Celadonite from Smyrna (Izmir-Turkey): Vitruvius wrote right?
Publication Type
Conference Paper



Mümtaz Çolak1, Hamdallah A. Béarat2 and İbrahim Gündoğan3


1. Dokuz Eylül University, Department of Geological Engineering, İzmir-Turkey

2. Chemical Engineering, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine

3. Dokuz Eylül University, Department of Geological Engineering, İzmir-Turkey



Important information regarding the first green earth came out in the 1st century BC by Vitruvius in his De Architecture in Europe. Vitruvius mentioned about two sources of green earth pigments in the Roman times. One of them is Verona in Italy, the other is Smryna (Izmir) in Turkey (Hradil, et al., 2011). According to Odin et al. (1988), first source is celadonite, which was found in Eocene volcanites on Monte Baldo region, second is celadonite came from Trodos massif in Cyprus. Izmir is a port city at this time; therefore, pigment was sold under the name of "Earth of Smyrna". Bearat and Pradell (1996) accepted also celadonite originated from Cyprus via Smyrna, and main mineralogical marker of Cyprus celadonite bearing zeolite, which was found in most of Roman green pigments.


Any celadonite formation is not known so far in Izmir and around. Green volcanic rocks used in the walls of Levantine and Greek houses around of Izmir (Yavuz et al., 2017) were caused the green pigment existence. Green volcanic rocks were also used in Smyrne agora where quarries are located on 5 km southeast of Smyrna agora. Petrographic, XRD, SEM studies of green volcanic show that existence of celadonite bearing with zeolite and cristobalite.





Bearat, H.A and Pradell, T. (1996) Contribution of Mösbauer Spectroscopy to the study of ancient pigment and paintings. Proceedings of International Workshop on Roman Wall Painting, Fribourg 1996, 239-256.

Hradil, D., Piskova, a., Hradilova, J., Bezdicka, P., Lehrberger, G. ve Gerzer, S. (2011) Mineralogy of Bohemian green pigment and its microanalytical evidence in historical paintings, Archaeometry 53, 3, 563-586, University of Oxford.

Odin, G.S., Desprairies, A., Fullagar, P.D., Bellon, H., Decarreau, A., Fröhlich, F., ve Zelveder, M. (1988) Nature and geological significance of celadonite, in Green marine clays (ed. G.S.Odin), 337-98, Developments in Sedimentology 45, Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Vitruvius (1999) Ten Books on Architecture, translated by Ingrid D. Rowland, with commentary by others; Cambridge University Press.

Yavuz, A.B., Kaputoğlu, S.A., Çolak, M., Tanju, B.F. (2017) Durability assessments of rare green andesites widely used as building stones in Buca (Izmir), Turkey. Environmental Earth Sciences, 76 (5),

Conference Title
ASMOSIA XII Conference
Conference Country
Conference Date
Oct. 8, 2018 - Oct. 14, 2018
Conference Sponsor
Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity & Dukuz Eylul University-Izmir
Additional Info
Conference Website