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ii. 246 & 373, 374.

[253] The same remark applies to this as to the former observation.

[254] “siderum.”

[255] The hypothesis of the author is, that the excess of moisture in
the orbit of Saturn, and the excess of heat in that of Mars, unite in
the orbit of Jupiter and are discharged in the form of thunder.

[256] Alexandre remarks, that Pliny mentions this, not as his own
opinion, but that of _many_ persons; for, in chap. 21, he attempts to
prove mathematically, that the moon is situated at an equal distance
between the sun and the earth; Lemaire, ii. 286.

[257] Marcus remarks upon the inconsistency between the account here
given of Pythagoras’s opinion, and what is generally supposed to have
been his theory of the planetary system, according to which the sun,
and not the earth, is placed in the centre; Enfield’s Philosophy, i.
288, 289. Yet we find that Plato, and many others among the ancients,
give us the same account of Pythagoras’s doctrine of the respective
distances of the heavenly bodies; Ajasson, ii. 374. Plato in his
Timæus, 9. p. 312-315, details the complicated arrangement which he
supposes to constitute the proportionate distances of the planetary

[258] Sulpicius has already been mentioned, in the ninth chapter of
this book, as being the first among the Romans who gave a popular
explanation of the cause of eclipses.

[259] “Διὰ πασῶν, omnibus tonis contextam harmoniam.” Hardouin in
Lemaire, ii. 287.

[260] These appellations appear to have originated from different
nations having assumed different notes as the foundation or
commencement of their musical scale. The Abbé Barthelemi informs
us, that “the Dorians executed the same air a tone lower than the
Phrygians, and the latter a tone still higher than the Lydians; hence
the denomination of the Dorian, Phrygian, and Lydian modes.” It appears
to have been a general practice to employ the lowest modes for the
slowest airs; Anacharsis’s Travels, iii. 73, 74.

[261] Hence the passus will be equal to 5 Roman feet. If we estimate
the Roman foot at 11·6496 English inches, we shall have the _miliare_
of 8 stadia equal to 1618 English yards, or 142 yards less than an
English statute mile. See Adam’s Roman Antiquities, p. 503; also the
articles Miliare and Pes in Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman
Antiquities; and for the varieties of the stadium, as employed at
different periods and in different countries, see the article Stadium.
The stadium which Herodotus employed in measurements of Babylon has
been supposed to consist of 490 English feet, while that of Xenophon
and Strabo has been estimated at 505; see Ed. Rev. xlviii. 190. The
Abbé Barthelemi supposes the stadium to be equal to 604 English feet;
Anach. Travels, vii. 284.

[262] There appears to have been two individuals of this name, who
have been confounded with each other; the one referred to by Pliny was
an astronomer of Alexandria, who flourished about 260 years B.C.; the
other was a native of Apamea, a stoic philosopher, who lived about two
centuries later; see Aikin’s Biog. _in loco_; also Hardouin’s Index
Auctorum, Lemaire, i. 209.

[263] The terms in the original are respectively _nubila_ and _nubes_.
The lexicographers and grammarians do not appear to have accurately
discriminated between these two words.

[264] The words in the text are “vicies centum millia” and “quinquies

[265] Archimedes estimated that the diameter of a circle is to its
circumference as 1 to 3·1416; Hutton’s Dict. _in loco_. Ptolemy states
it to be precisely as 1 to 3; Magn. Const. i. 12.

[266] The author’s reasoning is founded upon the supposition of the
length of the sun’s path round the earth being twelve times greater
than that of the moon’s; the orbit therefore would be twelve times
greater and the radius in the same proportion.

[267] “Non inter Lunam et Saturnum, sed inter Lunam et cœlum affixarum
stellarum, medium esse Solem modo dixerat. Quam parum sui meminit!”
Alexandre in Lem. i. 291.

[268] “Qui computandi modus plurimum habet verecundiæ et modestiæ, quum
ibi sistit, nec ulterius progreditur.” Hardouin in Lemaire, i. 292.

[269] “... ad Saturni circulum addito Signiferi ipsius intervallo, ...”

[270] We may remark, that our author, for the most part, adopts the
opinions of Aristotle respecting comets and meteors of all kinds, while
he pays but little attention to those of his contemporary Seneca,
which however, on some points, would appear to be more correct.
See the remarks of Marcus in Ajasson, ii. 244. Under the title of
comets he includes, not only those bodies which are permanent and
move in regular orbits, but such as are transient, and are produced
from various causes, the nature of which is not well understood. See
Aristotle, Meteor. lib. i. cap. 6, 7, and Seneca, Nat. Quæst. lib. 7,
and Manilius, i. 807 _et seq._

[271] a κόμη, coma.

[272] a πωγωνίος, barbatus. Most of these terms are employed by
Aristotle and by Seneca.

[273] ab ἀκόντιον, jaculum.

[274] a ξίφος, ensis.

[275] a δίσκος, orbis.

[276] a πίθος, dolium. Seneca describes this species as “magnitudo
vasti rotundique ignis dolio similis;” Nat. Quæst. lib. i. § 14. p. 964.

[277] a κέρας, cornu.

[278] a λαμπὰς, fax.

[279] ab ἵππος, equus. Seneca mentions the fax, the jaculum, and the
lampas among the prodigies that preceded the civil wars; Phars. i. 528
_et seq._

[280] Alexandre remarks, that these dates do not correspond, and adds,
“Desperandum est de Pliniana chronologia; nec satis interdum scio,
utrum librarios, an scriptorem ipsum incusem,....” Lemaire, i. 295.
According to the most approved modern chronology, the middle of the
109th olympiad corresponds to the 211th year of the City.

[281] “errantium modo;” this may mean, that they move in orbits like
those of the planets and exhibit the same phænomena, or simply that
they change their situation with respect to the fixed stars.

[282] Seneca remarks on this point, “Placet igitur nostris (Stoicis)
cometas ... denso aëri creari. Ideo circa Septemtrionem frequentissime
apparent, quia illic plurimi est aëris frigor.” Quæst. Nat. i. 7.
Aristotle, on the contrary, remarks that comets are less frequently
produced in the northern part of the heavens; Meteor. lib. i. cap. 6.
p. 535.

[283] _Ubi supra._

[284] See Aristotle, _ut supra_, p. 537.

[285] “Videtur is non cometes fuisse, sed meteorus quidam ignis;”
Alexandre in Lemaire, i. 296.

[286] Virgil, Geor. i. 488 _et seq._, Manilius, i. 904 _et seq._, and
Lucan, i. 526 _et seq._, all speak of the comets and meteors that
were observed previous to the civil wars between Pompey and Cæsar. In
reference to the existence of a comet about the time of Julius Cæsar,
Playfair remarks, that Halley supposed the great comet of 1680 to
have been the same that appeared in the year 44 A.C., and again in
Justinian’s time, 521 P.C., and also in 1106; Elem. Nat. Phil. ii. 197,
198. See Ptolemy’s Cent. Dict. no. 100, for the opinion, that comets
presented an omen especially unfavourable to kings. To this opinion the
following passage in the Paradise Lost obviously refers; “And with fear
of change perplexes monarchs.”

[287] Seneca refers to the four comets that were seen, after the death
of Cæsar, in the time of Augustus, of Claudius, and of Nero; Quæst.
Nat. i. 7. Suetonius mentions the comet which appeared previous to the
death of Claudius, cap. 46, and Tacitus that before the death of Nero,
Ann. xiv. 22.

[288] “A Julio Cæsare. Is enim paulo ante obitum collegium his ludis
faciendis instituerat, confecto Veneris templo;” Hardouin in Lemaire,
i. 299. Jul. Obsequens refers to a “stella crinita,” which appeared
during the celebration of these games, cap. 128.

[289] “Hoc est, hora fere integra ante solis occasum;” Hardouin in
Lemaire, i. 299.

[290] All these circumstances are detailed by Suetonius, in Julio, §
88. p. 178.

[291] “terris.”

[292] Seneca remarks, “... quidam nullos esse cometas existimant, sed
species illorum per repercussionem vicinorum siderum,... Quidam aiunt
esse quidem, sed habere cursus suos et post certa lustra in conspectum
mortalium exire.” He concludes by observing, “Veniet tempus, quo ista
quæ nunc latent, in lucem dies extrahat, et longioris diei diligentia;”
Nat. Quæst. lib. 7. § 19. p. 807.

[293] For some account of Hipparchus, see note [189], p. 37.

[294] Nothing is known respecting the nature of these instruments, nor
have we any means of forming even a conjecture upon the subject.

[295] The terms “faces,” “lampades,” “bolides,” and “trabes,” literally
torches, lamps, darts, and beams, which are employed to express
different kinds of meteors, have no corresponding words in English
which would correctly designate them.

[296] From this account it would appear, that the “fax” was what we
term a falling star. “Meteora ista, super cervices nostras transeuntia,
diversaque a stellis labentibus, modo aërolithis ascribenda sunt, modo
vaporibus incensis aut electrica vi prognata videntur, et quamvis
frequentissime recurrant, explicatione adhuc incerta indigent.”
Alexandre in Lemaire, i. 302.

[297] Seneca refers to this meteor; “Vidimus non semel flammam ingenti
pilæ specie, quæ tamen in ipso cursu suo dissipata est ... nec
Germanici mors sine tali demonstratione fuit;” Nat. Quæst, lib. i. cap.
1. p. 683.

[298] This meteor is mentioned by Dion Cassius, lib. xlv. p. 278, but
is described by him as a lampas.

[299] We may presume that the _trabes_ are, for the most part, to be
referred to the aurora borealis. _The chasma_ and the appearances
described in the twenty-seventh chapter are probably varieties of this
meteor. On these phænomena we have the following remarks by Seneca:
“Lucem in aëre, seu quamdam albedinem, angustam quidem, sed oblongam,
de noctu quandoque visam, sereno cœlo, si parallelo situ sit, Trabem
vocant; si perpendiculari, Columnam; si, cum cuspide Bolida, sive
Jaculum.” Nat. Quæst. vii. 4, and again, vii. 5, “Trabes autem non
transcurrunt nec prætervolant, ut faces, sed commorantur, et in eadem
parte cœli collucent.”

[300] Seneca describes this meteor, _ubi supra_, i. 14. “Sunt chasmata,
cum aliquando cœli spatium discedit, et flammam dehiscens velut in
abdito ostentat. Colores quoque horum omnium plurimi sunt. Quidam
ruboris acerrimi, quidam evanidæ et levis flammæ, quidam candidæ lucis,
quidam micantes, quidam æquabiliter et sine eruptionibus aut radiis
fulvi.” Aristotle’s account of chasmata is contained in his Meteor.
lib. i. cap. 5. p. 534.

[301] The meteor here referred to is probably a peculiar form of the
aurora borealis, which occasionally assumes a red colour. See the
remarks of Fouché, in Ajasson, i. 382.

[302] The doctrine of the author appears to be, that the prodigies are
not the cause, but only the indication of the events which succeed
them. This doctrine is referred to by Seneca; “Videbimus an certus
omnium rerum ordo ducatur, et alia aliis ita complexa sint, ut quod
antecedit, aut causa sit sequentium aut signum.” Nat. Quæst. i. 1.

[303] It would appear that, in this passage, two phænomena are
confounded together; certain brilliant stars, as, for example, Venus,
which have been occasionally seen in the day-time, and the formation
of different kinds of halos, depending on certain states of the
atmosphere, which affect its transparency.

[304] This occurrence is mentioned by Seneca, Nat. Quæst. i. 2; he
enters into a detailed explanation of the cause; also by V. Paterculus,
ii. 59, and by Jul. Obsequens, cap. 128. We can scarcely doubt of the
reality of the occurrence, as these authors would not have ventured to
relate what, if not true, might have been so easily contradicted.

[305] The term here employed is “arcus,” which is a portion only of a
circle or “orbis.” But if we suppose that the sun was near the horizon,
a portion only of the halo would be visible, or the condition of the
atmosphere adapted for forming the halo might exist in one part only,
so that a portion of the halo only would be obscured.

[306] The dimness or paleness of the sun, which is stated by various
writers to have occurred at the time of Cæsar’s death, it is
unnecessary to remark, was a phænomenon totally different from an
eclipse, and depending on a totally different cause.

[307] Aristotle, Meteor. lib. iii. cap. 2. p. 575, cap. 6. p. 582, 583,
and Seneca, Quæst. Nat. lib. i. § 11, describe these appearances under
the title which has been retained by the moderns of παρήλια. Aristotle
remarks on their cause as depending on the refraction (ἀνάκλασις) of
the sun’s rays. He extends the remark to the production of halos (ἅλως)
and the rainbow, _ubi supra_.

[308] This occurrence is referred to by Livy, xli. 21.

[309] This meteor has been named παρασελήνη; they are supposed to
depend upon the same cause with the Parhelia. A phænomenon of this
description is mentioned by Jul. Obsequens, cap. 92, and by Plutarch,
in Marcellus, ii. 360. In Shakspeare’s King John the death of Prince
Arthur is said to have been followed by the ominous appearance of five

[310] This phænomenon must be referred to the aurora borealis. See
Livy, xxviii. 11. and xxix. 14.

[311] “clypei.”

[312] Probably an aërolite. Jul. Obsequens describes a meteor as “orbis
clypei similis,” which was seen to pass from west to east, cap. 105.

[313] “ceu nubilo die.”

[314] It would be difficult to reconcile this phænomenon with any
acknowledged atmospherical phenomenon.

[315] Perhaps the phænomena here alluded to ought to be referred to
some electric action; but they are stated too generally to admit of our
forming more than a conjecture on the subject. Virgil refers to the
occurrence of storms of wind after the appearance of a falling star;
Geor. i. 265-6.

[316] These phænomena are admitted to be electrical; they are referred
to by Seneca, Nat. Quæst. i. 1. This appearance is noticed as of
frequent occurrence in the Mediterranean, where it is named the fire of
St. Elmo; see Hardouin in Lemaire, i. 311, and Fouché in Ajasson, ii.

[317] Perhaps this opinion may be maintained on the principle, that,
when there is a single luminous appearance only, it depends upon the
discharge of a quantity of electrical fluid in a condensed state; its
effects are, in this case, those that would follow from a stroke of

[318] This is said by Livy to have occurred to Servius Tullius while he
was a child; lib. i. cap. 39; and by Virgil to Ascanius, Æn. ii. 632-5.

[319] “Ut circumagendo balistæ vel fundæ impetus augetur.” Alexandre in
Lemaire, i. 313.

[320] “sed assidue rapta (natura) convolvitur, et circa terram immenso
rerum causas globo ostendit, subinde per nubes cœlum aliud obtexens.”
On the words “immenso globo,” Alexandre has the following comment:
“Immensis cœli fornicibus appicta sidera, dum circumvolvitur, terris
ostendit;” and on the words “cœlum aliud,” “obductæ scilicet nubes
falsum quasi cœlum vero prætexunt.” Lemaire, i. 313.

[321] The author probably means to speak of all the atmospheric
phænomena that have been mentioned above.

[322] Marcus has made some remarks on this subject which may be read
with advantage; Ajasson, ii. 245-6.

[323] The diminutive of Sus.

[324] Ab ὕω, pluo.

[325] The Hædi were in the constellation Auriga.

[326] We have the same account of the Oryx in Ælian, lib. vii. cap. 8.

[327] Our author again refers to this opinion, viii. 63, and it was
generally adopted by the ancients; but it appears to be entirely

[328] “cum tempestatibus confici sidus intelligimus.”

[329] “afflantur.” On this term Hardouin remarks, “Siderantur.
Sideratio morbi genus est, partem aliquam corporis, ipsumque sæpe
totum corpus percutientis subito: quod quum repentino eveniat impetu, e
cœlo vi quadam sideris evenire putatur.” Lemaire, i. 317.

[330] Cicero alludes to these opinions in his treatise De Divin. ii.
33; see also Aul. Gellius, ix. 7.

[331] The heliotropium of the moderns has not the property here
assigned to it, and it may be doubted whether it exists in any plant,
except in a very slight and imperfect degree: the subject will be
considered more fully in a subsequent part of the work, xxii. 29, where
the author gives a more particular account of the heliotrope.

[332] “conchyliorum;” this term appears to have been specifically
applied to the animal from which the Tyrian dye was procured.

[333] “soricum fibras;” Alexandre remarks on these words, “fibras
jecoris intellige, id est, lobos infimos ...;” Lemaire, i. 318; but I
do not see any ground for this interpretation.

[334] It does not appear from what source our author derived this
number; it is considerably greater than that stated by Ptolemy and the
older astronomers. See the remarks of Hardouin and of Brotier; Lemaire.
i. 319.

[335] The Vergiliæ or Pleiades are not in the tail of the Bull,
according to the celestial atlas of the moderns.

[336] “Septemtriones.”

[337] The doctrine of Aristotle on the nature and formation of mists
and clouds is contained in his treatises De Meteor. lib. i. cap. 9.
p. 540, and De Mundo, cap. 4. p. 605. He employs the terms ἀτμὶς,
νέφος, and νεφέλη, which are translated _vapor_, _nubes_ and _nebula_,
respectively. The distinction, however, between the two latter does not
appear very clearly marked either in the Greek or the Latin, the two
Greek words being indiscriminately applied to either of the Latin terms.

[338] It is doubtful how far this statement is correct; see the remarks
of Hardouin, Lem. i. 320.

[339] The words in the original are respectively _fulmen_ and
_fulgetrum_; Seneca makes a similar distinction between _fulmen_ and
_fulguratio_: “Fulguratio est late ignis explicitus; fulmen est coactus
ignis et impetu jactus.” Nat. Quæst. lib. ii. cap. 16. p. 706.

[340] “Præsertim ex tribus superioribus planetis, uti dictum est, cap.
18.” Hardouin, in Lemaire, i. 322.

[341] Our author’s opinion respecting the origin of winds nearly
agrees with that of Aristotle; “nihil ut aliud ventus (ἄνεμος) sit,
nisi aër multus fluctuans et compressus, qui etiam spiritus (πνεῦμα)
appellatur;” De Meteor. This treatise contains a full account of the
phænomena of winds. Seneca also remarks, “Ventus est aër fluens;” Nat.
Quæst. lib. 3 & 5.

[342] Aristotle informs us, that the winds termed apogæi (ἀπόγαιοι)
proceed from a marshy and moist soil; De Mundo, cap. 4. p. 605. For
the origin and meaning of the terms here applied to the winds, see the
remarks of Hardouin and Alexandre, in Lemaire, i. 323.

[343] This is mentioned by Pomp. Mela.

[344] “In domibus etiam multis manu facta inclusa opacitate
conceptacula....” Some of the MSS. have _madefacta_ for _manu facta_,
and this reading has been adopted by Lemaire; but nearly all the
editors, as Dalechamps, Laët, Grovonius, Poincinet and Ajasson, retain
the former word.

[345] The terms in the original are “flatus” and “ventus.”

[346] “illos (flatus) statos atque perspirantes.”

[347] “qui non aura, non procella, sed mares appellatione quoque ipsa
venti sunt.” This passage cannot be translated into English, from
our language not possessing the technical distinction of genders, as
depending on the termination of the substantives.

[348] “Septem nimirum errantibus.” Hardouin, in Lemaire, i. 306.

[349] In his account and nomenclature of the winds, Pliny has, for the
most part, followed Aristotle, Meteor. lib. ii. cap. 4. pp. 558-560,
and cap. 6. pp. 563-565. The description of the different winds by
Seneca is not very different, but where it does not coincide with
Aristotle’s, our author has generally preferred the former; see Nat.
Quæst. lib. 5. We have an account of the different winds, as prevailing
at particular seasons, in Ptolemy, De Judiciis Astrol. 1. 9. For the
nomenclature and directions of the winds, we may refer to the remarks
of Hardouin, Lemaire, i. 328 _et seq._

[350] Odyss. v. 295, 296.

[351] In giving names to the different winds, the author designates the
points of the compass whence they proceed, by the place where the sun
rises or sets, at the different periods of the year. The following are
the terms which he employs:—“Oriens æquinoctialis,” the place where the
sun rises at the equinox, i. e. the East. “Oriens brumalis,” where he
rises on the shortest day, the S.E. “Occasus brumalis,” where he sets
on the shortest day, the S.W. “Occasus æquinoctialis,” where he sets
at the equinox, the W. “Occasus solstitialis,” where he sets on the
longest day, the N.W. “Exortus solstitialis,” where he rises on the
longest day, the N.E. “Inter septemtrionem et occasum solstitialem,”
between N. and N.W., N.N.W. “Inter aquilonem et exortum æquinoctialem,”
between N. and N.E., N.N.E. “Inter ortum brumalem et meridiem,” between
S. and S.E., S.S.E. “Inter meridiem et hybernum occidentem,” between S.
and S.W., S.S.W.

[352] “Quod sub sole nasci videtur.”

[353] This name was probably derived from the town Vulturnum in

[354] Seneca informs us, that what the Latins name Subsolanus, is named
by the Greeks Ἀφηλιώτης; Quæst. Nat. lib. 5. § 16. p. 764.

[355] “quia favet rebus nascentibus.”

[356] “... semper spirantes frigora Cauri.” Virgil, Geor. iii. 356.

[357] The eight winds here mentioned will bear the following relation
to our nomenclature: Septemtrio, N.; Aquilo, N.E.; Subsolanus, E.;
Vulturnus, S.E.; Auster, S.; Africus, N.W.; Favonius, W.; and Corus,

[358] The four winds here mentioned, added to eight others, making, in
the whole, twelve, will give us the following card:—

N. Septemtrio.
N.N.E. Boreas or Aquilo.
E.N.E. Cæcias.
E. Apeliotes or Subsolanus.
E.S.E. Eurus or Vulturnus.
S.S.E. Euronotus or Phœnices.
S. Notos or Auster.
S.S.W. Libonotos.
W.S.W. Libs or Africus.
W. Zephyrus or Favonius.
W.N.W. Argestes or Corus.
N.N.W. Thrascias.

We are informed by Alexandre, Lemaire, i. 330, that there is an ancient
dial plate in the Vatican, consisting of twelve sides, in which the
names of the twelve winds are given both in Greek and in Latin. They
differ somewhat from those given above, both absolutely and relatively;
they are as follows:—

Ἀπαρκτίας, Septemtrio.
Βορέας, Aquilo.
Καικίας, Vulturnus.
Ἀφηλιώτης, Solanus.
Εὖρος, Eurus.
Εὐρόνοτος, Euronotus.
Νότος, Auster.
Λιβόνοτος, Austroafricus.
Λὶψ, Africus.
Ζέφυρος, Zephyrus.
Ἰάπυξ, Corus.
Θρασκίας, Circius.

[359] This wind must have been N.N.W.; it is mentioned by Strabo, iv.
182; A. Gellius, ii. 22; Seneca, Nat. Quæst. v. 17; and again by our
author, xvii. 2.

[360] We may learn the opinions of the Romans on the subject of this
chapter from Columella, xi. 2.

[361] corresponding to the 8th day of the month.

[362] ... lustro sequenti ...; “tribus annis sequentibus.” Alexandre,
in Lemaire, i. 334.

[363] corresponding to the 22nd of February.

[364] a χελιδὼν, hirundo.

[365] This will be either on March 2nd or on February 26th, according
as we reckon from December the 21st, the real solstitial day, or the
17th, when, according to the Roman calendar, the sun is said to enter

[366] “quasi Avicularem dixeris.” Hardouin, in Lemaire, i. 334.

[367] Corresponding to the 10th of May.

[368] According to the Roman calendar, this corresponds to the 20th
July, but, according to the text, to the 17th. Columella says, that the
sun enters Leo on the 13th of the Calends of August; xi. 2.

[369] “quasi præcursores;” Hardouin, in Lemaire, i. 335. Cicero refers
to these winds in one of his letters to Atticus; xiv. 6.

[370] ἐτησίαι, ab ἔτος, annus.

[371] This will be on the 13th of September, as, according to our
author, xviii. 24, the equinox is on the 24th.

[372] This corresponds to the 11th of November; forty-four days before
this will be the 29th of September.

[373] Or Halcyonides. This topic is considered more at length in a

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