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Book VII

January 01, 1955

In the previous book I spoke at length about gems. I will now consider marbles. The name comes from the fact that it has a fine luster when polished. 1 Marbles have been classified as gems and actually small polished pieces are sometimes set in rings. The gem lysimachia is cut from Rhodian marble; arabica, from Arabian marble; and meroctes, from thyites. These cut stones differ from marble however in color and markings and these features have given rise to a large number of species. True marbles are usually named from the place they are found, with a few exceptions such as Luculleum, Augustum, Tiberium, etc. Luculleum marble is named for L. Lucullus, Consul, who was the first to bring this particular marble to Rome from an island in the Nile. The latter two were named in deference to the importance of these two men. The former, found in Egypt, is an ophite with markings similar to a snake. The latter resembles Ethiopian basaltes with the color and hardness of iron.

I shall consider first the white marbles since these embrace the most famous varieties used by sculptors in statues, for example, Parian, Chian, Cretan, etc. The first comes from the island of Paros and was called lapis lychnites by the Greeks, according to Varro, because it was first mined and used for lamps. Pausanias writes that Phidias carved his statue of Nemesis at Rhamnus, Attica, from this stone. However the statue above the temple is of Parian marble and was . . .

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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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