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Book II

January 01, 1955

They distinguish one earth from another on the basis of utility and the different uses it offers to artisans. One is useful to farmers for nourishing and supporting plant life. Another is used by physicians, for example, Lemnian, Samian, and Armenian earths. Sculptors and potters use another such as the clay which is called creta by the potters. From this each fashions and shapes his works. Some are used by carpenters, for example red ocher which, for that reason, is called fabrilis. Painters have used Paraetonian, Melian, and other earths. Fullers use others such as Oimolian. Silversmiths use creta argentaría and many other earths are used by other artisans. This classification does not consider the true nature of earths and fails to distinguish sufficiently one earth from another. For example, Egyptian earth is both cultivated and used as a medicament. Red ocher (rubrica) is used by physicians, artisans, and painters. Cimolian earth is indispensable to fullers and physicians. Therefore, if we classify earths as medical, potter’s, artisan’s, etc., we have to place the same earth in several species and genera. Since a substance cannot be transferred from its own genus to another genus, medical earth, potter’s earth artisan’s earth, etc., cannot be species. While the mass of common people may distinguish one earth from another in this way, the expert in natural history who must treat his subject correctly cannot use this classification. Some earths are classified as distinct species under genera according to the place or region where they are found and from which they take

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GSA Special Papers

De Natura Fossilium: Textbook of Mineralogy

Georgius Agricola
Georgius Agricola
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Geological Society of America
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January 01, 1955




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