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Adamantand 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 αδαμας (adamas), 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, and remains the hardest non-synthetic material 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.

Adamant / Adamantine in Mythology

  • In Greek Mythology, the Titan Cronus castrated his father Ouranos using an adamant sickle. An adamantine sickle or sword was also used by the hero Perseus to decapitate the Gorgon Medusa.
  • 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 Norse mythology, Loki is bound underground by adamantine chains. In some versions, his chains are made from the intestines of his son.
  • In the King James Version of the Bible the word adamant is also used in several verses, including:
  • :"As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 3:9) Other, later translations substitute the word diamond for adamant.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost (Book 1), Satan is hurled "to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire". Later (Book 6), Satan's shield is described as "of tenfold adamant," and the armor worn by the angels is described as "adamantine."

Uses of the term in fiction and popular culture

  • 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 John Donne's Holy Sonnet I he states in line 14, "And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart".
  • In the Medieval epic poem The Faerie Queene, Sir Artagel's sword is made of Adamant.
  • In the 1950s movie Forbidden Planet the character 'Edward Morbius' refers to structures that the 'Krell Civilisation' created that were made of 'Adamantine Steel'.
  • In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena says to Demetrius, "You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant!".
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings 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 the Inuyasha dub the name Adamant Barrage is given to the Tetsusaiga, which is an attack that shoots diamonds at the opponent.
  • 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.
  • The name of the lead character in the 1960s BBC TV series Adam Adamant Lives! is apparently derived from the term.
  • The pop musician Stuart Goddard has assumed the name "Adam Ant", inspired either by the term or by the character of Adam Adamant.
  • 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 Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, Lord Asriel constructs an "adamant" fortress.
  • In Mohandas K. Gandhi's autobiography, 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 Princess Ida, by Gilbert and Sullivan, the hardnosed princess's castle is called Castle Adamant.
  • In the MMORPG RuneScape, adamant (referred to as "adamantite") is an ore found in various mining locations in small quantites. Adamant is portrayed as a dark green metal that can be mined and then smithed to make armor and weapons, and is the third strongest metal available to free players.
  • In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (Part III), a fictitious flying island is made of Adamant and takes on magnetic properties, allowing its hovering ability.
  • In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer's Aunt's resolve becomes "adamantine in its firmness".
  • In Dwarf Fortress, adamantine is the rarest and most valuable mineral that can be found, and it can be used to forge the most powerful of weapons and most protective of armors.
  • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, 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 rather than metal.
  • In Pokémon games there is a Pokémon nature called adamant that raises your attack stat while leveling up, but decreases the special attack stat.
  • In R. A. Salvatore's Dark Elf trilogy, the 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 Kingdom Hearts, one of the shields you can equip to Goofy is called the "Adamant Shield"
  • Final Fantasy also features armor made of adamant on occasion. In the fifth installment specifically it is a material from 'another world' able to contain great amounts of energy.
  • In Ratchet & Clank, an armor is featured, and it is made of Adamantine - a metal that was to be said "the hardest in the galaxy".
  • 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 role playing game Exaltedthere are fleeting references to a material from the First Age that the Solar savants were attempting to create referred to as Adamant.
  • In the Tales of Symphonia Game, the sword that forges Dirk for Lloyd is made of Adamantine and sacred wood.

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