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date: 07 December 2019


  • P. T. Craddock


Alloy of copper and tin. In the West bronze was largely superseded by Brass, the alloy of copper and zinc, by the 5th century ad; many brass artworks, however, are commonly described as ‘bronze’. In early times Classical languages had just one term for copper and copper alloys, thus for example the Chinese had the word tang, the Tibetans li, the Greeks khalkos and the Romans aes. (For copper–zinc alloys produced by cementation (see Brass, §II) the Greeks had the term oreikhalkos and the Romans the related term aurichalcum, but these were not often used in general literature.)

The equivalent Anglo-Saxon general term was ‘brass’, and up to the 17th century this simply meant copper or one of its alloys. Various terms for copper–zinc alloys, such as latten and maslin, were in use in the late medieval and early post-medieval periods (see Blair and Blair, pp. 81–106). At about this time the term ...

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