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Hence it is that there is not any one night and day the same, in all parts of the earth, at the same time; the intervention of the globe producing night, and its turning round producing day1. This is known by various observations. In Africa and in Spain it is made evident by the Towers of Hannibal2, and in Asia by the beacons, which, in consequence of their dread of pirates, the people erected for their protection; for it has been frequently observed, that the signals, which were lighted at the sixth hour of the day, were seen at the third hour of the night by those who were the most remote3. Philonides, a courier of the above-mentioned Alexander, went from Sicyon to Elis, a distance of 1200 stadia, in nine hours, while he seldom returned until the third hour of the night, although the road was down-hill4. The reason is, that, in going, he followed the course of the sun, while on his return, in the opposite direction, he met the sun and left it behind him. For the same reason it is, that those who sail to the west, even on the shortest day, compensate for the difficulty of sailing in the night and go farther5, because they sail in the same direction with the sun.

1 The terms employed in the original are "oppositu" and "ambitu." Alexandre's explanation of the first is, "quum globi terraquei crassitudo interposita solis arcet radios;" and of the second, "quum nostra hujus globi pars a sole ambitur." Lemaire, i. 389.

2 One of these towers is mentioned by Livy, xxxiii. 48; it is said to have been situated between Acholla and Thapsus, on the sea-coast.

3 Hardouin, according to his usual custom, employs all his learning and ingenuity to give a plausible explanation of this passage. Alexandre, as it must be confessed, with but too much reason, remarks, "Frustra desudavit Harduinus ut sanum aliquem sensum ex illis Plinii deliramentis excuteret." He correctly refers the interval of time, which was said to occur between these signals, not to any astronomical cause, but to the necessary delay which took place in the transmission of them. He concludes, "Sed ad cursum solis hoc referre, dementiæ est. Nam ut tanta horarum differentia intersit, si moram omnem in speculandis ac transmittendis signis sustuleris, necesse erit observatores illos ultimos 135 gradibus, id est, sesquidimidio hemisphærio, a primis distare turribus. Recte igitur incredibilem Plinii credulitatem ludibrio vertit Baylius in Dictionario suo." Lemaire, i. 389.

4 The distance, as here stated, is about 150 miles, which he is said to have performed in nine hours, but that the same distance, in returning, required fifteen hours. We have here, as on the former occasion, a note of Hardouin's to elucidate the statement of the author. On this Alexandre observes, "Optime; sed in tam parva locorum distantia, Elidis et Sicyonis horologia vix quinque unius hore sexagesimis differre poterant; quare eunti ac redeunti ne discrimen quidem quadrantis horæ intererat. Ineptos igitur auctores sequitur hoc quoque loco Plinius." Lemaire, i. 390, 391.

5 "Vincunt spatia nocturnæ navigationis." This expression would appear to imply, that the author conceived some physical difficulty in sailing during the night, and so it seems to be understood by Alexandre; vide not. in loco.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ME´ROE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SYE´NE
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