TOPAZIUS: TïðÜæßïò: Peridot: Chrysolite.
derived its name from the island in the Red Sea, 300 stadia (37-1/2
miles) off the mainland, where it was first discovered ; Juba, quoted
by Pliny (32), oddly enough deriving the name from Topazein, which,
he says, in the " Troglodyte tongue " * means to seek after, because
the island is often lost amidst thick fogs. According to Archelaus,
Cytis was the name of the same island, " where certain Troglodyte
pirates, when hard pressed by famine, as they tore up the herbs and
roots there growing for their sustenance, accidentally discovered this
gem." Epiphanius has a long and confused story to much the same
purpose, but makes Topaze an Indian town, " where the stone was found
accidentally by some quarrymen, who mistook it for Alabaster, and sold
it to Theban traders, who bringing it home, their queen set it in her
diadem, upon the middle of her forehead."
Siculus (iii. 39) gives a detailed account of this island. It lay out
at sea, some distance to the south of the harbour of Aphrodite, was 80
stadia long (10 miles), and called the Isle of Serpents, from the
multitude of reptiles formerly infesting it. These had been completely
extirpated by the care of the Alexandrian kings. The Topazion here
found was a transparent gem, agreeable in aspect, re-
* The Nuinidian king, despite his extensive learning, could never have read the Attic tragedians, or else he would have remembered that ôéôôÜæßÀí perpetually occurs in them with this sense.