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p. 149

of its size and power I shall reserve for Book 4. But I wonder greatly that Socrates


should have depreciated that solar body, saying that it was of the nature of incandescent stone, and the one who opposed him as to that error was not far wrong. But I only wish I had words to serve me to blame those who are fain to extol the worship of men more than that of the sun; for in the whole universe there is nowhere to be seen a body of greater magnitude and power than the sun. Its light gives light to all the celestial bodies which are distributed throughout the universe; and from it descends all vital force, for the heat that is in living beings comes from the soul [vital spark]; and there is no other centre of heat and light in the universe as will be shown in Book 4; and certainly those who have chosen to worship men as gods--as Jove, Saturn, Mars and the like--have fallen into the gravest error, seeing that even if a man were as large as our earth, he would look no bigger than a little star which appears but as a speck in the universe; and seeing again that these men are mortal, and putrid and corrupt in their sepulchres.

Marcellus  459 and many others praise the sun.


149:458 2: Socrates; I have little light to throw on this reference. Plato's Socrates himself declares on more than one occasion that in his youth he had turned his mind to the study of celestial phenomena (METEWPA) but not in his later years (see G. C. LEWIS, The Astronomy of the ancients, page 109; MADLER, Geschichte der Himmelskunde, page 41). Here and there in Plato's writings we find incidental notes on the sun and other heavenly bodies. Leonardo may very well have known of these, since the Latin version by Ficinus was printed as early as 1491; indeed an undated edition exists which may very likely have appeared between 1480--90.

There is but one passage in Plato, Epinomis (p. 983) where he speaks of the physical properties of the sun and says that it is larger than the earth.

Aristotle who goes very fully into the subject says the same. A complete edition of Aristotele's works was first printed in Venice 1495-98, but a Latin version of the Books De Coelo et Mundo and De Physica had been printed in Venice as early as in 1483 (H. MULLER-STRUBING).

149:459 23: I have no means of identifying Marcello who is named in the margin. It may be Nonius Marcellus, an obscure Roman Grammarian of uncertain date (between the IInd and Vth centuries A. C.) the author of the treatise De compendiosa doctrina per litteras ad filium in which he treats de rebus omnibus et quibusdam aliis. This was much read in the middle ages. The editto princeps is dated 1470 (H. MULLER-STRUBING).

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