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p. 148




The question of the true and of the apparent size of the sun (879-884).If you look at the stars, cutting off the rays (as may be done by looking through a very small hole made with the extreme point of a very fine needle, placed so as almost to touch the eye), you will see those stars so minute that it would seem as though nothing could be smaller; it is in fact their great distance which is the reason of their diminution, for many of them are very many times larger than the star which is the earth with water. Now reflect what this our star must look like at such a distance, and then consider how many stars might be added--both in longitude and latitude--between those stars which are scattered over the darkened sky. But I cannot forbear to condemn many of the ancients, who said that the sun was no larger than it appears; among these was Epicurus, and I believe that he founded his reason on the effects of a light placed in our atmosphere equidistant from the centre of the earth. Any one looking at it never sees it diminished in size at whatever distance; and the reasons



148:457 879-882: What Leonardo says of Epicurus-- who according to LEWIS, The Astronomy of the ancients, and MADLER, Geschichte der Himmelskunde, did not devote much attention to the study of celestial phenomena--, he probably derived from Book X of Diogenes Laertius, whose Vitae Philosophorum was not printed in Greek till 1533, but the Latin translation appeared in 1475.

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