name to that of Nemesis. [Note] It was accordingly erected at Rhamnus, [Note] a borough of Attica, and M. Varro has considered it superior to every other statue. There is also to be seen in
the Temple of the Great Mother, in the same city, another work [Note] by Agoracritus.
Among all nations which the fame of the Olympian Jupiter has reached, Phidias is looked upon, beyond all doubt, as the most famous of artists: but to let those who have never even seen his works, know how deservedly he is esteemed, we will take this opportunity of adducing a few slight proofs of the genius which he displayed. In doing this, we shall not appeal to the beauty of his Olympian Jupiter, nor yet to the vast proportions of his Athenian Minerva, six and twenty cubits in height, and composed of ivory and gold; but it is to the shield of this last statue that we shall draw attention; upon the convex face of which he has chased a combat of the Amazons, while, upon the concave side of it, he has represented the battle between the Gods and the Giants. Upon the sandals again, we see the wars of the Lapithæ and Centaurs, so careful has he been to fill every smallest portion of his work with some proof or other of his artistic skill. To the story chased upon the pedestal of the statue, the name of the "Birth of Pandora" [Note] has been given; and the figures of new-born [Note] gods to be seen upon it are no less than twenty in number. The figure of Victory, in particular, is most admirable, and connoisseurs are greatly struck with the serpent and the sphinx in bronze lying beneath the point of the spear. Let thus much be said incidentally in reference to an artist who can never be sufficiently praised; if only to let it be understood that the richness of his genius was always equal to itself, even in the very smallest details.
When speaking [Note] of the statuaries, we have already given the period at which Praxiteles flourished; an artist, who, in the glory which he acquired by his works in marble, surpassed even himself. There are some works of his in the Ceramicus [Note] at Athens; but, superior to all the statues, not only of Praxiteles, but of any other artist that ever existed, is his Cnidian Venus; for the inspection of which, many persons before now have purposely undertaken a voyage to
Cnidos. The artist made two statues of the goddess, and offered them both for sale: one of them was represented with drapery, [Note] and for this reason was preferred [Note] by the people of Cos, who had the choice; the second was offered them at the same price, but, on the grounds of propriety and modesty, they thought fit to choose the other. Upon this, the Cnidians purchased the rejected statue, [Note] and immensely superior has it always been held in general estimation. At a later period, King Nicomedes wished to purchase this statue of the Cnidians, and made them an offer to pay off the whole of their public debt, which was very large. They preferred, however, to submit to any extremity rather than part with it; and with good reason, for by this statue Praxiteles has perpetuated the glory of Cnidos. The little temple in which it, is placed is open on all sides, so that the beauties [Note] of the statue admit of
being seen from every point of view; an arrangement which was favoured by the goddess herself, it is generally believed. Indeed, from whatever point it is viewed, its execution is equally worthy of admiration. A certain individual, it is said, became enamoured of this statue, and, concealing himself in the temple during the night, gratified his lustful passion upon it, traces of which are to be seen in a stain left upon the marble. [Note]
There are also at Cnidos some other statues in marble, the productions of illustrious artists; a Father Liber [Note] by Bryaxis, [Note] another by Scopas, [Note] and a Minerva by the same hand: indeed, there is no greater proof of the supreme excellence of the Venus of Praxiteles than the fact that, amid such productions as these, it is the only one that we generally find noticed. By Praxiteles, too, there is a Cupid, a statue which occasioned [Note] one of the charges brought by Cicero against Verres, and for the sake of seeing which persons used to visit Thespiæ: at the present day, it is to be seen in the Schools [Note] of Octavia. By the same artist there is also another Cupid, without drapery, at Parium, a colony of the Propontis; equal to the Cnidian Venus in the fineness of its execution, and said to have been the object of a similar outrage. For one Alcetas, a Rhodian, becoming deeply enamoured of it, left upon the marble similar traces of the violence of his passion.
At Rome there are, by Praxiteles, a Flora, a Triptolemus, and a Ceres, in the Gardens of Servilius; statues of Good Success [Note] and Good Fortune, in the Capitol; as also some Mænades, [Note] and figures known as Thyiades [Note] and Caryatides; [Note]
some Sileni, [Note] to be seen in the memorial buildings of Asinius Pollio, and statues of Apollo and Neptune.
Cephisodotus, [Note] the son of Praxiteles, inherited his father's talent. There is, by him, at Pergamus, a splendid Group [Note] of Wrestlers, a work that has been highly praised, and in which the fingers have all the appearance of being impressed upon real flesh rather than upon marble. At Rome there are by him, a Latona, in the Temple of the Palatium; a Venus, in the buildings that are memorials of Asinius Pollio; and an Æsculapius, and a Diana, in the Temple of Juno situate within the Porticos of Octavia.
Scopas [Note] rivals these artists in fame: there are by him, a Venus [Note] and a Pothos, [Note] statues which are venerated at Samothrace with the most august ceremonials. He was also the sculptor of the Palatine Apollo; a Vesta seated, in the Gardens of Servilius, and represented with two Bends [Note] around her, a work that has been highly praised; two similar Bends, to be seen upon the buildings of Asinius Pollio; and some figures of Canephori [Note] in the same place. But the most highly esteemed of all his works, are those in the Temple erected by Cneius Domitius, [Note] in the Flaminian Circus; a figure of Neptune himself, a Thetis and Achilles, Nereids seated upon dolphins, cetaceous fishes, and [Note] sea-horses, [Note] Tritons, the train of Phor-
cus, [Note] whales, [Note] and numerous other sea-monsters, all by the same hand; an admirable piece of workmanship, even if it had taken a whole life to complete it. In addition to the works by him already mentioned, and others of the existence of which we are ignorant, there is still to be seen a colossal Mars of his, seated, in the Temple erected by Brutus Callæcus, [Note] also in the Flaminian Circus; as also, a naked Venus, of anterior date to that by Praxiteles, and a production that would be quite sufficient to establish the renown of any other place.
At Rome, it is true, it is quite lost sight of amid such a vast
multitude of similar works of art: and then besides, the inattention
to these matters that is induced by such vast numbers
of duties and so many items of business, quite precludes the
generality of persons from devoting their thoughts to the
subject. For, in fact, the admiration that is due to this art,
not only demands an abundance of leisure, but requires that
profound silence should reign upon the spot. Hence it is,
that the artist is now forgotten, who executed the statue of
Venus that was dedicated by the Emperor Vespasianus in his
Temple of Peace, a work well worthy of the high repute of
ancient times. With reference, too, to the Dying Children of
Niobe, in the Temple of the Sosian [Note] Apollo, there is an equal
degree of uncertainty, whether it is the work [Note]
quantity of gold that covers it. The same question, too, arises with reference to the Cupid brandishing a Thunderbolt, now to be seen in the Curia of Octavia: the only thing, in fact, that is affirmed with any degree of certainty respecting it, is, that it is a likeness of Alcibiades, who was the handsomest man of his day. There are, too, in the Schools [Note] of Octavia, many other highly attractive works, the authors of which are now unknown: four Satyrs, for example, one of which carries in his arms a Father Liber, robed in the palla; [Note] another similarly supports the Goddess Libera; [Note] a third is pacifying a child who is crying; and a fourth is giving a child some water to drink, from a cup; two Zephyrs also, who agitate their flowing drapery with their breath. No less is the uncertainty that prevails as to the authors of the statues now to be seen in the Septa; [Note] an Olympus [Note] and Pan, and a Charon and Achilles; [Note] and yet their high reputation has caused them to be deemed valuable enough for their keepers to be made answerable for their safety at the cost of their lives.
Scopas had for rivals and contemporaries, Bryaxis, [Note] Timotheus, [Note] and Leochares, [Note] artists whom we are bound to mention together, from the fact that they worked together at the Mausoleum; such being the name of the tomb that was erected by his wife Artemisia in honour of Mausolus, a petty king of Caria, who died in the second year of the hundred and seventh Olympiad. It was through the exertions of these artists more particularly, that this work came to be reckoned one of the Seven Wonders of the World. [Note] The circumference [Note] of this building is, in all, four hundred and forty feet,
and the breadth from north to south sixty-three, the two fronts [Note] being not so wide in extent. It is twenty-five cubits in height, and is surrounded with six-and-thirty columns, the outer circumference being known as the "Pteron." [Note] The east side was sculptured by Scopas, the north by Bryaxis, the south by Timotheus, and the west by Leochares; but, before their task was completed, Queen Artemisia died. [Note] They did not leave their work, however, until it was finished, considering that it was at once a memorial of their own fame and of the sculptor's art: and, to this day even, it is undecided which of them has excelled. A fifth artist also took part in the work; for above the Pteron there is a pyramid erected, equal in height to the building below, and formed of four and twenty steps, which gradually taper upwards towards the summit; a platform, crowned with a representation of a four-horse chariot by Pythis. This addition makes the total height of the work one hundred and forty feet. [Note]
There is at Rome, by Timotheus, a Diana, in the Temple of Apollo in the Palatium, the head of which has been replaced by Avianius Evander. [Note] A Hercules, too, by Menestratus, [Note] is greatly admired; and there is a Hecate of his at Ephesus, in
the Temple of Diana there, behind the sanctuary. The keepers of the temple recommend persons, when viewing it, to be careful of their eyes, so remarkably radiant is the marble. No less esteemed, too, are the statues of the Graces, [Note] in the Propylæum [Note] at Athens; the workmanship of Socrates the sculptor, a different person from the painter [Note] of that name, though identical with him in the opinion of some. As to Myron, [Note] who is so highly praised for his works in bronze, there is by him at Smyrna, An Old Woman Intoxicated, a work that is held in high estimation.
Asinius Pollio, a man of a warm and ardent temperament, was determined that the buildings which he erected as memorials of himself should be made as attractive as possible; for here we see groups representing, Nymphs carried off by Centaurs, a work of Arcesilas: [Note] the Thespiades, [Note] by Cleomenes: [Note] Oceanus and Jupiter, by Heniochus: [Note] the Appiades, [Note] by Stephanus: [Note] Hermerotes, [Note] by Tauriscus, not the chaser in silver, already [Note] mentioned, but a native of Tralles: [Note] a Jupiter Hospitalis [Note] by Papylus, a pupil of Praxiteles: Zethus and Amphion, with Dirce, the Bull, [Note] and the halter, all sculptured from a single block of
marble, the work of Apollonius and Tauriscus, and brought to
Rome from Rhodes. These two artists made it a sort of rivalry
as to their parentage, for they declared that, although Apollodorus
was their natural progenitor, Menecrates [Note] would appear to have
been their father. In the same place, too, there is a Father
Liber, [Note] by Eutychides, [Note] highly praised. Near the Portico of Octavia,
there is an Apollo, by Philiscus [Note] of Rhodes, placed in the
Temple of that God; a Latona and Diana also; the Nine Muses;
and another Apollo, without drapery. The Apollo holding the
Lyre, in the same temple, was executed by Timarchides. [Note] In
the Temple of Juno, within the Porticos of Octavia, there is
a figure of that goddess, executed by Dionysius, [Note]
By the honourable place which the work of Lysias occupies, we may see in what high esteem it was held by the late Emperor Augustus, who consecrated it in honour of his father Octavius, in the Palatium, placing it on an arch within a small
temple, adorned with columns: it is the figure of a four-horse chariot, with an Apollo and Diana, all sculptured from a single block. I find it stated, also, that the Apollo by Calamis, the chaser already [Note] mentioned, the Pugilists by Dercylides, and the statue of Callisthenes the historian, by Amphistratus, [Note] all of them now in the Gardens of Servilius, are works highly esteemed.
Beyond these, there are not many sculptors of high repute;
for, in the case of several works of very great excellence,
the number of artists that have been engaged upon them has
proved a considerable obstacle to the fame of each, no individual
being able to engross the whole of the credit, and it being
impossible to award it in due proportion to the names of the
several artists combined. Such is the case with the Laocoön,
for example, in the palace of the Emperor Titus, a work that
may be looked upon as preferable to any other production of
the art of painting or of statuary. It is sculptured from a single
block, both the main figure as well as the children, and the serpents with their marvellous folds. This group was made in concert by three most eminent artists, [Note]
with Pythodorus, of Polydeuces with Hermoläus, and of another Pythodorus with Artemon; some of the statues, also, are by Aphrodisius of Tralles, who worked alone. The Pantheon of Agrippa has been decorated by Diogenes of Athens, and the Caryatides, by him, which form the columns of that temple, are looked upon as master-pieces of excellence: the same, too, with the statues that are placed upon the roof, though, in consequence of the height, they have not had an opportunity of being so well appreciated.
Without glory, and excluded from every temple, is the statue of Hercules, [Note] in honour of whom the Carthaginians were accustomed to sacrifice human victims every year: it stands upon the ground before the entrance of the Portico of the Nations. [Note] There were erected, too, near the Temple of Felicity, the statues of the Thespian [Note] Muses; of one of which, according to Varro, Junius Pisciculus, a Roman of equestrian rank, became enamoured. Pasiteles, [Note] too, speaks in terms of high admiration of them, the artist who wrote five Books on the most celebrated works throughout the world. Born upon the Grecian [Note] shores of Italy, and presented with the Roman citizenship granted to the cities of those parts, Pasiteles constructed the ivory statue of Jupiter which is now in the Temple of Metellus, [Note] on the road to the Campus Martius. It so happened, that being one day at the Docks, [Note] where there were some wild beasts from Africa, while he was viewing through the bars of a cage a lion which he was engaged in drawing, a panther made its escape from another cage, to the no small danger of this most careful artist. He executed many other works, it is said, but we do not find the names of them specifically mentioned.
Arcesilaüs, [Note] also, is an artist highly extolled by Varro; who states that he had in his possession a Lioness in marble of his, and Winged Cupids playing with it, some holding it with cords, and others making it drink from a horn, the whole sculptured from a single block: he says, also, that the fourteen figures around the Theatre of Pompeius, [Note] representing different Nations, are the work of Coponius.
I find it stated that Canachus, [Note] an artist highly praised among the statuaries in bronze, executed some works also in marble. Saurus, [Note] too, and Batrachus must not be forgotten, Lacedæmonians by birth, who built the temples [Note] enclosed by the Porticos of Octavia. Some are of opinion that these artists were very wealthy men, and that they erected these buildings at their own expense, expecting to be allowed to inscribe their names thereon; but that, this indulgence being refused them, they adopted another method of attaining their object. At all events, there are still to be seen, at the present day, on the spirals [Note] of the columns, the figures of a lizard and a frog, [Note] emblematical of their names. In the Temple of Jupiter by the same artists, the paintings, as well as all the other ornaments, bear reference to the worship of a goddess. The [Note] fact is, that when the temple of Juno was completed, the porters, as it is said, who were entrusted with the carriage of the statues, made an exchange of them; and, on religious grounds, the mistake was left uncorrected, from an impression that it had been by the intervention of the divinities themselves, that this seat of worship had been thus shared between them. Hence it is that we see in the Temple of Juno, also, the ornaments which properly pertain to the worship of Jupiter.
Some minute works in marble have also gained reputation for their artists: by Myrmecides, [Note] there was a four-horse chariot, so small that it could be covered, driver and all, by the wings of a fly; and by Callicrates, [Note] some ants, in marble, the feet and other limbs of which were so fine as to escape the sight.
This must suffice for the sculptors in marble, and the works that have gained the highest repute; with reference to which subject it occurs to me to remark, that spotted marbles were not then in fashion. In making their statues, these artists used the marble of Thasos also, [Note] one of the Cyclades, and of Lesbos, this last being rather more livid than the other. The poet Menander, in fact, who was a very careful enquirer into all matters of luxury, is the first who has spoken, and that but rarely, of variegated marbles, and, indeed, of the employment of marble in general. Columns of this material were at first employed in temples, not on grounds of superior elegance, (for that was not thought of, as yet), but because no material could be found of a more substantial nature. It was under these circumstances, that the Temple [Note] of the Olympian Jupiter was commenced at Athens, the columns of which were brought by Sylla to Rome, for the buildings in the Capitol.
Still, however, there had been a distinction drawn between ordinary stone and marble, in the days of Homer even. The poet speaks in one passage of a person [Note] being struck down with a huge mass of marble; but that is all; and when he describes the abodes of royalty adorned with every elegance, besides brass, gold, electrum, [Note] and silver, he only mentions ivory. Variegated marbles, in my opinion, were first discovered in the quarries of Chios, when the inhabitants were building the walls of their city; a circumstance which gave rise to a facetious repartee on the part of M. Cicero. It being the practice with them to show these walls to everybody, as
something magnificent; "I should admire them much more," said he, "if you had built them of the stone used at Tibur." [Note] And, by Hercules! the art of painting [Note] never would have been held in such esteem, or, indeed, in any esteem at all, if variegated marbles had been held in admiration.
I am not sure whether the art of cutting marble into slabs, is not an invention for which we are indebted to the people of Caria. The most ancient instance of this practice, so far as I know of, is found in the palace of Mausolus, at Halicarnassus, the walls of which, in brick, are covered with marble of Proconnesus. Mausolus died in the second year of the hundred and seventh [Note] Olympiad, being the year of Rome, 403.
The first person at Rome who covered the whole of the walls of his house with marble, according to Cornelius Nepos, [Note] was Mamurra, [Note] who dwelt upon the Cælian Hill, a member of the equestrian order, and a native of Formiæ, who had been præfect of the engineers under C. Cæsar in Gaul. Such was the individual, that nothing may be wanting to the indignity of the example, who first adopted this practice; the same Mamurra, in fact, who has been so torn to pieces in the verses of Catullus of Verona. Indeed, his own house proclaimed more loudly than Catullus could proclaim it, that he had come into possession of all that Gallia Comata had had to possess.
M. Lepidus, who was consul with Q. Catulus, was the first to have the lintels of his house made of Numidian marble, a thing for which he was greatly censured: he was consul in the year of Rome, 676. This is the earliest instance that I can find of the introduction of Numidian marble; not in the form of pillars, however, or of slabs, as was the case with the marble of Carystus, above-mentioned, but in blocks, and that too, for the comparatively ignoble purpose of making the thresholds of doors. Four years after this Lepidus, L. Lucullus was consul; the same person who gave its name, it is very evident, to the Lucullan marble; for, taking a great fancy to it, he introduced it at Rome. While other kinds of marble are valued for their spots or their colours, this marble is entirely black. [Note] It is found in the island of Melos, [Note] and is pretty nearly the only marble that has taken its name from the person who first introduced it. Among these personages, Scaurus, in my opinion, was the first to build a theatre with walls of marble: but whether they were only coated with slabs of marble or were made of solid blocks highly polished, such as we now see in the Temple of Jupiter Tonans, [Note] in the Capitol, I cannot exactly say: for, up to this period, I cannot find any vestiges of the use of marble slabs in Italy.
But whoever it was that first invented the art of thus cutting marble, and so multiplying the appliances of luxury, he displayed considerable ingenuity, though to little purpose. This
division, though apparently effected by the aid of iron, is in reality effected by sand; the saw acting only by pressing upon the sand within a very fine cleft in the stone, as it is moved to and fro.
The [Note] sand of Æthiopia is the most highly esteemed for this purpose; for, to add to the trouble that is entailed, we have to send to Æthiopia for the purpose of preparing our marble—aye, and as far as India even; whereas in former times, the severity of the Roman manners thought it beneath them to repair thither in search of such costly things even as pearls! This Indian sand is held in the next highest degree of estimation, the Æthiopian being of a softer nature, and better adapted for dividing the stone without leaving any roughness on the surface; whereas the sand from India does not leave so smooth a face upon it. Still, however, for polishing marble, we find it recommended [Note] to rub it with Indian sand calcined. The sand of Naxos has the same defect; as also that from Coptos, generally known as "Egyptian" sand.
The above were the several varieties of sand used by the ancients in dividing marble. More recently, a sand has been discovered that is equally approved of for this purpose; in a certain creek of the Adriatic Sea, which is left dry at low water only; a thing that renders it not very easy to be found. At the present day, however, the fraudulent tendencies of our workers in marble have emboldened them to use any kind of river-sand for the purpose; a mischief which very few employers rightly appreciate. For, the coarser the sand, the wider is the division made in the stone, the greater the quantity of material consumed, and the more extensive the labour required for polishing the rough surface that is left; a result of which is that the slabs lose so much more in thickness. For giving the last polish to marble, [Note] Thebaic stone [Note] is considered well adapted, as also porous stone, or pumice, powdered fine.
For polishing marble statues, as also for cutting and giving a polish to precious stones, the preference was long given to the stone of Naxos, [Note] such being the name of a kind of touchstone [Note] that is found in the Isle of Cyprus. More recently, however, the stones imported from Armenia for this purpose have displaced those of Naxos.
The marbles are too well known to make it necessary for me to enumerate their several colours and varieties; and, indeed, so numerous are they, that it would be no easy task to do so. For what place is there, in fact, that has not a marble of its own? In addition to which, in our description of the earth and its various peoples, [Note] we have already made it our care to mention the more celebrated kinds of marble. Still, however, they are not all of them produced from quarries, but in many instances lie scattered just beneath the surface of the earth; some of them the most precious even, the green Lace-dæmonian marble, for example, more brilliant in colour than any other; the Augustan also; and, more recently, the Tiberian; which were first discovered, in the reigns respectively of Augustus and Tiberius, in Egypt. These two marbles differ from ophites [Note] in the circumstance that the latter is marked with streaks which resemble serpents [Note] in appearance, whence its name. There is also this difference between the two marbles themselves, in the arrangement of their spots: the Augustan marble has them undulated and curling to a point; whereas in the Tiberian the streaks are white, [Note] not involved, but lying wide asunder.
Of ophites, there are only some very small pillars known to have been made. There are two varieties of it, one white and soft, the other inclining to black, and hard. Both kinds, it is said, worn as an amulet, are a cure for head-ache, and for
wounds inflicted by serpents. [Note] Some, too, recommend the white ophites as an amulet for phrenitis and lethargy. As a counter-poison to serpents, some persons speak more particularly in praise of the ophites that is known as "tephrias," [Note] from its ashy colour. There is also a marble known as "memphites," from the place [Note] where it is found, and of a nature somewhat analogous to the precious stones. For medicinal purposes, it is triturated and applied in the form of a liniment, with vinegar, to such parts of the body as require cauterizing or incision; the flesh becoming quite benumbed, and thereby rendered insensible to pain.
Porphyrites, [Note] which is another production of Egypt, is of a red colour: the kind that is mottled with white blotches is known as "leptospsephos." [Note] The quarries there are able to furnish blocks [Note] of any dimensions, however large. Vitrasius Pollio, who was steward [Note] in Egypt for the Emperor Claudius, brought to Rome from Egypt some statues made of this stone; a novelty which was not very highly approved of, as no one has since followed his example. The Egyptians, too, have discovered in Æthiopia the stone known as "basanites;" [Note] which in colour and hardness resembles iron, whence the name [Note] that has been given to it. A larger block of it has never been known than the one forming the group which has been dedicated by the Emperor Vespasianus Augustus in the Temple of Peace. It represents the river Nilus with sixteen children sporting around it, [Note] symbolical of the sixteen cubits, the extreme height [Note] to which, in the most favourable seasons, that river should rise. It is stated, too, that in the Temple of Serapis at Thebes, there is a block not unlike it, which forms the statue of Memnon [Note] there; remarkable, it is said, for
emitting a sound each morning when first touched by the rays of the rising sun.
Our forefathers imagined that onyx [Note] was only to be found in the mountains of Arabia, and nowhere else; but Sudines [Note] was aware that it is also found in Carmania. [Note] Drinking-vessels were made of it at first, and then the feet of beds and chairs. Cornelius Nepos relates that great was the astonishment, when P. Lentulus Spinther exhibited amphoræ made of this material, as large as Chian wine-vessels in size; "and yet, five years after," says he, "I saw columns of this material, no less than two-and-thirty feet in height." At a more recent period again, some change took place [Note] with reference to this stone; for four [Note] small pillars of it were erected by Cornelius Balbus in his Theatre [Note] as something quite marvellous: and I myself have seen thirty columns, of larger size, in the banquetting-room which Callistus [Note] erected, the freedman of Claudius, so well known for the influence which he possessed.
(8.) This [Note] stone is called "alabastrites" [Note] by some, and is hollowed out into vessels for holding unguents, it having the reputation of preserving them from corruption [Note] better than anything else. In a calcined state, it is a good ingredient for
plaisters. [Note] It is found in the vicinity of Thebes in Egypt and of Damascus in Syria, that of Damascus being whiter than the others. The most esteemed kind, however, is that of Carmania, the next being the produce of India, and then, those of Syria and Asia. The worst in quality is that of Cappadocia, it being utterly destitute of lustre. That which is of a honey colour is the most esteemed, covered with spots curling in whirls, [Note] and not transparent. Alabastrites is considered defective, when it is of a white or horn colour, or approaching to glass in appearance.
Little inferior to it for the preservation of unguents, in the opinion of many, is the stone, called "lygdinus," [Note] that is found in Paros, and never of a larger size than to admit of a dish or goblet being made of it. In former times, it was only imported from Arabia, being remarkable for its extreme whiteness.
Great value is placed also upon two other kinds of stone, of quite a contrary nature; corallitic [Note] stone, found in Asia, in blocks not more than two cubits in thickness, and of a white some-what approaching that of ivory, and in some degree resembling it; and Alabandic stone, which, on the other hand, is black, and is so called from the district [Note] which produces it: though
it is also to be found at Miletus, where, however, it verges somewhat more upon the purple. It admits of being melted by the action of fire, and is fused for the preparation of glass.
Thebaic stone, which is sprinkled all over with spots like gold, is found in Africa, on the side of it which lies adjacent to Egypt; the small hones which it supplies being peculiarly adapted, from their natural properties, for grinding the ingredients used in preparations for the eyes. In the neighbourhood of Syene, too, in Thebais, there is a stone found that is now known as "syenites," [Note] but was formerly called "pyrrhopœcilon." [Note]
Monarchs, too, have entered into a sort of rivalry with one another in forming elongated blocks of this stone, known as "obelisks," [Note] and consecrated to the divinity of the Sun. The blocks had this form given to them in resemblance to the rays of that luminary, which are so called [Note] in the Egyptian language.
Mesphres, [Note] who reigned in the City of the Sun, [Note] was the first who erected one of these obelisks, being warned to do so in a dream: indeed, there is an inscription upon the obelisk to this effect; for the sculptures and figures which we still see engraved thereon are no other than Egyptian letters. [Note]
reigning at the time of the capture of Troy, erected one, a
hundred and forty cubits high. Having quitted the spot
where the palace of Mnevis [Note] stood, this monarch erected
another obelisk, [Note]
There are also two other obelisks, one of them erected by Zmarres, [Note] and the other by Phius; [Note] both of them without inscriptions, and forty-eight cubits in height. Ptolemæus Philadelphus had one erected at Alexandria, eighty cubits high, which had been prepared by order of King Necthebis: [Note] it was without any inscription, and cost far more trouble in its carriage and elevation, than had been originally expended in quarrying it. Some writers inform us that it was conveyed on a raft, under the inspection of the architect Satyrus; but Callixenus [Note] gives the name of Phœnix. For this pur-
pose, a canal was dug from the river Nilus to the spot where the obelisk lay; and two broad vessels, laden with blocks of similar stone a foot square, the cargo of each amounting to double the size, and consequently double the weight, of the obelisk, were brought beneath it; the extremities of the obelisk remaining supported by the opposite sides of the canal. The blocks of stone were then removed, and the vessels, being thus gradually lightened, received their burden. It was erected upon a basis of six square blocks, quarried from the same mountain, and the artist was rewarded with the sum of fifty talents. [Note] This obelisk was placed by the king abovementioned in the Arsinoœum, [Note] in testimony of his affection for his wife and sister Arsinoë. At a later period, as it was found to be an inconvenience to the docks, Maximus, the then præfect of Egypt, had it transferred to the Forum there, after removing the summit for the purpose of substituting a gilded point; an intention which was ultimately abandoned.
There are two other obelisks, which were in Cæsar's Temple at Alexandria, near the harbour there, forty-two cubits in height, and originally hewn by order of King Mesphres. But the most difficult enterprise of all, was the carriage of these obelisks by sea to Rome, in vessels which excited the greatest admiration. Indeed, the late Emperor Augustus consecrated the one which brought over the first obelisk, as a lasting memorial of this marvellous undertaking, in the docks at Puteoli; but it was destroyed by fire. As to the one in which, by order of the Emperor Caius, [Note] the other obelisk had been transported to Rome, after having been preserved for some years and looked upon as the most wonderful construction ever beheld upon the seas, it was brought to Ostia, by order of the late Emperor Claudius; and towers of Puteolan [Note] earth being first erected upon it, it was sunk for the construction of the harbour which he was making there. And then, besides, there was the necessity of constructing other vessels to carry these obelisks up the Tiber; by which it became practically ascer-
tained, that the depth of water in that river is not less than that of the river Nilus.
The obelisk that was erected by the late Emperor Augustus in the Great Circus, [Note] was originally quarried by order of King Semenpserteus, [Note] in whose reign it was that Pythagoras [Note] visited Egypt. It is eighty-five feet [Note] and three quarters in height, exclusive of the base, which is a part of the same stone. The one that he erected in the Campus Martius, is nine feet less in height, and was originally made by order of Sesothis. They are both of them covered with inscriptions, which interpret the operations of Nature according to the philosophy of the Egyptians.
The one that has been erected in the Campus Martius [Note] has been applied to a singular purpose by the late Emperor Augustus; that of marking the shadows projected by the sun, and so measuring the length of the days and nights. With this object, a stone pavement was laid, the extreme length of which corresponded exactly with the length of the shadow thrown by the obelisk at the sixth hour [Note] on the day of the winter solstice. After this period, the shadow would go on, day by day, gradually decreasing, and then again [Note] would as gradually increase, correspondingly with certain lines of brass that were inserted in the stone; a device well deserving to be known, and due to the ingenuity of Facundus Novus, the mathematician. Upon the apex of the obelisk he placed a gilded ball in order that the shadow of the summit might be con-
densed and agglomerated, and so prevent the shadow of the apex itself from running to a fine point of enormous extent; the plan being first suggested to him, it is said, by the shadow that is projected by the human head. For nearly the last thirty years, however, the observations derived from this dial have been found not to agree: whether it is that the sun itself has changed its course in consequence of some derangement of the heavenly system; or whether that the whole earth has been in some degree displaced from its centre, a thing that, I have heard say, has been. remarked in other places as well; or whether that some earthquake, confined to this city only, has wrenched the dial from its original position; or whether it is that in consequence of the inundations of the Tiber, the foundations of the mass have subsided, in spite of the general assertion that they are sunk as deep into the earth as the obelisk erected upon them is high.
(11.) The third [Note] obelisk [Note] at Rome is in the Vaticanian [Note] Circus, which was constructed by the Emperors Caius [Note] and Nero; this being the only one of them all that has been broken in the carriage. Nuncoreus, [Note] the son of Sesoses, made it: and there remains [Note] another by him, one hundred cubits in height, which, by order of an oracle, he consecrated to the Sun, after having lost his sight and recovered it.
We must make some mention, too, however cursorily, of the Pyramids of Egypt, so many idle [Note] and frivolous pieces of ostentation of their resources, on the part of the monarchs of that country. Indeed, it is asserted by most persons, that the only motive for constructing them, was either a determination not to leave their treasures to their successors or to rivals that
might be plotting to supplant them, or to prevent the lower classes from remaining unoccupied. There was great vanity displayed by these men in constructions of this description, and there are still the remains of many of them in an unfinished state. There is one to be seen in the Nome of Arsinoïtes; [Note] two in that of Memphites, not far from the Labyrinth, of which we shall shortly have to speak; [Note] and two in the place where Lake Mœris [Note] was excavated, an immense artificial piece of water, cited by the Egyptians among their wondrous and memorable works: the summits of the pyramids, it is said, are to be seen above the water.
The other three pyramids, the renown of which has filled the whole earth, and which are conspicuous from every quarter to persons navigating the river, are situate on the African [Note] side of it, upon a rocky sterile elevation. They lie between the city of Memphis and what we have mentioned [Note] as the Delta, within four miles of the river, and seven miles and a-half from Memphis, near a village known as Busiris, the people of which are in the habit of ascending them.
In front of these pyramids is the Sphinx, [Note] a still more wondrous object of art, but one upon which silence has been observed, as it is looked upon as a divinity by the people of the neighbourhood. It is their belief that King Harmaïs was buried in it, and they will have it that it was brought there from a distance. The truth is, however, that it was hewn from the solid rock; and, from a feeling of veneration, the face of the monster is coloured red. The circumference of the head, measured round the forehead, is one hundred and two feet, the length of the feet being one hundred and forty-three, and the
height, from the belly to the summit of the asp on the head, sixty-two. [Note]
The largest [Note] Pyramid is built of stone quarried in Arabia: three hundred and sixty thousand men, it is said, were employed upon it twenty years, and the three were completed in seventy-eight years and four months. They are described by the following writers: Herodotus, [Note] Euhemerus, Duris of Samos, Aristagoras, Dionysius, Artemidorus, Alexander Polyhistor, Butoridas, Antisthenes, Demetrius, Demoteles, and Apion. These authors, however, are disagreed as to the persons by whom they were constructed; accident having, with very considerable justice, consigned to oblivion the names of those who erected such stupendous memorials of their vanity. Some of these writers inform us that fifteen hundred talents were expended upon radishes, garlic, and onions [Note] alone.
The largest Pyramid occupies seven [Note] jugera of ground, and the four angles are equidistant, the face of each side being eight hundred and thirty-three [Note] feet in length. The total height from the ground to the summit is seven hundred and twenty-five feet, and the platform on the summit is sixteen feet and a-half in circuit. Of the second Pyramid, the faces of the four sides are each seven hundred and fifty-seven feet and a-half in length. [Note] The third is smaller than the others, but far more prepossessing in appearance: it is built of Æthiopian stone, [Note]
and the face between the four corners is three hundred and sixty-three feet in extent. In the vicinity of these erections, there are no vestiges of any buildings left. Far and wide there is nothing but sand to be seen, of a grain somewhat like a lentil in appearance, similar to that of the greater part of Africa, in fact.
The most difficult problem is, to know how the materials for construction could possibly be carried to so vast a height. According to some authorities, as the building gradually advanced, they heaped up against it vast mounds of nitre [Note] and salt; which piles were melted after its completion, by introducing beneath them the waters of the river. Others, again, maintain, that bridges were constructed, of bricks of clay, and that, when the pyramid was completed, these bricks were distributed for erecting the houses of private individuals. For [Note] the level of the river, they say, being so much lower, water could never by any possibility have been brought there by the medium of canals. In the interior of the largest Pyramid there is a well, eighty-six cubits deep, which communicates with the river, it is thought. The method of ascertaining the height of the Pyramids and all similar edifices was discovered [Note] by Thales of Miletus; he measuring the shadow at the hour of the day at which it is equal in length to the body projecting it.
Such are the marvellous Pyramids; but the crowning marvel of all is, that the smallest, but most admired of them—that we may feel no surprise at the opulence of the kings—was built by Rhodopis, [Note] a courtesan! This woman was once the fellow-slave of Æsopus the philosopher and fabulist, and the sharer
of his bed; but what is much more surprising is, that a courtesan should have been enabled, by her vocation, to amass such enormous wealth.
There is another building, too, that is highly celebrated; the tower that was built by a king of Egypt, on the island of Pharos, at the entrance to the [Note] harbour of Alexandria. The cost of its erection was eight hundred talents, they say; and, not to omit the magnanimity that was shown by King Ptolemæus [Note] on this occasion, he gave permission to the architect, Sostratus [Note] of Cnidos, to inscribe his name upon the edifice itself. The object of it is, by the light of its fires at night, to give warning to ships, of the neighbouring shoals, and to point out to them the entrance of the harbour. At the present day, there are similar fires lighted up in numerous places, Ostia and Ravenna, for example. The only danger [Note] is, that when these fires are thus kept burning without intermission, they may be mistaken for stars, the flames having very much that appearance at a distance. This architect 'is the first person that built a promenade upon arches; at Cnidos, it is said.
We must speak also of the Labyrinths, the most stupendous works, perhaps, on which mankind has expended its labours; and not for chimerical purposes, merely, as might possibly be supposed.
There is still in Egypt, in the Nome of Heracleopolites, [Note] a labyrinth, [Note] which was the first constructed, three thousand six hundred years ago, they say, by King Petesuchis or Tithöes: although, according to Herodotus, the entire work was the production of no less than twelve kings, the last of
whom was Psammetichus. As to the purpose for which it was built, there are various opinions: Demoteles says that it was the palace of King Moteris, and Lyceas that it was the tomb of Mœris, while many others assert that it was a building consecrated to the Sun, an opinion which mostly prevails.
That Dædalus took this for the model of the Labyrinth which he constructed in Crete, there can be no doubt; though he only reproduced the hundredth part of it, that portion, namely, which encloses circuitous passages, windings, and inextricable galleries which lead to and fro. We must not, comparing this last to what we see delineated on our mosaic pavements, or to the mazes [Note] formed in the fields for the amusement of children, suppose it to be a narrow promenade along which we may walk for many miles together; but we must picture to ourselves a building filled with numerous doors, and galleries which continually mislead the visitor, bringing him back, after all his wanderings, to the spot from which he first set out. This [Note] Labyrinth is the second, that of Egypt being the first. There is a third in the Isle of Lemnos, and a fourth in Italy.
They are all of them covered with arched roofs of polished stone; at the entrance, too, of the Egyptian Labyrinth, a thing that surprises me, the building is constructed of Parian marble, while throughout the other parts of it the columns are of syenites. [Note] With such solidity is this huge mass constructed, that the lapse of ages has been totally unable to destroy it, seconded as it has been by the people of Heracleopolites, who have marvellously ravaged a work which they have always held in abhorrence. To detail the position of this work and the various portions of it is quite impossible, it being sub-
divided into regions and præfectures, which are styled nomes, [Note] thirty in number, with a vast palace assigned to each. In addition to these, it should contain temples of all the gods of Egypt, and forty statues of Nemesis [Note] in as many sacred shrines; besides numerous pyramids, forty ells [Note] in height, and covering six aruræ [Note] at the base. Fatigued with wandering to and fro, the visitor is sure to arrive at some inextricable crossing or other of the galleries. And then, too, there are banquetting rooms situate at the summit of steep ascents; porticos from which we descend by flights of ninety steps; columns in the interior, made of porphyrites; [Note] figures of gods; statues of kings; and effigies of hideous monsters. Some of the palaces are so peculiarly constructed, that the moment the doors are opened a dreadful sound like that of thunder reverberates within: the greater part, too, of these edifices have to be traversed in total darkness. Then again, without the walls of the Labyrinth, there rises another mass of buildings known as the "Pteron;" [Note] beneath which there are passages excavated leading to other subterranean palaces. One person, and only one, has made some slight repairs to the Labyrinth; Chæremon, [Note] an eunuch of King Necthebis, who lived five hundred years before the time of Alexander the Great. It is asserted, also, that while the arched roofs of squared stone were being raised, he had them supported by beams of thorn [Note] boiled in oil.
As for the Cretan Labyrinth, what I have already stated must suffice for that. The Labyrinth of Lemnos [Note] is similar to it, only that it is rendered more imposing by its hundred and fifty columns; the shafts of which, when in the stone-yard, were so nicely balanced, that a child was able to manage the wheel of the lathe in turning them. The archi-
tects were, Smilis, [Note] Rhœcus, [Note] and Theodorus, natives of the island, and there are still in existence some remains of it; whereas of the Cretan Labyrinth and of that in Italy not a vestige is left.
As to this last, which Porsena, King of Etruria, erected as his intended sepulchre, it is only proper that I should make some mention of it, if only to show that the vanity displayed by foreign monarchs, great as it is, has been surpassed. But as the fabulousness of the story connected with it quite exceeds all bounds, I shall employ the words given by M. Varro himself in his account of it:—"Porsena was buried," says he, "beneath the city of Clusium; [Note] in the spot where he had had constructed a square monument, built of squared stone. Each side of this monument was three hundred feet in length and fifty in height, and beneath the base, which was also square, there was an inextricable labyrinth, into which if any one entered without a clew of thread, he could never find his way out. Above this square building there stand five pyramids, one at each corner, and one in the middle, seventy-five feet broad at the base, and one hundred and fifty feet in height. These pyramids are so tapering in their form, that upon the summit of all of them united there rests a brazen globe, and upon that a petasus; [Note] from which there hang, suspended by chains, bells, which make a tinkling when agitated by the wind, like what was done at Dodona [Note] in former times. Upon this globe there are four other pyramids, each one hundred feet in height; and above them is a single platform, on which there are five more pyramids," [Note]—the height of which Varro has evidently felt ashamed to add; but, according to the Etruscan fables, it was equal to that of the rest of the building. What
downright madness this, to attempt to seek glory at an outlay which can never be of utility to any one; to say nothing of exhausting the resources of the kingdom, and after all, that the artist may reap the greater share of the praise!
We read, too, of hanging gardens, [Note] and what is even more than this, a hanging city, [Note] Thebes in Egypt: it being the practice for the kings to lead forth their armies from beneath, while the inhabitants were totally unconscious of it. This, too, is even less surprising than the fact that a river flows through the middle of the city. If, however, all this had really been the case, there is no doubt that Homer would have mentioned it, he who has celebrated the hundred gates of Thebes.
The most wonderful monument of Græcian magnificence, and one that merits our genuine admiration, is the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, which took one hundred and twenty years in building, a work in which all Asia [Note] joined. A marshy soil was selected for its site, in order that it might not suffer from earthquakes, or the chasms which they produce. On the other hand, again, that the foundations of so vast a pile might not have to rest upon a loose and shifting bed, layers of trodden charcoal were placed beneath, with fleeces [Note] covered with wool upon the top of them. The entire length of the temple is four hundred and twenty-five feet, and the breadth two hundred and twenty-five. The columns are one hundred and twenty-seven in number, and sixty feet in height, each of them presented by a different king. Thirty-six of these columns are carved, and one of them by the hand of Scopas. [Note] Chersiphron [Note] was the architect who presided over the work.
The great marvel in this building is, how such ponderous Architraves [Note] could possibly have been raised to so great a height. This, however, the architect effected by means of bags filled with sand, which he piled up upon an inclined plane until they reached beyond the capitals of the columns; then, as he gradually emptied the lower bags, the architraves [Note] insensibly settled in the places assigned them. But the greatest difficulty of all was found, in laying the lintel which he placed over the entrance-doors. It was an enormous mass of stone, and by no possibility could it be brought to lie level upon the jambs which formed its bed; in consequence of which, the architect was driven to such a state of anxiety and desperation as to contemplate suicide. Wearied and quite worn out by such thoughts as these, during the night, they say, he beheld in a dream the goddess in honour of whom the temple was being erected; who exhorted him to live on, for that she herself had placed the stone in its proper position. And such, in fact, next morning, was found to be the case, the stone apparently having come to the proper level by dint of its own weight. The other decorations of this work would suffice to fill many volumes, but they do not tend in any way to illustrate the works of Nature.
There still exists, too, at Cyzicus, [Note] a temple of polished stone, between all the joints of which the artist has inserted a thread of gold; it being his intention to erect an ivory statue of Jupiter within, with Apollo in marble crowning him. The result is, that the interstices quite glisten with their fine, hair-like threads; and the reflection of the gold, obscured as it is, gently falling upon the statues, besides proclaiming the genius of the artist, heightens their effect, and so teaches us to appreciate the costliness of the work.
In the same city also, there is a stone, known as the "Fugi-
tive Stone;" [Note] the Argonautæ, who used it for the purposes of an anchor, having left it there. This stone having repeatedly taken flight from the Prytanæum, [Note] the place so called where it is kept, it has been fastened down with lead. In this city also, near the gate which is known as the "Trachia," [Note] there are seven towers, which repeat a number of times all sounds that are uttered in them. This phenomenon, to which the name of "Echo," has been given by the Greeks, depends upon the peculiar conformation of localities, and is produced in valleys more particularly. At Cyzicus, however, it is the effect of accident only; while at Olympia, it is produced by artificial means, and in a very marvellous manner; in a portico there, which is known as the "Heptaphonon," [Note] from the circumstance that it returns the sound of the voice seven times.
At Cyzicus, also, is the Buleuterium, [Note] a vast edifice, constructed without a nail of iron; the raftering being so contrived as to admit of the beams being removed and replaced without the use of stays. A similar thing, too, is the case with the Sublician Bridge [Note] at Rome; and this by enactment, on religious grounds, there having been such difficulty experienced in breaking it down when Horatius Cocles [Note] defended it.
But it is now time to pass on to the marvels in building displayed by our own City, and to make some enquiry into the resources and experience that we have gained in the lapse of eight hundred years; and so prove that here, as well, the rest of
the world has been outdone by us: a thing which will appear, in fact, to have occurred almost as many times as the marvels are in number which I shall have to enumerate. If, indeed, all the buildings of our City are considered in the aggregate, and supposing them, so to say, all thrown together in one vast mass, the united grandeur of them would lead one to suppose that we were describing another world, accumulated in a single spot.
Not to mention among our great works, the Circus Maximus,
that was constructed by the Dictator Cæsar, one stadium
in width and three in length, and occupying, with the adjacent
buildings, no less than four jugera, with room for two
hundred and sixty thousand spectators seated; am I not to
include in the number of our magnificent constructions, the
Basilica of Paulus, [Note]
We behold with admiration pyramids that were built by kings, when the very ground alone, that was purchased by the Dictator Cæsar, for the construction of his Forum, cost one hundred millions of sesterces! If, too, an enormous expenditure has its attractions for any one whose mind is influenced by monetary considerations, be it known to him that the house in which Clodius dwelt, who was slain by Milo, was purchased by him at the price of fourteen million eight hundred thousand sesterces! a thing that, for my part, I look upon as no less astounding than the monstrous follies that have been displayed by kings. And then, as to Milo himself, the sums in which he was indebted, amounted to no less than seventy mil-
lions of sesterces; a state of things, to be considered, in my opinion, as one of the most portentous phænomena in the history of the human mind. But it was in those days, too, that old men still spoke in admiration of the vast proportions of the Agger, [Note] and of the enormous foundations of the Capitol; of the public sewers, too, a work more stupendous than any; as mountains had to be pierced for their construction, and, like the hanging city [Note] which we recently mentioned, navigation had to be carried on beneath Rome; an event which happened in the ædileship [Note] of M. Agrippa, after he had filled the office of consul.
For this purpose, there are seven rivers, made, by artificial channels, to flow beneath the city. Rushing onward, like so many impetuous torrents, they are compelled to carry off and sweep away all the sewerage; and swollen as they are by the vast accession of the pluvial waters, they reverberate against the sides and bottom of their channels. Occasionally, too, the Tiber, overflowing, is thrown backward in its course, and discharges itself by these outlets: obstinate is the contest that ensues within between the meeting tides, but so firm and solid is the masonry, that it is enabled to offer an effectual resistance. Enormous as are the accumulations that are carried along above, the work of the channels never gives way. Houses falling spontaneously to ruins, or levelled with the ground by conflagrations, are continually battering against them; the ground, too, is shaken by earthquakes every now and then; and yet, built as they were in the days of Tarquinius Priscus, seven hundred years ago, these constructions have survived, all but unharmed. We must not omit, too, to mention one remarkable circumstance, and all the more remarkable from the fact, that the most celebrated historians have omitted to mention it. Tarquinius Priscus having commenced the sewers, and set the lower classes to work upon them, the laboriousness and prolonged duration of the employment became equally an object of dread to them; and the consequence was, that suicide was a thing of common occurrence, the
citizens adopting this method of escaping their troubles. For this evil, however, the king devised a singular remedy, and one that has never [Note] been resorted to either before that time or since: for he ordered the bodies of all who had been thus guilty of self-destruction, to be fastened to a cross, and left there as a spectacle to their fellow - citizens and a prey to birds and wild beasts. The result was, that that sense of propriety which so peculiarly attaches itself to the Roman name, and which more than once has gained a victory when the battle was all but lost, came to the rescue on this occasion as well; though for this once, the Romans were in reality its dupes, as they forgot that, though they felt shocked at the thoughts of such ignominy while alive, they would be quite insensible to any such disgrace when dead. It is said that Tarquinius made these sewers of dimensions sufficiently large to admit of a waggon laden with hay passing along them.
All that we have just described, however, is but trifling when placed in comparison with one marvellous fact, which I must not omit to mention before I pass on to other subjects. In the consulship [Note] of M. Lepidus and Q. Catulus, there was not at Rome, as we learn from the most trustworthy authors, a finer house than the one which belonged to Lepidus himself: and yet, by Hercules! within five-and-thirty years from that period, the very same house did not hold the hundredth rank even in the City! Let a person, if he will, in taking this fact into consideration, only calculate the vast masses of marble, the productions of painters, the regal treasures that must have been expended, in bringing these hundred mansions to vie with one that had been in its day the most sumptuous and the most celebrated in all the City; and then let him reflect how that, since that period, and down to the present time, these houses have all of them been surpassed by others without number. There can be no doubt that conflagrations are a punishment inflicted upon us for our luxury; but such are our habits, that in spite of such warnings as these, we cannot be made to understand that there are things in existence more perishable even than man himself.
But there are still two other mansions by which all these edifices have been eclipsed. Twice have we seen the whole
City environed by the palaces of the Emperors Caius [Note] and Nero; that of the last, that nothing might be wanting to its magnificence, being coated with gold. [Note] Surely such palaces as these must have been intended for the abode of those who created this mighty empire, and who left the plough or their native hearth to go forth to conquer nations, and to return laden with triumphs! men, in fact, whose very fields even occupied less space than the audience-chambers [Note] of these palaces.
Indeed, one cannot but help reflecting how trifling a portion of these palaces was equal to the sites which the republic granted to its invincible generals, for the erection of their dwellings. The supreme honour, too, attendant upon these grants—as in the case of P. Valerius Publicola, the first consul with L. Brutus, for his many meritorious services; and of his brother, who twice in one consulship defeated the Sabines—was the permission granted, by the terms of the decree, to have the doors of their houses opening from without, and the gates thrown back upon the public street. Such was the most distinguished privilege accorded in those days to triumphal mansions even!
I will not permit, however, these two Caiuses, [Note] or two Neros, to enjoy this glory even, such as it is; for I will prove that these extravagant follies of theirs have been surpassed, in the use that was made of his wealth by M. Scaurus, a private citizen. Indeed, I am by no means certain that it was not the ædileship of this personage that inflicted the first great blow upon the public manners, and that Sylla was not guilty of a greater crime in giving such unlimited power to his stepson, [Note] than in the proscription of so many thousands. During his ædileship, and only for the temporary purposes of a few days, Scaurus executed the greatest [Note] work that has ever been
made by the hands of man, even when intended to be of everlasting duration; his Theatre, I mean. This building consisted of three storeys, supported upon three hundred and sixty columns; and this, too, in a city which had not allowed without some censure one of its greatest citizens [Note] to erect six [Note] pillars of Hymettian marble. The ground-storey was of marble, the second of glass, a species of luxury which ever since that time has been quite unheard of, and the highest of gilded wood. The lowermost columns, as previously [Note] stated, were eight-and-thirty feet in height; and, placed between these columns, as already [Note] mentioned, were brazen statues, three thousand in number. The area [Note] of this theatre afforded accommodation for eighty thousand spectators; and yet the Theatre of Pompeius, after the City had so greatly increased, and the inhabitants had become so vastly more numerous, was considered abundantly large, with its sittings for forty thousand only. The rest of the fittings of it, what with Attalic [Note] vestments, pictures, and the other stage-properties, [Note] were of such enormous value that, after Scaurus had had conveyed to his Tusculan villa such parts thereof as were not required for the enjoyment of his daily luxuries, the loss was no less than three hundred millions of sesterces, when the villa was burnt by his servants in a spirit of revenge.
The consideration of such prodigality as this quite distracts my attention, and compels me to digress from my original purpose, in order to mention a still greater instance of extravagance, in reference to wood. C. Curio, [Note] who died during the civil wars, fighting on the side of Cæsar, found, to his dismay, that he could not, when celebrating the funeral games in honour of his father, surpass the riches and magnificence of Scaurus—for where, in fact, was to be found such a stepsire as Sylla, and such a mother as Metella, that bidder at all auctions for the property of the proscribed? Where, too, was he to find for his father, M. Scaurus, so long the principal man in the city, and one who had acted, in his alliance with Marius,
as a receptacle for the plunder of whole provinces?—Indeed, Scaurus himself was now no longer able to rival himself; and it was at least one advantage which he derived from this destruction by fire of so many objects brought from all parts of the earth, that no one could ever after be his equal in this species of folly. Curio, consequently, found himself compelled to fall back upon his own resources, and to think of some new device of his own. It is really worth our while to know what this device was, if only to congratulate ourselves upon the manners of the present day, and to reverse the ordinary mode of expression, and term ourselves the men of the olden time. [Note]
He caused to be erected, close together, two theatres of very large dimensions, and built of wood, each of them nicely poised, and turning on a pivot. Before mid-day, a spectacle of games was exhibited in each; the theatres being turned back to back, in order that the noise of neither of them might interfere with what was going on in the other. Then, in the latter part of the day, all on a sudden, the two theatres were swung round, and, the corners uniting, brought face to face; the outer frames, [Note] too, were removed, and thus an amphitheatre was formed, in which combats of gladiators were presented to the view; men whose safety was almost less compromised than was that of the Roman people, in allowing itself to be thus whirled round from side to side. Now, in this case, which have we most reason to admire, the inventor or the invention? the artist, or the author of the project? him who first dared to think of such an enterprize, or him who ventured to undertake it? him who obeyed the order, or him who gave it? But the thing that surpasses all is, the frenzy that must have possessed the public, to take their seats in a place which must of necessity have been so unsubstantial and so insecure. Lo and behold! here is a people that has conquered the whole earth, that has subdued the universe, that divides the spoils of kingdoms and of nations, that sends its laws to foreign lands, that shares in some degree the attributes of the immortal gods in common with mankind, suspended aloft in a machine, and showering plaudits even upon its own peril!
This is indeed holding life cheap; and can we, after this, complain of our disasters at Cannæ? How vast the catastrophe that might have ensued! When cities are swallowed up by an earthquake, it is looked upon by mankind as a general calamity; and yet, here have we the whole Roman people, embarked, so to say, in two ships, and sitting suspended on a couple of pivots; the grand spectacle being its own struggle with danger, and its liability to perish at any moment that the overstrained machinery may give way! And then the object, too, of all this—that public favour may be conciliated for the tribune's [Note] harangues at a future day, and that, at the Rostra, he may still have the power of shaking the tribes, nicely balanced [Note] as they are! And really, what may he not dare with those who, at his persuasion, have braved such perils as these? Indeed, to confess the truth, at the funeral games celebrated at the tomb of his father, it was no less than the whole Roman people that shared the dangers of the gladiatorial combats. When the pivots had now been sufficiently worked and wearied, he gave another turn to his magnificent displays. For, upon the last day, still preserving the form of the amphitheatre, he cut the stage in two through the middle, and exhibited a spectacle of athletes; after which, the stage being suddenly withdrawn on either side, he exhibited a combat, upon the same day, between such of the gladiators as had previously proved victorious. And yet, with all this, Curio was no king, no ruler of the destinies of a nation, nor yet a person remarkable for his opulence even; seeing that he possessed no resources of his own, beyond what he could realize from the discord between the leading men. [Note]
But let us now turn our attention to some marvels which,
justly appreciated, may be truthfully pronounced to remain
unsurpassed. Q. Marcius Rex, [Note]
The preceding aqueducts, however, have all been surpassed by the costly work which was more recently commenced by the Emperor Caius, [Note] and completed by Claudius. Under these princes, the Curtian and Cærulean Waters, with the New Anio, [Note] were brought from a distance of forty miles, and at so high a level that all the hills were supplied with water, on which the City is built. The sum expended on these works was three hundred and fifty millions of sesterces. If we only take into consideration the abundant supply of water to the public, for baths, ponds, canals, household purposes, gardens,
places in the suburbs, and country-houses; and then reflect upon the distances that are traversed, the arches that have been constructed, the mountains that have been pierced, the valleys that have been levelled, we must of necessity admit that there is nothing to be found more worthy of our admiration throughout the whole universe.
Among the most memorable works, too, I, for my own part, should include another undertaking of the Emperor Claudius, although it was afterwards abandoned in consequence of the hatred borne him by his successor; [Note] I mean the channel that was cut through a mountain as an emissary for Lake Fucinus; [Note] a work which cost a sum beyond all calculation, and employed a countless multitude of workmen for many years. In those parts where the soil was found to be terreous, it was necessary to pump up the water by the aid of machinery; in other parts, again, the solid rock had to be hewn through. All this, too, had to be done in the midst of darkness within; a series of operations which can only be adequately conceived by those who were witnesses of them, and which no human language can possibly describe.
I pass in silence the harbour that has been formed at Ostia; the various roads, too, that have been cut across mountains; the Tyrrhenian Sea separated by an embankment from Lake Lucrinus; [Note] and vast numbers of bridges constructed at an enormous expense. Among the many other marvels, too, of Italy, we are informed by Papirius Fabianus, a most diligent enquirer into the operations of Nature, that the marble there grows in the quarries; and those who work in the quarries assure us that the wounds thus inflicted upon the mountains fill up spontaneously. If such is the fact, luxury has good
grounds for hoping that it will never be at a loss for a supply of materials for its gratification.
Upon quitting the marbles to pass on to the other more remarkable stones, who can for a moment doubt that the magnet [Note] will be the first to suggest itself? For what, in fact, is there endowed with more marvellous properties than this? or in which of her departments has Nature displayed a greater degree of waywardness? She had given a voice to rocks, as already [Note] mentioned, and had enabled them to answer man, or rather, I should say, to throw back his own words in his teeth. What is there in existence more inert than a piece of rigid stone? And yet, behold! Nature has here endowed stone with both sense and hands. What is there more stubborn than hard iron? Nature has, in this instance, bestowed upon it both feet and intelligence. It allows itself, in fact, to be attracted by the magnet, and, itself a metal which subdues all other elements, it precipitates itself towards the source of an influence at once mysterious and unseen. The moment the metal comes near it, it springs towards the magnet, and, as it clasps it, is held fast in the magnet's embraces. Hence it is that this stone is sometimes known by the name of "sideritis;" [Note] another name given to it being "heraclion." [Note] It received its name "magnes," Nicander informs us, from the person who was the first to discover it, upon Ida. [Note] It is found, too, in various other countries, as in Spain, for example. Magnes, it is said, made this discovery, when, upon taking his herds to pasture, he found that the nails of his shoes and the iron ferrel of his staff adhered to the ground.
on Macedonia, and lies to the right of the road which leads from the town of Bœbe to Iolcos; a third, from Hyettus in Bœotia; a fourth, from Alexandria in Troas; and a fifth, from Magnesia in Asia. The leading distinction in magnets is the sex, male and female, [Note] and the next great difference in them is the colour. Those of Magnesia, bordering on Macedonia, are of a reddish black; those of Bœotia are more red than black; and the kind that is found in Troas is black, of the female sex, and consequently destitute of attractive power. The most inferior, however, of all, are those of Magnesia in Asia: they are white, have no attractive influence on iron, and resemble pumice in appearance. It has been found by experience, that the more nearly the magnet approaches to an azure colour, the better it is in quality. The Æthiopian magnet is looked upon as the best of all, and is purchased at its weight in silver: Zmiris in Æthiopia is the place where it is found, such being the name of a region there, covered with sand.
In the same country, too, the magnet called "hæmatites" [Note] is found, a stone of a blood-red colour, and which, when bruised, yields a tint like that of blood, as also of saffron. The hæmatites has not the same property [Note] of attracting iron that the ordinary magnet has. The Æthiopian magnet is recognized by this peculiarity, that it has the property, also, of attracting other magnets to it. [Note] All these minerals are useful as ingredients in ophthalmic preparations, in certain proportions according to the nature of each: they are particularly good, too, for arresting defluxions of the eyes. Triturated in a calcined state, they have a healing effect upon burns.
In Æthiopia, too, not far from Zmiris, there is a mountain in which the stone called "theamedes" [Note] is found, a mineral
which repels and rejects all kinds of iron. Of the attractive and repulsive properties of iron, we have spoken [Note] more than once.
At Assos in Troas, there is found a stone of a laminated texture, called "sarcophagus." [Note] It is a well-known fact, that dead bodies, when buried in this stone, are consumed in the course of forty days, with the sole exception of the teeth. According to Mucianus, too, mirrors, body-scrapers, garments, and shoes, that have been buried with the dead, become transformed into stone. In Lycia, and in the East, there are certain stones of a similar nature, which, when attached to the bodies of the living even, corrode the flesh.
Less active in its properties is chernites, [Note] a stone which preserves bodies without consuming them, and strongly resembles ivory in appearance: the body of King Darius, they say, was buried in it. The stone that is known as "porus," [Note] is similar to Parian marble in hardness and whiteness, but is not so heavy. Theophrastus mentions also a transparent stone that is found in Egypt, and is similar to stone of Chios in appearance; it is by no means improbable that it may have existed in his time, for stones, we know, disappear, and new kinds are discovered. The stone of Assos, [Note] which is saltish to the taste, modifies the attacks of gout, the feet being placed in a vessel made of it for the purpose; in addition to which,
in the quarries of this stone, all maladies of the legs disappear, whereas, in mines in general, the legs become affected with disease. "Flower of stone of Assos" is the name given to a soft stone which crumbles into dust, and is found very efficacious in some cases; it resembles red pumice in appearance. In combination with Cyprian wax, this stone is curative of affections of the mamillæ; and, employed with pitch or resin, it disperses scrofulous sores and inflammatory tumours. Used in the form of an electuary, it is good for phthisis, and, with honey, it causes old sores to cicatrize, and consumes proud flesh. It is used, also, for the cure of wounds of an obstinate nature inflicted by animals, and acts as a desiccative upon suppurations. Plaisters, too, are made of it for gout, bean-meal being incorporated with it for the purpose.
Theophrastus and Mucianus are of opinion that there are certain stones which bring [Note] forth other stones. Theophrastus states, also, that a fossil [Note] ivory is found, both white and black; that the earth, too, produces bones, and that osseous [Note] stones are sometimes found. In the vicinity of Munda in Spain, the place where the Dictator Cæsar defeated Pompeius, [Note] there are stones found, which, when broken asunder, bear the impression of palm leaves. [Note]
There are some black stones, also, which are held in much the same esteem as the marbles; the Tænarian [Note] stone, for example. Varro says that the black stone of Africa is more durable than that of Italy; while, on the other hand, the white corani [Note] are harder than Parian marble. He states, also, that
the silex of Luna admits of being cut with a saw; that that of Tusculum decrepitates in the fire; that the tawny silex of the Sabine districts, with the addition of oil, will yield a flame even; and that, at Volsinii, molar stones [Note] for grinding are found. Among the prodigies that have happened, I find mention made of millstones that have moved of themselves.
In no country are the molar stones [Note] superior to those of Italy; stones, be it remembered, and not fragments of rock: there are some provinces, too, where they are not to be found at all. Some stones of this class are softer than others, and admit of being smoothed with the whetstone, so as to present all the appearance, at a distance, of ophites. [Note] There is no stone of a more durable nature than this; for in general, stone, like wood, suffers from the action, more or less, of rain, heat, and cold. Some kinds, again, become deteriorated by the action of the moon, while others are apt to contract a rust in lapse of time, or to change their white colour when steeped in oil.
(19.) Some persons give this molar stone the name of "pyrites," [Note] from the circumstance that it has a great affinity to fire; [Note] but there is also another kind of pyrites, of a more porous nature, and another, [Note] again, which resembles copper. This last, it is said, is found in the mines, near Acamas, [Note] in the Isle of Cyprus; one variety of it being of a silver, another of a golden, colour. There are various methods of melting these stones, some persons fusing them twice, or three times even, in honey, till all the liquid has evaporated; while others, again, calcine them upon hot coals, and, after treating them with honey, wash them like copper.
The medicinal properties which these minerals possess are of a calorific, desiccative, dispersive, and resolvent nature, and,
applied topically, they cause indurations to suppurate. They are employed also, in a crude state and pulverized, for the cure of scrofulous sores and boils. Some writers mention another kind of pyrites also. Those among them have the greatest affinity to fire which we distinguish as "live" [Note] pyrites. They are the most ponderous of all, and are found remarkably useful for advance-guards when laying out encampments; for, on being struck with a nail or any other kind of stone, they emit a spark, which, received upon sulphur, dried fungus, [Note] or leaves, produces a fire almost sooner than it could be named.
The several varieties of ostracites [Note] bear a resemblance to shells. They are used by way of substitute for pumice-stone, for smoothing the skin. Taken in drink, they arrest discharges of blood; and, applied topically with honey, they are curative of ulcerations and pains in the mamillæ.
Amianthus [Note] resembles alumen [Note] in appearance, and suffers no diminution from the action of fire. This substance effectually counteracts all noxious spells, those wrought by magicians in particular.
Geodes [Note] is so called from its formation, it containing earth within. It is remarkably beneficial for the eyes, and is used for the cure of diseases of the testes and mamillæ.
The stone called "melitinus" [Note] yields a liquid that is sweet,
like honey. Bruised and incorporated with wax, it is curative of pituitous eruptions, spots upon the skin, and ulcerations of the fauces. It removes epinyctis [Note] also, and, applied as a pessary, in wool, it alleviates pains in the uterus.
Gagates [Note] is a stone, so called from Gages, the name of a town and river in Lycia. [Note] It is asserted, too, that at Leucolla [Note] the sea throws it up, and that it is found over a space twelve stadia in extent. It is black, smooth, light, and porous, differs but little from wood in appearance, [Note] is of a brittle texture, and emits a disagreeable odour [Note] when rubbed. Marks made upon pottery with this stone cannot be effaced. When burnt, it gives out a sulphureous smell; and it is a singular fact, that the application of water ignites it, while that of oil quenches it. [Note] The fumes of it, burnt, keep serpents at a distance, and dispel hysterical affections: they detect a tendency also to epilepsy, [Note] and act as a test of virginity. [Note] A decoction of this stone in wine is curative of tooth-ache; and, in combination with wax, it is good for scrofula. The magicians, it is said, make use of gagates in the practice of what they call
axinomancy; [Note] and they assure us that it will be sure not to burn, if the thing is about to happen as the party desires.
The stone called "spongites" is found in sponges, and is a marine formation. By some persons it is called "tecolithos," [Note] from the circumstance that it is curative of affections of the bladder. Taken in wine, it breaks and disperses urinary calculi.
Phrygian stone is so called from the country which produces it, and is a porous mass like pumice. It is first saturated with wine, and then calcined, the fire being kept up with the bellows till the stone is brought to a red heat; which done, it is quenched in sweet wine. This operation is repeated three times. The only use made of it is for dyeing cloths. [Note]
Schistos and hæmatites [Note] have a certain affinity between them. The latter is found in mines, and, when burnt, has just the colour [Note] of minium. [Note] It is calcined in the same manner as Phrygian stone, but is not quenched in wine. Adulterations of it are detected by the appearance of red veins in it, and by its comparative friability. It is marvellously useful as an application for bloodshot eyes, and, taken internally, it acts as a check upon female discharges. To patients vomiting blood, it is administered in combination with pomegranate-juice. It is very efficacious also for affections of the bladder; and it is taken with wine for the cure of wounds inflicted by serpents.
In all these cases the stone called "schistos" [Note] is efficacious, though not in so high a degree as the other; the most serviceable being that which resembles saffron in colour. Applied with woman's milk, it is particularly useful for arresting discharges from the corners of the eyes, [Note] and it is also very serviceable for reducing procidence of those organs. Such, at least, is the opinion of the authors who have most recently written on the subject.
Sotacus, one of the most ancient writers, says, that there are five kinds of hæmatites, in addition to the magnet [Note] so called. He gives the preference among them to that of Æthiopia, [Note] a very useful ingredient in ophthalmic preparations and the compositions which he calls "panchresta," [Note] and good for the cure of burns. The second, he says, is called "androdamas," [Note] of a black [Note] colour, remarkable for its weight and hardness, to which it owes its name, in fact, and found in Africa more particularly. It attracts silver, he says, copper, and iron, and is tested with a touchstone made of basanites. [Note] It yields a liquid the colour of blood, and is an excellent remedy for diseases of the liver. The third kind that he mentions is the hæmatites [Note] of Arabia, a mineral of equal hardness, and which with difficulty yields, upon the water-whetstone, a liquid sometimes approaching the tint of saffron. The fourth [Note] kind, he says, is known as "hepa-
tites," [Note] while raw, and as "miltites" [Note] when calcined; a substance good for burns, and more efficacious than rubrica [Note] for all the purposes for which that mineral is employed. The fifth [Note] variety is schistos; a substance which, taken internally, arrests hæmorrhoidal discharges. Upon the same authority, it is recommended to take any kind of hæmatites, fasting, in doses of three drachmæ, triturated in oil, for affections of the blood. [Note]
The same author mentions also a kind of schistos which has no affinity to hæmatites, and to which he gives the name of "anthracites," [Note] It is a native of Africa, he says, and is of a black colour. When rubbed upon a water-whetstone, it yields a black colour on the side which has adhered to the earth, and, on the opposite side, a saffron tint. He states also that it is a useful ingredient in ophthalmic preparations.
The stone called aëtites [Note] has a great reputation, in consequence of the name which it bears. It is found in the nests of eagles, as already mentioned in our Tenth Book. [Note] There are always two of these stones found together, they say, a male stone and a female; and without them, it is said, the various eagles that we have described would be unable to propagate. Hence it is, too, that the young of the eagle are never more than two in number. There are four varieties of the aëtites: that of Africa is soft and diminutive, and contains in the interior—in its bowels as it were—a sweet, white, argillaceous earth. It is friable, and is generally thought to be of the female sex. The male stone, on the other hand, which is found in Arabia, is hard, and similar to a nut-gall in appearance; or else of a reddish hue, with a hard stone in the interior. The third kind is a stone found in the Isle of Cyprus, and resembles
those of Africa in appearance, but is larger and flat, while the others are of a globular form: it contains a sand within, of a pleasing colour, and mixed with small stones; being so soft itself as to admit of being crushed between the fingers.
The fourth variety is known as the Taphiusian aëtites, and is found near Leucas, [Note] at Taphiusa, a locality which lies to the right as you sail from Ithaca towards Cape Leucas. It is met with in the beds of rivers there, and is white and round; having another stone in the interior, the name given to which is "callimus:" none of the varieties of aëtites have a smoother surface than this. Attached to pregnant women or to cattle, in the skins of animals that have been sacrificed, these stones act as a preventive of abortion, care being taken not to remove them till the moment of parturition; for otherwise procidence of the uterus is the result. If, on the other hand, they are not removed at the moment when parturition is about to ensue, that operation of Nature cannot be effected.
Samian stone [Note] comes from the same island which produces the earth in praise of which we have spoken already. [Note] It is useful for giving a polish to gold, and it is employed medicinally for the treatment of ulcerations of the eyes, combined with milk in manner already [Note] described. It is good, too, for watery discharges of a chronic nature, from the eyes. Taken internally, it is useful for affections of the stomach, and it has the effect of dispelling vertigo and restoring the spirits when depressed. Some writers are of opinion that this stone may be administered with advantage for epilepsy and strangury; and it is employed as an ingredient in the restoratives known as "acopa." [Note] The test of its purity is its weight and its whiteness. Some persons will have it that, worn as an amulet, it acts as a preventive of abortion.
Arabian [Note] stone resembles ivory in appearance; and in a
calcined state it is employed as a dentifrice. [Note] It is particularly useful for the cure of hæmorrhoidal swellings, applied either in lint or by the aid of linen pledgets.
And here, too, I must not omit to give some account of pumice. [Note] This name is very generally given, it is true, to those porous pieces of stone, which we see suspended in the erections known as "musæa," [Note] with the view of artificially giving them all the appearance of caverns. But the genuine pumice-stones, that are in use for imparting smoothness to the skin of females, and not females only, but men as well, and, as Catullus [Note] says, for polishing books, are found of the finest quality in the islands of Melos and Nisyros [Note] and in the Æolian Isles. To be good, they should be white, as light as possible, porous and dry in the extreme, friable, and free from sand when rubbed.
Considered medicinally, pumice is of a resolvent and desiccative nature; for which purpose it is submitted to calcination, no less than three times, on a fire of pure charcoal, it being quenched as often in white wine. It is then washed, like cadmia, [Note] and, after being dried, is put by for keeping, in a place as free from damp as possible. In a powdered state, pumice is used in ophthalmic preparations more particularly, and acts as a lenitive detergent upon ulcerations of the eyes. It also makes new flesh upon cicatrizations of those organs, and removes all traces of the marks. Some prefer, after the third calcination, leaving the pumice to cool, and then triturating it in wine. It is employed also as an ingredient in emollient poultices, being extremely useful for ulcerations on the head and generative organs; dentifrices, too, are prepared from it. According to Theophrastus, [Note] persons when drinking for a wager are in the habit [Note] of taking powdered pumice first; but they run great risk, he says, if they fail to swallow the whole draught of wine at once; it being of so refrigerative a nature
that grape-juice [Note] will absolutely cease to boil if pumice is put into it.
Authors, too, have paid some attention to the stones in use for mortars, not only those employed for the trituration of drugs and pigments, but for other purposes as well. In this respect they have given the preference to Etesian [Note] stone before all others, and, next to that, to Thebaic stone, already mentioned [Note] as being called "pyrrhopœcilon," and known as "psaranus" by some. The third rank has been assigned to chrysites, [Note] a stone nearly allied to Chalazian [Note] stone. For medicinal purposes, however, basanites [Note] has been preferred, this being a stone that remits no particles from its surface. [Note]
Those stones which yield a liquid, are generally looked upon as good for the trituration of ophthalmic preparations; and hence it is, that the Æthiopian stone is so much in request for the purpose. Tænarian stone, they say, Phœnician stone, and hæmatites, are good for the preparation of those medicinal compositions in which saffron forms an ingredient; but they also speak of another Tænarian stone, of a dark colour, which, like Parian [Note] stone, is not so well adapted for medicinal purposes. We learn from them, too, that Egyptian alabastrites, [Note] or white ophites, [Note] from the virtues inherent in them, are considered still better adapted for these purposes than the kinds last mentioned. It is this kind of ophites, too, from which vessels, and casks even, are made.
At Siphnos, [Note] there is a kind of stone [Note] which is hollowed and turned in the lathe, for making cooking-utensils and vessels for keeping provisions; a thing too, that, to my own knowledge, [Note] is done with the green stone [Note] of Comum [Note] in Italy. With reference, however, to the stone of Siphnos, it is a singular fact, that, when heated in oil, though naturally very soft, it becomes hard and black; so great a difference is there in the qualities of stone.
There are some remarkable instances, too, beyond the Alps, of the natural softness of some kinds of stone. In the province of the Belgæ, there is a white stone [Note] which admits of being cut with the saw that is used for wood, and with greater facility even. This stone is used as a substitute for roof-tiles and gutter-tiles, and even for the kind of roofing known as the pavonaceous [Note] style, if that is preferred. Such are the stones that admit of being cut into thin slabs.
As to specular [Note] stone—for this, too, is ranked as one of the stones—it admits of being divided with still greater facility, and can be split into leaves as thin as may be desired. The province of Nearer Spain used formerly to be the only one that furnished it—not, indeed, the whole of that country, but a district extending for a hundred miles around the city of Segobrica [Note] But at the present day, Cyprus, Cappadocia, and Sicily, supply us with it; and, still more recently, it has been discovered in Africa: they are all, however, looked upon as inferior to the stone which comes from Spain. The sheets
from Cappadocia are the largest in size; but then they are clouded. This stone is to be found also in the territory of Bononia, [Note] in Italy; but in small pieces only, covered with spots and encrusted in a bed of silex, there being a considerable affinity, it would appear, in their nature.
In Spain, the specular-stone is extracted from shafts sunk in the earth to a very considerable depth; though it is occasionally to be found just beneath the surface, enclosed in the solid rock, and extracted without difficulty, or else cut away from its bed. In most cases, however, it admits of being dug up, being of an isolated nature, and lying in pieces, like ragstone, but never known as yet to exceed five feet in length. It would appear that this substance is originally a liquid, which, by an animating power in the earth, becomes congealed like crystal; and it is very evident that it is the result of petrifaction, from the fact that, when animals have fallen into the shafts from which it is extracted, the marrow of their bones becomes transformed into stone of a similar nature, by the end of a single winter. In some cases, too, it is found of a black colour: but the white stone has the marvellous property, soft as it is known to be, of resisting the action of the sun and of cold. Nor will it, if it is only protected from accidents, become deteriorated by lapse of time, a thing that is so generally the case with many other kinds of stone that are used for building purposes. The shavings, too, and scales of this stone, have been used of late for another purpose; the Circus Maximus having been strewed with them at the celebration of the games, with the object of producing an agreeable whiteness.
During the reign of Nero, there was a stone found in Cappadocia, as hard as marble, white, and transparent even in those parts where red veins were to be seen upon it; a property which has obtained for it the name of "phengites." [Note] It was with this stone [Note]
that Nero rebuilt the Temple of Fortune, surnamed Seia, [Note] originally consecrated by King Servius, enclosing it within the precincts of his Golden Palace. [Note] Hence it was that, even when the doors were closed, there was light in the interior during the day; not transmitted from without, as would be the case through a medium of specular-stone, but having all the appearance of being enclosed within [Note] the building.
In Arabia, too, according to Juba, there is a stone, transparent like glass, which is used for the same purposes as specular-stone.
We must now pass on to the stones that are employed for handicrafts, and, first of all, whetstones for sharpening iron. Of these stones there are numerous varieties; the Cretan stones having been long held in the highest estimation, and the next best being those of Mount Taygetus, in Laconia; both of which are used as hones, and require oil. Among the water-whetstones, the first rank belonged to those of Naxos, and the second to the stones of Armenia, both of them already [Note] mentioned. The stones of Cilicia are of excellent quality, whether used with oil or with water; those of Arsinöe, [Note] too, are very good, but with water only. Whetstones have been found also in Italy, which with water give a remarkably keen edge; and from the countries beyond the Alps, we have the whetstones known as "passernices." [Note]
To the fourth class belong the hones which give an edge by the agency of human saliva, and are much in use in barbers' shops. They are worthless, however, for all other purposes, in consequence of their soft and brittle nature: those from the district of Laminium, [Note] in Nearer Spain, are the best of the kind.
Among the multitude of stones which still remain undescribed, there is tophus; [Note] a material totally unsuited for building purposes, in consequence of its perishableness. Still, however, there are some localities which have no other, Carthage, in Africa, for example. It is eaten away by the emanations from the sea, crumbled to dust by the wind, and shattered by the pelting of the rain: but human industry has found the means of protecting walls of houses built of it, with a coating of pitch, as a plaster of lime would corrode it. Hence it is, that we have the well-known saying, "that the Carthaginians use pitch [Note] for their houses and lime [Note] for their wines," this last being the method used by them in the preparation of their must.
In the territories of Fidenæ and Alba, in the vicinity of Rome, we find other soft kinds of stone; and, in Umbria and Venetia, there is a stone [Note] which admits of being cut with the teeth of a saw. These stones are easy to be worked, and are capable of supporting a considerable weight, if they are only kept sheltered from the weather. Rain, however, frost, and dew, split them to pieces, nor can they resist the humidity of the sea-air. The stone [Note] of Tibur can stand everything except heat, which makes it crack.
The black silex [Note] is in general the best; but in some localities, it is the red, and occasionally the white; as in the Anician quarries at Tarquinii, near Lake Volsinius, [Note] for example, and those at Statonia, [Note] the stone of which is proof against fire even. [Note] These stones, sculptured for monumental
purposes, are subject to no deterioration by lapse of time: moulds, too, are made from them, for the purpose of fusing copper. There is a green silex, also, which offers a most powerful resistance to the action of fire, but is never found in any large quantities, and, in all cases, in an isolated form, and not as a constituent part of solid rock. Of the other kinds, the pale silex is but rarely used for erections: being of globular form, it is not liable to injury, but at the same time it is insecure for building purposes, unless it is well braced and tightly held together. Nor yet does river silex offer any greater security, for it always has the appearance of being wet.
When the nature of stone is doubtful, the proper precaution is, to quarry it in summer, and not to use it for building before the end of a couple of years, leaving it in the meantime to be well seasoned by the weather. The slabs which have been damaged will be found to be better suited for the foundations under ground: while those, on the other hand, which have remained uninjured, may be employed with safety, and exposed to the open air even.
The Greeks construct party-walls, resembling those of brickwork, of hard stone or of silex, squared. This kind of stonework is what they call "isodomon," [Note] it being "pseudisodomon" [Note] when the wall is built of materials of unequal dimensions. A third kind of stonework is called "emplecton," [Note] the two exteriors only being made with regularity, the rest of the material being thrown in at random. It is necessary that the stones should lie over one another alternately, in such a way that the middle of one stone meets the point of junction of the two below it; and this, too, in the middle of the wall, if possible; but if not, at all events, at the sides. When the middle of the wall is filled up with broken stones, the work is known as "diatoichon." [Note]
Cisterns should be made of five parts of pure, gravelly, sand, two of the very strongest quicklime, and fragments of silex not exceeding a pound each in weight; when thus incorporated, the bottom and sides should be well beaten with iron rammers. The best plan, too, is to have the cisterns double; so that all superfluities may settle in the inner cistern, and the water filter through, as pure as possible, into the outer one.
Cato [Note] the Censor disapproves of lime prepared from stones of various colours: that made of white stone is the best. Lime prepared from hard stone is the best for building purposes, and that from porous stone for coats of plaster. For both these purposes, lime made from silex is equally rejected. Stone that has been extracted from quarries furnishes a better lime than that collected from the beds of rivers; but the best of all is the lime that is obtained from the molar-stone, [Note] that being of a more unctuous nature than the others. It is something truly marvellous, that quick-lime, after the stone has been subjected to fire, should ignite on the application of water!
There are three kinds of sand: fossil [Note] sand, to which one-fourth part of lime should be added; [Note] river sand; and sea sand; to both of which last, one third of lime should be added. If, too, one third of the mortar is composed of bruised earthenware, it will be all the better. Fossil sand is found in the districts that lie between the Apennines and the Padus, but not in the parts beyond sea.
The great cause of the fall of so many buildings in our City, is, that through a fraudulent abstraction of the lime, the rough work is laid without anything to hold it together. The older, too, the mortar is, the better it is in quality. In the ancient laws for the regulation of building, no contractor was to use mortar less than three months old; hence it is, that no cracks have disfigured the plaster coatings of their walls. These stuccos will never present a sufficiently bright surface, unless there have been three layers of sanded mortar, and two of marbled [Note] mortar upon that. In damp localities and places subject to exhalations from the sea, it is the best plan to substitute ground earthenware mortar for sanded mortar. In Greece, it is the practice, first to pound the lime and sand used for plastering, with wooden pestles in a large trough. The test by which it is known that marbled mortar has been properly blended, is its not adhering to the trowel; whereas, if it is only wanted for white-washing, the lime, after being well slaked with water, should stick like glue. For this last purpose, however, the lime should only be slaked in lumps.
At Elis, there is a Temple of Minerva, which was pargetted, they say, by Panænus, the brother of Phidias, with a mortar that was blended with milk and saffron: [Note] hence it is, that, even at the present day, when rubbed with spittle on the finger, it yields the smell and flavour of saffron.
The more closely columns are placed together, the thicker they appear to be. There are four different kinds of pillars. Those of which the diameter at the foot is one-sixth part of the height, are called Doric. When the diameter is one-ninth, they are Ionic; and when it is one-seventh, Tuscan. The proportions in the Corinthian are the same as those of the Ionic; but they differ in the circumstance that the Corinthian capitals are of the same height as the diameter at the foot, a thing that gives them a more slender appearance; whereas, in the Ionic column, the height of the capital is only one-third of the diameter at the foot. In
ancient times the rule was, that the columns should be one-third of the breadth of the temple in height.
It was in the Temple of Diana, at Ephesus, as originally built, that spirals [Note] were first placed beneath, and capitals added: and it was determined that the diameter of the shafts should be one-eighth of their height, and that the spirals should be one-half of the diameter in height, the upper extremity of the shaft being one-seventh less in diameter than the foot. In addition to these columns, there are what are called "Attic" columns, quadrangular, and with equal sides.
Lime is also employed very extensively in medicine. For this purpose, fresh lime is selected, which has not been slaked with water. Its properties are caustic, resolvent, and attractive; and it prevents serpiginous ulcers from spreading, being incorporated with vinegar and oil of roses, for the purpose. When this has been effected, it is tempered with wax and oil of roses, and applied to promote cicatrization. In combination with honey, and liquid resin, or hogs' lard, lime is curative of sprains and scrofulous sores.
Maltha [Note] is a cement prepared from fresh lime; lumps of which are quenched in wine, and then pounded with hogs' lard and figs, both of them, mollifying substances. [Note] It is the most tenacious of all cements, and surpasses stone in hardness. Before applying the maltha, the substance upon which it is used must be well rubbed with oil.
Gypsum [Note] has a close affinity with limestone, and there are numerous varieties of it. One kind is prepared from a calcined [Note] stone, as in Syria, and at Thurii, for example. In Cyprus and at Perrhæbia, [Note] gypsum is dug out of the earth, and at Tymphæ [Note] it is found just below the level of the soil. The stone that is calcined for this purpose, ought to be very similar to alabastrites, [Note] or else of a grain like that of marble. In Syria, they select the hardest stones for the purpose, and calcine them with cow-dung, to accelerate the process. Experience has proved, however, that the best plaster of all is that prepared from specular-stone, [Note] or any other stone that is similarly laminated. Gypsum, when moistened, must be used immediately, as it hardens with the greatest rapidity; it admits, however, of being triturated over again, and so reduced to powder. It is very useful for pargetting, and has a pleasing effect when used for ornamental figures and wreaths in buildings.
There is one remarkable fact connected with this substance; Caius Proculeius, [Note] an intimate friend of the Emperor Augustus, suffering from violent pains in the stomach, swallowed gypsum, and so put an end to his existence. [Note]
Pavements are an invention of the Greeks, who also practised the art of painting them, till they were superseded by mosaics. [Note] In this last branch of art, the highest excellence has been attained by Sosus, [Note] who laid, at Pergamus, the mosaic pavement known as the "Asarotos œcos;" [Note] from the fact that he there represented, in small squares of different colours, the remnants of a banquet lying upon the pavement, and other things which are usually swept away with the broom,
they having all the appearance of being left there by accident. There is a dove also, greatly admired, in the act of drinking, and throwing the shadow of its head upon the water; while other birds are to be seen sunning and pluming themselves, on the margin of a drinking-bowl.
The first pavements, in my opinion, were those now known to us as barbaric and subtegulan [Note] pavements, a kind of work that was beaten down with the rammer: at least if we may form a judgment from the name [Note] that has been given to them. The first diamonded [Note] pavement at Rome was laid in the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, after the commencement of the Third Punic War. That pavements had come into common use before the Cimbric War, and that a taste for them was very prevalent, is evident from the line of Lucilius— "With checquered emblems like a pavement marked." [Note]
The Greeks have also invented terrace-roof [Note] pavements, and have covered their houses with them; a thing that may easily be done in the hotter climates, but a great mistake in countries where the rain is apt to become congealed. In making these pavements, the proper plan is to begin with two layers of boards, running different ways, and nailed at the extremities, to prevent them from warping. Upon this planking a rough-work must be laid, one-fourth of which consists of pounded pottery: and upon this, another bed of rough-work, two-fifths composed of lime, a foot in thickness, and well beaten down with the rammer. The nucleus [Note] is then laid down, a bed six fingers in depth; and upon that, large square stones, not less than a
couple of fingers in thickness; an inclination being carefully observed, of an inch and a half to every ten feet. This done, the surface is well rubbed down with a polishing stone. The general opinion is, that oak [Note] should never be used for the planking, it being so very liable to warp; and it is considered a good plan to cover the boards with a layer of fern or chaff, that they may be the better able to resist the action of the lime. It is necessary, too, before putting down the planking, to underset it with a bed of round pebbles. Wheat-ear [Note] tesselated pavements are laid down in a similar manner.
We must not omit here one other kind of pavement, that known as the "Græcanic." The ground is well rammed down, and a bed of rough work, or else broken pottery, is then laid upon it. Upon the top of this, a layer of charcoal is placed, well trodden down with a mixture of sand, lime, and ashes; care being taken, by line and rule, to give it a uniform thickness of half a foot. The surface then presents the ordinary appearance of the ground; but if it is well rubbed with the polishing-stone, it will have all the appearance of a black pavement.
Mosaic [Note] pavements were first introduced in the time of Sylla; at all events, there is still in existence a pavement, formed of small segments, which he ordered to be laid down in the Temple of Fortune, at Præneste. Since his time, these mosaics have left the ground for the arched roofs of houses, and they are now made of glass. This, however, is but a recent invention; for there can be no doubt that, when Agrippa ordered the earthenware walls of the hot baths, in the Thermæ which he was building at Rome, to be painted in encaustic, and had the other parts coated with pargetting, he
would have had the arches decorated with mosaics in glass, if the use of them had been known; or, at all events, if from the walls of the Theatre of Scaurus, where it figured, as already [Note] stated, glass had by that time come to be used for the arched roofs of apartments. It will be as well, therefore, to give some account, also, of glass.
In Syria there is a region known as Phœnice, [Note] adjoining to Judæa, and enclosing, between the lower ridges of Mount Carmelus, a marshy district known by the name of Cendebia. In this district, it is supposed, rises the river Belus, [Note] which, after a course of five miles, empties itself into the sea near the colony of Ptolemaïs. The tide of this river is sluggish, and the water unwholesome to drink, but held sacred for the observance of certain religious ceremonials. Full of slimy deposits, and very deep, it is only at the reflux of the tide that the river discloses its sands; which, agitated by the waves, separate themselves from their impurities, and so become cleansed. It is generally thought that it is the acridity of the sea-water that has this purgative effect upon the sand, and that without this action no use could be made of it. The shore upon which this sand is gathered is not more than half a mile in extent; and yet, for many ages, this was the only spot that afforded the material for making glass.
The story is, that a ship, laden with nitre, [Note] being moored upon this spot, the merchants, while preparing their repast upon the sea-shore, finding no stones at hand for supporting their cauldrons, employed for the purpose some lumps of nitre which they had taken from the vessel. Upon its being subjected to the action of the fire, in combination with the sand of the sea-shore, they beheld transparent streams flowing forth of a liquid hitherto unknown: this, it is said, was the origin of glass. [Note]
In process of time, as human industry is ingenious in discovering, it was not content with the combination of nitre, but magnet-stone [Note] began to be added as well; from the impression that it attracts liquefied [Note] glass as well as iron. In a similar manner, too, brilliant stones of various descriptions came to be added in the melting, and, at last, shells and fossil sand. Some authors tell us, that the glass of India is made of broken crystal, and that, in consequence, there is none that can be compared to it.
In fusing it, light and dry wood is used for fuel, Cyprian copper and nitre being added to the melting, nitre of Ophir [Note] more particularly. It is melted, like copper, in contiguous furnaces, and a swarthy mass of an unctuous appearance is the result. Of such a penetrating nature is the molten glass, that it will cut to the very bone any part of the body which it may come near, and that, too, before it is even felt. This mass is again subjected to fusion in the furnace, for the purpose of colouring it; after which, the glass is either blown into various forms, turned in a lathe, or engraved [Note] like silver. Sidon was formerly famous for its glass-houses, for it was this place that first invented [Note] mirrors.
Such was the ancient method of making glass: but, at the
present day, there is found a very white sand for the purpose,
at the mouth of the river Volturnus, in Italy. It spreads
over an extent of six miles, upon the sea-shore that lies
between Cumæ and Liternum, and is prepared for use by
pounding it with a pestle and mortar; which done, it is mixed
with three parts of nitre, either by weight or measure, and,
when fused, is transferred to another furnace. Here it forms
a mass of what is called "hammonitrum;" which is again
submitted to fusion, and becomes a mass of pure, white, glass.
Indeed, at the present day, throughout the Gallic and Spanish
provinces even, we find sand subjected to a similar process.
In the reign of Tiberius, it is said, a combination was devised
which produced a flexible [Note]
Among the various kinds of glass, we may also reckon Obsian glass, a substance very similar to the stone [Note] which Obsius discovered in Æthiopia. This stone is of a very dark colour, and sometimes transparent; but it is dull to the sight, and reflects, when attached as a mirror to walls, the shadow of the object rather than the image. Many persons use it [Note]
for jewellery, and I myself have seen solid statues [Note] in this material of the late Emperor Augustus, of very considerable thickness. That prince consecrated, in the Temple of Concord, as something marvellous, four figures of elephants made of Obsian stone. Tiberius Cæsar, too, restored to the people of Heliopolis, as an object of ceremonial worship, an image in this stone, which had been found among the property left by one of the præfects of Egypt. It was a figure of Menelaüs; a circumstance which goes far towards proving that the use of this material is of more ancient date than is generally supposed, confounded as it is at the present day with glass, by reason of its resemblance. Xenocrates says that Obsian stone is found in India also, and in Samnium in Italy; and that it is a natural product of Spain, upon the coasts which border on the Ocean. [Note]
There is an artificial Obsian stone, made of coloured glass for services for the table; and there is also a glass that is red all through, and opaque, known as "hæmatinum." [Note] A dead white glass, too, is made, as also other kinds in imitation of murrhine [Note] colour, hyacinthine, sapphire, and every other tint: indeed, there is no material of a more pliable [Note] nature than this, or better suited for colouring. Still, however, the highest value is set upon glass that is entirely colourless and transparent, as nearly as possible resembling crystal, in fact. For drinking-vessels, glass has quite superseded the use of silver and gold; but it is unable to stand heat unless a cold liquid is poured in first. And yet, we find that globular glass vessels, filled with water, when brought in contact with the rays of the sun, [Note] become heated to such a degree as to cause articles of clothing to ignite. When broken, too, glass admits of being joined by the agency of heat; but it cannot
be wholly fused without being pulverized into small fragments, [Note] as we see done in the process of making the small checquers, known as "abaculi," for mosaic work; some of which are of variegated colours, and of different shapes. If glass is fused with sulphur, it will become as hard as stone.
Having now described all the creations of human ingenuity, reproductions, in fact, of Nature by the agency of art, it cannot but recur to us, with a feeling of admiration, that there is hardly any process which is not perfected through the intervention of fire. Submit to its action some sandy soil, and in one place it will yield glass, in another silver, in another minium, and in others, again, lead and its several varieties, pigments, and numerous medicaments. It is through the agency of fire that stones [Note] are melted into copper; by fire that iron is produced, and subdued to our purposes; by fire that gold is purified; by fire, too, that the stone is calcined, which is to hold together the walls of our houses.
Some materials, again, are all the better for being repeatedly submitted to the action of fire; and the same substance will yield one product at the first fusion, another at the second, and another at the third. [Note] Charcoal, when it has passed through fire and has been quenched, only begins to assume its active properties; and, when it might be supposed to have been reduced to annihilation, it is then that it has its greatest energies. An element this, of immense, of boundless [Note] power, and, as to which, it is a matter of doubt whether it does not create even more than it destroys!
Fire even has certain medicinal virtues of its own. When pestilences prevail, in consequence of the obscuration [Note] of the sun, it is a well-known fact, that if fires are lighted, they are
productive of beneficial results in numerous ways. Empedocles and Hippocrates have proved this in several passages.
"For convulsions or contusions of the viscera," says M. Varro—for it is his own words that I use— "let the hearth be your medicine-box; for lie of ashes, [Note] taken from thence, mixed with your drink, will effect a cure. Witness the gladiators, for example, who, when disabled at the Games, refresh themselves with this drink." Carbuncle too, a kind of disease which, as already [Note] stated, has recently carried off two persons of consular rank, admits of being successfully treated with oak-charcoal, [Note] triturated with honey. So true is it that things which are despised even, and looked upon as so utterly destitute of all virtues, have still their own remedial properties, charcoal and ashes for example.
I must not omit too, one portentous fact connected with the hearth, and famous in Roman history. In the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, it is said, there appeared upon his hearth a resemblance of the male generative organ in the midst of the ashes. The captive Ocrisia, a servant of Queen Tanaquil, who happened to be sitting there, arose from her seat in a state of pregnancy, and became the mother of Servius Tullius, who eventually succeeded to the throne. [Note] It is stated, too, that while the child was sleeping in the palace, a flame was seen playing round his head; the consequence of which was, that it was believed that the Lar of the household was his progenitor. It was owing to this circumstance, we are informed, that the Compitalia, [Note] games in honour of the Lares, were instituted.
SUMMARY.—Remedies mentioned, eighty-nine. Facts and narratives, four hundred and thirty-four.
ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—M. Varro, [Note] Cælius, [Note] Galba, [Note] Cincius, [Note] Mucianus, [Note] Nepos Cornelius, [Note] L. Piso, [Note] Q. Tubero, [Note] Fabius Vestalis, [Note] Annius Fetialis, [Note] Fabianus, [Note] Seneca, [Note] Cato the Censor, [Note] Vitruvius. [Note]
FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Theophrastus, [Note] Pasiteles, [Note] King
Juba, [Note] Nicander, [Note] Sotacus, [Note] Sudines, [Note] Alexander [Note] Polyhistor,
Apion, [Note] Plistonicus, [Note] Duris, [Note] Herodotus, [Note] Euhemerus, [Note]
Aristagoras, [Note] Dionysius, [Note] Artemidorus, [Note] Butoridas, [Note] Antisthenes, [Note]
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