Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, sometimes combined with small amounts of other materials, such as lead. Copper was widely available in the ancient Mediterranean, most notably on the island of Cyprus. Tin was scarcer; it was available both in the East, in Anatolia, and in the distant West, in the British Isles. Herodotus, a Greek historian from the fifth century B.C., refers to the British Isles as the “tin islands” (Histories 3.115). Tin combines with copper to produce a metal alloy that is stronger and easier to shape than copper alone and also gives the otherwise reddish copper a golden hue. The ratio of copper, tin, and added materials can be manipulated to produce a range of aesthetic effects. In his Natural History (34:3), Pliny writes that bronze made in Corinth was particularly renowned for its fine coloring. Today, most surviving bronzes exhibit a green patina, but in their original form, bronze vessels would have had a golden sheen.