Ch. 3: Talismanic Use of Special Stones

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58 THE CURIOUS LORE OF PRECIOUS STONES
story, who easily persuaded the dealer that the markings could just as well signify the initials of some other name. Sendal adduces this as a proof that the letters read on such pieces of amber were as much the product of the observer's imagination as of the markings on the mate­rial.14 Those who secured amber so mysteriously marked by Nature's hand probably felt that they had obtained a talisman of great power, especially destined for their use.
While the special and traditional virtue of the ame­thyst was the cure of drunkenness, many other qualities were attributed to this stone in the fifteenth century. For Leonardo,15 it had the power to control evil thoughts, to quicken the intelligence, and to render men shrewd in business matters. An amethyst worn on the person had a sobering effect, not only upon those who had partaken too freely of the cup that intoxicates, but also upon those over-excited by the love-passion. Lastly, it preserved soldiers from harm and gave them victory over their enemies, and was of great assistance to hunters in the capture of wild animals. The amethyst shared with many other stones the power to preserve the wearer from contagion.16
A pretty legend in regard to the amethyst has been happily treated in French verse. The god Bacchus, offended at some neglect that he had suffered, was deter­mined to avenge himself, and declared that the first per­son he should meet, when he and his train passed along, should be devoured by his tigers. Fate willed it that this
" Sendelii, " Eleetrologite," Elbingae, 1725, Pt. I, p. 12, note. 15 Camilli Leonardi, " Speculum lapidum," Venetia, 1502, fol. 22. MJohannis de Cuba, " Hortus Sanitatis," [Strassburg, 1483] tractatus de lapibus, cap. vii.
Ch. 3: Talismanic Use of Special Stones Page of 467 Ch. 3: Talismanic Use of Special Stones
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