That reformation failed to effect its purifying mission.
We still use the old familiar purifying agents, iron oxide, lime and nascent calcium.
An endeavour had been made by the emperor Leo the Isaurian to remedy this evil, but his attempted reform of the law had been rather calculated to increase its uncertainty; and it was reserved for Basil the Macedonian to show himself worthy of the throne, which he had usurped, by purifying the administration of justice and once more reducing the law into an intelligible code.
Especial mention should be made of the ceremony of purifying the grove, which was held to be defiled by the felling of trees, the breaking of a bough or the presence of any iron tools, such as those used by the lapidary who engraved the records of the proceedings on stone.
As these do not come out sufficiently pure, they would not be marketable and therefore they are not allowed to be formed, but the liquid, while still hot, is either run into the boiling-down pans, or submitted to one of the purifying operations to be described below.