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Chapter XX.ANAXIMANDER says, that the sun is a circle eight and twenty times bigger than the earth, and has a circumference which very much resembles that of a chariot-wheel, which is hollow and full of fire; the fire of which appears to us through its mouth, as by a hole in a pipe; and this is the sun. Xenophanes, that the sun is constituted of small bodies of fire compact together and raised from a [p. 142] moist exhalation, which collected together make the body of the sun; or that it is a cloud enfired. The Stoics, that it is an intelligent flame proceeding from the sea. Plato, that it is composed of abundance of fire. Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Metrodorus, that it is an enfired stone, or a burning mass. Aristotle, that it is a sphere formed out of the fifth body. Philolaus the Pythagorean, that the sun shines as crystal, which receives its splendor from the fire of the world and so reflecteth its light upon us; so that first, the body of fire which is celestial belongs to the sun; and secondly, the fiery reflection that proceeds from it, in the form of a mirror; and lastly, the light which is spread upon us by way of reflection from that mirror; and this last we call the sun, which is (as it were) an image of an image. Empedocles, that there are two suns; the one the prototype, which is a fire placed in the other hemisphere, which it totally fills, and is always ordered in a direct opposition to the reflection of its own light; and the sun which is visible to us, formed by the reflection of that splendor in the other hemisphere (which is filled with air mixed with heat), the light reflected from the circular sun in the opposite hemisphere falling upon the crystalline sun; and this reflection is carried round with the motion of the fiery sun. To give briefly the full sense, the sun is nothing else but the light and brightness of that fire which encompasseth the earth. Epicurus, that it is an earthy bulk well compacted, with hollow passages like a pumice-stone or a sponge, which is kindled by fire.
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