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Lapis Spartanus Grecian Porphyry

Lapis Spartanus, also known as Grecian Green Porphyry, is a striking green stone with characteristic white or light-coloured inclusions, giving it a visually appealing and distinctive look. Known and utilised since ancient times, it was particularly popular during the Roman Empire and later found renewed interest during the era of the Grand Tour.

Originating from Sparta in Greece, hence the name, Lapis Spartanus was used extensively by the Romans. They were fond of the stone for its colour, hardness, and ability to be finely polished. The stone was used in a variety of decorative arts, including sculptural work and architectural design, providing an appealing contrast to the purple of Egyptian Porphyry, another favorite of the Romans.

Lapis Spartanus also gained academic attention. One person who took particular interest was the 19th-century Italian scholar Faustino Corsi. Corsi assembled a large collection of decorative stones, including Lapis Spartanus. His careful cataloging and description of these stones in his work, “Corsi’s Catalogue,” provides valuable insights into the stones used in the decorative arts during the 18th and 19th centuries.

During the period of the Grand Tour, a cultural and educational rite of passage for upper-class Europeans, samples of Lapis Spartanus were collected as souvenirs along with other porphyries and marbles. These samples, representative of classical history and culture, were seen as tangible connections to the world of the ancient Romans.

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