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Ch. 1: Introduction

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Aristotle's ' Lapidarius, de novo ex Grœco traductus, A.D. 1473,' is a book I have never been able to get a sight of. Nothing of the kind is to be found amongst his collected Greek treatises, at present. But from the extracts given by the older mineralogists like Camillo and De Boot, it would appear to be no more than a mediaeval compilation, fathered upon the great philosopher, and much of the same cha­racter as the ' Lapidarium ' of Marbodus, to be noticed farther on. It is always quoted by Camillo under the title of Aristotle's ' Liber Mineralium.' Its spurious nature is, indeed, abundantly manifest from the quotations therefrom made by the very writers who appeal to it as the supreme authority. To give an example, Marbodus has in the notes to his ' Prosa de XII. Lapidibus ' :—" Aristotle in his ' Book of Gems,' teaches that the Emerald, hung about the neck or worn on the finger, protects against danger of the falling-sickness. We therefore recommend unto noblemen that it be hung about the necks of their children. It is also approved in all the forms of divination, as well as in every other undertaking, and if worn on the finger it augments the dignity of the wearer both in presence and in speech." And Camillo, after mentioning that within his own recol­lection a mass of iron of notable bigness had fallen from the sky in the province of Lombardy, cites Aristotle as recording a similar phenomenon. But the decisive proof of the spuriousness of the work is the fact of its never being quoted by Pliny amongst the other mineralogical treatises he makes use of. The forgery, however, goes back to'an early date, seeing that Marbodus refers to it as a standard work in the eleventh century.
As for the Αιθικά of the Pseudo-Orpheus, Tyrwhit, the last editor of the poem, considers it to be the production of some Asiatic Greek, and written in the fourth century,
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