Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/569

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HOW THE EARTH WAS REGARDED.

a large conical mountain; and accordingly as the sun disappears and emerges at points higher or lower is the varying length of day and night. On his view the stars were impelled by angels, who either carried them on their shoulders, rolled them in front of them, or drew them behind, it being remarked that "each angel that pushes a star takes great care to observe what the others are doing, so that the relative distances between the stars may always remain what they ought to be."

The learned Bede, known as the Venerable, who lived in the eighth century, regarded the earth as formed upon the model of an egg. He says:

PSM V10 D569 The earth as a floating egg.jpg
Fig. 12.—The Earth as a Floating Egg.
"The earth is an element placed in the middle of the world, as the yolk is in the middle of an egg; around it is the water, like the white surrounding the yolk; outside that is the air, like the membrane of the egg; and round all is the fire, which closes it in as the shell does. The earth, being thus in the centre, receives every weight upon itself; and, though by its nature it is cold and dry in its different parts, it acquires, accidentally, different qualities; for the portion which is exposed to the torrid action of the air is burned by the sun, and is uninhabitable; its two extremities are too cold to be inhabited; but the portion that lies in the temperate region of the atmosphere is habitable. The ocean, which surrounds it by its waves as far as the horizon, divides it into two parts, the upper of which is inhabited by us, while the lower is inhabited by our antipodes; although not one of them can come to us, nor one of us to them."

It is said that a great number of the maps of the world, at the period of Bede, followed this idea, although the necessity was per-