On Architecture

Vitruvius Pollio

Vitruvius Pollio, creator; Morgan, M. H. (Morris Hicky), 1859-1910, translator

2. As she moves on, passing by to the east, the effect of the sun upon her relaxes, and the outer edge of the luminous side sheds its light upon the earth in an exceedingly thin line. This is called the second day of the moon. Day by day she is further relieved and turns, and thus are numbered the third, fourth, and following days. On the seventh day, the sun being in the west and the moon in the middle of the firmament between the east and west, she is half the extent of the firmament distant from the sun, and therefore half of the luminous side is turned toward the earth. But when the sun and moon are separated by the entire extent of the firmament, and the moon is in the east with the sun over against her in the west, she is completely relieved by her still greater distance from his rays, and so, on the fourteenth day, she is at the full, and her entire disc emits its light. On the succeeding days, up to the end of the month, she wanes daily as she turns in her course, being recalled by the sun until she comes under his disc and rays, thus completing the count of the days of the month.

3. But Aristarchus of Samos, a mathematician of great powers, has left a different explanation in his teaching on this subject, as I shall now set forth. It is no secret that the moon has no light of her own, but is, as it were, a mirror, receiving brightness from the influence of the sun. Of all the seven stars, the moon traverses the shortest orbit, and her course is nearest to the earth. Hence in every month, on the day before she gets past the sun, she is under his disc and rays, and is consequently hidden and invisible. When she is thus in conjunction with the sun, she is called the new moon. On the next day, reckoned as her second, she gets past the sun and shows the thin edge of her sphere. Three days away from the sun, she waxes and grows brighter. Removing further every day till she reaches the seventh, when her distance from the sun at his setting is about one half the extent of the

firmament, one half of her is luminous: that is, the half which faces toward the sun is lighted up by him.

4. On the fourteenth day, being diametrically across the whole extent of the firmament from the sun, she is at her full and rises when the sun is setting. For, as she takes her place over against him and distant the whole extent of the firmament, she thus receives the light from the sun throughout her entire orb. On the seventeenth day, at sunrise, she is inclining to the west. On the twenty-second day, after sunrise, the moon is about mid-heaven; hence, the side exposed to the sun is bright and the rest dark. Continuing thus her daily course, she passes under the rays of the sun on about the twenty-eighth day, and so completes the account of the month.

I will next explain how the sun, passing through a different sign each month, causes the days and hours to increase and diminish in length.

1. THE sun, after entering the sign Aries and passing through one eighth of it, determines the vernal equinox. On reaching the tail of Taurus and the constellation of the Pleiades, from which the front half of Taurus projects, he advances into a space greater than half the firmament, moving toward the north. From Taurus he enters Gemini at the time of the rising of the Pleiades, and, getting higher above the earth, he increases the length of the days. Next, coming from Gemini into Cancer, which occupies the shortest space in heaven, and after traversing one eighth of it, he determines the summer solstice. Continuing on, he reaches the head and breast of Leo, portions which are reckoned as belonging to Cancer.

2.After leaving the breast of Leo and the boundaries of, Cancer, the sun, traversing the rest of Leo, makes the days shorter, diminishing the size of his circuit, and returning to the same

course that he had in Gemini. Next, crossing from Leo into Virgo, and advancing as far as the bosom of her garment, he still further shortens his circuit, making his course equal to what it was in Taurus. Advancing from Virgo by way of the bosom of her garment, which forms the first part of Libra, he determines the autumn equinox at the end of one eighth of Libra. Here his course is equal to what his circuit was in the sign Aries.

3. When the sun has entered Scorpio, at the time of the setting of the Pleiades, he begins to make the days shorter as he advances toward the south. From Scorpio he enters Sagittarius and, on reaching the thighs, his daily course is still further diminished. From the thighs of Sagittarius, which are reckoned as part of Capricornus, he reaches the end of the first eighth of the latter, where his course in heaven is shortest. Consequently, this season, from the shortness of the day, is called bruma or dies brumales. Crossing from Capricornus into Aquarius, he causes the days to increase to the length which they had when he was in Sagittarius. From Aquarius he enters Pisces at the time when Favonius begins to blow, and here his course is the same as in Scorpio. In this way the sun passes round through the signs, lengthening or shortening the days and hours at definite seasons.

I shall next speak of the other constellations formed by arrangements of stars, and lying to the right and left of the belt of the signs, in the southern and northern portions of the firmament.