The books and stories of the history of glass often refer to a legend: according to the stories of the Roman writer Pliny, who lived in the first century A.D., the invention of glass was by chance. Legend has it that a caravan of Phoenician merchants had stopped to rest along the banks of the River Belo, in Syria, where they lit a fire to cook and spend the night. Not finding stones to set up a field hearth, the Phoenician merchants used some nitrate blocks of the cargo they were carrying. The nitrate was fused by the heat of the fire and, mixing with the sand of the river, formed the glass, which the merchants were surprised to find, the next day, in the fireplace now extinct. Difficult to establish the reliability of this legend, what is true is that the river Belo, scenario of the story, was a place where even in Pliny’s time the sand was extracted suitable for the creation of glass. And it is also true that it was the Phoenicians who spread the techniques of glass processing in the Mediterranean basin.
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