Table of Contents:
Chapter XIII.THALES believes that they are globes of earth set on fire. Empedocles, that they are fiery bodies arising from that fire which the ether embraced within itself, and did shatter in pieces when the elements were first separated one from another. Anaxagoras, that the circumambient ether is of a fiery substance, which, by a vehement force in its whirling about, did tear stones from the earth, and by its own power set them on fire, and establish them as stars in the heavens. Diogenes thinks they resemble pumice stones, and that they are the breathings of the world; again he supposeth that there are some invisible stones, which sometimes fall from heaven upon the earth, and are there quenched; as it happened at Aegos-potami, where a stony star resembling fire did fall. Empedocles, that the fixed stars are fastened to the crystal, but the planets are loosened. Plato, that the stars for the most part are of a fiery nature, but they are made partakers of another element, with which they are mixed after the resemblance of glue. Xenophanes, that they are composed of inflamed [p. 139] clouds, which in the daytime are quenched, and in the night are kindled again. The like we see in coals; for the rising and setting of the stars is nothing else but the quenching and kindling of them. Heraclides and the Pythagoreans, that every star is a world in an infinite ether, and itself encompasseth air, earth, and ether; this opinion is current among the followers of Orpheus, for they suppose that each of the stars does make a world. Epicurus condemns none of these opinions, for he embraces any thing that is possible.
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.