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Among the wonders of mountains there is Ætna, which always burns in the night1, and for so long a period has always had materials for combustion, being in the winter buried in snow, and having the ashes which it has ejected covered with frost. Nor is it in this mountain alone that nature rages, threatening to consume the earth2; in Pha- selis, the mountain Chimæra burns, and indeed with a continual flame, day and night3. Ctesias of Cnidos informs us, that this fire is kindled by water, while it is extinguished by earth and by hay4. In the same country of Lycia, the mountains of Hephæstius, when touched with a flaming torch5, burn so violently, that even the stones in the river and the sand burn, while actually in the water: this fire is also increased by rain. If a person makes furrows in the ground with a stick which has been kindled at this fire, it is said that a stream of flame will follow it. The summit of Cophantus, in Bactria6, burns during the night; and this is the case in Media and at Sittacene7, on the borders of Persia; likewise in Susa, at the White Tower, from fifteen apertures8, the greatest of which also burns in the daytime. The plain of Babylon throws up flame from a place like a fishpond9, an acre in extent. Near Hesperium, a mountain of the Æthiopians10, the fields shine in the night-time like stars; the same thing takes place in the territory of the Megalopo- litani. This fire, however, is internal11, mild, and not burning the foliage of a dense wood which is over it12. There is also the crater of Nymphæum13, which is always burning, in the neighbourhood of a cold fountain, and which, according to Theopompus, presages direful calamities to the inhabitants of Apollonia14. It is increased by rain15, and it throws out bitumen, which, becoming mixed with the fountain, renders it unfit to be tasted; it is, at other times, the weakest of all the bitumens. But what are these compared to other wonders? Hiera, one of the Æolian isles, in the middle of the sea, near Italy, together with the sea itself, during the Social war, burned for several days16, until expiation was made, by a deputation from the senate. There is a hill in Æthiopia called θεῶν ὄχημα17, which burns with the greatest violence, throwing out flame that consumes everything, like the sun18. In so many places, and with so many fires, does nature burn the earth!

1 When the volcanos are less active the flame is visible in the night only.

2 The observations of modern travellers and geologists have proved, that the number of extinct volcanos is considerably greater than those now in action.

3 Chimæra was a volcano in Lycia, not far from the Xanthus; the circumstance of its summit emitting flame, while its sides were the resort of various savage animals, probably gave rise to the fabulous story of the Centaur of this name, a ferocious monster who was continually vomiting forth flame.

4 The word in the text is "fœnum"; Hardouin suggests that the meaning of the author may have been litter, or the refuse of stables. Lemaire, i. 454.

5 The emission of a gas, which may be kindled by the application of flame, is a phenomenon of no very rare occurrence; but the effects are, no doubt, much exaggerated. See the remarks of Alexandre in Lemaire, i. 454.

6 The country of the Bactrians was a district to the S.E. of the Caspian Sea, and to the north of the sources of the Indus, nearly corresponding to the modern Bucharia.

7 There would appear to be some uncertainty as to the locality of this place: our author derived his statement from the writer of the treatise de Mirab. Auscult.

8 "Caminis."

9 Probably the crater of a former volcano.

10 This mountain, as well as the θεῶν ὄχημα, mentioned below, has been supposed to be situated on the west of Africa, near Sierra Leone, or Cape Verd; but, as I conceive, without sufficient authority. See Alexandre in Lemaire, i. 455.

11 "Internus." "In interiore nemore abditus." Hardouin in Lemaire, i. 455.

12 If this account be not altogether fabulous, the appearance here described may be, perhaps, referred to the combustion of an inflammable gas which does not acquire a very high temperature.

13 We have an account of this place in Strabo, vii. 310. Our author has already referred to it in the 96th chapter of this book, as a pool or lake, containing floating islands; and he again speaks of it in the next chapter.

14 We have an account of this volcano in Ælian, Var. Hist. xiii. 16. It would appear, however, that it had ceased to emit flame previous to the calamitous events of which it was supposed to be the harbinger.

15 This circumstance is mentioned by Dion Cassius, xli. 174. We may conceive that a sudden influx of water might force up an unusually large quantity of the bitumen.

16 We have a full account of this circumstance in Strabo, vi. 277.

17 "Currum deorum Latine licet interpretari." Hardouin in Lemaire, i. 456.

18 "torrentesque solis ardoribus flammas egerit;" perhaps the author may mean, that the fires of the volcano assist those of the sun in parch- ing the surface of the ground.

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