Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/82

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72

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tity of the oxide of iron contained in it. Until lately this marble was known only through its remains, and it has generally been ascribed to Egypt. The largest ancient specimens preserved are the fourteen slabs composing the double flight of steps in the church of San Prassede, Rome. Napoleon I. at one time intended to carry these to Paris to ornament his throne. There are several statues of rosso antico, including the "Antinous" in Paris and the "Marcus Agrippa" in the Grimani Palace, Venice, and many medallion portraits. It is now ascertained that this beautiful marble was not Egyptian, but Greek. It was quarried on the coast of the gulf of Laconia, near what is now the bay of Scutari. The quarry lies near the sea, and large blocks cut by the ancients are still to be seen there. In 1851 the Greek Government sent specimens from it to the London Exposition, and it was fully recognized as the famous rosso antico.

There are many varieties of the marble called red and white antique, but they are so near alike that it is impossible to distinguish them by description alone. They are variously called by the Italians rosso annulato, serpentelo, vendurino, fiorito, cotonello, etc. They are found only in the Roman ruins, and their quarries are unknown. The marble called cervelas is of a deep red, with numerous gray and white veins. It is supposed to have been brought from Africa.

The ancients were acquainted with many kinds of green marble, one of the most noted of which was the marmor Atracium, called by Julius Pollux Thessalian, and identical with the verde antico of the Italians. The quarries were on Mount Ossa, near the entrance of the vale of Tempe, and not far from Atrax in Thessaly, whence it derived its name. It is a species of breccia, whose paste is a mixture of talc and limestone, interspersed with fragments of white marble. But the verde antique marbles differ from the modern breccias in that the colors are, so blended that the line of demarkation is not perceptible. The Erechtheum in Athens was adorned with columns of verde antique, and it was one of the marbles selected by Justinian for the decoration of St. Sophia, The eight splendid columns of it still to be seen in the mosque are said to have been taken from the temple of Diana at Ephesus.

The celebrated Carystian marble, the cipolino verde of the Italians, derived its name from Carystus, a town at the foot of Mount Oche, in the island of Eubœa, where it was quarried. The temple of Apollo Marmarinus of Carystus was named from this quarry. It is a true steatitic limestone or cipolin, and is of a beautiful grayish green, with white zones and spots, and sometimes sprinkled with different colors. It was easily obtained in very large blocks, suitable for columns, and was largely used in the temples and other public buildings in Athens and Rome. An English traveler, who visited the quarry lately, found seven entire columns on the site, about three miles from the sea, just as they were left by the ancient workmen.