University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
History of Science and Technology

Page View

Chambers, Ephraim, 1680 (ca.)-1740 / Cyclopædia, or, An universal dictionary of arts and sciences : containing the definitions of the terms, and accounts of the things signify'd thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical, and the several sciences, human and divine : the figures, kinds, properties, productions, preparations, and uses, of things natural and artificial : the rise, progress, and state of things ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial : with the several systems, sects, opinions, &c : among philosophers, divines, mathematicians, physicians, antiquaries, criticks, &c : the whole intended as a course of antient and modern learning

Meatus - metal,   pp. 521-541 PDF (20.3 MB)

Page 522

( ZLZ )
The Term MECHAN ICAL is alfo uFed in Mathematics,
to figuify a Corfirua ion or Proof of forme Problem, not
done in an accurate Geometrical Manner, but coarfely and
unarrtylh', or by the afliftance of Infiruments, as are mold
Problems rclating to the Duplicature of the Cube, and
the Qitdrature of the Circle.
called alfu Wbite Rhubarb, and Ame-icanScammony; a me-
dicinal Root, taking its Name from a Province of New
Spain, from whence it is brought. Mechoacan was known
and ufed as a Purgative before Jalap, tho the latter is
now in more generl UIe, as being found more efficacious.
Yet Akcboacan is the tweeter and more gentle of the two,
and on that account preferable. The Seat of its Action is
chiefly in the extreme Parts, for which reafon it is accoun-
ted good in arthritic Pains. It has the advantage of need-
ing no Preparation or Corrective; and purging in its own
proper Subflance, fuch as it grows. M. Boulduc found by
analyfing it, that it contains twelve times as much Salt as
Refin; but neither the faline nor refinous Extraal purge
fo freely as the SubfEance, even tho taken in larger Dofes;
nor do they yet purge fo gently. In the Choice of Me-
choacan, prefer thofe Pieces which are the brownefi
within , and whore Subfiance is the clofell, and mof
M ECONIUM, in Pharmacy, is the Juice of the Poppy,
drawn by Expreffion, and dried i differing from Opium,
in that this laft ouzes out, after an Incifion made in the
Heads of the Poppies. The Word comes from the Greek
pocst, Poppy. Sec OP I U M.
M ECON1VM is ;alfo a black thick Excrement, gather'd
in the Inteilines of a Child during the time of Geflation.
In Colour and Conlifience, it refembles Pulp of Cajlia.
It is alfo found to refemble Meconium, or Juice of Poppy,
whence it takes its Name.
MEDAL, a fmall Figure, or Piece of Metal, in form
of a Coin, detained to preferve to Poflerity the Portrait of
fome great Man, or the Memory of fome illuldtious Ac-
For the Manner of Jiriking MEDALS, fee COINING.
Some Authors imagine, that the antient MIEDALS were
ufed for Money. M. Patin has a Chapter exprefs to prove,
that they had all a fix'd regular Price in Payments; not
excepting even Medallions. F. oubert is of the fame Opi-
nion. Others, on the contrary, maintain, that we have no
real Money of the Antients; and that the Medals we now
Save, never had any Courfe as Coins. Between thefe two
Extremes, there is a Medium, which appears by much
more reafonable than either of them. See MONEY.
MEDALS are divided into Antient and Modern; The
Azntient are fuch as were firuck between the third and
the fcventh Centuries: The Modern are thofe firuck
within thefe 3co Years. Among the Anitent, fome are
Greek, others Roman. The Greek are the modi antient.
That People firook Medals in all the three Metals with
fuch exquifite Art, as the Romans could never come up
to. The Greek Medals have a Defign, Accuracy, Force,
and a Delicacy that expreffs even the Mufcles and
Veins, and it nmufl be own'd, goes infinitely beyond any
thing of the Roma as. There are aliu Hebrew Medals; Panic,
Gothic, and Arabic Medals 5 which make new Clafnes in the
antient and modern ones. The Confular Medals ate cer-
tainly the mot} antient Medals of the Romans: And yet
thofe of Copper and Silver don't go beyond the 484th
Year of Rame; nor thofe of Gold beyond the Year 546.
If any are produced of an older Date, they are fpu-
Confular MEDALS are fo call'd, to diflinguifh them from
the Imperial; not that they were firook by order of the
Confuls, but becaufe in thofe Times the Republic was
governed by Confuls. Of thefe, Father oubert reckons a-
bout fifty or fixty of Gold; two hundred and fifty of Cop-
per i and near a thoufand of Silver. Goltzius has defcribed
them in a Chronological Order, according to the Fafli Con-
fulares. UTfiwus has difpofed them Genealogically, accord-
ing to the Order of the Roman Families. M. Patin has
colleaed an entire Series of thenm, in the fame Order
with LCfiuls ; and only computes 1037 Confulars, which
relate to 178 Roman Families- M. Vaillant, and M. Morel,
each promifed a new Edition of the Confular Medals; M.
Failant kept his word, and his Book was printed e'er he
died, in 3 Vol. Folio.
Among the Imperial MEDALS, we diflinguilb betweer
the Upper and the Lower Empire: The Upper Empir
commenced uncd crflrdi/s Cefar, and ended about the Yeal
of Jefus Chrit _J6o: 'T he Lower Empire comprehend
near iacoYears, viz. till the taking of C'onflantinople. 'Ti
the Cuflom, however, to account all the Imperial Medals
till the Time of the Paieolos~i, among the Antique; an,
yet we have no Imperial Medals, of any confiderable Beau
ly, later than the Time of Heraclius, who died in 641
After the Time of Phocas and Heraclias, Italy become a
Prey to the Barbarians; fo that the Monuments we have
remaining of thofe two Emperors, finifh the Set or Series
of Imperial Medals. To thefe are added the Medals of the
Lower Empire, and the Greek Emperors; whereof a Se-
ries may be made as low as our time, taking in the Modern
ones. M. Patin has made an ample Colleaion of the
Ip Merial Mels till the Time of Heraclias. The Gothic Me-
dals make part of the Imperial ones. They are fo call'd,
as having been fruck in the Times of the Goths, and in
the Declenfion of the Empire; and favouring of the Igno-
rance and Barbarity of the Age.
As to the Modern, they are fuch as have been firuck
in Europe, fince the Ufurpation of the Goths has been ex-
tin& ; and Sculpture and Engraving have begun to re-
flourilhl. The firit was that of the famous Reformer John
Has in 141 5; if any pretend to be more antient, they are
fpurious. In France, there were none firuck with the
Prince's Effigy before the Reign of Cbarles VII.  The
Study of modern Medals is fo much more ufeful, as they
afford more light than the antient, and mark the Times
and Circumfiances of Events precifely; whereas the In-
fcriptions of the antient Medals are very lhort and fimple,
and generally without any Date. Add to this, that the
antient Medals are extremely liable to be counterfeited,
by reafon of the exceffive Price they bear. But in the
modern, there is not near that Danger of being impofed
For the relf, Medals have been firuck in three Kinds of
Metals, which make three feveral Sets or Series in the
Cabinets of the Curious. That of Gold is the leaf nu-
merous, as not confifling of above zooo, or 12o0 of the
Imperial ; that of Silver may contain about 3oco Impe-
rial; and that of Copper, of the three feveral Sizes, viz.
the great, the middle, and the fmall Copper, confids of
6 or 7000, all Imperial. See SERIES.
There are no true Hebrew Medals i thofe which we fee
of the Heads of Mofes, and Jefus Cbrift, arc fpi.:irius and
modern. We have a few Shekels of Copper and Silver,
with Hebrew or Samaritan Legends; but none of Gold;
tho there is mention made of one in the King of Denmark's
Cabinet. F. Souciet has a Differtation on the Hebrew Me-
dals, commonly cail'd Samaritan Medals; where he diflin-
guilhes accurately between the Genuine and Spurious;
and fhews, that they are true Hebrew Coins firuck by the
Sews, but on the Model of the Antients; and that they
were current before the Babylonoh Captivity. See SAMA-
The Parts of a Medal, are the two Sides; one whereof
is call'd the Head, the other the Revcrfe. On each Side
is the Area or Field, which makes the middle of the Me-
dal; the Rim or Border ; and the Exergue, which is
beneath the Ground, whereon the Figures reprefented
are placed. On the two Sides are diflinguifh'd the Type,
and the Infcription or Legend. The Types are the Figures
reprefented; the Legend is the Writiig,efpecially that a-
round the Medal; tho in the Greek Medals, the Infcription
is frequently in the Area. What we find in the Exergue,
is frequently no more than fome Initial Letters, whofe
Meaning we are unacquainted withal; tho, fometimes
too, they contain Epochls, or Words that may be ac-
counted ain Infcription. See EXERGUE and LEGEND.
'Tis not either the Metal, or the Size, which
makes a Medal valuable; but the Scarcity of the Head,
or of the Reverfe, or the Legend. Some Medals are
common in Gold, which yet are very rare in Copper; and
others very rare in Silver, which in Copper and Gold are
very common. The Reverfe is fometimes common, where
the Head is fingular; and fome Heads are common, whofe
Reverfes are very fcarce. There are Medals very fcarce
in fome Sets, and yet very common in others. For in-
fiance, there is no Antonia in the Sets of large Copper, and
the middle Copper is forced to fupply its place. The Otho
is very rare in all the Copper Sets, and yet common in the
Silver ones. Orho's, of the large Copper, are held at an
immenfe Price; and thofe of the middle Copper, at 40
or 50 Pilioles. And the Gordians are rated ful i as high.
X Singular Medals are invaluable. Singular Medals, in the
popular fenfe, are fuch as are not found in the Cabinets
of the Curious, and are only met with by chance; but in
the firiaer fenfe are fuch, whereof there is not above one
of a Kind extant. The Otbo in large Copper is a fingular
Medal. When a Medal exceeds the Value of ten or twelve
FPidoles, they are worth what the Owner pleafes. The
r Pefcennius Niger, and Pertinax, are very rare in all
s Metals. The Didius Yfalianus is hardly found any where,
s but in large Copper. Carteren, a Dutchman, and fomne o-
thers, have made Mills exprefs to Arike Medals that never
I were, as thofe of Cicero, Virgil, Priam, &c. M. Vail/ant has
- collected all the Medals druck by the Roman Colonies;
. F. Hardouin thofe of the Greek and Latin Cities. F. Noris

Go up to Top of Page