ГОДИШНИК НА МИННО-ГЕОЛОЖКИЯ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ “СВ. ИВАН РИЛСКИ”, Том 51, Св.

I, Геология и геофизика, 2008
ANNUAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINING AND GEOLOGY “ST. IVAN RILSKI”, Vol. 51, Part I, Geology and Geophysics, 2008

ORPHIC LITHICA AS A SOURCE OF LATE ANTIQUITY MINERALOGICAL KNOWLEDGE

Ruslan I. Kostov

University of Mining and Geology “St. Ivan Rilski”, 1700 Sofia; rikostov@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT. The Orphic Lithica of Pseudo-Orpheus is dated most probably from the IV c. AD and is considered as an example of the Late
Antiquity lapidary treatises describing the magical and therapeutic properties of about 30 ‘stones’ (minerals, varieties, aggregates and rocks).
Based on an English translation from 1865, a contemporary from mineralogical point of view interpretation of their possible identification has been
listed and discussed.

ОРФИЧЕСКАТА ЛИТИКА КАТО ИЗВОР НА КЪСНОАНТИЧНОТО МИНЕРАЛОГИЧНО ЗНАНИЕ
Руслан И. Костов
Минно-геоложки университет “Св. Иван Рилски”, 1700 Cофия; rikostov@yahoo.com

РЕЗЮМЕ. Орфическата Литика на Псевдо-Орфей се датира най-вероятно от IV век и се разглежда като пример на късноантичните
лапидарски трактати, описващи магичните и терапевтичните свойства на около 30 “камъка” (минерали, разновидности, агрегати и скали).
Базирана на английския превод от 1865 г., е направена и дискутирана интерпретация от съвременна минералогична точка на тяхната
идентификация.

Probably the latest published English translation of the so French (Les lapidaires grecs, 1985; reviewed by Vian, 1986;
called Orphic Lithica is to be found in the first edition of the Scarborough, 1990), modern Greek (Giannakes, 1982; see
classical work of C. W. King from 1865 “Natural History, Hopkinson, 1984; Concordantia..., 2005) and Russian
Ancient and Modern of Precious Stones and Gems and of (Semenov, Popov, 1997).
Precious Metals” (London, Bell and Daldy, Cambridge,
Deighton, Bell and Co., 442 p.). In this treatise on gemmology, As representatives of ancient sources on “stones”
the translation has been added as an application “Orpheus on (“minerals”) in the broad sense on the word after Theophrastus
Gems” (King, 1865, 375-396), with a list of the described in the (371-287 BC) with his work “On Stones” can be listed: Sotacus
poem ‘stones’ and notes on its possible authorship. In the next (V century or the beginning of III century BC, probably of
editions of the work of C. W. King this application has been Persian origin), Zoroaster (middle of the III century BC) with
omitted. It has been declared that the text is strongly spoiled “On precious stones”, Damigeron (probably before the I
and in it have not been included the remarks by Gesner and century) with “Book on stones” (revised in the V century), Pliny
Tyrwhit (for a commentary on the different aspects of the text the Elder (23-79 AD) with the encyclopedia “Natural History”
сompare Giangrande, 1989; 1992; Rebbufat, 1995; Livrea, (the last 37 book of this work is related exclusively to precious
1998; 1999). In the present work attention has been paid on and decorative stones), Xenocrates of Ephesus (I century) with
the probable or possible better identification of the different “Lithognomon” and Dionysius Periegetes (end of the I –
‘stones’ from a contemporary point of view and knowledge on beginning of the II century) with “Description of the World”.
historical development of the ancient mineralogy. The names Data on minerals or metals can be found also in the work of
of the minerals have been compared with those from the early Agatharchides of Cnidus (181-146 BC), in “Historical Library”
XIX century Greek edition (Orphica, 1805; the numbers of of Diodorus of Agirion (I century BC), in De Rerum Natura
quotations are for paragraphs in the poem as they do not (“On the Nature of the Universe”) by Lucretius Carus (99-55
correspond to such in other translations). BC), in the “Geography” and “On Mining Facilities” by Strabo
(c. 63 BC – 20 AD), in “Natural History Questions” by Seneca
This work, which is attributed to the Alexandrine tradition, is (4 BC – 65 AD), in the fifth volume of De Materia medica by
known in several late Medieval Greek and Latin editions, as Pedanius Dioscorides (I century), in the Lithica of Socrates and
well as translations in other languages in the XIX century. Dyonisius (I-III century) and in De mirabilibus mundi (III
From the end of the XIX century is the most cited edition of century; during the Middle ages rewritten under the title
Orphic Lithica edited by E. Abel with the corresponding “Polyhistor”) by Solinus (с. Moore, 1859; Adams, 1938; Les
epitomes (Orphei Lithica, 1881; Orpheos Lithika Kerigmata, lapidaires grecs, 1985; Kostov, 2003). In the fundamental for
1881; de Mély, 1898, 160-173; Orphei Lithica, 1971; Lithica, antiquity work of Pliny the Elder have been mentioned several
2005). During the ХХ century the poem has been translated in other authors, cited in the paragraphs about minerals among

109

that the telescope has been known in the ancient world). related to the to the magical properties of stones. Most stones on the breastplate of Aaron” (on the symbolism of the of the magic магически stones are devoted to Apollo-Helios. iron (iron souls. King Juba (including minerals. 1994). rocks and bioobjects) or their synonyms and Asarub (King. Most of the researchers of the text. Talfourd et al. and after Krause (in Pyrgoteles. for the attributed to the epoch of emperor Dometianus (81-96 AD) and role of quartz and its varieties in humans culture during the it has been accepted. 1851. 1898. The late antiquity lapidaries finish the poem. Kunz. 1971. 1851. 1865. 3-4). Metrodorus (Persia). are star (as a lens) and reaching the Earth as light and heat. Les lapidaires grecs. 2008). 1998). to find its place the poem Lithica (IV century) related to the 2003). 11). glorious flame” properties and instructions for their use in glyptic art with (Harrison. The story tells how the author Orpheus (in the case Pseudo- In the Biblical tradition. known different legends about unusual and magic stones. In the hardest mineral was known in the Mediterranean region as a Orphic Lithica in 774 Greek hexameters (in the edition of Abel result of trade contacts with India. In this epoch has names and properties in textbooks of gemmology. copper and bronze. King (1865) thing that the poem is earlier than II century BC in age. cited by King. who is to be mentioned in the beginning of centuries see Kostov. The possible interpretation of the mythical Hermes Trismegistrus. based on the content. related to ancient mythological systems. etymology of “crystal” (in Greek – ice). 1985). probably corundum or 110 . Moore. In the poem are mentioned mainly as metaphors some of the most important metals and alloys known in antiquity: gold The poem Orphic Lithica has been attributed to a Greek from (golden scepter. it can be accepted also in a reverse learn how in a cold night the shields of the solders have been manner – in the Orphic Lithica have been included some covered by ice. 6) the work has to be dated from the V century BC. see Kostov. 1938). Helios which 50 minerals have been described with some of their – name.. BC. transparent non-coloured quartz. quartz crystal lenses have been found in century by Ioan Tzetzes in Byzantium (de Mély. that the Lithica is earlier in age than the centuries see Kostov. 462). Among the non-metallic the II century (Les lapidaires grecs. Moore. for example Tyrwhit. 9-10. because he finds some similarities in the There is an ancient legend that the transparent quartz is ice. Ephesus and Knossos. dear to the Thracian horsemen! О. Zoroaster. The cult to the Sun (Helios – Apollo) among the with the work of the discussed Damigeron. IV century). Sudines and Zenothemis. 1913. (companion of food). 1991.. 1922. xiv). 4). II mill. 161-195. work of Pliny the Elder “Natural History” (book XXXVII). in the 1805 edition 768 hexameters) are described some sort of hard mineral or rock. The most probable interpretation of crystal is lived in the period between the time of emperor Constantius rock crystal. In the poem is (306-337) and that of the emperor Valetis (c. the ‘Crystal Sun’ can be accepted as a universe energy which is transformed by the In Antiquity. 375-378). Adams. 1993а. it has been suggested better the author of the poem to be named as Pseudo. It is accepted that that is from 1881. The rock crystal and amethyst are mentioned examples or quotations from the work of Pliny the Elder. (530-480 BC) (Talfould. theogonic transformations and therapeutic influences (for the but even at the time of Pliny the Elder there is a doubt that the mythology-gemmology link see Kostov. golden bed. BC for the first time the poem is linked to Orpheus in the XII (Temple. mythical Orpheus. corresponding image of symbol (Orphei Lithica. who teaches him the magic properties of stones. and “On Rivers and „stone” in given in a decreasing order of significance (for a Mountains” (first quarter of the III century) by Pseudo-Plutarch more precise mineralogical nomenclature one can compare (de Mély. Troy. 1865.. In the Iliad of Homer we According this argument. gold in the sense of jewel and the Asiatic territory from the second half of the IV century power). 2005) or from by magnet). iron attracted (Tyrwhit. 1859. for the Kerygmata mineral deposits as important is the white “gold” – salt respectively II-XIV century). 1865. It is Nimrod. 1985. 189-190. 1859) the authorship has to be XXXVII. silver (shining as silver). Nicander. mentioned the usage of crystal objects (formed as lenses or According other researchers (Hermann. Yakh and Vokh. Concordantia. with their cosmogony attribution and astrosymbolism. characteristics of the following about 30 mineral substances Zachalias of Babylon. There are evidences for quartz lenses in Ancient Egypt even It has been even suggested that the poem has been used as in the Predynastic Period – IV mill. Archeleus. Orpheus. known in Latin. and varieties (with sign ●. 163. I or III-IV knowledge most species have been described only as some century) ascribed to Harpocration and Cyran. Orphic Hymns. as well as to the kind of “stones” (Table 1). 1881. some properties together with curative powers and magic Democrites. Evans. 1991. According to the Pythagorean ideas.. in Thracians is recorded also by Sophocles in Tereus: “О. 2000. 1993b). “Book on the 12 (Helios). The in the first mineralogical Greek treatise of Theophrastus Orphic Lithica has been also attributed to Onomacrites (Kostov. Callistratus. related which can not be melted again by the Sun. 1898. described by the magi. stylistic and composition peculiarities of the text suggest that the author has Crystal (170). HN. аnd obviously the galactites must not to be used as a synonym As related to the late Antiquity period and linked also to the of не adamantа) – in antiquity because of the week scientific Orphic tradition is the treatise “Cyranides” (book I. twelve precious stones in different sources throughout the and not to Hermes. Ruhnken – cited by spheres) for igniting of fire (compare Pliny the Elder. the agate is described in two places.them: Sotacus (Persia). Adamant usually is translated as diamond. with Adamant (180). and for concave an example for Theriaca of Nicander (King. Probably lenses – from the time of the Minoan culture. the interpretation of gemstones in Orpheus) meets the sorcerer Theodamus (later by the Troy early Christian treatises can be found in the pioneer work of personage Helenus) on his way to the altar of the God of Sun Epiphanius of Salamis (Cyprus.

410 ● Vocal stone Meteorite 350 Orites See siderites. exites) 330. green jasper 740 Prase Prase (green jasper). 194). rock or Interpretation Paragraph biomineral object) Crystal Rock crystal. 2005). red mineral 270 Peridot [Topazios] Glass-like mineral. called tree-agate. serpentinite. 630 ● Leontoseras Agate (“eye”-agate) 610 Emerald Green mineral or rock. Venus hair. 111 . but not diamond 180 ● Lethoean stone Hard mineral – possibly corundum 180 Galactites [Milkstone] Galactites 180 Petraces [Agate] Agate – colourful 230 ● Tree-stone (tree-agate) Agate – moss (dendrite) 230 Staghorn Staghorn 240 True stone Bezoar from the brain of a deer 240 Barbarian stone Stone from Syria (аgate?) 250 Jasper Green jasper. obsidian (volcanic glass) 680 Nebrites Amethyst. 1991. In the poem is mentioned also a special Barbarian stone (250). chalcedony layers. malachite. 1991. 450 ● Viper’s -„. Moore. HN. 340 Ostrites Serpentinite. draconites 350. Ophite Serpentinite (“snake stone”. synonym) ‘Stone’ (mineral. Syria are known deposits of agates. It has been mentioned that the stone kind. XXXVII. heliotrope 640-650 Liparean stone Lipareon. Moore. rounded pebbles of quartz composition 750 Petraces (230). see orites 340 Siderites Meteorite. Besides True stone (240). In some case. minerals and rocks are known about ten wide spread species or varieties (с. XXXVII. because of the sweet juice one can obtain from it. 490 Coral Red (noble) coral 500 Agate Agate 600. in the poem – from the brain of a been translated as a variety of agate with different colour of the deer). bituminous schist 470 Scorpion’s stone Similar in form or colour stone 480. 15.emery. Adamant has been also used as synonym of the and related in certain case to another stone melites (с. nephrite 260. The petraces (from Greek – “stone”) has found in goats – bezoar goat. quartz 170 Adamant Hard mineral – possibly corundum. 37). the jasper is thought to have imaginable magical curative properties (usually supposed to be a synonym of adamant (с. 1859. but among green prehistorically times – including as biogemmological materials. green beryl (emerald) 600 Sardian Carnelian or sarder (red to brown chalcedony) 600 Bloodstone Hematite. ● – variety. The name bezoar is usually used for some true green jasper. chrysolite Loadstone Magnetite 300 Serpentine. known to mineralogist as moss or is to be found at the Syrian seashore. HN. as well as bone and tooth material of Jasper (260. Staghorn (240). agate. As\ an alternative opinion for interpretation of that stone is some kind of zeolite mineral (Mottana. In the region of ancient dendrite agate. another interpretation can include stones founded in intestines of animals and this stone has serpentinite and nephrite. coal. mountain stone 450 Jet Jet. chlorite 280 Chrysolite [Chrysotrix] Quartz with inclusions of ‘golden’ rutile (sagenite. 600 Lychnis Crystal. 59. exites. 1859. mica. sunstone. 600). Horns. Galactites is mentioned in the works of Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder. Table 1 ‘Stones’ in Orphic Lithica and their possible interpretation (in italics – ancient names with unclear origin. softer white or yellowish stone – galactites (milky stone) (180). chrysoprase 750 Chalazias Hard mineral. But in the next text it is attributed to a the Elder. chrysolite 280 Opal Оpal 280 Opsian Soft and inflammable material 280 Tears of pine Amber 280 Mica-like stone [Talc] Talc. nephrite. 350. amber. serpentinite. 137-138). 340. In most of the ancient sources the jasper vertebrata animals have been used for different purpose from is described as a stone with a green colour. agate. Pliny the Elder. 290 arrows of Cupid). Pliny Lethoean stone (180).

It can antidote against snake bites has been related also to the hardly be judged weather the opal from the poem corresponds stones exites and draconites. The contemporary nomenclature mineral siderite is an iron carbonate. 1991. Opsian (280). 490). 1921) or some variety of marble. 1913. Most historians of mineralogy translate chrysolite been names the Vocal stone (350). 1991. An alternative interpretation discusses the possibility that the Lychnis (270). as Pliny the rock crystal or quartz. and that is why it has chrysotrix). magnetite) (300). about the folklore metasomatic origin. that give light King. XXXVII. The orites has been thought as a magical thought to be a black stone. 391. 29). In the poem the lychnis is related also to the crystal. 145. 11-12). the stone spinos in antiquity see Kostov. Ophite (330. black in colour and used for cutting brown coal. XXXVII. 2005. XXXVII. In the gemmological literature jet about amber in the Greek mythology (с. 1965. 1859. 1991. HN. In Orphic Lithica the oracle properties of further in the text (in the original Greek text the proper name is the stone are described for the first time. cited also the ophites stone (King. This name has been used as in the original because of the resemblance of its form with the scorpion. 1823). bearing a sexual symbolism to the contemporary meaning of the mineral. torch). Its form gives an alternative view obsidian (Blumenbach. “Venus Coral (500). duplicating the chrysolite (olivine). 65. antiquity under the same name besides coal or bitumen- bearing schist one can find other stones – for example the so Mica-like (flaky) stone (280). The description of the stone follows that of the linked to red or transparent minerals – known in the antiquity serpentine. Kunz. black and minerals can be garnets. The interpretation of this stone called Thracian stone (for its interpretation and analogy with has to be related to some sort of mica-like mineral (mica. 163). 2008). 56). XXXVII. mentioned Siderites (350. 1865. including the name paederos (Pliny sort of marble (King. Elder interprets it as a crab’s cover (Pliny the Elder. which has to be mixed Orites (“mountain stone”) (450). translated as “golden hair” or that is the contemporary sagenite quartz (with inclusions of rutile needle-like crystals. HN. Such red 1915. Lithica the properties of magnitis are related to the attraction of 1991. related to the family Corrallidae. pink tourmaline and round suggests a mineral aggregate for example a concretion. 112 . Chrysotrix can be the Elder. zircon. HN. 1913. There are a lot of legends Elder. four of its varieties. XXXVII. 1991. with properties related to amber (Pliny the Elder. stones (Pliny the Elder. Pliny the described owing its name to a river and town in Lycia (Pliny the Elder. XXXVII. XXXVII. chlorite etc. 72). 280-281). Moore. In the 178). preventing from fires. 21-22. and the ancient topazios – as chrysolite. 55. i. XXXVII. Kunz. 34). The jasper and similar in appearance jasperoid or jasper-like rock are mainly quartz. “arrows of Cupid”). In the work of Pliny the Elder this stone has been amber. and ophites is a synonym of serpentine or of descriptions of opals.The magical powers of the green jasper for attracting rain to Heraclean stone. 11). Pliny the Elder. HN. The siderites as an the Elder. In most cases the lychnis is Ostrites (340). 1991. Theophrastus describes it as a precious stone (Kostov. In the text with siderites is (see also Pliny the Elder. According to Pliny the Elder siderites and orites are one and the same stone (Pliny the Elder. The name of the stone is for the Greek name stone has been a fossil. “snake stone”. Topazios (280). Most prized as In the encyclopedia of Pliny the Elder the magnitis is a gemological material is the precious red coral (Coralium interpreted as well as several other stones – siderites. 67). In the interpretation of Orphic Lithica the stone opsian is a soft and burning substance. The fact that the stone is hard. ruby. to it as a meteorite (D'Orazio.). Moore. 1913. 253). imitating in shape the spirals of snake of lamp (lychnos – lamp. It may have been mistaken with the stone ophites. 1991. 2007. 1805. (McMahon. 2007). 340. 1865. 2007. known in Ancient Greece as electron (с. In the work of Pliny the Elder there is a number HN. Scorpion stone (480. both with identical therapeutic powers. work of Damigeron (Kunz. oracle powers (King. HN. 1991.e. 410). 1993б). 1991. which can for an idea that the stone can be a piece of an iron meteorite correspond to the contemporary meaning of the mineral. XXXII. 94). Tears of pine (280). Its description as composed of iron gives the opportunity poem the stone is described as of a “glassy” nature. 42) as topaz. 25). 1998). 90). This poetic metaphor corresponds to Jet (470). (D'Orazio. In Kostov. 1991. 189-190) instead of the because of with the identical colouration with that animal (Pliny chrysolite in the English translation.carbuncle) (compare for stones to Kunz the ostrites may be also some sort of agate (Kunz. XXXVII. HN. 450). named by him scorpitis. stone from Magnesia and hematite (Pliny the the fields from the Orphic Lithica can be found as well in the Elder. 280-281. XXXVI. According as anthrax антракс (in Latin . 1865. HN. is a solid. probably the contemporary stone. 1913. 1913. 60). In the English translation the peridot has been introduced. 350. 65). 1991. According Pliny the Elder with amber and other substances in order to provoke the siderites and orites are synonymous (Pliny the Elder. In the Orphic the coral is listed among the gifts of the sea (Pliny the Elder. The coral as an object of biomineralogy is hair”. In some cases it has been HN. 1991. bears its name Chrysotrix (290). spinel. 203). The ophite is a synonym of bearing rocks with different mineral inclusions of a serpentinite (viper’s stone. 222). But Pliny the Elder mentions (ammonite) (Duffin. According Pliny the Elder the scorpion stone. but the stone coralius – among the gem love by gods and people (с. Kunz. Opal (280). Kunz. compare Halliday. HN. 225. HN. 1865. King. 224-225). or (Orphica. 65). 222). HN. In the work of Pliny the Elder Magnitis (magnetic stone. XXXVI. 1859. In the English translation the name talc has been used.

XXXVII. V. but in most of the cases without attention towards the amethyst – the purple or violet quartz. In his work are described the following “stones”. ancient literature compare Moore. emerald. HN. HN. sorts and deposits of emeralds (Pliny the Elder. 208. The sard (sardian) in the Orphic Lithica and in colours correspond in some way to the triad of colours from the the work of Pliny the Elder corresponds both to carnelian (red basic orphic teaching (Fol. In the work of Pliny the Elder the prase parallel-layered mineral aggregate composed mainly by corresponds to its contemporary meaning (Pliny the Elder. 2007). According to Pliny the Elder the chalazias Emerald (600). obsidian Kostov. chalcedony or jasper. adamant. 73).e. electron (amber). 219-220). Fol. There is great number of publications on the mythical 60). sard. 1991. 1991. 1991. А. Harrison. In the antique sources the bloodstone mentioned also the stones (Ovid. 64). Its identification as a stone from Lipari. 1989. comment. In the earliest mineralogical treatise of antiquity. Agate (600. In the poem this could be also a green agate As to the sequence of order of the stones in the Lithica of variety. Bogdanov. but in this case its smoke can chase away applications (Caley.. Fol. In the poem we learn about the enchants the nature and animals with his music. The leontoceras (610) is a spotty agate. The theogonic role in the origin of hematiteа has been Orpheus and his life. 2007). 31). 1865.nobile. (King. interpretations include some green coloured mineral or rock. HN. 34) – palegreen to leek-green coloured powers of the agate (see also Pliny the Elder. 16-18). mainly for finger rings. In the Medieval ages lapidaries similar properties the Elder one can find a stone stone with similar name – as for the prase in the Orphic poem. 2004. the Elder. 1991. the work of Lipareon (680). Pliny the Elder lists in his work the different 2005). XXXVII. This type of coloured stones seems an enigma (such have been well chalcedony has been wide spread in antiquity as a material for known in the ancient world). 290). 1991. 64). Fol. Chalazias (750). as well as of the Thracian orphic mentioned as drops of blood of the god Uranus. As a blood-stone can be accepted also the 2005. 217) are cited in a lot of Medieval inclusions as blood drops) is sure the heliotrope. 1935. 215. Kostov. XXXVI. Theophrastus. jasper. in order to display relation to the god of wine – Dionysius. Kunz. HN. The so-called heliotrope – darkgreen jasper with small red spots due to iron. as an antidote for poison leontios. 1956. probably the so called “eye” agate. 2004. Pliny the Elder. Coralium rubium) – it has been described in the Orphic suitable for some kind of colourful or spotty agate. The agate is a concentric-zonal (geode) or Prase (750). 1991. From the ancient literature it is well known that Orpheus Bloodstone (640-650). Fol. In the modern mineralogical nomenclature looks like hailstone (Greek – chalaza). HN. XXXVII. quartz and opal. glyptic art. 62). animals. Fol. In the encyclopedia of Pliny the Elder “Natural History” magical Nebrites (740). A possible In the ancient natural history literature this name corresponds interpretation of the stone is small quartz pebbles or pieces. Theophrastus “On Stones”. 1991. the Great Goddess- or orange to yellow chalcedony) and sard (brown chalcedony) Mother being in the center. (from Greek haima – blood) is considered to be the iron- bearing mineral hematite (с. known since the time of Theophrastus (for the legends and symbolism of amethyst compare Kostov 1992). there is no mythological or magical with etymology of a “greasy stone” (Pliny the Elder. 51). 1859. described also as Thracian stone (for its interpretation in the Kunz. to different green coloured minerals or rocks (usually malachite Another alternative explanation is the diamond (Mottana. These Sardian (600). Pliny the Elder. XXXVII. related also to an also to “Metamorphoses” of Ovid among the object of nature are an amulet hematite. This directs the their curative powers. Pseudo-Orpheus one can find a tendency for colour symbolism white(transparent) – green(yellow)+black – red(brown). 1991. V. 2005. 73). 1986. HN. or serpentinite). which XXXVII. XXXVII. Kostov. 1913. HN. 1981. 1915. 54. Greece) is less reliable (obsian according to crystal. It is similar in influence as to the one described in have been listed mainly with their properties and practical the Orphic Lithica. known mainly from the Lipari Island. 1991. Pliny the Elder. skin (Pliny the Elder. 43. 2008 and the cited there literature). The etymology of this stone is one direction of representation of science which will prevail in 113 . 137-138). injured by the god Kronos-Saturn. с. In the work of Pliny chalcedony). agate. 2008). Orpheus. Stone with a The Lithica of Pseudo-Orpheus in the beginning of the XXI similar name nebris (named after the spotty skin of the deer for century represents a distant echo of ancient times with data on wear on the body) is also known in ancient sources (Pliny the precious and magic stones in their therapeutic interpretation – Elder. represented by concentric Similar to prase in colour is also the chrysoprase (green layers of chalcedony with different colour. HN. HN. 1995). Italy and which are mentioned also in the Orphic poem (1/3 in number): the Melos Island. XXXVII. Other Lithica. The lack of description of blue (Pliny the Elder. but is very hard (Pliny the emerald is a transparent green variety of the mineral beryl. probably copied from the Orphic poem (с. chalcedony with quartzine. 1865. HN. coral. In the friendship between Hector and Dolon. also the Thracian stone. In the Orphic Lithica the stone is described in properties of some “stones” are being cited. 1991. The magical 1991. 1896. interpretations of the described “stones” and “earths”. also in close similarity with the patterns on the lion’s is believed to have the green jasper (King. who has been traditions (сompare Mead. Orphic hymns are also related to the late Antiquity literature – bearing phases (с. One of its varieties (green with red XXXVII. (volcanic glass. XXXVII. XXXVII. which is to be lapidary treatises. Guthrie. one possible interpretation of heliotrope is dated also from the IV century (с. 1995. 182). i. Richards. 1991. Moore. hematite (bloodstone) and prase. 1859. 630). Pliny the Elder describes the stone liparea.

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99. 1986. La nouvelle édition des Lithica orphiques. Recommended for publication by Department of “Mineralogy and Petrography”. Faculty of Geology and Prospecting 115 . F.Vian. – REG. 161-70.