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Cianum Galienus ad Paternianum in metallis inquit invenitur quibus es conflatur et in quibusdam maris litoribus.


Paternianum AC ef | patriniãũ B | paterniariũ j
metallis | metalis B
es | hes B
maris | magris? ms. e
litoribus A ejp | littoribus BC f


Cianum {"lapis lazuli" or "blue copper ore"} - states Galienus in his Liber ad Paternianum - is found in mines, where copper is smelted and on certain beaches.


Simon's source for his near-verbatim quote is the Alphabet of Galen, sometimes called by scribes Alfabetum Galieni ad Paternum/Paternianum/Paterninum, p. 210, 85, Cyanum, translated Lapis lazuli by Everett (2012).

κύανος /kýanos/ is a word loaned from some source language in Asia minor, cf. Hittite kuṷanna(n) "copper(blue), ornamental stone" {Frisk (1960-72: II.37)}. It has multiple meanings in Greek, linked by the common notion of "blue". LSJ gloss: "1.dark-blue enamel, esp. used to adorn armour. 2. lapis lazuli. 3. blue copper carbonate. 4. blue corn-flower. 5. a bird, perh. blue thrush, Turdus cyanus. 6. sea-water. 7. (fem.) the colour blue."

Although the identification lapis lazuli is normally suggested for κύανος /kýanos/, it must be remembered that copper melting is explicitly mentioned in the Galenic text: Invenitur in metallis, in quibus aes conflatur - "It is found in mines where copper is forged"; and it continues: et quibusdam littoribus maris "and along certain sea-coasts" (Everett op.cit.). Lapislazuli is not found on beaches but copper is. Copper is rarely found pure in nature, but - usually oxidized - it combines with other elements, preferably sulphur, to form copper ores, many of which are of a bluish colour.

WilfGunther (talk) 19/01/2014

See also: Quianos (1)

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