March 19, 2019 - The History of New Zealand through a Libertarian Anarchist lens. Please enjoy the ideas and let me know what you think.

Ancient Kiwi Quicksliver

January 9, 2019


While reading the French translation of, Géographie d’Edrisi, al-Idrisi’s Universal Geography of the World (1154 AD) I think I made a mistake thinking of coal. I wrote in the previous post that the early Westerners/Middle-Easterners seemed to have found coal dust on New Zealand’s West Coast. Here is the passage from Jaubert’s translation…

“II y dans cette île des collines d’un sable qui, présenté au feu, se fond et de-vient de l’argent pur.”

This passage typed out myself from the image file, wanting to look more carefully. Initially I was reading the OCR text which stumbled because there is a page break and footnote interrupting the sentence. Before the fix I only could read ““In the hills of this Island there is a sand which, presented to the fire, merges and…” so I though, “coal!” But now the full sentence translated…

“In the hills of this Island there is a sand which, presented to the fire, melts and issues pure silver.”

Surely, then, this sand is mercury ore (aka Cinnabar, aka Quicksilver ore, aka mineral cinnabar, aka mercury sulfide, aka HgS.)

Liquid mercury can be created by heating mercury sulfide. Indeed, this ore does exist in New Zealand readily. If it did not there would be reason to doubt that this ancient manuscript from the C12th referred to New Zealand.

Image ref.

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