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date: 05 February 2023



  • Frederick Norman Pryce,
  • John Boardman
  •  and Michael Vickers


While *gold could be easily obtained from alluvial deposits by washing, silver had to be extracted by regular mining processes. The *Phoenicians are said to have been the first to bring silver into general use; several of the silver objects mentioned in *Homer have Sidonian associations (see sidon). The main sources for classical Greece were Mt. *Pangaeus in *Thrace, *Lydia, *Colchis, *Bactria, Siphnos, and *Laurium which provided abundant supplies for *Athens. In the western Mediterranean *Spain was the most prolific source of supply, with *Sardinia, Gaul, and Britain as minor sources. The conquests of Spain and Asia made silver plentiful at Rome, where it had previously been rare.Silver was worked with a hammer into plates which were soldered or riveted together and then decorated with repoussé work (ἐμπαιστική), stamping, chasing, or engraving. Vases might be hammered or cast from a mould and were often adorned with reliefs (emblemata) let into the body of the vessel or crustae soldered upon the surface.


  • Ancient Economy
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

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