previous next


Every one agrees that it has the most perfect figure1. We always speak of the ball of the earth, and we admit it to be a globe bounded by the poles. It has not indeed the form of an absolute sphere, from the number of lofty mountains and flat plains; but if the termination of the lines be bounded by a curve2, this would compose a perfect sphere. And this we learn from arguments drawn from the nature of things, although not from the same considerations which we made use of with respect to the heavens. For in these the hollow convexity everywhere bends on itself, and leans upon the earth as its centre. Whereas the earth rises up solid and dense, like something that swells up and is protruded outwards. The heavens bend towards the centre, while the earth goes from the centre, the continual rolling of the heavens about it forcing its immense globe into the form of a sphere3.

1 "figura prima." I may refer to the second chapter of this book, where the author remarked upon the form of the earth as perfect in all its parts, and especially adapted for its supposed position in the centre of the universe.

2 " capita linearum comprehendantur ambitu;" the meaning of this passage would appear to be: if the extremities of the lines drawn from the centre of the earth to the different parts of the surface were connected together, the result of the whole would be a sphere. I must, however, remark, that Hardouin interprets it in a somewhat different manner; "Si per extremitates linearum ductarum a centro ad summos quosque vertices montium circulus exigatur." Lemaire, i. 370.

3 "....immensum ejus globum in formam orbis assidua circa eam mundi volubilitate cogente." As Hardouin remarks, the word mundus is here used in the sense of cœlum. Lemaire, i. 371.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: