Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

crackers, Sylvius would not have expressed his wish for a clearer and more intelligible relation. For those who may be interested in the history of such experiments, the original passage is subjoined.

1673. Toen was het dat tot Regensburg dese suak voor-viel. Een persoon van Grenoble gebooren, Charles Bernovin geneemt, was onlangs aldaar gekomen, hebbende den naam van goede kennisse in de heelkonst te hebben : daar-en-boven konde hy een vuur werk toe-rechten, door het welke men op een gespannen zeyl, van hooge gebouwen in de lucht konde vliegen; dat hadde hy op verscheydene plaatsen besocht, daar het hem wel gelukt was, en wilde het ook alhier in het werk stellen. Hy dan maakt al sijnen toestel vaardig, en hem wierd een hoogen tooren tot het werk gegeven, daar men al den toestel op-bracht. Wanneer nu alles vaardig was, begaf hy sich des morgens ten seven uuren op het hoogste van den tooren, en leyde sich, in het aanschouwen van veel 1000 menschen, met een nat hemde en nat linnen gewaat aan, (om door de brand niet beschadigt te worden,) op dat gespannen zeyl neder, latende sich de bestelde vuur-werken op den rugge, en aan handen en voeten binden ; en als alles nu klaar was, beval hy sijn dienaar, die het aan sou steken, goede acht op hem te slaan : aldus voegde hy sich op het zeyl in sijn gewicht, en beval sijn knecht aan te steken; die sulks dede. Maar alsoo deselve wat harder aan het eene als aan het andere eynde aan-gingen, geraakte hy uyt het gewicht van het zeyl, en bleef aan sijn armen hangen, seggende, O Jesu mijn leven is verlooren! Aldus bleef hy met een hand hangen, en hield met de andere den neus toe, om door de rook en stank niet te verstikken : maar des niet-tegenstaande begost den brand sov hevig en geweldig, dat hy, genoegsaam verstikt, van boven neder viel, daar hy op-genomen, en by de Capucijnen begraven wiert. Ik wenschte de beschrijving hier van wel wat duydelijker te hebben gehad, om de selve den leser ook alsoo te beter te konnen voordragen. Altoos desen hoogen vlieger heeft, na de gewoonte van sulke hoog-geleerde lieden, een lagen val gedaan : latende, soo als ik geloof, weynig leerlingen na, om die konst te leeren.—Sylvius. Historien onses Tyds. 1669 tot 1679. p. 551.

In that very curious work, the Recognitions of Clement, is a passage concerning Zoroaster, which if it were not evidently fabulous as being related of one who is there identified with Misraim, and of whose real history nothing is known, might be understood to imply that he practised electricity for the purpose of deluding the people, and was killed in one of his experiments. The story is thus given in Whiston's translation. : “ This man then being very much and very often intent upon the stars, and desirous to seem a God among men, began to produce, as it were, certain sparks from the stars, and to show them to men; that so the unskilful and ignorant might be led into astonishment at the miracle: and he, being desirous to increase the opinion they had of him, often attempted these wonders, till at length he was set on fire, and consumed therein by that very Dæmon he had been so conversant with. But the foolish people that then were, when they ought certainly to have laid aside the opinion they before had of him, since they had found that that opinion was confuted by the penal manner of his death, extolled him now more than ever. For they built a monument in honour of him, as of the friend of God, and one that was conveyed to heaven by thunder, as by a chariot; and they ventured to adore him and worship him, as a living star. For hence it came that after his death he had the name of Zoroaster, that is, the Living Star, among those that, after one generation, were skilled in the Greek language. Nay, to conclude, it is in imitation of this example, that even now many worship those who have died by thunder, and honour them with monuments, as the friends of God.”— Book iv, $$ 27, 28. p. 197.

Anthemius.-p. 201. The story is thus related by Agathias. “ There was much discourse at that time upon the subject of exhalations. Aristotle was talked of in all conversations. Some praised him for having discovered the true origin of earthquakes; others maintained that his opinion was not conformable to truth. Some, to confirm the opinion which they held, that these furious movements proceeded from a black and thick vapour shut up in the concavities of the earth, referred to a certain machine which Anthemius had invented. This Anthemius was a native of the town of Tralles. He followed the profession of the engineers, who, joining the know*ledge of geometry to that of physics, construct works whose effects are similar to those of animated creatures. He excelled not less in mathematics than his brother Metrodorus in grammar. I hold that their mother must have been happy in having contributed to the birth of two such great men. She had yet for sons Olympius, a person very learned in jurisprudence, and well versed in the affairs of the bar, Dioscorus and Alexander, both very skilful in Medicine. Dioscorus passed all his life in his own country, where he exercised his profession with a rare ability. Alexander was sent to Rome, where he became very celebrated. The reputation of Anthemius and of Metrodorus spread itself through all the empire, and came even to the ears of the Emperor, who sent for them even to Constantinople, where they gave ample proofs of their capacity and of their merit. The latter instructed children of the best houses, and instilled into them a marvellous passion for eloquence. The other constructed in Constantinople, and in many other towns of the empire, an infinity of fine works, :which will support, as long as they exist, the glory of their author, without our undertaking to enhance it by our words. I must now speak of that which led me to mention him. There lived at Constantinople a man named Zenon, celebrated in the profession of eloquence, and known to the Emperor, who was so near a neighbour of Anthemius that their houses were joined by a common wall. There arose between them a law-suit, either on account of new holes made in the wall, or for the elevation of some building which took away the light, or for some other such cause as may happen between neighbours. Anthemius having been overcome by the eloquence of his opponent, who was the plaintiff and accuser, and knowing that he had not like him the advantage of words, sought in the art in which he excelled a means of revenging himself for the loss of his cause. Zenon had a very spacious house, enriched with many ornaments, where he frequently received his friends. He had one apartment joining the house of Anthemius; it was in this place that the latter bethought him of putting many large vessels, full of water, to which he attached leathern pipes, which were large enough to cover the vessels entirely, and very narrow at the top, where he attached them to the joists of the floor of his neighbour, so that the air which was enclosed there should rise up without dissipating itself in any way; he afterwards kindled up a great fire under the vessels, When the water began to boil, it cast out a thick vapour, which raised itself with great violence, because the vessels in which it was enclosed were narrower at the top than the bottom. When it reached the beams it shook them in such a manner that the floor trembled. Those who were within the house came out quickly, and fled into the streets and public places, seized with fear. Zenon having gone to the Court, asked his friends whom he found there, what they thought of this earthquake, and if they had suffered no injury from it. When they were surprised and displeased at what he said, that he should hold to them language of such evil augury, they put him into a still greater perplexity, for he could not doubt the truth of that which he had experienced in his own house, and he dared not contest obstinately against persons of quality, who would be offended by his discourse. Those who maintain that earthquakes proceed from exhalations and from confined vapours, make use of this example, and maintain that this learned engineer, knowing the true cause of these violent movements, had found the art of imitating nature. Some, even at that time, said that they could not seriously believe it: for myself it appeared to me ingeniously imagined, but nevertheless that did not convince me. When cats are running upon the planks of a granary, they make a similar movement. I think, nevertheless, that there is no person who would wish to take this for an example of that which shakes the earth and overthrows provinces. It is true that their mechanical inventions are admirable, but that does not explain the true beginning of these disorders of which we speak. Anthemius fabricated against Zenon divers other tricks; one amongst others, that of causing his house to be struck by lightning. He received into a concave mirror all the collected rays of the sun; then turning it all at once towards the house of Zenon, he filled it with an extraordinary light, at which those who were within were dazzled and frightened. He excited also, by a collision of certain bodies proper to render a great sound, a noise capable of astonishing the most bold, even equal to that of thunder when it rolls in the bosom of a cloud. Zenon, having at last discovered by what artifice all these surprising effects were produced, threw himself at the feet of the Emperor to complain of the evil offices his neighbour rendered to him. They say that anger made him say some very good things upon this occasion ; for making allusion to some ancient verses, he said in the Senate House that, being a man, he was not sufficiently strong to resist an enemy who cast forth thunder like Jupiter, and who shook the earth like Neptune. These effects are wonderful, although they

« НазадПродовжити »