Ch. 3: Talismanic Use of Special Stones

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TALISMANIC USE OF PRECIOUS STONES        59
luckless mortal was a beautiful and pure maiden named Amethyst, who was on her way to worship at the shrine of Diana. As the ferocious beasts sprang toward her, she sought the protection of the goddess, and was saved from a worse fate by being turned into a pure white stone. Recogniziûg the miracle and repenting of his cruelty, Bacchus poured the juice of the grape as a libation over the petrified body of the maiden, thus giving to the stone the beautiful violet hue that so charms the beholder's eye.17
From the various descriptions of this stone given by ancient writers, it appears that one of the varieties was ' probably the purple almandine or Indian garnet, and it is not improbable that we have here the reason for the name amethyst and for the supposed virtue of the stone in preserving from drunkenness. For if water were poured into a vessel made of a reddish stone, the liquid would appear like wine, and could nevertheless be drunk with impunity.
Arnoldus Saxo, writing about 1220, after reciting the virtues of the beryl as given by Marbodus, after Evax and Isidorus, reports in addition that the stone gave help against foes in battle or in litigation; the wearer was rendered unconquerable and at the same time amiable, while his intellect was quickened and he was cured of laziness.18/ In the old German translation of Thomas de Cantimpré's "De Proprietatibus Rerum," we read that
17 Belleau, " Œuvres poétiques," ed. Marty-Laveaux, Paris, 1878, vol. ii, pp. 172 sqq. The poem in which this tale occurs is the " Amours et nouveaux eschanges des pierres précieuses," -written in 1576 and dedicated to Henri III.
18 Rose, " Aristotles de lapidibus und Arnoldus Saxo," in Zeitsehr. für D. Alt., New Series, vol. vi, p. 431.
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