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What was Murrhine?

  • C. N. Bromehead

In 1855 C. Müller published the first volume of his Geographi Graeci Minores: in the introduction to the ‘Periplus of the Erythraean Sea’ he states that he has studied six hundred writers on the question’ what was murrhine, but that it may be now regarded as certain that murrhine vases were made of fluorspar’. Since, however, the opinions which Müller discarded have been revived by writers entitled to respectful consideration, some of whom have also given reasons for rejecting the identification with fluorspar, it seems desirable to review the matter and to put on record certain new evidence.

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1 Müller, C, Geographi Graeci Minores. Paris, 1855 .

2 Laufer, B., The Beginnings of Porcelain in China. Museum of Natural History, Chicago: Anthropological series, vol. XV, no. 2, 1917 .

3 de Boodt Boethius, A., Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia (Ist ed., 1609); 3rd ed. Leyden, 1647.

4 Agricola, G., (=Georg Bauer). De Natura Fossilium Libri Decem. Basle, 1546 .

5 Hofmann, J.J., Lexicon Universale . . . metallorum, lapidum, gemmarum nomina, naturas, vires. Leyden, 1698 .

6 King, C.W., Natural History of Gems or Decorative Stones. London, 1867 .

7 Bailey, K.C., The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on Chemical Subjects. London, vol. 1, 1929 ; vol. 2, 1932.

8 Englebach, R., Recent acquisitions in the Cairo Museum. Ann. des Serv. des Antiquités de l’Egypte. Tom. XXXI, 1931, pp. 126–31 and plate.

9 Corsi, F., Delle Pietre Antiche Trattato. Rome, 1845 .

10 Middleton, H.J., Ancient Rome in 1888. Edinburgh, 1888 .

11 Westropp, H.M., Manual of Precious Stones and Antique Gems. London, 1874 .

12 Loewental, A.I., and Harden, D. B.. ‘Vasa Murrina’. Journ. Roman Studies, vol. XXXIX, 1949, pp. 31–7. Plates V-VII.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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