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Myths and Marvels of Astronomy   By: (1837-1888)

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Transcriber's Note

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of corrections is found at the end of the text.

[Illustration: LILLY'S HIEROGLYPHS (PUBLISHED IN 1651)]

MYTHS AND MARVELS OF ASTRONOMY

BY RICHARD A. PROCTOR

AUTHOR OF

"ROUGH WAYS MADE SMOOTH," "THE EXPANSE OF HEAVEN," "OUR PLACE AMONG INFINITIES," "PLEASANT WAYS IN SCIENCE," ETC., ETC.

NEW EDITION

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. LONDON, NEW YORK, AND BOMBAY 1896

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO

At the Ballantyne Press

PREFACE.

The chief charm of Astronomy, with many, does not reside in the wonders revealed to us by the science, but in the lore and legends connected with its history, the strange fancies with which in old times it has been associated, the half forgotten myths to which it has given birth. In our own times also, Astronomy has had its myths and fancies, its wild inventions, and startling paradoxes. My object in the present series of papers has been to collect together the most interesting of these old and new Astronomical myths, associating with them, in due proportion, some of the chief marvels which recent Astronomy has revealed to us. To the former class belong the subjects of the first four and the last five essays of the present series, while the remaining essays belong to the latter category.

Throughout I have endeavoured to avoid technical expressions on the one hand, and ambiguous phraseology (sometimes resulting from the attempt to avoid technicality) on the other. I have, in fact, sought to present my subjects as I should wish to have matters outside the range of my special branch of study presented for my own reading.

RICHARD A. PROCTOR.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

I. ASTROLOGY 1

II. THE RELIGION OF THE GREAT PYRAMID 53

III. THE MYSTERY OF THE PYRAMIDS 78

IV. SWEDENBORG'S VISIONS OF OTHER WORLDS 106

V. OTHER WORLDS AND OTHER UNIVERSES 135

VI. SUNS IN FLAMES 160

VII. THE RINGS OF SATURN 191

VIII. COMETS AS PORTENTS 212

IX. THE LUNAR HOAX 242

X. ON SOME ASTRONOMICAL PARADOXES 268

XI. ON SOME ASTRONOMICAL MYTHS 299

XII. THE ORIGIN OF THE CONSTELLATION FIGURES 332

MYTHS AND MARVELS

OF

ASTRONOMY

I.

ASTROLOGY.

Signs and planets, in aspects sextile, quartile, trine, conjoined, or opposite; houses of heaven, with their cusps, hours, and minutes; Almuten, Almochoden, Anahibazon, Catahibazon; a thousand terms of equal sound and significance. Guy Mannering.

... Come and see! trust thine own eyes. A fearful sign stands in the house of life, An enemy: a fiend lurks close behind The radiance of thy planet oh! be warned! COLERIDGE.

Astrology possesses a real interest even in these days. It is true that no importance attaches now even to the discussion of the considerations which led to the rejection of judicial astrology. None but the most ignorant, and therefore superstitious, believe at present in divination of any sort or kind whatsoever. Divination by the stars holds no higher position than palmistry, fortune telling by cards, or the indications of the future which foolish persons find in dreams, tea dregs, salt spilling, and other absurdities. But there are two reasons which render the history of astrology interesting. In the first place, faith in stellar influences was once so widespread that astrological terminology came to form a part of ordinary language, insomuch that it is impossible rightly to understand many passages of ancient and mediƦval literature, or rightly to apprehend the force of many allusions and expressions, unless the significance of astrological teachings to the men of those times be recognised... Continue reading book >>




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