Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/563

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545
HOW THE EARTH WAS REGARDED.

logical considerations: thus, everything which performs any act has been made for the purpose of that act. Now, the work of God is immortality, from which it follows that all that is divine must have an eternal motion. The heavens have a divine quality, and for this reason they have a spherical shape and move eternally in a circle. Now,

PSM V10 D563 Anaximander cylindrical earth.jpg
Fig. 5.—Anaximander's Cylindrical Earth.

when a body has a circular motion, one part of it must remain at rest in the centre; the earth is in the centre, and therefore motionless.

Aristotle, however, entertained many sensible views regarding the earth which were of course greatly "in advance of his times," and, among others, that the earth was spherical, for which he offered reasons

PSM V10 D563 Plato cubical earth.jpg
Fig. 6.—Plato's Cubical Earth.

that are valid now. But how it could remain suspended in one place without any foundation to rest upon, puzzled him.

Among the various causes which in the absence of facts determined men's geographical opinions, one was the patriotic sentiment by which ignorant people were led to magnify their native country. According to the prepossessions of race, each one thought his own country to be located at the centre of the earth. Thus the Hindoos, who lived near the equator, and the Scandinavians, who lived nearer the pole, apply each a term to their own country which means