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Adamant and similar words are used to refer to any especially hard substance, whether composed of diamond, some other gemstone, or some type of metal. Both adamant and diamond derive from the Greek word ἀδάμας, ἀδάμαντος (adamas, adamantos), meaning "untameable". Adamantite and adamantium (a metallic name derived from the Neo-Latin ending -ium) are also common variants.
Adamantine has, throughout ancient history, referred to anything that was made of a very hard material. Virgil describes Tartarus as having a screeching gate protected by columns of solid adamantine (Aeneid book VI). Later, by the Middle Ages, the term came to refer to diamond, as it was the hardest material then known.
It was in the Middle Ages, too, that adamantine hardness and the lodestone's magnetic properties became confused and combined, leading to an alternate definition in which "adamant" means magnet, falsely derived from the Latin adamare, which means to love or be attached to. Another connection was the belief that adamant (the diamond definition) could block the effects of a magnet. This was addressed in chapter III of Pseudodoxia Epidemica, for instance.
Since the word diamond is now used for the hardest gemstone, the increasingly archaic term "adamant" has a mostly poetic or figurative use. In that capacity, the name is frequently used in popular media and fiction to refer to a very hard substance.
- In Greek mythology, Cronus castrated his father Uranus using an adamant sickle given to him by his mother Gaia. An adamantine sickle or sword was also used by the hero Perseus to decapitate the Gorgon Medusa while she slept.
- In the Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound (translated by G. M. Cookson), Hephaestus is to bind Prometheus "to the jagged rocks in adamantine bonds infrangible".
- In John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, adamant or adamantine is mentioned eight times. First in Book 1, Satan is hurled "to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire" (lines 47–48). Three times in Book 2 the gates of hell are described as being made of adamantine (lines 436, 646 and 853). In Book 6, Satan "Came towring [sic], armd [sic] in Adamant and Gold" (line 110), his shield is described as "of tenfold adamant" (line 255), and the armor worn by the fallen angels is described as "adamantine" (line 542). Finally in book 10 the metaphorical "Pinns [sic] of Adamant and Chains" (lines 318–319) bind the world to Satan, and thus to sin and death
- In some versions of the Alexander Romance, Alexander the Great builds walls of Adamantine, the Gates of Alexander, to keep the giants Gog and Magog from pillaging the peaceful southern lands.
In fiction and popular culture
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- In The Divine Comedy by Dante, completed 1320, the angel at purgatory's gate sits on adamant.
- In the Medieval epic poem The Faerie Queene, published 1590, Sir Artegal's sword is made of Adamant.
- In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595/96), Helena says to Demetrius, "You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant!".
- In the Holy Sonnet I, published 1620, John Donne states in line 14, "And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart".
- In the 1726 novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift , the base of the fictitious flying island of Laputa (Part III of Gulliver's Travels) is made of Adamant.
- In Princess Ida by Gilbert and Sullivan, first performed 1884, the hardnosed princess's castle is called Castle Adamant.
- In Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography "The Story of My Experiments with Truth", published 1925 to 1929, he reflects on the beauty of compromise in deciding not to fight for the right to wear a turban in the Supreme Court of South Africa. He states that "truth is hard as adamant and tender as a blossom".
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, completed in 1949, it is said in the second verse of Bilbo's Song of Eärendil, regarding the appearance of Eärendil; "Of adamant his helmet tall". At the crowning of King Elessar, it is said that his crown "was adorned with jewels of adamant". Also, Nenya, one of the Three Rings of Power, was described as the Ring of Adamant, once again the Dark Tower Barad-dûr is described as being a tower of adamant crowned with iron.
- In Final Fantasy, published since 1987, adamant was an item found in Tiamat's flying castle that could be taken back to the dwarves in their mine and be used to forge Excalibur, the game's second strongest weapon.
- In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, published 1995-2000, Lord Asriel constructs an "adamant" fortress.
- In the manga/anime series Inuyasha, published 1996 to 2008, one of the protagonist's advanced sword techniques is Kongōsōha (金剛槍破 "Diamond Destroying Spears") or Adamant Barrage allows Inuyasha to launches shards of diamond (known by the more archaic term adamant in the Feudal Era Japan). In the video game Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel, a poor young child will offer to exchange some adamant with Inuyasha and his allies for food which the party's 2 members from the modern era (Kagome and Janis) will notice it is a diamond and realizing its value are reluctant to trade with the child but the child will point out that since they cannot eat the adamant it is worthless to them so Inuyasha's group will end up taking it.
- In the role playing game Exalted, published since 2001, adamant is a rare magical material used in some artifacts. It is a diamond-like substance with electroconductive properties.
- In the MMORPG RuneScape, released in 2001, adamant is a green-colored metal that players with high mining and smithing levels can smelt from adamantite ore. It is the second-strongest metal that can be forged and smithed by players.
- In the MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online, released in 2007, adamant is used to refer to diamond like gemstones used for crafting.
- In the role-playing game Kingdom Hearts, published since 2002, one of the shields you can equip to Goofy is called the "Adamant Shield".
- In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, released in 2006, there is an obtainable item called the 'Adamant Orb' which raises the dragon and steel type attacks of Dialga. The item looks more like a diamond gemstone than a metal.
- In the children's literature fantasy book series Fablehaven, published 2006-2010, Adamant is a very strong and lightweight metal that has been magically enchanted.
- In the 2007 novel The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Adamant is among various goods inside of an Egyptian tomb on display in the New York Museum of Natural History.
- In The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, published 2007–2014, the demon-hunting Nephilim use weapons made of Adamas, forged by the Iron Sisters in the Adamant Citadel. The material is tough, slightly transparent, whitish-blue, and glows with angelic power. It is also the material used to construct the Nephilim's home city and its demon warding towers.
- In Mary Hays' novel, The Memoirs of Emma Courtney (first published 1796, shortly after Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman published in 1792), Hays portrays the character, Emma, moulded on Wollstonecraft's ideal woman and describes society's failure to sufficiently educate young women as confining women with 'adamantine chains'.
- In Mary Shelley's novella Mathilda (written 1819-1820, but published only 1959), the author writes, "It required hands stronger than mine; stronger I do believe than any human force to break the thick, adamantine chain that has bound me".
- In Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (published 1860-1861), Pip declares "my obstinacy was adamantine".
- Jack London's White Fang (published 1906): Part IV: The Superior Gods: Chapter 6: The Love-Master contains the text "the fibre of him had become tough and knotty; when the warp and the woof of him had made of him an adamantine texture, harsh and unyielding".
- In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (published 1876), Tom Sawyer's aunt's resolve becomes "adamantine in its firmness".
- The short story "Creatures of the Light" by Sophie Wenzel Ellis, appearing in February 1930's Astounding Stories of Super Science, contains the sentence, "Yet, for all his experience with hero worshippers to put an adamantine crust on his sensibilities, he grew warm-eared under the gaze of these two strangers."
- In the 1950s movie Forbidden Planet, Edward Morbius refers to structures that the Krell Civilization created that were made of "adamantine steel."
- In the Dungeons & Dragons game universe, adamantine is an ultra-hard, expensive, rare metal found only in meteorites and veins in magical areas, used to fashion high-quality weapons and armor.
- In the video game Dwarf Fortress adamantine is the rarest and most valuable mineral in existence. It can be used to forge the sharpest of weapons and strongest of armors. Adamantine in Dwarf Fortress is a very bright blue. It is nearly weightless, though this has the drawback of crippling adamantine warhammers and other blunt weaponry. Adamantine is also a trap for the proud, as unmined adamantine acts as a seal keeping deep evils at bay.
- In the MMORPG Lineage II, adamantine is a rare material required to craft the highest grade weapons in the game, Icarus and Dynasty weapons.
- Ratchet & Clank features armor made of Adamantine, a metal that was to be said "the hardest in the galaxy."
- In the Tales of Symphonia game, the Eternal Ring that Dirk forges for Lloyd is made of Adamantine and sacred wood.
- In Patapon 2, Adamantine can be used from the Altar or inventory. This material can be forged and is similar to mithril.
- In Meredith Ann Pierce's Darkangel Trilogy, the blade Adamantine was forged by the Ancients and is the only weapon that can kill a darkangel.
- In Naruto, adamantine is referred in name of techniques used by summoned character Monkey King Enma. Adamantine clearly mentioned for its hardness. In one technique, Enma can transform into a stick which is hard as Adamantine.
- In GemStone IV, adamantine is a very rare, very heavy, and extremely strong metal. A successful parry with an adamantine weapon has the potential to shatter the other weapon.
- In John Keats' 'Ode to Apollo', he writes "Bards, that erst sublimely told/ Heroic deeds, and sung of Fate,/ With fervour deice their adamantine lyres,/ Whose cords are solid rays, and twinkle radiant fires."
- The Marvel Comics character Hercules wields an indestructible Golden Mace, described as being made from Adamantine, which is different in-universe from Adamantium.
- In the travels of John Mandeville, he makes mention of a certain material upon which diamonds grow on his travels to India.
- In the Games Workshop game universe of Warhammer 40,000, adamantium is a fairly common alloy used in Imperial weaponry and heavy armour.
- In the Marvel Comics universe, adamantium is a metal alloy which, once forged, is effectively indestructible. The metal is costly to produce and exceptionally rare. It is typically portrayed within Marvel comic books as used to create weaponry such as bullets used by various covert agencies, a triangular shield used by the vigilante known as Battlestar, and the outer skin of some of the robotic bodies of the android Ultron. It is most famously known for being bonded to the skeleton and bone claws of the X-Men character Wolverine.
- Adiamante is an artificial material in the eponymous 1996 science fiction novel by L. E. Modesitt, Jr., used for the hulls of military spacecraft.
- Final Fantasy also features armor made of adamantite on occasion. In the fifth installment specifically it is a material from 'another world' able to contain great amounts of energy.
- In R. A. Salvatore's Dark Elf books (based on the Dungeons & Dragons universe), adamantite is the preferred material for drow weaponry.
- In the MMORPG World of Warcraft, Adamantite is gathered from fairly uncommon veins in Outland, and used for productions of various weapons and armor, both uncommon, rare and epic.
- In the MMORPG Maplestory, adamantium ore can be obtained by killing various monsters and be made into a bar of adamantium to upgrade weapons and armours into stronger substitutes.
- In the RPG expansion The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal, adamantite is a usable substance that can be acquired, and forged (not by the player) into a protective armor.
- In the Inuyasha dub, the name Adamant Barrage is given to an attack that shoots diamonds at the opponent using the Tessaiga, the sword used by the title character. In the episode The Demon Protector of the Sacred Jewel Shard, a demon named Hosenki is covered in an armor made up of what is called adamantite. Kagome asks Myoga if he means diamond, but he does not know what she is talking about.
- In the video game series Story of Seasons, an ore and item upgrade level is named 'Adamantite'. It is usually the highest-level upgrade.
- In the game Terraria, adamantite is a deep red metal which can be mined and smelted late in the game to produce armor, weapons, and tools.
- In The Sims Medieval, adamantle is one of the metals that can be mined and forged by a Blacksmith.
- In Square Enix's The World Ends With You, adamantite is in the form of a pin and can be obtained from various types of Noise. It is used as an exchange material, and like other materials, can only be traded in when it is mastered.
- Adam Ant, musician
- adamant, a noun defined at Wiktionary
- Adamant, Vermont, a village in Washington County, Vermont, US
- Adamantane, a bulky hydrocarbon
- Adamantine, a real mineral
- adamantine, an adjective defined at Wiktionary
- Aggregated diamond nanorods, ultrahard, nanocrystalline form of diamond
- Unobtanium, a name given to exotic, fictional materials used in science fiction
- Webster's dictionary definition of adamant Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., 1828 and 1913 editions
- Hesiod; Richard S. Calwell (1987). Hesiod's Theogony. Cambridge, Ma: Focus Information Group. pp. 37–38 at lines 161–181. ISBN 9780941051002.
Quick she [Gaia] made the element of grey adamant, made a great sickle...
- John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book one, two, six, and ten (1667). (see text from Project Gutenberg)
- "DF2014:Adamantine". The Dwarf Fortress Wiki. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2016.