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XVI. Physical Geography Index
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In the West, near to Flanders, the sea rises and decreases every 6 hours about 20 braccia, and 22 when the moon is in its favour; but 20 braccia is the general rule, and this rule, as it is evident, cannot have the moon for its cause. This variation in the increase and decrease of the sea every 6 hours may arise from the damming up of the waters, which are poured into the Mediterranean by the quantity of rivers from Africa, Asia and Europe, which flow into that sea, and the waters which are given to it by those rivers; it pours them to the ocean

p. 195

through the straits of Gibraltar, between Abila and Calpe  506 . That ocean extends to the island of England and others farther North, and it becomes dammed up and kept high in various gulfs. These, being seas of which the surface is remote from the centre of the earth, have acquired a weight, which as it is greater than the force of the incoming waters which cause it, gives this water an impetus in the contrary direction to that in which it came and it is borne back to meet the waters coming out of the straits; and this it does most against the straits of Gibraltar; these, so long as this goes on, remain dammed up and all the water which is poured out meanwhile by the aforementioned rivers, is pent up [in the Mediterranean]; and this might be assigned as the cause of its flow and ebb, as is shown in the 21st of the 4th of my theory.


195:506 5: Abila, Lat. Abyla, Gr. , now Sierra Ximiera near Ceuta; Calpe, Lat. Calpe. Gr., now Gibraltar. Leonardo here uses the ancient names of the rocks, which were known as the Pillars of Hercules.

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