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Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald

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SMARAGDUS.                                    280
miles according to caravan computation) from Coptos, which were admired for their brilliant green, though not usually clear, nor of the same tint throughout : " acriter virides, sed non facile puri aut concolores."
The two mines last mentioned, the Coptic and the Ethiopian, doubtless furnished their chief supply of the true Emerald to the Romans, as they did even to the Egyptian Caliphs. Extensive traces of these workings are still to be discovered under Mount Zubara (" the Mountain of Emeralds "), first pointed out by M. Caillaud. His report stimulated Mohammed Ali to reopen the shafts : he had fifty miners employed there when Belzoni visited that region in quest of the ancient Berenice, but their researches had been totally unsuccessful. Belzoni considered that the veins had been quite worked out by the ancients, the vast extent of whose explorations was still attested by the mounds of rubbish covering the ground about the village Sakyat, the former Senskis, as existing inscriptions prove. Heliodorus also (iEth. ii. 32) speaks of the Emerald mines as lying in the debatable ground between Egypt and Ethiopia : his introduction of the subject into his romance shows that they were still of importance in the 4th cen­tury.* From these Sakyat -workings Sir G. Wilkinson
Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald Page of 377 Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald
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