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Headword: *kimwli/a
Adler number: kappa,1618
Translated headword: cimolite, Cimolian earth
Vetting Status: high
A white clay/earth.
Greek Original:
*kimwli/a: leukh\ gh=.
From the scholia to Aristophanes, Frogs 712, where the headword occurs (web address 1). Named from the island of Cimolus/Kimolos (kappa 1619). See also kappa 1744, kappa 2640.
This earth, often used as fuller's earth, is a kind of clay of the montmorillonite group, also today called cimolite. It is a hydrated aluminum silicate and the crystal lattice has three lathlike layers: one sheet of aluminum groups between two sheets of silicate oxide, with water molecules as a weak bond between the layers. There may be calcium, chloride or potassium ions dissolved in the water layer. All these components mean that there is a possibility for ion exchange; it has bleaching properties as well as a propensity for high level absorptive power. These factors make the compound very useful as a detergent or soap and was often used as such through much of antiquity. [Note courtesy Carl Widstrand.] See Encyclopedia Brittanica entry at web address 2.
Soap is mentioned also at rho 303 and sigma 101.
C.M. Rice, Dictionary of Geological Terms (Ann Arbor 1950)
Additional references can be found in any mineralogical handbook under montmorillonite.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; science and technology
Translated by: Debra Hamel on 17 December 1998@19:08:24.
Vetted by:
Ross Scaife ✝ on 10 January 2000@18:07:41.
David Whitehead (added note and keyword; cosmetics) on 10 February 2003@10:07:24.
Catharine Roth (added link, keyword, and cross-references) on 29 November 2008@22:57:03.
David Whitehead on 24 February 2013@07:51:37.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 24 February 2013@23:33:37.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note, added a link) on 20 August 2019@22:47:51.
Catharine Roth (expanded note) on 20 August 2019@22:51:43.


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