Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristotle
Pages of Meteorology



Previous | Next
                  

Meteorology   


thunderbolt from scorching and the poets call it 'bright': if the

rareness is less it does scorch and they call it 'smoky'. The former

moves rapidly because of its rareness, and because of its rapidity

passes through an object before setting fire to it or dwelling on it

so as to blacken it: the slower one does blacken the object, but

passes through it before it can actually burn it. Further, resisting

substances are affected, unresisting ones are not. For instance, it

has happened that the bronze of a shield has been melted while the

woodwork remained intact because its texture was so loose that the

exhalation filtered through without affecting it. So it has passed

through clothes, too, without burning them, and has merely reduced

them to shreds.

Such evidence is enough by itself to show that the exhalation is

at work in all these cases, but we sometimes get direct evidence as

well, as in the case of the conflagration of the temple at Ephesus

which we lately witnessed. There independent sheets of flame left

the main fire and were carried bodily in many directions. Now that

smoke is exhalation and that smoke burns is certain, and has been

stated in another place before; but when the flame moves bodily,

then we have ocular proof that smoke is exhalation. On this occasion

what is seen in small fires appeared on a much larger scale because of

the quantity of matter that was burning. The beams which were the

source of the exhalation split, and a quantity of it rushed in a

body from the place from which it issued forth and went up in a blaze:

so that the flame was actually seen moving through the air away and

falling on the houses. For we must recognize that exhalation

accompanies and precedes thunderbolts though it is colourless and so

invisible. Hence, where the thunderbolt is going to strike, the object

moves before it is struck, showing that the exhalation leads the way

and falls on the object first. Thunder, too, splits things not by

its noise but because the exhalation that strikes the object and

that which makes the noise are ejected simultaneously. This exhalation

Previous | Next
Site Search