Article

bronze

Frederick Norman Pryce and Michael Vickers

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics


Published online December 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.1182

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The ancients used the words χαλκός, *aes, indiscriminately for copper and for the harder and more fusible bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. Implements of bronze are found in Egypt and *Mesopotamia before 3000 bce. During the third millennium (the early Minoan period of Crete) the general use of bronze and the normal composition of the alloy (one part of tin to nine of copper) were established (see metallurgy). Until the introduction of *iron, bronze was the sole metal for utilitarian purposes, and afterwards it continued in general use to the end of antiquity for sculpture, many domestic objects, and, after the 5th cent. bce, for small-denomination coins. Brass (ὀρείχαλκος, orichalcum, a mixture of copper and zinc) is not found before Roman imperial times, when *lead was also added to bronze in increasing quantities.Copper is widely found in classical lands, where the principal sources of supply were, for Greece, *Chalcis in Euboea and *Cyprus, and for Italy, Bruttium, Etruria (see etruscans), and Elba, while under Roman rule *Spain produced largely.

Article.  472 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology ; History of Science and Technology

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