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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/214

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sometimes placed in the north of the range, sometimes to the south, but always close to the Black Sea. Their fame was spread through all the ancient world, and to the present day it is stated there is a Caucasian tribe that devotes itself to iron work and supplies the other tribes with weapons.

In the Seven against Thebes of Aeschylus, the brothers were slain "with the hammer -wrought Scythian steel."

Into Italy the use of iron arrived earlier than into Greece, and the Ligurians in the north-west of the peninsula were supposed to be of Greek origin, because that even in historic times they employed bronze lance-heads.

Among the northern inhabitants of Europe it was a much longer time before they became acquainted with iron. Tacitus informs us how rare it was among the Germans in his time (A.D.100), and Caesar, when he set foot in Britain, found the island well peopled, with abundance of cattle, and instead of coins using bits of bronze or iron of various weights. In the interior of the land tin was found, and iron, but in small quantities, on the coast. The Britons had no knowledge of alloying copper with tin, consequently all the bronze they had in use was imported.