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The paper discusses a part of the tragedy The Trachiniae by Sophocles from the point of view of experimental chemistry. One of the protagonists of the tragedy tells in a most lively and pictorial way how the preserved blood of the dying Centaur, Nessus, attacked and dissolved a piece of wool. One is inclined to think that the text relates some personal observation of the author. We tried to prepare a liquid, with the appearance of clotted blood, which attacks wool as described by Sophocles. The starting material we chose was related to the myth, and the methods and additives we used were or, at least, could have been at the disposal of the Athenians in the 5th century BC. After having carried out a number of simple experiments we concluded that some mixtures of potassium permanganate plus sulphuric acid fit the requirements.

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