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world[479] (for the earth is no more in regard to the universe), this
is the object, the seat of our glory—here we bear our honours, here we
exercise our power, here we covet wealth, here we mortals create our
disturbances, here we continually carry on our wars, aye, civil wars,
even, and unpeople the earth by mutual slaughter. And not to dwell on
public feuds, entered into by nations against each other, here it is
that we drive away our neighbours, and enclose the land thus seized
upon within our own fence[480]; and yet the man who has most extended
his boundary, and has expelled the inhabitants for ever so great a
distance, after all, what mighty portion of the earth is he master of?
And even when his avarice has been the most completely satisfied, what
part of it can he take with him into the grave?


It is evident from undoubted arguments, that the earth is in the middle
of the universe[481], but it is the most clearly proved by the equality
of the days and the nights at the equinox[482]. It is demonstrated by
the quadrant[483], which affords the most decisive confirmation of the
fact, that unless the earth was in the middle, the days and nights
could not be equal; for, at the time of the equinox, the rising and
setting of the sun are seen on the same line, and the rising of the
sun, at the summer solstice, is on the same line with its setting at
the winter solstice; but this could not happen if the earth was not
situated in the centre.


The three circles[485], which are connected with the above-mentioned
zones, distinguish the inequalities of the seasons; these are, the
solstitial circle, which proceeds from the part of the Zodiac the
highest to us and approaching the nearest to the district of the north;
on the other side, the brumal, which is towards the south pole; and the
equinoctial, which traverses the middle of the Zodiac.


The cause of the other things which are worthy of our admiration
depends on the figure of the earth itself, which, together with all its
waters, is proved, by the same arguments, to be a globe. This certainly
is the cause why the stars of the northern portion of the heavens
never set to us, and why, on the other hand, those in the south never
rise, and again, why the latter can never be seen by the former, the
globe of the earth rising up and concealing them. The Northern Wain
is never seen in Troglodytice[486], nor in Egypt, which borders on
it[487]; nor can we, in Italy, see the star Canopus[488], or Berenice’s
Hair[489]; nor what, under the Emperor Augustus, was named Cæsar’s
Throne, although they are, there[490], very brilliant stars. The curved
form of the earth is so obvious, rising up like a ridge, that Canopus
appears to a spectator at Alexandria to rise above the horizon almost
the quarter of a sign; the same star at Rhodes appears, as it were, to
graze along the earth, while in Pontus it is not seen at all; where the
Northern Wain appears considerably elevated. This same constellation
cannot be seen at Rhodes, and still less at Alexandria. In Arabia, in
the month of November, it is concealed during the first watch of the
night, but may be seen during the second[491]; in Meroë it is seen,
for a short time, in the evening, at the solstice, and it is visible
at day-break, for a few days before the rising of Arcturus[492].
These facts have been principally ascertained by the expeditions of
navigators; the sea appearing more elevated or depressed in certain
parts[493]; the stars suddenly coming into view, and, as it were,
emerging from the water, after having been concealed by the bulging out
of the globe[494]. But the heavens do not, as some suppose, rise higher
at one pole, otherwise[495] its stars would be seen from all parts
of the world; they indeed are supposed to be higher by those who are
nearest to them, but the stars are sunk below the horizon to those who
are more remote. As this pole appears to be elevated to those who are
beneath it; so, when we have passed along the convexity of the earth,
those stars rise up, which appear elevated to the inhabitants of those
other districts; all this, however, could not happen unless the earth
had the shape of a globe.


Hence it is that the inhabitants of the east do not see those eclipses
of the sun or of the moon which occur in the evening, nor the
inhabitants of the west those in the morning, while such as take place
at noon are more frequently visible[496]. We are told, that at the time
of the famous victory of Alexander the Great, at Arbela[497], the moon
was eclipsed at the second hour of the night, while, in Sicily, the
moon was rising at the same hour. The eclipse of the sun which occurred
the day before the calends of May, in the consulship of Vipstanus
and Fonteius[498], not many years ago, was seen in Campania between
the seventh and eighth hour of the day; the general Corbulo informs
us, that it was seen in Armenia, between the eleventh and twelfth
hour[499]; thus the curve of the globe both reveals and conceals
different objects from the inhabitants of its different parts. If the
earth had been flat, everything would have been seen at the same time,
from every part of it, and the nights would not have been unequal;
while the equal intervals of twelve hours, which are now observed only
in the middle of the earth, would in that case have been the same


Hence it is that there is not any one night and day the same, in all
parts of the earth, at the same time; the intervention of the globe
producing night, and its turning round producing day[500]. This is
known by various observations. In Africa and in Spain it is made
evident by the Towers of Hannibal[501], and in Asia by the beacons,
which, in consequence of their dread of pirates, the people erected
for their protection; for it has been frequently observed, that the
signals, which were lighted at the sixth hour of the day, were seen at
the third hour of the night by those who were the most remote[502].
Philonides, a courier of the above-mentioned Alexander, went from
Sicyon to Elis, a distance of 1200 stadia, in nine hours, while he
seldom returned until the third hour of the night, although the road
was down-hill[503]. The reason is, that, in going, he followed the
course of the sun, while on his return, in the opposite direction, he
met the sun and left it behind him. For the same reason it is, that
those who sail to the west, even on the shortest day, compensate for
the difficulty of sailing in the night and go farther[504], because
they sail in the same direction with the sun.


The same dial-plates[505] cannot be used in all places, the shadow of
the sun being sensibly different at distances of 300, or at most of
500 stadia[506]. Hence the shadow of the dial-pin, which is termed the
gnomon, at noon and at the summer solstice, in Egypt, is a little more
than half the length of the gnomon itself. At the city of Rome it is
only 1/9 less than the gnomon, at Ancona not more than 1/35 less, while
in the part of Italy which is called Venetia, at the same hour, the
shadow is equal to the length of the gnomon[507].


It is likewise said, that in the town of Syene, which is 5000 stadia
south of Alexandria[508], there is no shadow at noon, on the day of
the solstice; and that a well, which was sunk for the purpose of the
experiment, is illuminated by the sun in every part. Hence it appears
that the sun, in this place, is vertical, and Onesicritus informs us
that this is the case, about the same time, in India, at the river
Hypasis[509]. It is well known, that at Berenice, a city of the
Troglodytæ, and 4820 stadia beyond that city, in the same country,
at the town of Ptolemais, which was built on the Red Sea, when the
elephant was first hunted, this same thing takes place for forty-five
days before the solstice and for an equal length of time after it,
and that during these ninety days the shadows are turned towards the
south[510]. Again, at Meroë, an island in the Nile and the metropolis
of the Æthiopians, which is 5000 stadia[511] from Syene, there are no
shadows at two periods of the year, viz. when the sun is in the 18th
degree of Taurus and in the 14th of Leo[512]. The Oretes, a people of
India, have a mountain named Maleus[513], near which the shadows in
summer fall towards the south and in winter towards the north. The
seven stars of the Great Bear are visible there for fifteen nights
only. In India also, in the celebrated sea-port Patale[514], the
sun rises to the right hand and the shadows fall towards the south.
While Alexander was staying there it was observed, that the seven
northern stars were seen only during the early part of the night[515].
Onesicritus, one of his generals, informs us in his work, that in those
places in India where there are no shadows, the seven stars are not
visible[516]; these places, he says, are called “Ascia[517],” and the
people there do not reckon the time by hours[518].


Eratosthenes informs us, that in the whole of Troglodytice, for
twice forty-five days in the year, the shadows fall in the contrary


Hence it follows, that in consequence of the daylight increasing
in various degrees, in Meroë the longest day consists of twelve
æquinoctial hours and eight parts of an hour[520], at Alexandria of
fourteen hours, in Italy of fifteen, in Britain of seventeen; where
the degree of light, which exists in the night, very clearly proves,
what the reason of the thing also obliges us to believe, that, during
the solstitial period, as the sun approaches to the pole of the world,
and his orbit is contracted, the parts of the earth that lie below him
have a day of six months long, and a night of equal length when he is
removed to the south pole. Pytheas, of Marseilles[521], informs us,
that this is the case in the island of Thule[522], which is six days’
sail from the north of Britain. Some persons also affirm that this is
the case in Mona, which is about 200 miles from Camelodunum[523], a
town of Britain.


Anaximenes the Milesian, the disciple of Anaximander, of whom I have
spoken above[524], discovered the theory of shadows and what is called
the art of dialling, and he was the first who exhibited at Lacedæmon
the dial which they call sciothericon[525].


The days have been computed by different people in different ways. The
Babylonians reckoned from one sunrise to the next; the Athenians from
one sunset to the next; the Umbrians from noon to noon; the multitude,
universally, from light to darkness; the Roman priests and those who
presided over the civil day, also the Egyptians and Hipparchus, from
midnight to midnight[526]. It appears that the interval from one
sunrise to the next is less near the solstices than near the equinoxes,
because the position of the zodiac is more oblique about its middle
part, and more straight near the solstice[527].


To these circumstances we must add those that are connected with
certain celestial causes. There can be no doubt, that the Æthiopians
are scorched by their vicinity to the sun’s heat, and they are
born, like persons who have been burned, with the beard and hair
frizzled[528]; while, in the opposite and frozen parts of the earth,
there are nations with white skins and long light hair. The latter are
savage from the inclemency of the climate, while the former are dull
from its variableness[529]. We learn, from the form of the legs, that
in the one, the fluids, like vapour, are forced into the upper parts
of the body, while in the other, being a gross humour, it is drawn
downwards into the lower parts[530]. In the cold regions savage beasts
are produced, and in the others, various forms of animals, and many
kinds of birds[531]. In both situations the body grows tall, in the one
case by the force of fire, and in the other by the nutritive moisture.

In the middle of the earth there is a salutary mixture of the two, a
tract fruitful in all things, the habits of the body holding a mean
between the two, with a proper tempering of colours; the manners of
the people are gentle, the intellect clear[532], the genius fertile
and capable of comprehending every part of nature. They have formed
empires, which has never been done by the remote nations; yet these
latter have never been subjected by the former, being severed from
them and remaining solitary, from the effect produced on them by their
savage nature.


According to the doctrine of the Babylonians, earthquakes and clefts of
the earth, and occurrences of this kind, are supposed to be produced
by the influence of the stars, especially of the three to which they
ascribe thunder[533]; and to be caused by the stars moving with the
sun, or being in conjunction with it, and, more particularly, when
they are in the quartile aspect[534]. If we are to credit the report,
a most admirable and immortal spirit, as it were of a divine nature,
should be ascribed to Anaximander the Milesian, who, they say, warned
the Lacedæmonians to beware of their city and their houses[535]. For
he predicted that an earthquake was at hand, when both the whole of
their city was destroyed and a large portion of Mount Taygetus, which
projected in the form of a ship, was broken off, and added farther
ruin to the previous destruction. Another prediction is ascribed to
Pherecydes, the master of Pythagoras, and this was divine; by a draught
of water from a well, he foresaw and predicted that there would be an
earthquake in that place[536]. And if these things be true, how nearly
do these individuals approach to the Deity, even during their lifetime!
But I leave every one to judge of these matters as he pleases. I
certainly conceive the winds to be the cause of earthquakes; for the
earth never trembles except when the sea is quite calm, and when the
heavens are so tranquil that the birds cannot maintain their flight,
all the air which should support them being withdrawn[537]; nor does
it ever happen until after great winds, the gust being pent up, as
it were, in the fissures and concealed hollows. For the trembling of
the earth resembles thunder in the clouds; nor does the yawning of
the earth differ from the bursting of the lightning; the enclosed air
struggling and striving to escape[538].


The earth is shaken in various ways, and wonderful effects are
produced[539]; in one place the walls of cities being thrown down, and
in others swallowed up by a deep cleft[540]; sometimes great masses
of earth are heaped up, and rivers forced out, sometimes even flame
and hot springs[541], and at others the course of rivers is turned.
A terrible noise precedes and accompanies the shock[542]; sometimes
a murmuring, like the lowing of cattle, or like human voices, or the
clashing of arms. This depends on the substance which receives the
sound, and the shape of the caverns or crevices through which it
issues; it being more shrill from a narrow opening, more hoarse from
one that is curved, producing a loud reverberation from hard bodies,
a sound like a boiling fluid[543] from moist substances, fluctuating
in stagnant water, and roaring when forced against solid bodies. There
is, therefore, often the sound without any motion. Nor is it a simple
motion, but one that is tremulous and vibratory. The cleft sometimes
remains, displaying what it has swallowed up; sometimes concealing it,
the mouth being closed and the soil being brought over it, so that no
vestige is left; the city being, as it were, devoured, and the tract
of country engulfed. Maritime districts are more especially subject to
shocks. Nor are mountainous tracts exempt from them; I have found, by
my inquiries, that the Alps and the Apennines are frequently shaken.
The shocks happen more frequently in the autumn and in the spring, as
is the case also with thunder. There are seldom shocks in Gaul and in
Egypt; in the latter it depends on the prevalence of summer, in the
former, of winter. They also happen more frequently in the night than
in the day. The greatest shocks are in the morning and the evening; but
they often take place at day-break, and sometimes at noon. They also
take place during eclipses of the sun and of the moon, because at that
time storms are lulled. They are most frequent when great heat succeeds
to showers, or showers succeed to great heat[544].


There is no doubt that earthquakes are felt by persons on shipboard, as
they are struck by a sudden motion of the waves, without these being
raised by any gust of wind. And things that are in the vessels shake as
they do in houses, and give notice by their creaking; also the birds,
when they settle upon the vessels, are not without their alarms. There
is also a sign in the heavens; for, when a shock is near at hand,
either in the daytime or a little after sunset, a cloud is stretched
out in the clear sky, like a long thin line[545]. The water in wells is
also more turbid than usual, and it emits a disagreeable odour[546].


These same places[547], however, afford protection, and this is also
the case where there is a number of caverns, for they give vent to the
confined vapour, a circumstance which has been remarked in certain
towns, which have been less shaken where they have been excavated by
many sewers. And, in the same town, those parts that are excavated[548]
are safer than the other parts, as is understood to be the case at
Naples in Italy, the part of it which is solid being more liable to
injury. Arched buildings are also the most safe, also the angles of
walls, the shocks counteracting each other; walls made of brick also
suffer less from the shocks[549]. There is also a great difference in
the nature of the motions[550], where various motions are experienced.
It is the safest when it vibrates and causes a creaking in the
building, and where it swells and rises upwards, and settles with
an alternate motion. It is also harmless when the buildings coming
together butt against each other in opposite directions, for the
motions counteract each other. A movement like the rolling of waves is
dangerous, or when the motion is impelled in one direction. The tremors
cease when the vapour bursts out[551]; but if they do not soon cease,
they continue for forty days; generally, indeed, for a longer time:
some have lasted even for one or two years.


A great prodigy of the earth, which never happened more than once, I
have found mentioned in the books of the Etruscan ceremonies, as having
taken place in the district of Mutina, during the consulship of Lucius
Martius and Sextus Julius[552]. Two mountains rushed together, falling
upon each other with a very loud crash, and then receding; while in
the daytime flame and smoke issued from them; a great crowd of Roman
knights, and families of people, and travellers on the Æmilian way,
being spectators of it. All the farm-houses were thrown down by the
shock, and a great number of animals that were in them were killed;
it was in the year before the Social war; and I am in doubt whether
this event or the civil commotions were more fatal to the territory of
Italy. The prodigy which happened in our own age was no less wonderful;
in the last year of the emperor Nero[553], as I have related in my
history of his times[554], when certain fields and olive grounds in the
district of Marrucinum, belonging to Vectius Marcellus, a Roman knight,
the steward of Nero, changed places with each other[555], although the
public highway was interposed.


Inundations of the sea take place at the same time with
earthquakes[556]; the water being impregnated with the same
spirit[557], and received into the bosom of the earth which subsides.
The greatest earthquake which has occurred in our memory was in the
reign of Tiberius[558], by which twelve cities of Asia were laid
prostrate in one night. They occurred the most frequently during
the Punic war, when we had accounts brought to Rome of fifty-seven
earthquakes in the space of a single year. It was during this year[559]
that the Carthaginians and the Romans, who were fighting at the lake
Thrasimenus, were neither of them sensible of a very great shock during
the battle[560]. Nor is it an evil merely consisting in the danger
which is produced by the motion; it is an equal or a greater evil when
it is considered as a prodigy[561]. The city of Rome never experienced
a shock, which was not the forerunner of some great calamity.


The same cause produces an increase of the land; the vapour, when it
cannot burst out forcibly lifting up the surface[562]. For the land is
not merely produced by what is brought down the rivers, as the islands
called Echinades are formed by the river Achelous, and the greater
part of Egypt by the Nile, where, according to Homer, it was a day and
a night’s journey from the main land to the island of Pharos[563];
but, in some cases, by the receding of the sea, as, according to
the same author, was the case with the Circæan isles[564]. The same
thing also happened in the harbour of Ambracia, for a space of 10,000
paces, and was also said to have taken place for 5000 at the Piræus of
Athens[565], and likewise at Ephesus, where formerly the sea washed the
walls of the temple of Diana. Indeed, if we may believe Herodotus[566],
the sea came beyond Memphis, as far as the mountains of Æthiopia, and
also from the plains of Arabia. The sea also surrounded Ilium and the
whole of Teuthrania, and covered the plain through which the Mæander


Land is sometimes formed in a different manner, rising suddenly out of
the sea, as if nature was compensating the earth for its losses[568],
restoring in one place what she had swallowed up in another.


Delos and Rhodes[569], islands which have now been long famous, are
recorded to have risen up in this way. More lately there have been some
smaller islands formed; Anapha, which is beyond Melos; Nea, between
Lemnos and the Hellespont; Halone, between Lebedos and Teos; Thera[570]
and Therasia, among the Cyclades, in the fourth year of the 135th
Olympiad[571]. And among the same islands, 130 years afterwards, Hiera,
also called Automate[572], made its appearance; also Thia, at the
distance of two stadia from the former, 110 years afterwards, in our
own times, when M. Junius Silanus and L. Balbus were consuls, on the
8th of the ides of July[573].

(88.) Opposite to us, and near to Italy, among the Æolian isles, an
island emerged from the sea; and likewise one near Crete, 2500 paces
in extent, and with warm springs in it; another made its appearance in
the third year of the 163rd Olympiad[574], in the Tuscan gulf, burning
with a violent explosion. There is a tradition too that a great number
of fishes were floating about the spot, and that those who employed
them for food immediately expired. It is said that the Pithecusan isles
rose up, in the same way, in the bay of Campania, and that, shortly
afterwards, the mountain Epopos, from which flame had suddenly burst
forth, was reduced to the level of the neighbouring plain. In the
same island, it is said, that a town was sunk in the sea; that in
consequence of another shock, a lake burst out, and that, by a third,
Prochytas was formed into an island, the neighbouring mountains being

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