Open main menu

Page:Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Vol 19.djvu/242

This page needs to be proofread.

218 Lead Mines of Kohel et Terafeh. [No. 3.

and thanksgiving, after the passage of the Red Sea and the overthrow of Pharoah and the Egyptian host in its waters. [“ Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them : they sank as lead in the mighty waters.” Ex. xv. 10.] Again in Numbers xxxi. 22,—where it is men- tioned with the other five metals most in use at this early.period: (“only the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead.”) Job thus alludes to the use of lead for the permanent record of remarkable transactions, (xix. 23, 24.) “ Oh, that my words were now written! Oh, that they were printed (written?) in a book! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever l” Again in Jeremiah vi. 29. “The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder melteth in vain.” According to the following passage in Ezekiel, by whom this metal is mentioned more than once, it would seem to have been imported into Palestine by merchants from Tarshish (xxvii. l2.) “Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.” In the time of Zechariah lead appears to have been used for the sealing up and covering of vessels. (v. 8.) “ And be cast it into the midst of the ephah ; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.”

Pausanias speaks of certain books of Hesiod, written upon sheets of lead, and Pliny states, that public acts were registered on leaves of the same metal. A great number of leaden coins, most of them Greek or Roman, but some representing Egyptian divinities, have been figured by Ficorini in his Piombi Antichi; and frequent allusion is made to leaden coins by the poets.

The ancient Egyptians made use of lead chiefly in their alloys, and for solder.

An ancient Sistrum found by Mr. Burton at Thebes is soldered with lead: and I have seen portions of this metal still adhering to cavities in hewn stones in some of the temple walls at Thebes.

The lead appeared to have been used for fastening bars of bronze or iron into the blocks. The bars have disappeared, but have left their traces in a few places, in stains of rust or verdigris. According to Diodorus lead was employed by the Egyptians in purifying the gold dust, found on the confines of Egypt, which he tells us (iii. 11.) was placed with a fixed proportion of lead, salt, a little tin, and barley bran into earthern crucibles closed with clay, and exposed to heat in a fur-