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1 As our author admits of the existence of antipodes, and expressly
states that the earth is a perfect sphere, we may conclude that the
resemblance to the cone of the pine is to be taken in a very general
How far the ancients entertained correct opinions respecting the globular
figure of the earth, or rather, at what period this opinion became generally
admitted, it is perhaps not easy to ascertain. The lines in the Georgics,
i. 242, 243, which may be supposed to express the popular opinion in the
time of Virgil, certainly do not convey the idea of a sphere capable of
being inhabited in all its parts:
Hic vertex nobis semper sublimis; at illum
Sub pedibus Styx atra videt, manesque profundi.
2 "spiritus vis mundo inclusi."
3 ".....Alpium vertices, iongo tractu, nee breviore quinquaginta millibus passuum assurgere." To avoid the apparent improbability of the author conceiving of the Alps as 50 miles high, the commentators have, according to their usual custom, exercised their ingenuity in altering the text. See Poinsinet, i. 206, 207, and Lemaire, i. 373. But the expression does not imply that he conceived them as 50 miles in perpendicular height, but that there is a continuous ascent of 50 miles to get to the summit. This explanation of the passage is adopted by Alexandre; Lemaire, ut supra. For what is known of Dicæarchus I may refer to Hardouin, Index Auctorum, in Lemaire, i. 181.
4 "coactam in verticem aquarum quoque figuram."
5 "aqunrum nempe convexitas." Alexandre, in Lemaire, i. 374.
6 "Quam quæ ad extremum mare a primis aquis." I profess myself altogether unable to follow the author's mode of reasoning in this paragraph, or to throw any light upon it. He would appear to be arguing in favour of the actual flatness of the surface of the ocean, whereas his previous remarks prove its convexity.
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