« AnteriorContinuar »
diginus, he calls him, vir reconditissimæ scientie, a
visible to us, from the sun. So Ptolomy, Isidore Hispalensis T, Albertus Magnus **, and Bede ++: much more then, must the moon shine with a borrowed light.
But enough of this. I have now sufficiently shewed what at tlae first I promised; that this light is not proper to the moon. It remains in the next place, that I tell you the true reason of it. And here, I think it is probable, that the light which appears in the moon at the eclipses, is nothing else but the second species of the sun's rays, which pass through the shadow unto her body: and from a mixture of this second light with the shadow, arises that redness which at such times appears unto us. I may call it lumen crepusculinum, the Aurora of the moon, or such kind of blushing light that the sun causes when he is near
* In lib. de nat. rer. + De 4 Coævis. Q. 4. Art. 21. Exercit. 62.
Epitom Astron. 1. 4. p. 2. || Epit. Astron. Cop. l. 6. part 2. sect. 2. 5 Origin. 1. 3. c. 60.
** De Cælo, l. 2. itt De ratione temp. c. 4. Item Plin. l. 2. c. 6. Hugo de Sancto Victore. Annot in Gen. vi.
his rising, when he bestows some small light upon the thicker vapours. Thus we see commonly the sun being in the horizon, and the reflection growing weak, how his beams make the waters appear very red.
The Moabites, in Jehoram's time, when they rose early in the morning, and beheld the waters afar off, mistook them for blood *. Et causa hujus est, quia radius solaris in aurora contrahit quondam rubedinem, propter vapores combustos manentes circa superficiem terræ, per quos radii transeunt ; & ideo cum repercutiantur in aqua ad oculos nostros, trahunt secum eundem ruborem, & faciunt apparere locum
aquarum, in quo est repercussio, esse rubrum ; saith Tostatus. The reason is, because of his
his rays; which being in the lower vapours, those do convey an imperfect mixed light upon the waters. Thus the moon being in the earth's shadow, and the sun-beams which are round about it not being able to come directly unto her body; yet some second rays there are, which passing through the shadow, make her appear in that ruddy colour: so that she must appear brightest, when she is eclipsed, being in her apoge or greatest distance from us; because then the cone of the earth's shadow is less, and the refraction is made through a narrower medium. So on the contrary, she must be represented under a more dark and obscure form when she is eclipsed, being in her perige, or nearest to the earth ; because then she is involved in a greater shadow, or bigger part of the cone; and so the refraction passing through a greater medium, the light must needs be weaker which doth proceed from it. If you ask now, What the reason may be of that light which we discern in the darker part of the new moon? I answer; it is reflected from our earth; which returns as great a brightness to that planet, as it receives from it. This I shall have occasion to prove afterward.
I have now done with these propositions, which were set down to clear the passage, and confirm the suppositions
* 2 Kings iii. 22. 2 Quæst. in hoc cap.
implied in the opinion. I shall in the next place proceed to a more direct treating of the chief matter in hand.
That there is a world in the Nloon, hath been the direct opie
nion of many ancient, with some modern mathematicians; and may probably be deduced from the tenets of others.
INCE this opinion may be suspected of singularity, I
shall therefore first confirm it by sufficient authority of divers authors, both ancient and modern; that so I may the better clear it from the prejudice either of an upstart fancy, or an obsolete error. This is by some attributed to Orpheus, one of the most ancient Greek poets *, who speaking of the moon, says thus ; y Tom' epEd Exel, non LOTEL, Toc PLEAbou, that it hath many mountains, and cities, and houses in it. To him assented Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Heraclides t; all who thought it to have firm solid ground, like to our earth ; containing in it many large fields, champion grounds, and divers inhabitants.
Of this opinion likewise was Xenophanes f, as he is cited for it by Lactantius § ; though that father (perhaps) did mistake his meaning, whilst he relates it thus: Dirit Xenophanes, intra concavum lunæ esse aliam terram, et ibi aliud genus horninum, simili modo vivere sicut nos in hac terra, &c. As if he had conceived the moon to be great hollow body, in the midst of whose concavity, there should be another globe of sea and land, inhabited by men, as our earth is ; whereas, it seems to be more likely by the relation of others, that this philosopher's opinion is to be understood in the same sense as it is here to be proved. True indeed, the father condemns this assertion, as an equal
* Plut. de plac. phil. 1. 2. c. 13. # Diog. Laert. 1. 2. & 1.9.
f Ibid. c. 25.
absurdity to that of Anaxagoras, who affirmed the snow to be black: but no wonder; for in the very next chapter it is, that he does so much deride the opinion of those who thought there were antipodes. So that his ignorance in that particular, may perhaps disable him from being a competent judge in any other the like point of philosophy. Unto these agreed Pythagoras, who thought that our earth was but one of the planets which moved round about the sun, (as Aristotle relates it of him * ;) and the Pythagoreans in general did affirm that the moon also was terrestrial, and that she was inhabited as this lower world : that those living creatures and plants which are in her, exceed any of the like kind with us in the same proportion, as their days are longer than ours, viz. by fifteen times. This Pythagoras † was esteemed by all, of a most divine wit, as appears especially by his valuation amongst the Romans; who being commanded by the oracle to erect a statue to the wisest Grecian ļ, the senate determined Pythagoras to be meant; preferring him in their judgments before the divine Socrates, whom their gods pronounced the wisest. Some think him a Jew by birth ; but most agree that he was much conversant amongst the learneder sort and priests of that nation, by whom he was informed of many secrets; and (perhaps) this opinion which he vented afterwards in Greece, where he was much opposed by Arisťotle in some worded disputations, but never confuted by any solid reason.
To this opinion of Pythagoras did Plato also assent, when he considered that there was the like eclipse made by the earth; and this, that it had no light of its own, that it was so full of spots ß. And therefore we may often read in him and his followers, of an etherea terra, and lunares populi, an æthereal earth, and inhabiters in the moon; but afterwards this was mixed with many ridiculous fancies: for some of them considering the mysteries implied in the
* De Cælo, l. 2. c. 13. + Plut. ibid. cap. 30.
Plin. Nat. Hist. 1. 34. cap. 6. § Plat de conviviis. Macrob. Somn, Scip. 1. 1. c. 11.
number three, concluded that there must necessarily be a trinity of worlds, whereof the first is this of ours; the second in the moon, whose element of water is represented by the sphere of Mercury, the air by Venus, and the fire by
And that the whole universe might the better end in earth as it began; they have contrived it, that Mars shall be a sphere of the fire, Jupiter of air, Saturn of water; and above all these, the Elysian fields, spacious and pleasant places appointed for the habitation of those unspotted souls, that either never were imprisoned in, or else now have freed themselves from any commerce with the . body. Scaliger * speaking of this Platonic fancy, que in tres trientes mundum quasi assem dirisit, thinks it is confu-, tation enough to say, it is Plato's. However, for the first part of this assertion, it was assented unto by many others, and by reason of the grossness and inequality of this planet, it was frequently called quasi terra cælestis t, as being esteemed the sediment and more imperfect part of those purer bodies; you may see this proved by Plutarch, in that delightful work which he properly made for the confirmation of this particular. With him agreed Alcinous and Plotinus, later writers f.
Thus Lucian also in his discourse of a journey to the moon, where though he does speak many things out of mirth and in a jesting manner; yet in the beginning of it he does intimate that it did contain some serious truths concerning the real frame of the universe.
The cardinal Cusanus and Jornandus Brunus §, held a particular world in every star; and therefore one of them defining our earth, he says, it is stella quædam nobilis, quæ lunain et calorem et influentiam habet aliam, et diversam ab omnibus aliis stellis; “ a noble star, having a distinct
light, heat, and influence from all the rest.” Unto this “ Nicholas Hillll, a countryman of ours, was inclined,
* Exerc. 62.
+ De facie Lunæ. I Instit. ad discip. plat. Cal. Rhodig. l. 1. c. 4. & Cusa de doct. ign. I. 2. cap. 12. || Philos. Epicur. par. 434.