3. Utensil-money

The ojbelivskoi are an example of utensil-money such as is found among many primitive peoples.[46] Utensil-money is convenient for a primitive society, because it does not require either scales or reference to a standard of weight; it is not measured, but counted by talo, that is, by units, and the units in turn are not measured, but have to conform to a certain shape, which is determined by practical utility combined with custom.

As utensil-money, the ojbelivskoi had the particular advantage of being very simple in shape and very long and thin, so that once the length was kept constant, as could be easily achieved, the width could be judged by the eye without material difference in the result. The ojbelivskoi of the Heraion are ca. 120 cm. long, and this suggests that they had been calculated at four feet.[47]

Utensil-money is such that even the precise nature of the component metal might have been of lesser relevance. From the monetary point of view, it could have been immaterial whether the ojbelivskoi were of bronze or of iron, although by the operation of Gresham’s law, the bronze ones, being the better ones, would be driven out of circulation as currency. The 87 found in western Europe are either of bronze or of iron, but Greek literary sources, beginning with Homer, describe them as being of iron.[48] Possibly the bronze pieces were luxury products and were not in common use even as cooking utensils. The number of iron and bronze specimens in modern collections is no indication of their original frequency of occurrence, because iron objects are easily destroyed by rust and, even when preserved, are slighted by free-lance diggers, antique dealers, and collectors. In Homer, the double axes (pelevkei") used as tools are of bronze, but those used as currency are of iron. Hence, it seems safe to conclude that the ojbelivskoi used as currency were normally of iron, but if bronze ones had been offered as payment, they would have been accepted as proper tender. Although Homer refers to the ojbelivskoi as objects of daily use, he does not mention them as units of value; he names instead an iron currency of double axes. There is evidence to the effect that double axes were used as currency in Tenedos up to the time silver coins were adopted, and that they were used as currency in Crete and Paphos at some time.[49] This proves that there were different local customs (novmoi) as to what was to be accepted as a medium of exchange. It is unsound to assume, as Déchelette does,[50] that the ojbelivskoi were used as currency wherever they were used as cooking utensils.

A famous passage of Aristotle contains a reference to utensil-money which has escaped the attention of commentators:

de rep., I. 1257 a

dio; ta;" ajllaga" toiou'tovn ti sunevqento pro;" sfa'" aujtou;" didovnai kai; lambavnein, o} tw'n crhsivmwn auJto; o}n ei\ce th;n creivan eujmetaceivriston pro;" to; zh'n, oi|on sivdero" kai; a[rguro" kai; ei[ ti toiou'ton e{teron to; me;n prw'ton aJplw'" oprisqe;v megevqei kai; staqmw'/, to; de; teleutai'on kai carakrhra ejpibalovntwn, i{n ajpoluvsh/ th'" metrhvsew" aujtouv". oJ ga;r carakth;r ejtevqh tou' posou' shmei'on.

The parallelism of sivdero" kai; a[rguro" with megevqei kai; staqmw'/ is not accidental: the measure by size (mevgeqo") is typical of iron money, whereas silver money is measured by weight (staqmov"). To be precise, Aristotle should have said shape (sch'ma) and not size (mevgeqo"), since the former conveys the idea of being approximately of a certain contour, whereas the latter conveys the idea of the exact quantity contained within that contour. But utensil money is a disturbing fact to Aristotle who maintains that money must have a value as a commodity (creiva), and he circumvents the difficulty by construing the case of money defined by shape as a case of money measured by size. Utensil-money is counted, not measured; but Aristotle could not grant this point because counted money is credit money, whereas it is the measured money which is commodity money.

The same difficulty confronted Aristotle in considering the Homeric gold tavlanton, utensil money which consists of the pan of the scales symbolizing the weighing of souls.

Schol. ad Il. II. 169

luvwn oJ jAristotevlh" to; tavlanton ou[te i[son fhsi; tovte kai; nu'n ei\nai ou[te ajfwrismevnw/ crh'sqai staqmw'/, ajlla; mevtron ti movnon e\nai, w{" kai; fiavlh sch'mavti ajfwrriemevnon oujk e[con staqmo;n, mevtron dev ti. kai; to; tavlanton de; mevtron tiv ejsti, poso;n de; oujkevti ajfwrismevnon.

He granted that the tavlanton was defined by shape (sch'ma) and that it did not have a definite weight, but still tried to conceive of it as something measured (mevtron ti). In reality, it has a definite shape (sch'ma th'" ajfwrismevnon) only within the limits of the function it has to perform as a utensil. Aristotle himself recognizes that the tavlanton is utensil-money when he compares it with the gold fiavlh, a sort of saucer, which sometimes is used as a unit of value in the Homeric poems.[51]

4. Because some ancient philosophers were interested in proving that the iron money of the Spartans had no value as a commodity, they preserved for us a piece of information which not only makes clear the economic nature of this money, but also is of vital importance to the science of archaeology: the iron money of the Spartans was of cast iron.

Plutarch, drawing from older sources, relates that the iron money of the Spartans, as it was coming out of the fire, was dipped in vinegar, so that it would become unfit for forging, brittle, and incapable of taking a good edge:

Lysander XVII

tou'to de; sidhrou'n, prw'ton me;n o[xei katabaptovvmenon ejk puro;", o{pw" mh; katacalkeuvoito, ajlla; dia; th;n bafh;n a[stomon kai; ajdrane;" givnoito

This statement[52] rules out the possibility that the metal in question is wrought iron or steel, both of which would be fit for forging and capable of taking a good edge. There is no doublt that the process described is the “chilling” of cast iron to make it hard.[53] Cast iron can be produced by the easiest possible method of obtaining iron from the ore, that of placing alternate layers of broken ore and burning charcoal in a ventilated shaft. This method has the advantage of extreme simplicity, since iron flows to the bottom in a molten state, but it presents the disadvantage that, while flowing through the fuel, the iron absorbs carbon and thereby becomes cast iron. Cast iron cannot be forged and has poor mechanical qualities, such as brittleness and softness; however, since is soft, it lends itself to shaping by piercing and filing. If hot cast iron is quenched in a liquid (chilling), it becomes very hard, even though more brittle. It is to this process of chilling that the iron money of the Spartans was subjected; the same process is used today to make cast iron as hard as possible, with the only difference that brine is used instead of vinegar.[54]

Ancient writers who judged the Spartan money in the light of an abstract idealization, thought that it was chilled with the aim of making it unfit for any purpose but that of being a medium of exchange. On the contrary, the chilling of the ojbelivskoi satisfied originally the purpose of making them unfit to be used as piercing instruments.

The fact that the currency of ojbelivskoi was of cast iron makes clear its economic nature. Since an object of chilled cast iron can be used as such, whereas its component metal is of little value as a commodity, it follows that, even though in historical time the Spartan iron money was measured by weight, it was a development from utensil-money which was not weighed. In the dialogue Eryxias, although it is stated that the Spartan money is weighed, it is compared with the currency of shaped stones used by the Ethiopians, just because it is made of iron which is useless as a commodity.


ejn de; Lakedaivmoni sidhrw'/ staqmw'/ nomivzousi, kai; tau'ta mevntoi tw'/ ajcreivw/ . . . ejn de; th'/ Aijqiopiva/ livqoi" ejggeglummevnoi" crw'ntai, oi{" oujde;n a]n e[coi Lakwniko;" ajnhvr

This point is made even more clear by the information that the Spartan ojbolov" had an intrinsic value (duvnami") of four calkoi'.[55] Angelo Segrè[56] considers this a contradiction in terms, whereas it means that the metal contained in a piece having the face value of an obol was evaluated at four calkoi'. As for the value of the calkou'", Marcus Niebuhr Tod,[57] who has carefully studied the epigraphical evidence, concludes that in Athens and in some other communities it had the value of 1/8 of an obol, whereas in other parts of Greece it was worth 1/12 of an obol. However, this does not mean, as he believes, that the calkou'" had a different value in various parts of Greece; the calkou'" is a pan-Hellenic unit—possibly a development from some sort of utensil-money[58] such as a nail—which is worth 1/12 of an obol where the mina is divided into 70 drachmae, and 1/8 of an obol where the mina is divided into 100 drachmae. In the first group of localities, it takes 5040 calkoi' to make a mina, and in the second group, 4800; the difference is practically immaterial, since the calkou'" is used only as a fractional currency.

Plutarch[59] states that the Spartan iron obol weighs a mina, which is in agreement with the weight of ca. 405 grams, that is almost a silver mina, of the ojbelivskoi of the Heraion. Hence, the relation between silver and cast iron was about 1:1300 in Sparta in historical times. This datum confirms that the metal was cast iron, because the relation between silver and wrought iron is 1:250 in a Delian inscription of the third century B.C.[60]

In classical times, the Spartan money was the only instance of the use of cast iron, and this was the reason why the Spartan obol was called pelanov". The word pelanov" indicates a thick viscous liquid, such as honey, or the same liquid after thickening, such as clotted blood; therefore, it is fittingly used to distinguish cast iron from wrought iron. It is believed that the money of the Spartans was known as pelanov" because it had the shape of a disk, like a round cake.[61] This inter­pretation, on which there is universal agreement,[62] rests on a poor reading of the Greek sources. Suidas[63] explains that the word pelavno" means a kind of mushy pastry, the froth around the mouth, the gum of a tree, and also the ojbolov" paid for the consultation of an oracle: kai; oJ tw'/ mavntei didovmeno" misqo;" ojbolov". A scholium to Nikandros, Alexipharm, 488, remarks that the word is used not only for a sort of pastry, but also for an ojbolov": pelavnou bavro" ajnti; tou' o[bolou' oJlkh;n ouj ga;r movnon to; pevmma, h[goun to; e[yhma, pevlano" levgetai, ajlla; hJ tou' ojbolou' oJlkhv. Notice that the pastry is described as e[yhma, and e[yhsi" is the melting of ore.[64]

At one time, the cast iron obol was used not only in Sparta, but throughout Greece. This appears from a number of inscriptions from Greek temples[65] in which the fee paid for consulting the oracle is called pelanov". The editors[66] of these inscriptions have thought that this offering was so called because originally it consisted of the pastry called pelanov".[67] If it were so, the temples would have been very poor and not at all money conscious, in sharp contrast with all evidence. In my opinion, the fee was originally paid with an iron obol and, for reasons of a ritualistic conservatism, it continued to be so paid even after silver became the accepted currency in the region of the temples. This interpretation fits with Suidas’ statement that the obol paid to the prophet was called pelanov". In a further stage of development, the charge for consultation too was paid in silver and its amount was raised to more than one obol,[68] but it continued to be called pelanov".

The iron money of the Spartans is a survival from an age in which only cast iron was available and the poor mechanical qualities of this metal were improved by chilling. The ojbelivskoi continued to be manufactured of cast iron in Sparta in historical times not only because of Laconian traditionalism but also because, since they did not need to stand any particular stress or shock, they could be satisfactorily made of this cheaper metal. Cast iron is the ideal metal for the rapid mass production of objects of identical pattern; for instance, when the production of cast iron was revived in the fourteenth century A.D., its main use was the production of cannon balls.[69]

Up to now, it has been a dogma among archeologists[70] that the ancient world knew only the reduction of the ore by which wrought iron is produced. The only doubt raised concerns the knowledge of cast iron in Hellenistic times; this doubt as based on a passage of Pliny:


Mirum, cum excoquatur vena, aquae modo liquari ferrum, postea in spongea frangi.

This passage proves, on the contrary, that cast iron was unknown in Pliny’s time, because he reports as a wonder (mirum) that occasionally in the process of reducing the ore (excoquo) small pieces of metal melt[71]; this happens if the temperature of the oven becomes too high. Aristarchos of Samos[72] as early as the third century B.C., when confronted with a passage of the Iliad mentioning cast iron, stated categorically that iron cannot be melted. This proves that the discovery of the method of producing wrought iron by reducing the ore caused the process of smelting iron to be forgotten. This is confirmed by the circumstances that objects of cast iron preserved in temples were looked upon as a marvel. Pausanias[73] describes as qauvmato" an iron statue of Herakles which was at Delphoi, and remarks that it must have been a difficult thing to make (povnou sumbevbhken ei[nai pleivstw); He adds also that its maker Tisagoras was an unknown character. The object was so unusual that he points out that a similar wonder, consisting of the iron heads of a lion and of a boar, could be seen at Dionysos’ temple in Pergamon. He reports[74] also that an iron chair was kept inside the temple of Apollo at Delphoi, near the sacrificial pit; it was known as Pindar’s throne, because the poet was supposed to have sung some of his compositions while sitting on it. According to Pausanias the art of casting iron and of making statues of it was discovered by Theodoros of Samos—a mythical Leonardo da Vinci of the Greeks, architect, sculptor, technical inventor—who built the edifice called Skias in Sparta:


tauvthn th;n Skiavda Qeodwvrou tou' Samivou fasi;n e[nai poivhma, o{" prw'to" diacevai sivdhron[75] e{ure kai; ajgavlmata ajpÆaujtou' plavsai.

Pliny too lists as a wonder objects of cast iron:


Est in eadem urbe (sc. Rhodi) et ferreus Hercules quem fecit Alcon laborum dei patientia inductus. Videmus et Romae scyphos e ferro dicatos in templo Martis Ultoris.

These objects must have been of cast iron, because even today this metal is the only iron which becomes fluid enough at a readily available temperature to allow the castiung of statues and of objects with thin walls. The Alkon mentioned by Pliny is probably to be identified with an alkon, son of Hephaistos, and with the smith Alkon mentioned in the Iliad.[76]

All this proves that the method of producing cast iron had been known during the Greek Dark Ages, but had been forgotten in historical ages. In classical times, the method of producing the Spartan iron obols was either kept as a secret — metallurgists have been inclined to be secretive in all times—or was badly understood. In the light of this evidence it is possible to solve the key problem in the archeological interpretation of the Homeric poems: that of explaining how it happens that, although iron is often mentioned, weapons are not made of iron.[77] The answer may be that the only iron then known was cast iron which is not fit for the manufacture of objects which have to withstand repeated shocks or need a sharp edge.

This explanation is confirmed by the specific mention of cast iron in the Iliad:[78] the prize in a disk-throwing competition is the disk itself, which is of iron and described as aujtocovwno". The most varied interpretations have been given to the adjective aujtocovwno" to deny that it is a reference to cast iron.[79] But Aristarchos of Samos,[80] although he was convinced that iron cannot be melted, never doubted that it was a reference to melted metal; he suggested that the disk is of bronze, even though the poet uses the word sivdhro", or the adjective aujtocovwno", which is properly applied to bronze, is applied to iron by extension. This proves that for the Greeks the word aujtocovwno" conveys unequivocally the idea of melted metal. It has been argued that it has to be translated as “self-smelted,” meaning that the iron in question is of meteoric origin,[81] but this interpretation assumes that Homer had a knowledge of physical theories on the origin of meteorites, of which we have no evidence. Furthermore, if meteoric iron was called “naturally smelted,” this would imply that non-natural methods of smelting the ore were also known. The meaning of aujto– in the compound aujtocovwno" is made clear by the forms aujtovxulo", ”of one piece of wood,” aujtogenhv", “sprung from the same stock,” aujtopaghv", ”compact,”; hence aujtocovwno" means “cast in one piece.”

The speech by which Achilles invites competitors to vie for the possession of the disk also intimates that it is made of cast iron:

Il. XXIII 832

ei[ oij kai; mavla pollo;n ajpovproqi pivone" ajgroi,
e{xei min kai; mevnte periplomevnou" ejniautou;"
crewvmeno": ouj me;n ga;r oiJ ajtembovmeno" ge sidevrou
poimh;n oujdÆajroth;r ei[sÆaj" povlin, ajlla; parevxei:

Achilles states that the iron will be of use, if the winner is the owner of much land. In such a case it will allow him to provide his herdsmen and plowmen with all the iron they need for five years, so that they shall not be in need of interrupting their work to fetch iron in the city. The iron then known was fit only for the manufacture of some specific tools; these tools may be plowshares, grubbing hoes, bits, and other agricultural implements which do not have to stand frequent shocks and do not need a sharp edge, and therefore, may be satisfactorily made of cast iron.[82] However in the long run such objects, if made of cast iron, are bound to break, and this is possibly the reason why it is stated that the supply is going to last for five years; if these tools were made of bronze or of wrought iron, they would last a lifetime.

The conclusion that cast iron was used in the Greek Dark Ages may be of startling significance for the science of prehistoric archaeology. Many problems should be re-examined to see whether they can be solved by assuming that cast iron—which is smelted like copper and processed like bronze—was known before wrought iron. The reason why iron was known for centuries before it became of general use, may be that only the discovery of wrought iron made iron a metal which could compete with bronze.

[46]Heinrich Schurtz, Grundriß einer Entstehungsgeschichte des Geldes, Beiträge zur Volks—und Völkerkunde 5 (Weimar, 1898), 141; Regling, op. cit., IV, 216; George Montandon, “La Moneta presso i primitivi, E.I, XXIII, 635.

[47]By this I mean four feet as a natural measure, whereas Seltman, Athens, 121, maintains that the ojbelivskoi were four Attic feet long. He assumes that, before Pheidon introduced new measures of length (mevtra), the Peloponnesians used an ”Attic foot” of 29.57 cm. In reality, all evidence concerning the use of this foot, which is equal to the Roman one, is relatively late. Measurements of buildings point to the use of feet of varying length in the various parts of Greece (Luigi Jacono, ”Pieds,” E.I., XXVII, 167); I understand that William Bell Dinsmoor has calculated that a foot of 32.6 or 32.7 cm. was used in the construction of Athenian buildings. Perhaps, for a long time, the Greeks were satisfied with natural methods of measurement; cf. Eugene S. McCartney, ”Popular Methods of Measuring,” Classical Journal, XXII (1926-27), 325. The entire field is in need of a thorough investigation, which may possible take its start from the inscription IG2 I 373. For current views on the subject, see Angelo Segrè, Metrologia e circolazione monetaria degli antichi (Bologna, 1928), 138; Carl Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt, ”Stadion,” R.E. A. VI, 1933.

[48]ÆObelivskoi of bronze are mentioned only in two passages of obscure import: Plutarch Lysander XVII: kindunevuei de; kai; to; pavmpan a[rcaion o{utw" e[cein, ojbelivskoi" crwmevnwn nomivsmasi sidhroi'", ejnivwn de; calkoi'". Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. ojbelivsko"Ú o[ti ojbolo;" ejklhjqh/, ejpeidh; to; ajrcai'on to; calkou'n novmisma tw'n ÆAqhnaivwn ojbelivskou" ei\cen. Fwtio" patriavrch". It would seem that in some sections of Greece, among them Athens, ojbelivskoi were used as currency.

[49]See Addendum I, Section 3.

[50]Op. cit., p. 205.

[51]Il. XXIII 242, 616.

[52]Cf. Plutarch, Lycurgus IX.

[53]On chilling cast iron see “Iron and Steel,” Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., XIV, 808.

[54]In the fifteenth century A.D., Vannoccio Biringuccio, Pirotechnia, Translated from the Italian with and Introduction and Notes by Cyril Stanley Smith and Martha Teach Gnudi (New York, 1942), 372, recommends quenching in vinegar or urine for files, that is, for tools which have to be very hard. Today brine is used when there is a need for a quenching medium more rapid than plain water; cf. Howard Scott, ”Quenching Media,” Metals Handbook 1938; American Society for Metals (Cleveland, 1939), 328.

[55]Hesychios, s.v., pevlanor to; tetravcalkon Lavkwne". Plutarch, Apophat. Laced. 226 d: movnon de; to; sidhrou'n eijshghvsato, o{ ejsti; mna' oJlkh/' [Aijginaiva] , dunavmei de; calkoi; tevssare". The word Aijginaiva fits badly into the text; it must be a gloss written by someone who took oJlkh/ for a nominative, and identified the mna' oJlkh/ with the mna' Aijginaiva, which I shall discuss in Part Two, Section 4.

[56]Op. cit., 202.

[57]“The Greek Akrophonic Numerals,” BSA, XXVII (1936-37), 239.

[58]In classical times the calkou'" was a silver unit (Hesychios, s.v. calkou'"Ú tou'to ejpi; crusou' kai; tou' ajrguvrou e[legon… but it must have developed from a form of utensil-money which could be either of bronze or of iron. This is indicated by the fact that the silver unit was called either calkou'" or sidhpou'": Pollux IX. 78: w{ste ajnti; tou' privw moi trivwn calkw'n levgein privw moi trivwn sidarevwn; Hesychios s.v. sidavrio"Ú sidavrio", calkou'"… Suidas s.v. calkw'/: calkw'/, sidhrw'/. This explains why in some inscriptions the value of a calkou'" is indicated by the abbreviation S, a fact for which Tod, op. cit., 240, could not find any explanation.

[59]See above, n. 55.

[60]I.G. XI 158, 81. This relation seems to have remained constant through the Hellenistic age, because the relation is ca. 1:200 in Roman Egypt, according to the papyri studied by Angelo Segrè, Circolazione monetaria e prezzi nel mondo antico ed in particolare in Egitto (Roma, 1922), 158. Seltman, Athens, 119, has pointed out that the objects of the Heraion embody a relation of 1:400; but we do not know whether these objects were of cast iron or not. This uncertainty can be dissipated only by a metallographic examination of the objects, which are now in Athens.

[61]This idea occurred to German scholars who identified the pelavno" with their own custard pie called Fladen (French flan, English flawn) which gets its name from the fact that it is flat. The word pelanov" is probably derived from the root of plevw (Latin pluit; English flow); it may be connected with plavdo", ”watery, flaccid,” (cf. Boissacq, op. cit., s.v. pelanov" plavdo").

[62]Friedrich Otto Hultsch, Griechische und römische Metrologie, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1882), 535; Svoronos, op. cit., 191; Segrè, Metrologia, 201.

[63]s.v. pelavno".

[64]The smelting of silver is called e[yesi" by Theophrastos Hist. plant. V 9, 1.

[65]Apollo of Delphoi, DGE 322, 2; Apollo Pythaios of Argos, DGE 89, 12; Apollo Delios of Amorgos, IG XII, VII 237, 21 and 241, 11. Cf. Euripides, Ion 226.

[66]Wilhelm Vollgraff, BCH XXVII (1903), 276 and XXXIII (1909), 173; Théodore Homolle, Mélanges Nicolle (Genève, 1905), 631; Jules Delamarre, Revue Archéologique, XXIX (1896), 75; cf. P. Stengel, Berliner philologische Wochenschrift, XXIV (1904), 1504).

[67]The wealth of Delphoi was proverbial even in the Homeric age: Il. IX 404.

[68]According to the inscriptions just quoted, at Delphoi the fee was four obols for a private consultation and seven drachmae and two obols for a public one; at Amorgos it was a drachma.

[69]“Symposium on Cast Iron,” Proceedings of the American Society for Testing Materials, XXXIII (1933), 118; Thomas Arthur Rickard, Man and Metals (New York, 1932), II, 887: “The making of cannon, and more particularly of cannon balls, was the chief incentive to the invention of cast iron.”

[70]Hugo Blümner, Technologie und Terminologie der Gewerbe und Künste bei Griechen und Römer, (Leipzig, 1887), IV, 355; idem, “Eisen,” RE, X, 2148; Georg Karo, “Eisen,” RV, III, 64; H. Garland and C.O. Bannister, Ancient Egyptian Metallurgy (London, 1927), 108; Gerald Averay Wainwright, “The Coming of Iron,” Antiquity, X (1936), 23; Rickard, “The Primitive Smelting of Iron,” AJA, XLIII (1939), 87.

[71]This passage is so interpreted by Read, loc. cit., and John Newton Friend, Iron in Antiquity (London, 1926), 93.

[72]Schol. ad Il. XXIII 836.

[73]X, XVIII, 6; Pausanias IV, XXXI, 10, mentions also a statue of Epameinondas, son of Kleommis, in the temple of Asklepios at Messene. James George Frazer, Pausani’ Description of Greece (London, 1913), III, 434, identifies this Epameinondas with the famous general, son of Polymnis; but I would not be so sure of it, because elsewhere (IX, XII 6) Pausanias calls the Boeotian general son of Polymnis.

[74]IX, XXIV 5.

[75]George Parrot, “Une correction au texte de Pausanias III, 12, 10,” Strena Helbigiana (Leipzig, 1900), 228, would like to emend sivdhron into calkovn.

[76]“Alkon,” R.E., I 1879, nos. 7, 8.

[77]Andrew Lang, The World of Homer (New York, 1910), 97; Humphrey Michell, The Economies of Ancient Greece (Cambridge, 1940), 120.

[78]Il. XXIII 826.

[79]E.g., Thomas Day Seymour, Life in the Homeric Age (New York, 1907), 299, “unwrought iron”; Davies, op. cit., 57, “a bloom of iron.”

[80]loc. cit.

[81]Rickard, ”Primitive Smelting,” 86; cf. Michell, op. cit., 120 n5; Georg Finsler, Homer, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1914), I, 129, translates “natürliches Roheisen.”

[82]Victor Bérard, Les Phéniciens et l’Odysée (Paris, 1902), I, 435, although he does not consider the possibility of the use of cast iron, maintains that this passage of the Iliad can be explained by assuming the existence of a “fer primitif,” which was too brittle for the manufacture of weapons, but was good enough for the manufacture of agricultural implements.