Brill’s New Pauly

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Precious stones
(236 words)

[German version]

In the Greek world, archaeological excavations have yielded jewellery but not PS, detectable only from the 5th cent. on. Mineralogical knowledge was almost absent in Antiquity. Plato (Plt. 303e) considers diamonds, for example, as a constituent of gold. The names of PS, such as ἀδάμας (adámas, 'the invincible'), ἀμέθυστος (améthystos, 'that which does not make one drunk') and ὀφίτης (ophítēs, 'that which wards off snakes') reveal the magical effect ascribed to them. Theophrastus is the author of the first scholarly treatment, Περὶ λίθων (Perì líthōn, 'On Stones' …

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Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg), “Precious stones”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 25 May 2020 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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