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On The Heavens   

With regard to the shape of each star, the most reasonable view is

that they are spherical. It has been shown that it is not in their

nature to move themselves, and, since nature is no wanton or random

creator, clearly she will have given things which possess no

movement a shape particularly unadapted to movement. Such a shape is

the sphere, since it possesses no instrument of movement. Clearly then

their mass will have the form of a sphere. Again, what holds of one

holds of all, and the evidence of our eyes shows us that the moon is

spherical. For how else should the moon as it waxes and wanes show for

the most part a crescent-shaped or gibbous figure, and only at one

moment a half-moon? And astronomical arguments give further

confirmation; for no other hypothesis accounts for the crescent

shape of the sun's eclipses. One, then, of the heavenly bodies being

spherical, clearly the rest will be spherical also.


There are two difficulties, which may very reasonably here be

raised, of which we must now attempt to state the probable solution:

for we regard the zeal of one whose thirst after philosophy leads

him to accept even slight indications where it is very difficult to

see one's way, as a proof rather of modesty than of overconfidence.

Of many such problems one of the strangest is the problem why we

find the greatest number of movements in the intermediate bodies,

and not, rather, in each successive body a variety of movement

proportionate to its distance from the primary motion. For we should

expect, since the primary body shows one motion only, that the body

which is nearest to it should move with the fewest movements, say two,

and the one next after that with three, or some similar arrangement.

But the opposite is the case. The movements of the sun and moon are

fewer than those of some of the planets. Yet these planets are farther

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