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Chapter XXIV.

THALES was the first who affirmed that the eclipse of the sun was caused by the moon's running in a perpendicular line between it and the earth; for the moon in its own nature is terrestrial. And by mirrors it is made perspicuous that, when the sun is eclipsed, the moon is in a direct line below it. Anaximander, that the sun is eclipsed when the fiery mouth of it is stopped and hindered from expiration. Heraclitus, that it is after the manner of the turning of a boat, when the concave appears uppermost to our sight, and the convex nethermost. Xenophanes, that the sun is eclipsed when it is extinguished; and that a new sun is created to rise in the east. He gives a farther account of an eclipse-of the sun which remained for a whole month, and again of a total eclipse which changed the day into night. Some say that the cause of an eclipse is the invisible concourse of condensed clouds which cover the orb of the sun. Aristarchus placeth the sun amongst the fixed stars, and believeth that the earth [the moon?] is moved about the sun, and that by its inclination and vergency it intercepts its light and shadows its orb. Xenophanes, that there are many suns and many moons, according as the earth is distinguished by climates, circles, and zones. At some certain times the orb of the sun, falling upon some part of the world which is uninhabited, wanders in a vacuum and becomes eclipsed. The same person affirms that the sun, proceeding in its motion in the infinite space, appears to us to move orbicularly, receiving that representation from its infinite distance from us. [p. 145]

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