Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/568

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"After the fall, Adam was driven from paradise, but he and his descendants remained on the coasts until the deluge carried the ark of Noah to our present earth.

"On the four outsides of the earth rise four perpendicular walls which surround it and join together at the top in a vault, the heavens forming the cupola of this singular edifice.

"The world according to Cosmas was, therefore, a large oblong box, and it was divided into two parts. The first, the abode of men, reaches from the earth

PSM V10 D568 The earth as an egg.jpg
Fig. 11.—The Earth as an Egg.

to the firmament, above which the stars accomplish their revolutions; there dwell the angels, who cannot go any higher. The second reaches upward from the firmament to the upper vault, which crowns and terminates the world. On this firmament rest the waters of the heavens.

"Cosmas justifies this system by declaring that, according to the doctrine of the fathers and the commentators on the Bible, the earth has the form of the tabernacle that Moses erected in the desert; which was like an oblong box, twice as long as broad. But we may find other similarities—for this land beyond the ocean recalls the Atlantic of the ancients, and the Mohammedans, and Orientals in general, say that the earth is surrounded by a high mountain, which is a similar idea to the walls of Cosmas.

"God, he says, in creating the earth, rested it on nothing. The earth is, therefore, sustained by the power of God, creator of all things, supporting all things by the word of his power. If below the earth or outside of it anything existed, it would fall of its own accord. So God made the earth the base of the universe, and ordained that it should sustain itself by its own proper gravity."

 

Cosmas says that the earth, a sort of great square box circumscribed on all sides by high walls, is divided into three parts: first, the habitable earth, which occupies the middle; secondly, the ocean, which surrounds this on all sides; and, thirdly, another dry land, which surrounds the ocean, terminated itself by these high walls, on which the firmament rests. The habitable earth is always higher as we go north, and the southern countries much lower, so that the Tigris and the Euphrates, which run south, are more rapid than the Nile, which runs northward. The sun, moon, planets, and comets, all set behind