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Sarcophagus (σαρκοφάγος).

Literally, “fleshdevouring.” A name given to a kind of limestone quarried at Assos in Troas, and remarkable for possessing the peculiar power of consuming or eating away the flesh and bones, with the exception of the teeth, of a body enclosed within it, in the short period of forty days (Pliny , Pliny H. N.xxxvi. 27). On account of this property it was extensively employed for making coffins, when the corpse was buried entire without burning; and thence the term came to be used in a general sense for any kind of coffin or tomb, without regard to the materials of which it was made ( Juv.x. 172).

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