The Ancient Library

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both, but especially of the first. The design of the poem is to give an introduction to the knowledge of the constellations, with the rules for their risings and settings; and of the circles of the sphere, among which the Milky Way is reckoned. The positions of the constellations north of the ecliptic are described by reference to the principal groups sur­rounding the north pole (the Bears, the Dragon, and Cepheus), while Orion serves as a point of departure for those to the south. The immo­bility of the earth, and the revolution of the heavens about a fixed axis, are maintained ; the path of the sun in the zodiac is described, but the planets are introduced merely as bodies having a motion of their own, without any attempt to define their periods ; nor is any thing said about the moon's orbit. The opening of the poem asserts the dependence of all things upon Jove, and contains the passage rov yap not ywos eo>ieV, quoted by St. Paul (Aratus's fellow-countryman) in his address to the Athenians.1 From the general want of precision in the descriptions, it would seem that Aratus was neither a mathematician nor observer,2 or, at any rate, that in this work he did not aim at scientific accuracy. He not only represents the configurations of particular groups incorrectly, but describes some phenomena which are inconsistent with any one sup­position as to the latitude of the spectator, and others which could not coexist at any one epoch. These errors, however, are partly to be at­tributed to Eudoxus himself, and partly to the way in which Aratus has used the materials supplied by him

The AiocnjjueTa consists of prognostics of the weather from astronomic­al phenomena, with an account of its effects upon animals. It appears to be an imitation of Hesiod, and to have been imitated in turn by Virgil in some parts of the Georgics. The materials are said to be taken al­most wholly from Aristotle's Meteorologies from the work of Theophras-tus on the " Signs of waters, winds, and storms," and from Hesiod.3 Nothing is said in either poem of Astrology, in the proper sense of the word.

The style of these two poems is distinguished by the elegance and ac­curacy resulting from a study of ancient models ; but it wants originality and poetic elevation, and variety of matter is excluded by the nature of the subjects.* Still, however, the poems in question were very popular in both the Grecian and Roman world. As one proof of the considera­tion which he enjoyed, we may cite the monument which his fellow-coun­trymen erected to his memory, and which became famous by reason of a physical phenomenon which Mela mentions : "Juxta inparvo tumulo Arati poeta monumentum ; ideo referendum quia, ignotum quam ob causam, jacta in id saxa dissiliant"* Ovid also passes a high eulogium on Aratus : " Cum sole et luna semper Aratus erit ;"6 but this exaggerated compliment was very probably owing to the circumstance of no other poet having taken the astronomic sphere for his theme prior to Aratus. Another proof of the popularity of this writer is afforded by the number of commentaries and Latin translations. The Introduction to the QaivS^va, by Achilles

1 Acts, xvii., 28. 2 Cic., De Orat., i., 16. 3 Buhle, vol. ii., p. 471. 4 Compare Quintil., x., 1, 5 Mela, i., 13. 6 Amor., i., 15.

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