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The difference of their colour depends on the difference in their altitudes; for they acquire a resemblance to those planets into the vapour of which they are carried, the orbit of each tinging those that approach it in each direction. A colder planet renders one that approaches it paler, one more hot renders it redder, a windy planet gives it a lowering aspect, while the sun, at the union of their apsides, or the extremity of their orbits, completely obscures them. Each of the planets has its peculiar colour1; Saturn is white, Jupiter brilliant, Mars fiery, Lucifer is glowing, Vesper refulgent, Mercury sparkling, the Moon mild; the Sun, when he rises, is blazing, afterwards he becomes radiating. The appearance of the stars, which are fixed in the firmament, is also affected by these causes. At one time we see a dense cluster of stars around the moon, when she is only half-enlightened, and when they are viewed in a serene evening; while, at another time, when the moon is full, there are so few to be seen, that we wonder whither they are fled; and this is also the case when the rays of the sun, or of any of the above-mentioned bodies2, have dazzled our sight. And, indeed, the moon herself is, without doubt, differently affected at different times by the rays of the sun; when she is entering them, the convexity of the heavens3 rendering them more feeble than when they fall upon her more directly4. Hence, when she is at a right angle to the sun, she is half-enlightened; when in the trine aspect, she presents an imperfect orb5, while, in opposition, she is full. Again, when she is waning, she goes through the same gradations, and in the same order, as the three stars that are superior to the sun6.

1 Ptolemy's account of the colours of the planets is nearly similar to that of our author; "Candidus color Jovialis est, rutilus Martius, flavus Veneris, varius Mercurii;" De Jur. Astrol. ii. 9.

2 This effect cannot be produced by any of the planets, except perhaps, to a certain extent, by Venus.

3 "mundi."

4 It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the method which Pliny employs to explain the different phases of the moon betrays his ignorance, not only of the cause of these particular phenomena, but of the general principles which affect the appearance of the heavenly bodies.

5 "seminani ambitur orbe." According to the interpretation of Hardouin, "Orbe non perfecto et absoluto;" "major dimidia, minor plena;" Lemaire, ii. 284.

6 As Alexandre justly remarks, our author refers here to the aspects only of the planets, not to their phases; ii 284.

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