Tin (בּדַיל, bedil, from בָּדִל, to divide; so called apparently from its separation as an alloy [Isa 1; Isa 25]; Seplt κασσίτερος; Vlg. stannum), Among the various metals found among the spoils of the Midianites, tin is enumerated (Nu 31:22); It. was known to the Hebrew metal- workers as an alloy of other metals (Isa 1:25; Eze 22:18,20). The markets of Tyre were supplied with it by the ships of Tarshish (Eze 27:12). It was used for plummets (Zec 4:10, marg. "stone of tin," as the Heb. is), and was so plentiful as to furnish the writer of Ecclesiasticus (47:18) with a figure by which to express the wealth of Solomon, whom he apostrophizes thus: "Thou didst gather gold as tin, and didst multiply silver as lead." In the Homeric times the Greeks were familiar with it. Twenty lavers of tin were in Agamemnon's cuirass given him by Cinyres (Homer, II. 11:25), and twenty bosses of tin were upon his shield (ibid. 11:34). Copper, tin, and gold were used by Hephtestus in welding the famous shield of Achilles (ibid. 18:474). The fence 'round the vineyard in the device upon it was of tin (ibid. 564), and the oxen were wrought of tin and gold (ibid. 574). -The greaves of Achilles, made by Hephbestus, were of tin beaten fine, close fitting to the limb (ibid. 612; 21:592). His shield had two folds, or layers, of tin between two outer layers of bronze and inner layer of gold (ibid. 20:271). Tin was used in ornamenting chariots (ibid. 23:503), and a cuirass f bronze overlaid with tin is mentioned (ibid. 561). No allusion to it is found in the Odyssey. The melting of tin in a smelting-pot is mentioned by Hesiod (Theol. 862).
Tin is not found in Palestine (Kitto, Phys. Hist. of Palest. ch. 3, p. 73). Whence, then, did the ancient Hebrews obtain their supply ? "Only three countries are known to contain any considerable quantity of it: Spain and Portugal, Cornwall and the adjacent parts of Devonshire, and the islands of Junk, Ceylon, and Banca, in the Straits of Malacca" (Kenrick, Phoenicia, p. 212). According to Diodorus Siculus (5, 46), there were tin mines in the island of Panchaia, off the east coast of Arabia, but the metal was not exported. There can be little doubt that the mines of Britain were the chief source of supply to the ancient world. Mr. Cooley, indeed, writes very positively (Maritime and Inland Discovery, 1, 131), "There can be no difficulty in determining the country from which tin first arrived in Egypt. That metal has been in all ages a principal export of India; it is enumerated as such by Arrian, who found it abundant in the ports of Arabia at a time when the supplies of Rome flowed chiefly through that channel. The tin- mines of Banca are probably the richest in the world; but tin was unquestionably brought from the West at a later period." But it has been shown conclusively by Dr. George Smith (The Cassiferides, Lond. 1863) that, so far from such a statement being justified by tile authority of Arrian, the facts are all the other way. After examining the commerce of the ports of Abyssinia, Arabia, and India, it is abundantly evident that, "instead of its coming, from the East to Egypt; it has invariably been exported from Egypt to the East" (p. 23). With regard to the tin obtained from Spain, although the metal was found there, it does not appear to have been produced in sufficient quantities to supply the Phoenician markets. Posidonius (in Strabo, 3, 147) relates that in the country of the Artabri, in the extreme north-west of the peninsula, the ground was bright with silver, tin, and white gold (mixed with silver), which were brought down by the rivers; but the quantity thus obtained could not have been adequate to the demand. At the present day the whole surface bored for mining in Spain is little more than a square mile (Smith, Cassiterides, p. 46). We are therefore driven to conclude that it was from the Cassiterides, or tin districts of Britain, that the Phoenicians obtained the great bulk of this commodity (Lewis, Hist. Survey of the Astr. of the Anc. p. 451), and that this was done by the direct voyage from Gades. It is true that at a later period (Strabo, 3. 147) tin was conveyed overland to Marseilles by a thirty days journey (Diod. Sic. 5, 2); but Strabo (3, 175) tells us that the Phoenicians alone carried on this traffic in former times from Gades concealing the passage from every one; and that on one occasion, when the Romans followed one of their vessels in order to discover the source of supply, the master of the ship ran upon a shoal, leading those who followed him to destruction. In course of time, however, the Romans discovered the passage. In Ezekiel," the trade in tin is attributed to Tarshish, as 'the merchant' for the commodity, without any mention of the place whence it was procured" (Cassiterides, p. 74); and it is after the time of Julius Caesar that we first hear of the overland traffic by Marseilles.
Pliny (6, 36) identifies the cassiteros of the Greeks with the plumbum album or candidum of the Romans, which is our tin. Stamnum, he says, is obtained from an ore containing lead and silver, and is the first to become melted in the furnace. The etymology of cassiteros is uncertain; but it is doubtless the same as the Arabic term kasdir. From the fact that in Sanskrit kasti-ra signifies "tin," 'an argument has been derived in favor of India being the source of the ancient supply of this metal, but too much'stress must not be laid upon it. SEE LEAD. The name of some metal has been read in the Egyptian sculptures as khasit, which may refer to "tin." The Hebrew word refers to its principal use. in making bronze, which was the case at a very remote period of Egyptian history. A bronze, apparently cast, has been found bearing the name of Pharaoh Pepi of the sixth dynasty, who reigned certainly five centuries before the Exode. In Egypt and Assyria bronze was generally made of ten or twenty parts of tin to eighty or ninety of copper, and there appear to have been the same proportions in Grecian and Roman manufactures of a later age. Wilkinson supposes that the beautiful articles of workmanship frequently found in England, which have neither a Greek nor a Roman type, were probably first introduced by this trade. One specimen of manufactured tin, now in the Truro Muscum, has been discovered in England, which, as it differs from those made by the Romans, is supposed to be of Phoenician origin. It is nearly three feet long by one broad, and three inches high (Anc. Egyptimans, 2, 134 sq.). SEE METAL.