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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces one of the
Carmina Minora


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Archimedes' Sphere.

 p279  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] LI (LXVIII)

When Jove looked down and saw the heavens figured in a sphere of glass he laughed and said to  p281 the other gods: "Has the power of mortal effort gone so far? Is my handiwork now mimicked in a fragile globe? An old man of Syracuse has imitated on earth the laws of the heavens, the order of nature, and the ordinances of the gods. Some hidden influence within the sphere directs the various courses of the stars and actuates the lifelike mass with definite motions. A false zodiac runs through a year of its own, and a toy moon waxes and wanes month by month. Now bold invention rejoices to make its own heaven revolve and sets the stars in motion by human wit. Why should I take umbrage at harmless Salmoneus and his mock thunder? Here the feeble hand of man has proved Nature's rival."

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Page updated: 10 Aug 07