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lowing book, about the mancuvre of the Greeks in the heroie ages, will few us how incapable they were of such an operation. We shall there fee, that even in the times of Homer, that is to say, more than 300 years after the epoch which we are actually speaking of, the Ursa Major was the only guide which their pilots knew :
These are, I think, proofs more than fufficient to destroy all the imaginations which they have propagated about the calendar made by Chiron. If it was necessary to add to this some reflections, the writings of Homer and Hesiod a. lone would furnish us with enow to overturn the system which we attack. Homer, who in his poems has had ío many occasions to speak of the stars, and who in effect speaks of them very often, yet only 'names fix constellations, Urfa Major, Orion, Charles's Wain, the Hyades, the Pleiades, and the Great Dog. It is a strong presumption, that, even in his time, the Greeks knew no more. In the description which he niakes of the shield of Achilles, where he says, that Vulcan, among other subjects, had represented all the constellations with which heaven is crowned ", we do not see, that he places there a greater number.
If from Homer we pass to Hesiod, we shall see, that the number of the constellations known to the Greeks were not augmented in his time. This poet only mentions those which were spoken of by Homer. For Sirius and Arcturus *, of which the names are found in his writings, and of which we see no trace in those of Homer, are only two particular stars, which make a part, one of the Great Dog, and the other of Charles's Wain, Anacreon, although greatly posterior to Homer and Hesiod, only names one constellation more than these two poets *. Lastly, if we were to examine i Book 4. chap. 4.
'Εν δε τα τείρεα πάντα τα τ' έρανός έσαφάναται. Ιliad. 1. 18. v. 485. * Opera, v. 639. & 610. The name Eesgios given to the Great Dog, and that of 'Agurăgos, given to Charles's Wain, make one suspect, ihat Hesiod is not quite as ancient as Homer.
* It is the Little Bear. We fce, that it was known in his time, because he uses the plural phažas instead of the fingular diyeceğe, which Homer and Hesiod always use.
It was Thales, as I Mall her in the third part, who learned the Greeks to know the Little Bear. VOL. II.
all the ancient Greek authors who have had occasion to 1peak of the constellations, we shall fee, that they knew no others but the two Bears, Orion, Charles's Wain, and the Pleiades.
With regard to the zodiac, there is no mention made of it in any writers of antiquity. We do not find that term used but in authors much younger *. We should not be furprised at this. It is certain, that, before Thales, the Greeks had no idea of astronomy considered as a science y. If we refer to Pliny, Anaximander had been the first who had made known to them the obliquity of the ecliptic z; a discovery which I think notwithstanding ought to be referred to Thales 4. Pliny likewise tells us, that Cleostrates had been the first among the Greeks who was said to have made known the different signs which conipose the circle of the sphere b; and from the manner in which Pliny expresses himself, we see, that he was only a little time after Anaximander
It appears to me then demonstrated, that in the ages which at present make our object, and even a long time after, the Greeks knew only such of the constellations whose observation is most necessary for agriculture. It had only been successively and by length of time, that they came to know and design the greatest part of the constellations, of which they would make us believe the pretended planisphere of Chiron was composed. We shall have occasion to convince them still more of this by the exposure which I thall make in the following volume of the state in which astronomy then was in Greece.
* It is neither in Plato nor in Aristotle, And we find no more of it in the poem of the sphere which remains to us under the name of Empedocles. Apud Fabric. Bibl. Graec. t. 1. p.477.
It is true, that in the treatise de mundo, inserted among the works of Aristotle, we see the word Zadice used to design the twelve figns; but all the criticş agree at this time, that that treatise is not Aristotle's.
Aratușis the moit ancient author who has designed the zodiac by the term Záclos Kwixenos. Aratus lived about the year 27" before Christ. y This is what we mall prove in the 3d part, ? L, 2. sect. 6.
See what is said on this subject, part 3.
Besides the names by which the Greeks have designed the constellations, it would suffice alone, in my opinion, to prove, that far from having been invented before the expedition of the Argonauts, they must be on the contrary posterior to that epoch. By the confession of the partisans of the system which we now attack, the greatest part of these names have a direct relation to that expedition d ; in this point we are perfectly agreed. We only differ in this, that they suppose that the Greeks had formed their constellations before the voyage of the Argonauts. We pretend on the contrary, that they could only be since that event; and we prove it by the names of many of the con. stellations; such as that of the Dragon who guarded the golden fleece, of Medea's cup, of Castor and Pollux, and of Chiron himself. These names necessarily suppose the expedition of the Argonauts become already famous by its success.
With respect to the ship Argo, one of the principal constellations of the Greek planisphere, there is no appearance that it had been formed in Greece. They can only perceive one part of the stars which composed it. I shall be easily cpough brought to believe that that constellation was the work of Greek astronomers established at Alexandria under the Ptolomeys. The name of Canopus, given to the most brilliant star of that constellation, appears to shew it positively enough. No one is ignorant that that word is purely Egyptian. It was the name of a god much celebrated and highly revered in Egypte
Lastly, is it well proved, that, in the times of which we are speaking, the Greeks designed even the constellations which they knew by the names which remain at this time in use in our astronomy? Do we not see on the contrary, that these names and these figures have suffered great variation among these people? The Great Bear, which af. terwards they called Helice, is never called but Arctos by
& Newton's chron. of the Greeks, p. 87.
N n 2
Homer and Hesiod *. The constellation of Charles's Wain, called by Homer Bootes, and Arcturus by Hesiod, has since been"named Aretophylax, the keeper of the bear f, That of the Bull did not bear in the early times, among the Greeks, the name of that animal. They named that constellation originally + the gılardian of the seasons 5.
But what has been the origin of the names and the figures that the Greeks have given anciently to constellations? To what cause are the changes they have made in them referred? This is what I Thall treat of in a particular dissertation ; I shall expose my conjectures about the origin of the names by which the first people have originally designed the constellations. I shall likewise give an account of the changes that thele names have received among the Greeks, and of the motives which occasioned them. I think for this reason I shall be dispensed with at present from entering into any detail on this object.
With respect to the planets, it is certain, that, at the times we now mention, the Greeks only knew Venus. This is in effect the only planet which is spoken of in the writers of great antiquity. But the discovery of Venus conducted the Greeks but very slowly to the knowledge of the other planets. This is a fact of which I fall give the proof in the succeeding volume. We shall see there, that to the time that Eudoxus and Plato returned from Egypt, the Greeks had no idea of the proper motion of the planets. It is easy to be convinced of this, when we reflect, that, at the time of Pythagoras, these people still believed that the Venus of the morning and the Venus of the night were two different planets. It was Pythagoras who drew them from so gross an error.
* Besides the names of "Aqxtos, of "Apažak, and of 'Hrixn, given by the Grecks to the Great Bear, we see that they likewise design it by that of "Ayon
Hesychius in voce "Anyanyes. f Sec Hygin. poet. akron. 1. 2. n. 2. p. 360. t. Le gardien des termos.
& Sphacra Empedocl. v.98. & seq. See Hygin. poet astron. 1. 2. where he has related all the different names given to the constellations by the Greeks.
b. See at the end of this volume the first dissertation on the names of the constellations.
The facts which I have exposed appear to me fufficient to give an idea of the state of astronomy among the Greeks, in the heroic times. The inductions that may be drawn from them, if we may say so, present themselves.
of geometry, mechanics, and geography. I Shall not stop to inquire what knowledge the Greeks
might have had in geometry, in mechanics, and in geography, in the ages we are running over at present. The facts which ancient history, and particularly Homer, furnilh for this epoch, prove that the Greeks then had some notions of the fundamental practices of these different sciences. I have shewn elsewhere, that, without such knowledge, no political society could subsist. But to deterinine precisely the state in which the mathematics were in Greece in the heroic ages, is impossible. Ancient authors have transmitted nothing particular nor precise about this object. I do not think then, that it ought to be attempted. I could only repeat most of the conjectures, which I have proposed in the first part of this work, on the origin and unfolding of the sciences. The reader need only recollect what I have there said, and he will see that almost all the reflections which I there made on the first people, may very well be applied to the Greeks of the heroic ages. I think, it will be better, to propose some conje&ures on the causes which hindered for so long a time the progress of the sciences in Greece.
I have already said, and do not fear to repeat it, it is always surprising that the people with whom we cannot contest the glory of having carried the arts and sciences to the utmost perfection; that the people regarded at this time, and with reason, as our masters and models in all matters which raise and distinguish the human mind, had been so long a time bounded by notions extremely gross.