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The rising and the setting of the sun clearly prove, that this globe is carried round in the space of twenty-four hours, in an eternal and never-ceasing circuit, and with in- credible swiftness1. I am not able to say, whether the sound caused by the whirling about of so great a mass be excessive, and, therefore, far beyond what our ears can perceive, nor, indeed, whether the resounding of so many stars, all carried along at the same time and revolving in their orbits, may not produce a kind of delightful harmony of incredible sweetness2. To us, who are in the interior, the world appears to glide silently along, both by day and by night.

Various circumstances in nature prove to us, that there are impressed on the heavens innumerable figures of animals and of all kinds of objects, and that its surface is not perfectly polished like the eggs of birds, as some celebrated authors assert3. For we find that the seeds of all bodies fall down from it, principally into the ocean, and, being mixed together, that a variety of monstrous forms are in this way frequently produced. And, indeed, this is evident to the eye; for, in one part, we have the figure of a wain, in another of a bear, of a bull, and of a letter4; while, in the middle of them, over our heads, there is a white circle5.

(4.) With respect to the name, I am influenced by the unanimous opinions of all nations. For what the Greeks, from its being ornamented, have termed κόσμος, we, from its perfect and complete elegance, have termed mundus. The name cœlum, no doubt, refers to its being engraven, as it were, with the stars, as Varro suggests6. In confirmation of this idea we may adduce the Zodiac7, in which are twelve figures of animals; through them it is that the sun has continued its course for so many ages.

1 See Ptolemy, ubi supra.

2 This opinion, which was maintained by Pythagoras, is noticed and derided by Aristotle, De Cœlo, lib. ii. cap. 9. p. 462–3. A brief account of Pythagoras's doctrine on this subject is contained in Enfield's Philosophy, i. 386.

3 Pliny probably here refers to the opinion which Cicero puts into the mouth of one of the interlocutors in his treatise De Nat. Deor. ii. 47, "Quid enim pulchrius ea figura, quæ sola omnes alias figuras complexa continet, quæque nihil asperitatis habere, nihil offensionis potest, nihil incisum angulis, nihil anfractibus, nihil eminens, nihil lacunosum?"

4 The letter δ, in the constellation of the triangle; it is named δελτωτὸν by Aratus, 1. 235; also by Manilius, i. 360. We may remark, that, except in this one case, the constellations have no visible resemblance to the objects of which they bear the name.

5 "Locum hunc Plinii de Galaxia, sive Lactea via, interpretantur omnes docti." Alexandre, in Lemaire, i. 227. It may be remarked, that the word vertex is here used in the sense of the astronomical term zenith, not to signify the pole.

6 De Ling. Lat. lib. iv. p. 7, 8. See also the remarks on the derivation of the word in Gesner, Thes., in loco.

7 "Signifer." The English term is taken from the Greek word ζωδιακὸς, derived from ζῶον; see Aristotle, De Mundo, cap. 2. p. 602. The word Zodiacus does not occur in Pliny, nor is it employed by Ptolemy; he names it λοξὁς κύκλος, obliquus circulus; Magn. Const. i. 7, 13, et alibi. It is used by Cicero, but professedly as a Greek term; Divin. ii. 89, and Arati Phænom. 1. 317. It occurs in Hyginus, p. 57 et alibi, and in A. Gellius, 13. 9. Neither signifer taken substantively, nor zodiacus occur in Lucretius or in Manilius.

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