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The Greeks boast that Anaxagoras2, the Clazomenian, in the second year of the 78th Olympiad, from his knowledge of what relates to the heavens, had predicted, that at a certain time, a stone would fall from the sun3. And the thing accordingly happened, in the daytime, in a part of Thrace, at the river Ægos. The stone is now to be seen, a waggonload in size and of a burnt appearance; there was also a comet shining in the night at that time4. But to believe that this had been predicted would be to admit that the divining powers of Anaxagoras were still more wonderful, and that our knowledge of the nature of things, and indeed every thing else, would be thrown into confusion, were we to suppose either that the sun is itself composed of stone, or that there was even a stone in it; yet there can be no doubt that stones have frequently fallen from the atmosphere. There is a stone, a small one indeed, at this time, in the Gymnasium of Abydos, which on this account is held in veneration, and which the same Anaxagoras predicted would fall in the middle of the earth. There is another at Cassandria, formerly called Potidæa5, which from this circumstance was built in that place. I have myself seen one in the country of the Vocontii6, which had been brought from the fields only a short time before.

1 I have already had occasion to remark, concerning this class of phænomena, that there is no doubt of their actual occurrence, although their origin is still unexplained.

2 The life of Anaxagoras has been written by Diogenes Laërtius. We have an ample account of him by Enfield in the General Biography, in loco; he was born B.C. 500 and died B.C. 428.

3 There is some variation in the exact date assigned by different authors to this event; in the Chronological table in Brewster's Encyc. vi. 420, it is said to have occurred 467 B.C.

4 Aristotle gives us a similar account of this stone; that it fell in the daytime, and that a comet was then visible at night; Meteor. i. 7. It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the authority for this fact must be referred entirely to Aristotle, without receiving any additional weight from our author. The occurrence of the comet at the same time with the aërolite must have been entirely incidental.

5 "Deductis eo sacri lapidis causa colonis, extructoque oppido, cui nomen a colore adusto lapidis, est inditum, Potidæa. Est enim ποτὶ Dorice πρὸς, ad, apud; δαίομαι, uror." Hardouin, in Lemaire, i. 361. It was situated in the peninsula of Pallene, in Macedonia.

6 The Vocontii were a people of Gallia Narbonensis, occupying a portion of the modern Dauphiné.

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