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CHA P. the wife of Dardanus, was unable to support the XLIII. ruin of her country ; she abandoned the dances of
her sister orbs, fled from the zodiac to the north pole, and obtained, from her dishevelled locks, the name of the comet. The third period expires in the year six hundred and eighteen, a date that exactly agrees with the tremendous comet of the Sibyll, and perhaps of Pliny, which arose in the West two generations before the reign of Cyrus. The fourth apparition, forty-four years before the birth of Christ, is of all others the most splendid and important. After the death of Cæsár, a longhaired star was conspicuous to Rome and to the nations, during the games which were exhibited by young Octavian, in honour of Venus and his uncle. The vulgar opinion, that it conveyed to heaven the divine soul of the dictator, wascherished and consecrated by the piety of a statesman : while his secret superstition referred the comet to the glory of his own times *. The fifth visit has been already ascribed to the fifth year of Justinian, which coincides with the five hundred and thirtyfirst of the Christian æra. And it may deserve no
. tice, that in this, as in the preceding instance, the comet was followed, though at a longer interval, by a remarkable paleness of the sun. The sixth return in the year eleven hundred and six, is recorded by the chronicles of Europe and China;
* Pliny (Hist. Nat. ü. 23.) has transcribed the original memorial of Augustus. Mairan, in his most ingenious letters to the P. Parennin, missionary in China, removes the games and the comet of September, from the year 44 to the year 43, before the Christian æra ; but I am not totally subdued by the criticisin of the astronomer (Opuscules, p. 275–351.).
and in the first fervour of the Crusades, the Christ- CHA P. ians and the Mahometans might surmise, with equal reason, that it portended the destruction of the Infidels. The seventh phænomenon of one thousand six hundred and eighty was presented to the eyes of an enlightened age *. The philosophy of Bayle dispelled a prejudice which Milton's muse had so recently adorned, that the comet, "from its hor"rid hair shakes pestilence and wart." Its road in the heavens was observed with exquisite skill by Flamstead and Cassini; and the mathimatical science of Bernoulli, Newton, and Halley, investigated the laws of its revolutions. At the eightb period, in the year two thousand two hundred and fifty-five, their calculations may perhaps be verified by the astronomers of some future capital in the Siberian or American wilderness.
II. The near approach of a comet may injure Earthor destroy the globe which we inhabit; but the quakes: changes on its surface have been hitherto produced by the action of volcanos and earthquakes . The
*This last comet was visible in the month of December 1680. Bayle, who began his Pensées sur le Commette in January 1681 (Oeuvres, tom iii) was forced to argue that a supernatural comet would have confirmed the ancients in their idolatry. Bernoulli (see his Eloge, in Fontenelle, tom. v. p. 99) was forced to allow that the tail, though not the head was a sign of the wrath of God.
+ Paradise Lost was published in the year 1667; and the famous lines (1. ii. 708, &c.), which startled the licenser, may allude to the recent comet of 1664, observed by Cassini at Rome in the presence of queen Christina (Fontenelle in his Eloge, tom. v. p. 338.). Had Charles II. betrayed any symptoms of curiosity or fear?
For the cause of earthquakes, see Buffon (tom. i. p. 502536. Supplément à l'Hist. Naturelle tom. v. p. 382-390. edition in 4to.), Valmont de Bomare (Dictionaire de Historie Naturelle, Tremblemens de Terre, Pyrites), Watson (Chemical Essays, tom. i. p. 181-209.).
CHA P. nature of the soil may indicate the countries most XLIII. exposed to these formidable concussions, since they
are caused by subterraneous fires, and such fires are kindled by the union and fermentation of iron and sulphur. But their times and effects appear to lie beyond the reach of human curiosity, and the philosopher will discreetly abstain from the prediction of earthquakes, till he has counted the drops of water that silently filtrate on the inflammable mineral, and measured the caverns which increase by resistance the explosion of the imprisoned air. Without assigning the cause, history will distinguish the periods in which these calamitous events have been rare or frequent, and will observe, that this fever of the earth raged with uncommon violence during the reign of Justinian *. Each year is marked by the repetition of earthquakes, of such duration, that Constantinople has been shaken above forty days; of such extent, that the shock has been communicated to the whole surface of the globe, or at least of the Roman empire. An impulsive or vibratory motion was felt: enormous chasms were opened, huge and heavy bodies were discharged into the air, the sea alternately advanced and retreated beyond its ordinary bounds, and a mountain was torn from Libanus †,
The earthquakes that shook the Roman world in the reign of Justinian, are described or mentioned by Procopius (Goth. 1. iv. c. 25. Anecdot. c. 18.), Agathias (1. ii. p. 52, 53, 54. 1 v. p. 145-152.), John Malala (Chron. tom. ii. p. 14c146. 176, 177. 183. 193. 220. 229. 231. 233, 234.), and Theophanes (p. 151. 183. 189. 191-196.).
An abrupt height, a perpendicular cape between Aradus and Botrys, named by the Greeks προσωπον and ευπρόσωπον or Alonger by the scrupulous Christians (Polyb. 1. v. p. 411. Pomp
A. D. 426.
and cast into the waves, where it protected, as a CHA P. mole, the new harbour of Botrys in Phoenicia. XLII. The stroke that agitates an ant-hill, may crush the insect myriads in the dust; yet truth must extort a confession, that man has industriously laboured for his own destruction. The institution of great cities, which include a nation within the limits of a wall, almost realizes the wish of Caligula, that the Roman people had but one neck. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are said to have perished May 20, in the earthquake of Antioch, whose domestic multitudes were swelled by the conflux of strangers to the festival of the Ascension. The loss of Berytust A. D. 55 was of smaller account, but of much greater value. July 9. That city, on the coast of Phoenicia, was illustrated by the study of the civil law, which opened the surest road to wealth and dignity: the schools of Berytus were filled with the rising spirits of the age, and many a youth was lost in the earthquake, who might have lived to be the scourge or the guardian of his country. In these disasters, the architect becomes the enemy of mankind. The hut of a savage, or the tent of an Arab, may be VOL. VII. thrown Pompon. Mela, 1. i. c. 12. p. 87. cum Isaac Voss. Observat. Maundrell, Journey, p. 32, 33. Pocock's Description, vol. ii, P. 99.).
Botrys was founded (ann. ante Christ. 935-903) by Ithobal, king of Tyre (Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 387, 388.). Its poor representative, the village of Patrone, is now destitute of an harbour.
+ The university, splendour, and ruin of Berytus, are celebrated by Heineccius (p. 351-356.) as an essential part of the history of the Roman law. It was overthrown in the xxvth year of Justinian, A. D. 551, July 9 (Theophanes, p. 192); but Agathias (1. ii. p. 51, 52.) suspends the earth quake till he has achieved the Italian war.
GHAP. thrown down without injury to the inhabitant; and XLIII, the Peruvians had reason to deride the folly of their
Spanish conquerors, who with so much cost and labour erected their own sepulchres. The rich marbles of a patrician are dashed on his own head : a whole people is buried under the ruins of public and private edifices, and the conflagration is kindled and propagated by the innumerable fires which are necessary for the subsistence and manufactures of a great city. Instead of the mutual sympathy which might comfort and assist the distressed, they dread. fully experience the vices and passions which are released from the fear of punishment: the tottering houses are pillaged by intrepid avarice ; revenge embraces the moment, and selects the victim ; and the earth often swallows the assassin, or the ravisher, in the consummation of their crimes. Superstition involves the present danger with invisible terrors; and if the image of death may sometimes be subservient to the virtue or repentance of individuals, an affrighted people is more forcibly moved to expect the end of the world, or to deprecate with
servile homage the wrath of an avenging Deity. Plague- III. Æthiopia and Egypt have been stigmatised its origin and nature in every age, as the original source and seminary of A. D. 543. the plague *. In a damp, hot, stagnating air,
this African fever is generated from the putrefaction of animal substances, and especially from the swarms of locusts, not less destructive to man. kind in their death than in their lives. The fatal disease which depopulated the earth in the time of
Justinian . I have read with pleasure Mead's short but elegant treatise, concerning Pestilential Disorders, the viüth edition, Lone don, 1722