[ocr errors]

Neptune having pulled out part of the Island, threw it into the fea; and the fall of that part of the Ifle of Cos produced the Ifle of Nifyrus, not far diftant from it: That according to the fame Author, Hercules returning from the fiege of Troy, and being willing to come into that Island, the inhabitants oppofed his landing; but that Hero having killed their king Eurypylus Son of Neptune, went into it and ranfack'd it: That being enraged at a wound which he had received in the affault from the hand of Chalcodon, he facrificed to the Gods, and perhaps to Efculapius the women of that Town; which doubtlefs made Ovid say that they were metamorphofed into Cows.

Tom. I. pag. 634. Upon occafion of Le Bru yn's defcription of the Pyramids of Egypt, the Editor makes a very large remark containing at leaft ten pages. It confifts of fix reflexions: here follows the laft. "That Pyramid, accord"ing to the obfervation of Mr. De Chazelles, "who was fent thither by the Academy of Sciences, is exactly fituated towards the four "Points of the world, and confequently fhows "the true Meridian Line of that place, and "therefore it might have been of the greatest "ufe upon that fubject. But to make the "Readers understand what I mean, I must en


large upon this matter. "Tis neceffary for "the perfection of Aftronomy, that the Aftro66 nomers of all Ages fhould tranfmit their know66 ledge one to another. Thus, in order to "make a good ufe of the labours of the An66 tients, we must be able to calculate for the 66 place in which we are, what they calculated for the place where they lived, and confe.. quently


"quently we must know exactly the longitude "and latitude of thofe places. We cannot de"pend altogether upon the Antients, becaufe "obfervations are now made with Inftruments "unknown to them, and with greater exactness; "fo that one may fufpect whatever has been "found any other way. Those Aftronomers ❝ whofe obfervations it was most important to 66 compare with ours, were Hipparchus, Ptole66 my and Ticho-Brahe. The two former lived "at Alexandria in Egypt, and made that City "the Capital of Aftronomy. Ticho-Brahe was "in the Ifle of Huene, lying in the Baltic Sea, "where he built the famous Obfervatory called "by him Uraniburg.

"The Academy of Sciences refolved, almost from their origin, to fend Obfervators to "Alexandria and Uraniburg, in order to refume "the work of those great men, who lived there. "Mr. Picard went to Uraniburg, and drew the "Meridian Line of that place. He was very "much furprised to find it different by 18 mi"nutes from that of Ticho, which that Aftro66 nomer could not have determined carelefly.

This might have made one believe that the "Meridians change, that is, that the Earth, "fuppofing its motion, does not always turn, <s upon the fame Poles; for if another Point

becomes a Pole, all the Meridians which are "to pass through that new Point, muft necef"farily have changed their pofition. It appears "fufficiently how important it is to be fure of

the variation, or unvariablenefs of the Poles "of the Earth and of the Meridians. Mr. De "Chazelles being gone fome years after into Egypt, measured the Pyramids, and found that the four fides of the largeft were exactly

66 expo

"exposed to the four regions of the world. "Now becaufe fuch a fituation muft, in all pro"bability, have been intended by those who "raifed that Pyramid, above three thoufand years ago; it follows that during such a long "fpace of time, there has been no alteration in "heaven in that refpect, or, which comes to "the fame, in the Poles of the Earth, nor in "the Meridians.

[ocr errors]

"Would any body have believed, fays Mr. "De Fontenelle, in his Encomium upon Mr. De "Chazelles, that Ticho, fuch an exact and able "Obfervator, would have wrongly drawn his "Meridian Line, and that the antient Egyptians, "fo unskilful at leaft in that matter, would "have drawn theirs well? But is not this re"flexion an effect of the prepoffeffion which "that able man has always shown in favour of "the Moderns, to the contempt of the An"tients; and had it not been more reasonable "to conclude, that fince Ticho, and Mr. Picard, "were mistaken about the Meridian Line of "Uraniburg, and the Egyptians not only were "not mistaken about theirs, but even fecured "it against all the variations which may in time "happen in the furface of the Earth; they (6 muft have had at leaft in that matter more "skill than we have? And if the obfervation of "Mr. De Chazelles is right, how preferable is "that monument, in this refpect, to the finest tr things we have in that kind; since the Meri"dian Line in St. Petronius's Church at Bologna, "drawn by Mr. Caffini, which has been juftly "admired all over Europe, wanted to be re"paired thirty years after; whilft that of Egypt "has perhaps lafted above three thousand years, alteration in it? What a happi


without any



"nefs for Aftronomy, if we had obfervations "made in fuch remote times upon that famous "Pyramid! It would have been by that means "the Judge of the exactness of the obfervations, "that have been made since by all the Aftronoແ mers of the world".

Tom. II. pag. 98. What Le Bruyn fays of the fprings of the Nile, and the true caufe of the overflowing of that River, has occafioned the following obfervations of the Abbot Bannier. He has collected the different opinions of the Antients about that Phenomenon. Thales afcribed it to the Etefian winds, which blew regularly 40 or 45 days, and preventing the waters of the Nile from falling into the fea, drove them back, and fwelled that River. Democritus had recourfe to the rains of Ethiopia; wherein he was in the right: but his way of explaining the thing was not very likely. He fancied that the fnow of the northern countries, melted in the fummer, formed vapours, which being conveyed by the wind into the Torrid Zone, occafioned thofe plentiful rains. Anaxagoras fuppofed that the mountains of Ethiopia were full of fnow in the winter; and the opinion of that Philofopher, though contrary to all appearance, was followed by others. Herodotus believed that the overflowing of the Nile was no furprising thing; that it was the natural bignefs of the River, which decreafed only by the exceffive heat of Libya. The opinion of Ephorus was ftill more fingular. Egypt, faid he, is a dry foil, which through its chinks and gaps receives all the water in one feafon, to throw it up in another: this occafions the inundation. Oenopides of Chio was of the fame opinion. Timaus, on the contrary, believed


[ocr errors]

lieved that the heat of Libya raised in vapours
of the waters of the Nile, which being re-
duced into rain fell again in cold weather. Some
Authors, believing that the Nile was derived
from the Ocean, did easily explain how it could
have water enough to overflow Egypt: they ad-
ded that fuch a thing happened only in a cer-
tain season, because the extreme heat of the '
countries washed by the Nile, confumed part of
that water. Lucan mentions an Antient, who
pretended that the Author of Nature had provi-
ded receptacles of water, which he let out, when
Egypt wanted to be overflowed. Wendelinus, a
Writer of the laft Century, confutes all thofe
opinions at large; but he should not have oppo-
fed that of Agatharchides of Cnidus, who look-
ed upon the continual rains that fall in Ethiopia
from the Summer-Solftice to the Equinox of
Autumn, as the true caufe of the overflowing
of the Nile: and it may be faid that this Writer
is almoft the only one among the Antients,
who hit upon the truth.

Tom. II. pag. 110. Upon what the Traveller fays, fpeaking of Rofetto, that it was formerly called Canopus; the Editor obferves that the antient Canopus was built by Menelaus, who, as Homer fays, being gone into Egypt to feek Helena, whom he did not find at Troy, loft his Pilot, in whose honour he founded that Town. All the modern Travellers fay that Rofetto is the Garden of Egypt, and the most pleasant Town of that Country for its good air, and the number of very convenient Inns: and the Antients give the fame account of Canopus, where luxury and debauchery prevailed more than in any other town of Egypt. From thence came the


« VorigeDoorgaan »