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“Speculum, a mirror, a looking-glass. The looking-glasses of the ancients were usually made of metal, at first of a composition of tin and copper, but afterwards more frequently of silver. The ancients seem to have had glass mirrors also like ours, consisting of a glass plate covered at the back with a thin leaf of metal. They were manufactured as early as the time of Pliny at the celebrated glass-houses at Sidon, but they must have been inferior to those of metal, since they never came into general use, and are never mentioned by ancient writers among costly pieces of furniture, whereas metal mirrors frequently are. Looking-glasses were generally small, and such as could by carried in the hand. Instead of their being fixed so as to be hung against the wall or to stand upon the table or floor, they were generally held by female slaves before their mistresses when dressing. The general form of looking-glasses is shown in the following wood-cut.” — Smith, 1873


William Smith, A School Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1873) 299


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