Philosophical Transactions. For the months of July, August and September, 1716. - Part IX.

March 20th, 2019

Ⅸ. An account of a book. Dissertatio de Dea Salute, In qua illius symbola, templa, statuæ, nummi, inscriptiones exhibentur, illustrantur, auctore guilhelmo musgrave G.F. e Coll. exon. oxonii; typis leon. lichfield; impensis phil. Teo, bibliopolæExon. Anno MDCCXVI.

The author of this treatise, as the occasion of it, observes that the little God Telesphorus had just cause to complain, that so much respect was paid to Dea Febris, and a book lately publisht de Dea Podagra, yet no such honour was done his Mother 'Tyiea, (who certainly was more to be esteemed, than all the tribes of diseases). Upon this conceit, he took what books he had in his reach, of the antient Latin and Greek, and having collected out of them, what he met with relating to this Goddess, put it together, as now it appears in print.
It consists of VI chapters; of which the first is introductory, speaks of health in general, has, in praise of it, that memorable ode of Ariphron the Sicyonian, publisht by Athenaus, and translated by Sennertus; together with a hymn, said to be composed by Orpheus, on the same subject; he ranks this Goddess among the Dii Medioxumi, and gives an account of her from the mythologists.
Chap. II. de Salutis Symbolo, which he takes to be a serpent, an omen of good things, and a frequent companion of the Gods; as appears from Virgil, Valerius Flaccus, Statius, and Macrobius. He mentions another symbolum salutis, used by Antiochus Soter, now to be seen in some of his coins, and sometimes printed in physick books in the following form.


The III. chapter treats of the temples erected to this Goddess; in which prayers were offer'd up to her, sometimes for the health of private persons, and often for the welfare of the publick; of which many instances are here produced. To the account of temples is subjoyned the divination, known by the name of Salutis Augurium, which is often mentioned by Roman authors, as Dion Cassius, Tully, and Tacitus.
In the IV, chapter, the statues of this Goddess are consider'd. Some of these represent her and æsculapius together, tamqum1, Pliny, Pausanias, Lucian, Plutarch and Monsaucon afford instances of this kind.
Plutarch and Monsaucon afford instances of this kind.
Coins relating to this Goddess, come next in view, Chap. V. These either express her effigies, or her worship under some symbol or other. Of the first order, one out of Fulvius Ursinus has the head of the Goddess, with SALUS inscribed. Another like this, is in gevartius. Some, together with this Goddess have also her father æsculapius as a coin of Trajan; and in one of Aurelius Antoninus, stuck in memory of the remedies reveal'd to him in a dream, which cured the Emperor of a sputum sanguinis and vertigo. As indeed most of these coins were (in all likelihood) struck on some such occasion, viz. the recovery of some great person. A noble expression of gratitude, fit and worthy of imitation.
Of the second order is the coin of dossenus, having an alter with a serpent, taken from ursinus. Another of Tibererius, with an alter and SALAUG. Another of nero in which is a serpens tortuosus; with many others.
The gemma of the antients, according to Leonardus Augustinus, are of use to set forth the sarcrifices made of old to this Goddess. One of these gemma represents æsculapius, his daughter Hygieia and grand-son Telesphorus so call'd2 a Valetudine post morbum confirmati. This God, being young and tender, had (I suppose, by the scare of his mother Hygiaa) a Bardocucullus, or cloket, to keep him from taking cold. These three Gods are represented in one figure, with the following inscription under them, EYZETEME, i.e. Salvere me Jubete, which Augustinus happily conjectures to have been a form of prayer offer'd up to them.
In the last chapter come the inscriptions, which are taken out of Gruter and Reinesius. They are chiefly to æsculapius and Hygiaa, but to confirm the divinity of Telesphorus the little God of the Pergameni, he is mentioned in one of their inscriptions dug up at Verona.
The author makes no manner of doubt, but there are many more coins and inscriptions relating to this Goddess to be found in other books. But these being all, or most of such as came in his way, and enough to give a specimen of the devotion paid by the antients to this Goddess, he has contented himself with this small number; leaving it to others to make such additions, as from greater opportunities and abilities, they shall think fit.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 502).

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Philosophical Transactions. For the months of June, July and August, 1715. - Part III.

March 20th, 2019

Ⅲ. Observationes coelestes britannicæ, Grenovici in observatorio regio habita, anno MDCCⅩⅢ.


N.B. Stella illa telescopica a qua die Januarii 25° lunam pracessit, ascensionem rectam tune habuit 81° 28 ½, & distabat a polo 66° 58' 20", unde fit longitudo ejus II 22° 9 123 cum latitudine australi o° 13' ½. Hac autem est ea ipsa stella ad quam applicabatur jupiter in statione secunda, anne 1634 Februatti 6, eamque non nisi tribus sui corporis diameris ad austrum reliquit, observante Gassendo ut habetur inter observata ejus pag 174. Et ad eandem Mars observatus est Septembris 6to anno 1644 mane, ut videre est in prolegomenis selenographia hevelianae pag. 65 & Fig. I. veram multum usui erit, ad accuratam nodi jovis determinationem, ejusque motus, si modo inter stellas fixas planum orbita Jovialis non bareat immobile. Etenim post decursum 83 annorum, quibus Jupiter satis accurate septem absolvit periodos, anna scil. 1717. Januarri 10. mane, planeta stellam illam corporaliter teget vel saltem stringet, spectaculo quidem raro neque hactenos quod sciam astronomis in jove concesso.

Stella antem ipsa, etiamsi telescopica vocetur, sudo cælo & absente lunâ inermis oculi aclem non fugit; comitemque habet sequentem ad austrum,& semidiametro solis circiter distantem, apud quam conspicietur Jupiter arctissime conjunctus, die vicesimo julii anni proximi 1716 mane.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 285).

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of November and December, 1715. - Part V.

March 17th, 2019

V. Remarks upon the aforesaid letter and teeth, by Thomas Molyneux, M.D. and R.S.S. physician to the state in Ireland; Address'd to his Grace the Lord Archbishop of Dublin.

My Lord,

When your Grace was pleased to communicato to me a letter you received some while since, containing an account of an extraordinary natural curiosity, lately discover'd in the North of Ireland, in the country of Cavan, you desired I would give you my thoughts concerning it, and the purport of the letter; but truly when first your Grace gave me the opportunity of perusing this account and I consider'd the imperfect sketches of the teeth annex'd to it, I was not a little concern'd, that upon the making so surprizing a discovery, I could not command a sight of the originals themselves, from whence the draughts were taken; or that so great a curiosity should be exprest by the hand of an artist that shew'd so little skill; however, by the best judgment I could make from so imperfect an information, I told your Grace then, I was pretty well convinced they must have been the grinding teeth of an elephant; yet I ingaged, if hereafter I might be so lucky as to procure a view of the teeth themselves, I would be more positive in my opinion, and give the reasons on which I grounded my conjecture; as likewise I would have the shape of the teeth exprest in their full dimensions, by more true and exact figures.

Since that the four teeth, with some of the fragments of the bones that were found with them, have been brought here to Dublin, where, by the favour and assistance of my ingenious friend Sir Thomas Southwell, I procured the loan of them, so long as to examine them particularly, make some remarks, and take the following correct sketches, that express their from truly, just as big as the life; and your Lordship seem'd well satisfied with the performance of the artist, when at the same time I produced the draughts and the originals from whence they were copied, that we might compare them both together.

Upon the whole, I am now fully convinced, and I can upon sure grounds affirm to your Lordship, that they must certainly have been the four grinding teeth in the lower jaw of an elephant; and that the many loose fragments of those large bones that were found with them, must have been remains of the same animal. This I take to be one of the greatest rarities that has been yet discovered in this country.

In order to clear this matter 'twill be first requisite to have recourse to, and explain the annext figures.

Figure the 1st. AA is the large grinder of the under jaw on the right side, weighing two pounds and three quarters of a pound.

b.b.b.b.b.b.b. are white, rough, indented borders, seven in number, of an irregular shape, rising about the tenth of an inch higher than the hard black shining surface of the tooth; this rough raised work serves for the bruising and grinding the animal's food, the tough grains of rize, leaves, fruits and the boughs of trees; and is made of so extream an hard texture, that it resembles large knotted threads of white glass, laid on and closely fastned to the dark superficies of the tooth; and answers that glassy surface wherewith nature has armed the outside of the teeth of most animals, to prevent their wearing from the constant attrition in chewing of their foods.

c.c.c.c.c. is that part of the tooth which rises above the gumms, and continues even now distinguish'd from the rest of the bone, by having its colour of a different shade.

d.d.d.d.d.d.d. are many strong tangs of roots, seemingly unite altogether, by which the tooth received its sense and nourishment, and tho' it was so large and ponderous by these it kept firmly fixt into the jaw.

For the mechanism nature shews itself to have followed in framing the teeth of this animal, is no more than this; whereas in other creatures, she has divided that bony substance wherewith they chew their food, each having its peculiar roots to secure its articulation in the jawbone; she has in this of so great bulk (as Pliny the Naturalist stiles it Terrestrium Maximum Elephas,) for the greater strength, stabiliment, and duration of it's teeth, and the better to provide for a compleat attrition of the aliment, in order to perfect the digestion so thoroughly, as to sustain the life of the animal for two or three hundred years (as it is a common received opinion on in the East) she has, I say, contrived to make the substance of the teeth in their roots below, and in the upper parts above the gumms, closely unite together; and coalescing thus, form a few large massy teeth instead of many small ones.

As for instance, in man's body, that is of so much a less size, the number of teeth, (when the whole sett is compleat) reckons to thirty two, whereas in the large elephant, the teeth of both the jaws amount in all but to eight, besides it's two great tusks, which rather serve as horns for its defence than teeth to prepare it's food, and therefore I think not so very properly call'd teeth.

Figure be 2d. E.E. is the smaller grinding teeth of the under jaw on the same side; it's surface covered over with the same white indented work, as before describ'd for grinding of the food.

f.f.f. are three large roots that kept it firmly fixt in the jaw bone.

This smaller tooth weighed full six ounces.

Figure the 3d G.G. is the large grinder of the under jaw on the left side, much of the size and shape and weight with its fellow tooth describ'd figure the st. It shews its roots and all its parts, with the rough protuberant white work on its upper surface made after the same contrivance, and formed after the same strong model as the former.

And truly if one considers it, 'tis plain that were not the teeth of this creature made of so large a size, and withal of so massy and firm a substance, 'twere absolutely impossible they could resist the force, and bear all that pressure wherewith those vast muscles exert themselves, that move the lower jaw in mastication in this so strong an animal.

Figure the 4th. H.H. is the smaller grinding tooth of the under jaw on the same side; it is less compleat than the small tooth describ'd before in Figure 2d. for some of the root is wanting, and part of its outward grinding surface is broke off at k.k. so that it weighs somewhat less; yet what remains exactly shews the same kind of work and shape of the other tooth, that answer'd it on the right side.

These four teeth here describ'd, fully compleat the sett of the teeth, wherewith nature has furnished the lower jaw of the elephant; and are answered by just as many more, formed after the same manner in the upper jaw, as Dr. Moulins informs us, who dissected the elephant that was burnt here at Dublin in 1681. In it's anatomy p.40. speaking of the teeth he assures, there were besides the tusks only four teeth in each jaw, two in every side; and that these eight teeth were all molares, so that he had no incisores.

But notwithstanding this, perhaps it will be said, we may not hastily conclude from hence, that our great teeth dug up in Ireland must certainly have been the four grinders of an elephant, since they might as well belong to some other kind of terrestrial or marine animal. As for the hint of their being human or gigantick, 'tis so groundless a thought, and so contradictory to comparative anatomy and all natural history, it does not deserve our consideration.

To observe this, I shall take notice first in general, that the differing kinds of living creatures, wherewith nature has stock'd the world, are not more distingusih'd by the make of any part of their bodies from one another than by the various shape and disposition of their teeth; and hence it is, we shall not find any two distinct classes of animals that do exactly agree in the same make and ranging of their teeth.

But yet to be more particular, and make this point so plain, I hope, as that it may admit of no controversy, I shall here set down at length, as I find them the words of two late authors, that purposely have described the teeth of the elephant.

The first I shall mention is Mr. Patrick Blair, who has publish'd a treatise he calls Osteographia Elephantina, or a description of the bones and other parts of an elephant, that died and was dissected near Dundee in Scotland, anno 1706. in the London Philosophical Transactions for April, May, June, July, August and September, 1710. Numb. 326 and 327. Here giving us a description of the teeth of this animal pag. 110. he says, Dr. Moulins well observes that they are all molares, being two inches broad in that part of them wherewith they grind, and six inches and a half long on the right side, and five inches and a half on the left their surface, tho' flat, is yet very unequal, for they have alternately placed, running from th right to the left side, an Hollowness and then an Eminence; and this Eminence is surrounded by a rough protuberant border. There are nine of these hollownesses and as many eminences, undulated as they paint sea waves.

'Tis remarkable how very exactly all this agrees with our figures; 'tis true those hollownesses and eminences which he mentions to be nine, do not so nicely hit with the number of those in our teeth; but this difference proceeds from hence, that he describes here the grinders of the upper, whereas ours are the teeth of the lower jaw; tho' such a distinction as this, I am apt to think, may very well arise even in those of the same jaw, in various animals, from some peculiar disposition in one from another, nay and perhaps in the same animal, at differing times, according as it happens to be older or younger, but this by the bye.

A littler farther pag. 114. and 115. where he gives an account of those of the under jaw, he says

The hind tooth of the right side is four inches, and that on the left five; the one half of their surface, where they begin to appear above the gumms, is semicircular, with the forementioned ridges and sulci running transversly, four on the right side and five on the left, the other half (or tooth I suppose he means) has five of these eminences where it grinds on the right, and four on the left; each of the four teeth is six inches long, and has six or seven of the forementioned eminences as many depressions; these teeth are the most firm, solid and weighty bones of any animal yet known.

So much from Mr. Blair.

The other author I shall produce for the further illustration of this matter, is the laborious and accurate naturalist Mr. Ray, who, in his synopsis Animalium Quadrupedum, when he comes to give us the description of the elephant, has the following words. Os pro mole belua parvum, quatuor in utraque maxilla dentibus molaribus seu dentium molarium massis instructum; si quidem plutimi dentes in os solidum & durum ita infixi sunt, ut cum eo & inter se unum & continuum corpus efficiant. dentes hi lineas parallelas undulatas octo vel novem in superficie massa efficiunt; suntque reliquo osse candidiores; massa integra, dentium singularium modo, per gomphosin maxillis inseruntur. incisoribus omnino caret.

Thus Mr. Ray in very proper and expressive terms describes the teeth of this animal; and truly if your Grace will but compare Mr. Blair's words with his, and the particulars of both accounts with the description and figures we have before given of the teeth dug up in Ireland, and observe how they all agree exactly, even so as one may say they tally together, I think it will amount to nothing less than demonstration, and that all our ideas have been taken from one and the same natural object; and as they, so we, must certainly have described no other teeth but those of the elephant.

But then perhaps it will be ask'd what is become of all the rest of the teeth that were in the upper jaw, which being as firm and solid bones as those that are her preserved, might for the same reason have still remained intire.

But since we find it otherwise, 'tis obvious to imagine a probable conjecture how this might come about. From what Mr. Nevil mentions in his letter, 'tis plain that the bed where all these bones were found, must once have been the outward surface of the earth, the green-sod, producing rushes, fern and nutts; and when the heavy beast first fell dead upon this spot, the skull, with all the bones and teeth of the upper jaw, being the highest parts of the animal, might likely fall in such a posture, as to be exposed some while above the earth; tho' those of the under jaw first coming to the ground, might make themselves a bed, and being covered with the mould remain preserv'd, whilst the upper teeth, and most of the other bones, lying exposed to the injuries of the air and weather, before they got a covering, might rot and quickly moulder all away.

But tho' this be allowed, yet still a greater difficulty remains unsolv'd; how this large body'd animal, a native of the remote warm climates of the world, should be deposited in this wild Northern Ireland, (where Greeks or Romans never had a footing) so many miles from the sea, and distant from those places of the Isle where people might most probably resort.

And still to make the difficulty yet greater, we must consider, not only from the dark black colour of the teeth, contracted by their lying long under ground, and the remarkable alteration wrough on their bony substance, which (by the mineral streams and exhalations it has imbib'd whilst it was in the earth) is now become more solid, hard, and ponderous, than it was naturally at first, (nay in some parts we find it plainly petrified) but also from the perishing of all the other bones of the animal's body, and from the considerable depth of earth that covered those that were found; we must conclude, I say, from hence, that they have lain in this lace for many centuries; 'I won't say with Mr. Nevil ever since the flood, because I can't suppose that the flight texture of vegetable substances, nutts and the seeds of the rushes, could possibly have been preserv'd so long; but this, at least, may safely be affirmed, that these remains must be contemporaries with some of the remote ages of the world; which carries us so far back into the earliest times, that we can ne'er imagine the rude inhabitants of Ireland, or any of their neighbouring countries, were masters of so much art, in those days of ignorance and darkness, as to make carriages by sea strong and capable or of curiosity and politeness enough, to transport a beast of this large size from those far distant countries where 'twas bred; which they that now attempt do find a work of vast care, trouble and expence, even in this age wherein navigation is brought to such perfection.

These considerations, my Lord, grounded on other instances of the like kind, make me inclined to think this elephant we are speaking of, might not be brought hither by any care or industry of man; but the surface of this terraqueous globe might, in the earliest ages of the world, after the deluge, but before all records of our oldest histories, differ widely from its present geography, as to the distribution of the ocean and dry-land, its islands, continents and shores, so as to allow this beast, and others of its kind, for ought I know, that may be some such accident hereafter be luckily discovered, a free and open passage into this country from the continent.

For otherwise, how can we e're explain that that other vast large stately animal the moose-deer, little inferior to the elephant itself, could have been brought to Ireland, (where elsewhere I have shewn it formerly was common) from distant North America, even long before that quarter of the world was known, and is the only region I can hear, where this great beast is found at present.

And can we well imagine that foxes, otters, badgers, tigers, wolves, with linxes and such ravenous animals as we have been told, have lately been discovered by the great snows that fell this present winter in the Island of Sardinia and other places, should ever be imported (being useless noxious beasts of prey) by the industry of man, to propagate in Islands, that they might destroy men's food and flocks, and make their lives not only uneasy but unsafe?

Nay how can we suppose that birds of shortest flight, the various sorts of poisonous serpents, and of offensive creeping vermin, with all the various tribes of smaller insects, could possibly be found in Islands, unless they had been stock'd with those inhabitants when the intercourse between them and the continent was free and open.

But in whatever manner this elephant (to return to our subject) might first have made its way for Ireland; this is beyond dispute, that the bones of elephants have been discovered deep under ground, in other places as well as this kingdom; and those too out of the way, far distant from the native countries of this animal.

For not many years ago, in a hill near Erfurt, a town of the upper Saxony in Germany, several parts of the skeleton of an elephant were dug up; on which occasion Wilhelmus Ernestus Tentzelius historiographer to the Duke of Saxony, writ a letter to the very learned Antonio Magliabechi, Library Keeper to the great Duke of Florence. This treatise is published, but I have not been so lucky as to procure a sight of it, and know no more but just the title-page Wilhelmi Ernesti Tentzelii Historiographi Ducalis Saxonia Epistola, de Sceleto Elephantino Tonna nuper effosso, and Antoniam Magliabechium, Magni Ducis Hetruria Bibliothecarium.

And I am well persuaded, by the the best construction I can make of those imperfect and obscure accounts, we have in Evert Isbrand Iddes curious travels from Muscovy to China over land; Chap. the 6th, (which he confesses he only gathered from the barbarous Ostiacks inhabitants of that country) concerning the vast teeth and bones and limbs of philo-trans-25 as he calls them, frequently found (and diligently sought after to make profit of them) in the hills, and banks of several rivers in Siberia, the Keta, Fenize, Trugan, Montgamsea and Lena; that they are nothing else but the remains and skeletons of elephants buried there, and accidentally discovered by the Earth's opening, and falling down on the sudden thaws, after severe long frosts. But of this, please to consult the author, whose words are too prolix to be inserted here.

But to bring this matter still nearer home to ourselves, Mr. Cambden in his Britannia is of opinion, that those great monstrous teeth and bones, which he takes notice to have been at several times dug up in many parts of Great Britain, must have been the remains of elephants; but then he thinks, they must be of those that Dion Cassius the Historian, tells us, the Roman Emperor Claudius brought over, when he made his expedition into that Island. But that this truly is so, I own is but surmise as yet, and had not been so fairly proved by him or any other, as that we can rely upon't with satisfaction.

What Mr. William Somner the learned Antiquary has published in his discourse of Chartham News is more remarkable; (this is reprinted lately in the Philosophical Transactions for July 1701. No. 272.) where he informs us, that in the year 1668 in the village of Chartbam near Canterbury in England, digging within 12 rods of a river, they found a parcel of strange monstrous bones, some whole, some broken, together with four teeth perfect and sound, each weighing something above half a pound, and some of them almost as big as a Man's fist. They are all cheek-teeth or grinders; the earth in which they lay being like a sea earth, or fulling earth with not a stone in it.

'Tis observable how this account in many of it's circumstances, agrees with that of Mr. Nevil in his letter to your Grace; as that the teeth were all grinders, four in number found with other large broken bones near a brook, and in a claiey earth, without a stone; but then the weight and magnitude of our largest teeth, so far surpass those that were found in England, that these did not come up to a fifth part of those, which shows they could not be the teeth of the same animal. I must confess the author does not so much as suspect they were elephant's teeth, but on the contrary is of opinion that they belong'd to another species, the hippopotamus or river-horse, a beast that's yet a greater stranger in these parts of the world, than the elephant itself; and therefore it's passage hither can never be accounted for, but by some such like supposition as we have made.

However Mr. John Luffkins in his letter, wherein he designs to have reference to that discourse; and which is inserted in the Philosophical Transactions for Sept. 1701. No. 274. differs in his judgments from Mr. Somners about these teeth; as he is positive those large bones he describes in the same letter, and found near Harwich in Essex, certainly must have been.

Not having seen, much less examined, any of the bones or teeth concern'd in this controversy; either those that were found in Kent or those in Essex; I cannot well take upon me to determine anything in this matter; tho' those dug up at Chartham, as I understand, may still be perused by the curious among the natural rarities of the Royal Society in their repository at London. But this at present I can safely say, that if the figures of the teeth given us by Mr. Somner, and represented in the plate of the foremention'd Transaction No. 272. be genuine and well exprest (as I have no reason to doubt, as coming from one so skilful and so accurate) they no way seem to agree either in shape or make, or in that particular and characteristick work on the grinding supersicie, with the teeth of the elephant; or with the description and figures we have given, which I am sure are both correct and natural.

I should now, my Lord, make some apology for detaining your Grace so long upon what may seem so light and trivial a subject, a piece of meer curiosity; but I am so vain as to hope, whatever others may fancy, it may not appear so inconsiderable altogether to your Lordship's more discerning judgment.

For I am inclined to think, (even from these imperfect hints) that if we had more correct histories and observations of this kind, made in distant countries, and skilfully registered, with all their instructive circumstances, they might lead us into great and momentous truths relating to the Deluge; to the wise methods of providence, in replenishing all regions of the world with animal beings soon after the flood; and to the knowledge of several important changes that may have happen'd on the surface of this our terraqueous globe; inquiries that are truly worthy the utmost application of the most learned Divine and the most sagacious philosopher.

But I shall stop here, and only beg leave to subscribe myself, with the utmost respect,

My Lord,
Your Graces most devoted
faithful and humble servant.
T. Molyneux.

This letter of Mr. Nevile with Dr. Molineux's curious draughts of the teeth and his learned remarks upon them, having been produced and read before the Royal-Society, they ordered that what teeth they had of like sort should be look'd out and laid before them; to which Sir Hans Sloane was pleased to furnish a yet greater variety, out of his incomparable collection of natural rarities. And to obviate all doubts, there being at this time in Westminster the entire skull of a large elephant with the teeth in it, that was likewise ordered to be viewed and compared with the figures; which done, it appeared that the teeth in question could no other than those of an elephant.

By this enquiry we were likewise satisfied, that the number of teeth found, being but four, was no objection; it appearing that the number of molares in this animal is not certain. Pliny Lib. XI. Cap, 37. says exprestly Dentes Elephantointus ad mandendum quatuor, praeter eos qui prominent. And in the remains of that mighty elephant described by Tenzelius. Phil. Trans. No. 236, there were no more than four teeth found. In that at Westminster there are six, viz. One in each lower jaw, and two in each of the upper, whereof the inner tooth is about three times as long as the other, and both together longer than those of the under jaw by about an inch; the upper small teeth being much worn by grinding. These we have thought fit to represent by Fig. 5. shewing the rough grinding surface of the left under tooth, being considerably concave; and by Fig. 6. the same roughness on the upper teeth is shewn, having a convexity tallying with the concavity of the under, which is a circumstance not observed by any of those that have described them.

And also, by the observation of Mr. Du Verney, Dr. Moulins, and Mr. Blaire, who dissected three different elephants, it appear that each of them had eight molares; yet from them it is also evident that in the division of them nature observes no rule, for Mr. Moulins found the two teeth in each of the upper jaws of that he dissected, to be divided after a different manner; so that the inner tooth on the one side, and the outer on the other, was bigger than its adjoining fellow, yet not so as to be very unequal; and Mr. Duverney and Mr. Blaire had on both sides the much greater tooth outwards; whereas the Westminster-skull on the contrary, has only a small one outwards, and the much greater grinderwithin. All which considered, we may with assurance conclude, that this elephant found in Ireland had but four teeth in his head when he died; and that the two greater were those of the upper jaws, and the other two those of the under.

Again, by the size of the grinding part, we may conclude these to be the teeth of a very young and small elephant; since they are not much above half the length of those that are to be seen at Westminster, which belonged to a beast of not more than between 10 and 11 foot high; nor much above one third of the length of a fossile elephant's grinder in the Royal Society's repository, the which is here represented by Fig. 7. (all the figures being drawn to the scale of half their true dimensions). Hence it is not to be marvelled that the bones of so young an animal, having not acquired their firmity, as being in a growing state, should be dissolved by lying in the earth, as also the roots of the teeth.

On this occasion, perhaps it may not be amiss to quote a passage out of Mathew Paris his History, who assures us, that in his time Louis IX. (afterwards St. Louis) King of France, made a present of an elephant to his contemporary Henry III. of England; and that in the year 1255, after the English had been fourscore years master of Ireland. Of this says Mathew, Nec credimus quod unquam aliquis elephas visus est in Anglia praeter illum.


A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 370).

Clean Getaway.

March 14th, 2019

Besides writing poor summaries, I have another terrible fault of pushing people away. It's something that I've been aware of since I was 13. Most of my struggle in relationships start when I really let myself become attached and happy. I've had periods in my life when I was better at handling attachment, but it takes a lot of work and awareness. When something traumatic happens (insert kidnapping), I tend to revert back to my old ways of pushing people away from fear of loss. It's not something I'm at all proud of. I tend to keep my distance from any real relationships out of fear of hurting that person and myself.

I was two when my mom died from breast cancer. Thankfully, I don't remember anything from that time of of my life. My earliest memories revolve around me crying on the couch about missing her while my dad aggressively told me he'd, "take me to the hospital if I didn't stop". Coincidentally, the other earliest memory I have is of him crying about her and begging me not to tell anyone about his breakdowns. My brothers and father had a lot of anger about her death that they took out on me. I handled it by being sad a lot of the time and with a desperation to learn anything about her in order to understand myself. However, my dad wouldn't tell me many details about her, besides that she was a really good person and had a kind heart. I never asked him more about her because I thought it may be hurtful for me to press for more information. Secretly, I always wanted to know her favorite color or what made her happy or sad. My brothers and I also had a silent understanding to never discuss her death.

After my mother, Nancy, died my grandmother moved in and raised my brothers and I. For a lot of years it was extremely stressful watching my grandma and my dad butt heads. My dad was afraid of losing anyone after my mom died and my grandmother wanted us to live. I had a lot of surreal moments as a child being in school on mother's day or on bring a parent to school day. Some of the moments consisted of me realizing that I was one of those kid's with a dead parent or is that what having a mom is really like. That being said, my grandmother was wonderful and did the best to make sure we had the knowledge we needed. She taught me to read, not to be afraid of life, and be independent. More than that though, she tried to preserve our childhood the best she could and after having the experience of raising her own four boys, was ready to go toe to toe with my dad's anger. After my grandmother saw how hard my dad was on my brothers and I, she became my greatest ally and friend. This continued to the required train rides to Pennsylvania that she took us on on to visit my mother's mom and brother.

I loved riding the train with my brothers and grandma. We all woke up at 5AM to catch the earliest Amtrack train, which was next to a terrible smelling soap factory. I would arrange my stuffed animals on the seats, like they were riding the train with me and explained to them about the different cabins. Being in motion was always a safe feeling for me, my brothers and dad left me alone while we were on the way somewhere. My mom's brother, my Uncle Jeff, would met us at the train and take us to his and my other Grandmother Faye's house in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. My grandma would leave after a few days - leaving my brothers and I alone with my Grandma Faye and Uncle Jeff for about three weeks. This is when my nightmare started. My brothers had full authority to do whatever they wanted to me, which mostly consisted of calling me names and beating me up. For a long time, I could never understand why my Uncle Jeff and Grandma Faye didn't do anything to stop them. More than that, they both would pay special attention to my brothers by buying them lots of stuffed animals (which my brothers didn't really want) while not giving me anything or making fun of me with them. My Uncle Jeff would take them on lots of trips while leaving me alone to do nothing. I would cry when they hurt me and then get yelled at in the process.

My dad married my step-mother when I was around 12. This was hard for me because my dad had my grandma move out and my new step-mom move in. I felt the pain of losing someone who provided so much safety for me. I had trouble adjusting to the new dynamic and felt isolated. My brothers were always together and my dad and step-mom were now always together. My step-mom did get my dad to stop yelling at us, which was a huge relief; however, his meanness and depression never ceased. I was about 13 when, my step-mother revealed to me that my mother chose not to have chemo therapy for her breast cancer because she was pregnant with me and necessarily affirming her death. Knowing this destroyed me for many many months. My father asked me not to blame myself because, "that's not what she or any woman would want". He also told me that my Grandma Faye and Uncle Jeff had a hard time seeing me because I looked and reminded them so much of my mom. To my dad's credit, I never told him what happened on those trips but as soon as he saw it, he stopped me from going there. I took on this survivors guilt of blaming myself for any pain my family had because I was the reason my mother died. My anxiety was out of control for a while to the point of me not being able to sleep and my teacher getting involved. Finally, I made living amends by telling myself that I would be very kind to everyone that I could, in order to justify being alive, and further than that, I would live for two people, my mother and I.

This isin't meant to be a sad story for me. My mother gave me such a beautiful gift and perspective on the world. I have always considered myself fortunate for having experienced death and loss at such an early time in my life.

Since my mother's death, life has granted me many other other people to lose, from good friends to now my entire family. All of this pain has caused me to start to again, anticipate the eventual separation from the people I care most about, and therefore, pushing them away before I really get hurt. It's no way to live and it's the furthermost thing from kind. No matter how much I try to avoid loss, life will always be uncontrollable. All lessons are cheap while we are alive. I know its worth attaching to others to spite that they may not always be there, just like I know that we can chose to see hard times as a destruction or a blessing. I chose to see them as a blessing and I hope you will chose to do the same.


Philosophical Transactions. For the months of July, August and September, 1716. - Part VIII.

March 13th, 2019

Ⅷ. Observations on the glands in the human spleen; and on a fracture in the upper part of the thigh-bone. By J.Douglass, M.D. and R.S.S.

That anatomy, as well as physick and surgery, has received much improvement from a careful and true observation of what was found in the dissection of morbid bodies, will appear from the two following instances, among many more that might be adduced for that purpose. For it is certain, that nothing has contributed so much towards forming a right notion of nature of the several diseases, and a true knowledge of the structure of many parts of the human body, as their appearance in a preternatural state.
My first observation is of the glands visible to the naked eye, that appear dispersed thro' the fibrous substance of the human spleen. The subject I found them in, was a boy of about 4 or 5 years old, that died of general atrophy, or consumption of all the muscular fleshy parts of the body, occasioned without all doubt from the numerous glandulous swellings scattered up and down the whole mescentery; which by compressing the lymphatick vessels, called in this place vasa lactea, prevented the access and supply of the chyle, so necessary for the continued nourishment and increase of the parts. For without the constant recruit of this whitish balsamick liquor, the mass of blood will in a short time be unfit to perform any of those good offices, which a fresh accession of chyle qualifies it for.
In a piece of this spleen we might see, without the assistance of a glass, several round whitish bodies of a pretty hard consistence, and abundance of small white and softer specks; but both of the same nature. These, to me at least, appear to be so many distinct glands become visible; which in a natural state are only to be seen by a fine glass, as the curious malpighius first observed. Vid. his treatise de Liene, Cap. V. de quibusdam corpribus per lienem dispersis. Minima ha glandula, says he, non aque facile sese produnt in quocunque animalium liene; imsola Lienis laceratione innotescunt in Bove, Ove, &. In homine vero dissicilius emergunt; si tamen ex morbo unlversun glandularum genus turgeat, manifestiores redduntur, auita ipsaraum magnitudine, ut in defuncta puella observavi; in qua lien globulis conspicuis racematim dispersis totus scatebat. Which case was the very same with mine.
The second observation. We had still been in the dark, about the nature of luxation of the head of the thigh bone, had we not carefully examined the part in the dead body. For by that sort of enquiry, the common mistake of surgeons was detected, and what was esteemed and treated by them as a luxation of the head of the femur, was discover'd to be nothing else but a fracture of the same bone, near its neck; the globular head being still retained close in its own socket, called the acetabulum coxendicis.
Amongst all the writers of surgery and anatomy, I know but three that were apprised to this mistake. The first was Ambrose-Parec, the second Dr. Ruysch at Amsterdam, and Mr Cheselden, a member of the Royal-Society; whose obvervations on this subject I intend to communicate at another time, together with an account of the true structure of this joint; all in which I will consider the depth of the articulation; the wonderful strength of the muscles that surround it; the many strong ligaments that bind the head within the socket; the smallness of the neck of the bone; its poreous and spungy substance, which makes it much weaker than the rest; and last of all the disadvantages oblique position of this neck, which exposes it the more to outward accidents. From a review of such like considerations, it will plainly appear that a fracture can much more easily happen, than a dislocation in that part from an external cause.
This os femoris belonged to an old woman turn'd of fourscore, who only fell from her chair whereon she was sitting, and thereby suffered this breach of continuity in the substance of the bone. She lived three weeks after it; and tho' it never was reduc'd ,yet she complained of very little or no pain, which may seem very extraordinary. It is observable that the fracture is not only oblique, near the neck of the bone; but that each trochanter, i.e. the two processes near its cervix, are likewise broke short off; and that they were both drawn up almost as high as the head of the bone itself, by the strong contraction of the glutci and other muscles.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 499).

Things that happened last month.

March 13th, 2019

1) Purchased a pet fish at the local farmers market. I saved a weeks worth of colones and pushed my way through the 9 and under crowd. No, I wasn't high and yes, I was more excited than them. The fish that was chosen was pink and I carried it's plastic bag the two miles home. I named it Rosé and four hours later I found it dead between the oven and the fridge. We'll never know if it intentionally committed fish suicide or jumped too high.1

2) I got peed on by a dog. While wearing a never before worn dress, I suggested that we all hang out by the pool because it was such a nice day. The neighbor's dogs came by to get their pats on. I said my usual, "sup dog? I like your fur." Then suddenly, everyone was laughing and I was warm. Nope, no I've never heard of this happening to anyone, either.2

3) Pierced my ears. We were walking through San Jose on our way to the Manga Cafe. Master pointed out a piercing shop and without any planning or warning, I got my ears pierced. I had been avoiding this for years due to the pain and continued cost of buying new earrings. In hindsight, beatings prepare you for a lot more of life than you realize.

4) My 26th birthday. The only thing notable about turning 26 is that I am now 4 years away from 30. I wore my best school girl outfit for a night out to celebrate... Except that, the bar scene is so desperate in CR that we had to go to Hooters (which I had never been to before) and then when I asked where the party is, the waitress literally wrote down "home" (I appreciated her honesty because, I had been suspicious that this was the case for a while now). All was not lost, since I took the opportunity to school the waitresses on partying and expose my tits.

5) I beat down my first pinata. This was not a child-like carefree beating of a pinata - I was naked with an audience and also, the house I was beating the pinata down in is filled with fine liquor and breakables. Somehow my man hands managed to only break the pinata, which rained down homemade chocolate cookies and tampons. After all was done and destroyed, it was really exciting and I hope to have another Battle Royale next year.

And also, dicks & ducks!!




At 26, still Polish but less pale. Hmm.

  1. Bianca: omg im dying right now that is such bad luck and a new record
    we should get a cat together!!

    Harem: One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Dead Fish?! []

  2. Too bad I can't notify the Philosophical Transactions of this account. []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of April, May and June, 1716. - Part IV.

March 12th, 2019

Ⅳ. An account of what appear'd on opening the big belly'd woman near Haman in Shropshire, who was suppos'd to have continued many years with child. Communicated by Dr. Hollings M.D. from Shrewsbury.

A marry'd woman, near Haman about three miles from Shrewsbury, about the 40th year of her age, had then first the common reasons to believe she was with child; at the time of her account she had the usual signs of labour, and a good midwife, tho' mistaken, assur'd her it was so, but that the child was so big she could not be delivered without bringing it away in pieces. She not submitting to that, her pains went soon off, and she continued without any other disorders nine months longer, when she had again the signs of labour; and the same midwife assur'd her as before, and she persisting in her former resolution, her pains, after a day or two went off. Soon after her belly swell'd to a surprizing size, by which she got subsistance for her family by being seen as a shew. I saw her first above twenty years since, when her belly was almost even with her chin, the weight of it so great, that she was oblig'd to support it with a stool. She could not stand without the help of a rope from the cieling, which assisted her in changing her posture of fitting. She slept commonly with her arms folded on her belly, and her head rested between them. Sh had no swelling in her legs; every other part emaciated as usual in the like cases. Thus this poor creature liv'd without any other considerable complaint above thirty years, the most remarkable circumstance, I think, in her case. She died in May 1715, when this appear'd to be an ascites.
I need not mention the state the common teguments must necessarily be in from so great a distention, which had distorted may of her ribs, and forc'd the diaphragm so high, that it was suprizing to find her breathing could be so long continu'd. The water was all contain'd in the duplicature of the peritonaum, 13 gallons besides a quart that was split; it was saltish, with some little fat upon it, and towards the latter running ting'd with blood as usual. There was not any water in the cavity of the abdomen, except what was contain'd in a kind of bladder of the shape I have sent, Fig 31. which lay a-cross the pundus uteri. This was divided by a cartilaginous substance into two cavities; in one there was a pint and a half, in the other three parts of a pint of water. I believe it was this (I know not how) impos'd on the midwife. The uterus was of the natural size without any alteration, except that the os tinca and collum minus were fill'd with a gritty substance, hard as stone, which I take to be the humour separated there, and coagulated by time. Mr. Cooper Tab. 15. Fig. 4. says he found the same parts fill'd with a glutinous matter, which he think is useful to prevent the abortion; which if vitiated, impregnation is hinder'd.
The liver and other parts contain'd in the abdomen, were forc'd into an incredible small compass (and by that pressure a little chang'd in shape) to perform their office so long; to which the muscles of the abdomen, distended so as to be scarce discernible, could give but little, if any assistance.
The awe that people have here for dead bodies, tho' never so prejudicial to the living, would not suffer her friends to let me make any farther enquiry; so that I can send no account of any other part. The same error hindered me examining another woman, who died here about a week after, of an ascites which she had forty years, any farther than to be satisfied she had seven gallons of water contain'd between the duplicatures of the peritonaum, and none in the cavity of the abdomen.


A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 452).

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of November and December, 1715. - Part VI.

March 8th, 2019

Ⅵ. An account of a book. Guilhelmi Musgrave Reg. Societ. Utriusque Socii, Geta Britannicus. Accedit Domus Severianæ Synopsis Chronologica; & de Icuncula Quondam M. Regis Ælfredi dissertatio. 8vo. Iscae Dumnoniorum. MDCCXV.

The author, having some1 years since publish'd a comment on Julius Vitalis his epitaph, which, (together with his monument) is to be seen at bath; does not present the publick with another volume of Belgic Antiquities; intending hereby, to illustrate part of a statue, which was found likewise near that city, and is at this time immured near the monument aforesaid, at the Eastern end of the Abby-Church, looking toward the grove.
This fragment of an Equestrian statue, is in Basse Releise; the rider has in his right hand a Hasta pura, and a parma in his left; as in Fig. I. of the book. It appears from2 Dio that Caius and Lucius, Cæsars, (the nephews, and adopted sons of Augustus) had each of them a Parma and an Hasta given him; and there being no instance of this honour paid to any of an inferiour rank among the Romans, but only to such as were of very great quality; if not to Casars only; we are from hence be a'lowed to think, that this statue represented some person of that quality.
But to discover the particular person, (if it might be done) the author compared a very good draught he had procured of this horseman, which such Roman Coyns, as he could meet with. This comparison shewed a great resemblance between the face in the statue, and that in two of Geta's coyns.
This argument, drawn from the similitude of faces (of great force to determine the reader's judgement in favour of Geta) is farther confirmed by the horse; a creature of which Geta was very fond; insomuch, as that he affected to be represented under the figure of Castor, (as the Roman Emperors often were under the figures of their Gods) of whom it is said, Castor gaudet Equis; — of this figure there is in3 Oiselius, a coyn of Geta's, very much to this purpose; represented Tab. IV. Fig. 5. of this book.
These things bring to mind, the authority which Geta had in South-Britain; where (as4 Herodian affirms) all matters were under his administration, during the stay which Severus and Caracalla made in the North; which was a year, or more. In this time, Geta had it in his power, to do many things, in favour of cities and countreys, here in the South. The great generosity of his mind prompted him to publick works; such as are, to this day, attested by5 inscriptions, with his name in them; and it is highly probable, [That this statue was erected to Geta on some such account.]
If this be granted, (as from the concurrence of so much, and so good testimony, it seems highly probable) here is a large and pleasant view opened into antiquity; not of late taken notice of by any writer; it shews, that Geta was a great benefactor to old Bath; either by laying, in a perfect morass, the foundation of that town; or by preserving the hot-springs, entire, from the influx of other waters; or both; works of great Munisicence, and becoming Geta's spirit. By these, or some such ways, it is probable, this people was obliged to Geta; but no one is more probable, than that of preserving the Aqua Calida; which were in those days so famous, as to give a denomination to the place. It is well know, that Rome had her Therma Severiana and Antoniniana, so called from their respective founders; the former being built by Severus, the father; the latter by Antoninus, the brother of Geta; so that to take care of baths, was a sort of greatness, that family seemed to delight in; and Geta may reasonably be supposed,to have his share of this delight.
From the great probability of this opinion, the author has, out of love to his native country, and the honour due to Geta, collected and put together, what he can meet with relating to that Emperor. He has made a new edition of Geta's Life, from the Historia Augusta Scriptores; restoring it to its true author, Julius Capitolinus; and explaining it, with the notes of Casaubon, Gruter, and Salmasius; to which he has added some of his own. He has reprinted all the inscriptions he can meet with, of Geta's, and many of his coyns; with short notes on both.
After all this, he is not so far engaged in his opinion, but that if, (by any inscription on the basis of this statue, or any other testimony) it shall hereafter appear, that this fragment deserves another explication, he shall readily comply with any such clearer testimony; being no way disposed, to give farther credit to this broken monument, than shall answer the imperfect condition it is now in.
To this dissertation, de Geta Britannico, he has added the chronology of his illustrious house; shewing, how his Father, Severus, from a private gentleman in Africa came by degrees to be Emperor of Rome; and indeed one of the greatest, that ever Rome had; how he, with his two sons, Bassiamus and Geta, (three Roman Emperors) resided, at one and the same time, here in Britain) and from hence sent their imperial edicts, orders, and dispatches, into all parts of the empire; and after an amazing greatness of about twenty four years, and a course of almost all virtues and vices, at length tumbled down; submitting to the accidents and fate of other men; and were all buried at Rome, in the Septizodium built by Severus.
To these Memoirs of Geta, the author has subjoyned a discourse, concerning that curious cimclium, which was, some years since, found at Athelney in Somerset. It did belong to K. Ælfred, and is now in the possession of Col. Palmer of Fairfield, in that country. Beside the critical use made of it, by the learned6 Dr. Hickes, our author writes of it, as an undeniable instance of the use of images, coming from the heathens into the Christian Church.
The book is adorned with several cuts, of the broken statue at Bath, of two of Geta's silver-coyns, of the Septizodium Severi, (out of Perac) and three sides of the philotrans2 Ælfredi.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 385).

  1. philo-trans-13 []
  2. philo-trans-23 []
  3. philo-trans-31 []
  4. philo-trans-41 []
  5. philo-trans-51 []
  6. philo-trans-61 []

Philosophical Transactions. For the months of October, November and December, 1714. - Part IV.

March 7th, 2019

Ⅳ. An account of several extraordinary meteors or lights in the sky. By Dr. Edmund Halley, Savilian Professor of geometry at Oxon, and Secretary to the Royal-Society.

The theory of the air seemeth, at present to be perfectly well understood, and the differing densities thereof at all altitudes, both by reason and experiment are sufficiently defined; for supporting the same air to occupy spaces reciprocally proportional to the quantity of the superior or incumbent air, I have elsewhere proved that at 40 miles high the air is rarer than at the surface of the earth about 3000 times; and that the utmost height of the atmosphere, which reflects light in the crepusculum, is not fully 45 miles notwithstanding which, 'tis still manifest that some sort of vapours, and those in no small quantity, arise nearly to that height. An instance of this may be given in the great light the Society had an account of (vid. Transact. Sept. 1676) from Dr. Wallis, which was seen in very distant countries almost over all the South part of England. Of which though the doctor could not get so particular a reason, as was requisite to determine the height thereof, yet from the distant places it was seen in, it could not but be very many miles high.
So likewise that meteor which was seen in 1708. on the 31st of July, between nine and ten a clock at night, was evidently between 40 and 50 miles perpendicularly high, and as neat as I can gather, over Shereness and the Buoy on the Nore. For it was seen at London moving horizontally from E. by N. to E. by S. at least 50 degrees high, and at Redgrave in Suffolk, on the Tarmouth Road, about 20 miles from the East coast of England, and at least 40 miles to the Eastward of London, it appeared a little to the Westwards of the South, suppose by S. by W. and was seen about 30 degrees high, sliding obliquely downwards. I was shown in both places the situation thereof, which was as described, but could with some person skill'd in astronomical matters had seen it, that we might pronounce concerning its height with more certainty; yet, as it is we may securely conclude, that it was not many miles more Westerly than Redgrave, which as I said before, is above 40 miles more Easterly than London. Suppose it therefore, where perpendicular, to have been 35 miles East from London, and by the altitude it appear'd at in London, viz. 50 degrees, its tangent will be 42 miles, for the height of the meteor above the surface of the earth; which also is rather of the least because the altitude of the place shewn me, is rather more than less than 50 degrees; and the like may be concluded from the altitude it appear'd in at Redgrave, near 70 miles distant. Though at this great distance, it appear'd to move with an incredible velocity, darting, in a very few seconds of time, for about 12 degrees of a great circle from North to South, being very bright at its first appearance; and it died away at the end of its course, leaving for some time a pale whiteness in the place, with some remains of it in the track where it had gone; but no hissing sound as it past, or bounce of an explosion were heard.
It may deserve the honourable Society's thoughts, how so great a quantity of vapour should be raised to the very top of the atmosphere, and there collected, so as upon its accension or otherwise illumination, to give a light to a circle of above 100 miles diameter, not much inferior to the light of the moon; so as one might see to take a pin from the ground in the otherwise dark night. 'Tis hard to conceive what sort of exhalations should rise from the earth, either by the action of the sun or subterranean heat, so as to surmount the extream cold and rareness of the air in those upper regions; but the fact is indisputable, and therefore requires a solution.
Like to this, but much more considerable, was that famous meteor which was seen to pass over Italy on the 21st of March O.S. Anno 1676. about an hour and three quarters after sunset, which happen'd to be observed and well consider'd by the famous professor of mathematicks in Bononia Geminian Montanri, as may be seen in his Italian treatise about it, soon after published at Bononia. He observes that at Bononia, its greatest altitude in the S.S.E. was 38 degrees, and at Siena 58 to the N.N.W.; that its course by the concurrence of all the observers was from E.N.E. to W.S.W. that it came over the Adriatick Sea as from Dalmatia; that it crost over all Itality, being nearly vertical to Rimini and Savigniana on the one side, and to Leghorn on the other; that its perpendicular altitude was at least 38 miles; that in all places near this course, it was heard to make a hissing noise as it passed, ronzare, Far strepito comme unfunco artificiale, fisciare per aria comme un raggio di polve; that having past over Leghorn it went off to sea towards Corsica, and lastly that at Leghorn it was heard to give a very great blow, tuno di maggior rumore di grossa cannoata; immediately after which another sort of sound was hard like the rattling of a great cart running over stones, which continued about the time of a credo.
He concludes from the apparent velocity it went on with at Bononia, at above 50 miles distance, that it could not be less swift than 160 miles in a minute of time, which is above ten times as swift as the diurnal rotation of the earth under he equinoctial, and not many times less than that wherewith the annual motion of the earth about the sun is performed. To this he adds the magnitude thereof, which appeared at Bononia bigger than the moon i none diameter, and above half as big again in the other; which with the given distance of the eye, makes its real lesser diameter above half a mile, and the other in proportion. This supposed, it cannot be wondred that so great a body moving with such an incredible velocity through the air, though so much rarified as it is in its upper regions, should occasion so great a hissing noise, as to be heard at such a distance as it seems this was. But 'twill be much harder to conceive, how such an impetus could be impressed on the body thereof, which by many degrees exceeds that of any cannon ball; and how this impetus shou'd be determind in a direction so nearly parallel to the horizion; and what sort of substance it must be ,that could be so impelled and ignited at the same time; there being no vulcano or other spiraculum of subterraneous fire in the N.E. parts of the world, that we ever yet heard of, from whence it might be projected.
I have much considered this appearance, and think it one of the hardest things to account for, that I have yet met with in the phanomena of meteors, and am induced to think that it must be some collection of matter form'd in the ether, as it were by some fortuitous concourse of atoms, and that the earth met with it as it past along in its orb, then but newly formed, and before it had conceived any great impetus of descent towards the sun. For the direction of it was exactly opposite to that of the earth, which made an angle with the meridian at that time (the sun being in about 11 degrees of Aries) of 67 Gr. that is, its course was from W.S.W. to E.N.E. wherefore the meteor seem'd to move the contrary way; and besides falling into the power of the earth's gravity, and losing its motion from the opposition of the medium, it seems that it descended towards the earth, and was extinguish'd in the Tyrrhene Sea, to the W.S.W. of Leghorn. The great blow being heard upon its first immersion into the water, and the rattling like the driving a cart over stones being what succeeded upon its quenching; something like which is always observed upon quenching a very hot iron in water. These facts being dispute, I would be glad to have the opinion of the learned thereon, and what objection can be reasonably made against the above said hypothesis, which I humbly submit to their censure.
P.S. Since this was written, there has fallen into my hands an account of much such another appearance, seen in Germany, in the year 1686, at Leipsic, by the late Mr. Gottfreid Kirch, who was for many years a very diligent observer of the heavens and perfectly well instructed in astronomical matters. He in an appendix to his Ephemerides for the year 1688, gives us this remarkable relation in the following words.
Die 9 Jul. st.vct. hora 1 1/2 matutina, Globus ardens preditus in 8 1/2 gr. aquarii & 4 Gr. Sept. apparuit, qui per semiquadrantum hora immotus perstitit, cujus diameter semidiametrum luna circiter aquabat. Primo lux tanta erat, ut ejus ope fine candelis legere potuissemus; postea pedetentim in loco suo evinascebat. Phanomenon istud dicto tempore multis aliis in locis pariter visum est, prasertim Schlaizii, oppido undecium milliaribus germanicis abhine (i.e. a Lipsia) versus meridiem distante, altitudine circiter 60 Gr. ab horizonte meridiano.
At the time of this appearance the sun was in 26 1/2 Gr. of1, and by the given palce of the meteor, 'tis plain, it was seen about 3/4 of an hour past the meridian, or in S. by W. and by its declination it could not be above 24 degrees high at Leipsie, though the same, at Schlaize was about 60 Gr. high; the angle therefore at the meteor was about 36 Gr. whence by an easy calculus it will be found, that the same was not less than 16 German miles distant in a right line from Leipsick, and above 6 1/2 such miles perpendicular above the horizon, that is at least 30 English miles high in the air. And though the observer says of it immotus perstitit per semiquadrantem hora; 'tis not to be understood that it kept its place like a fixt star, all the time of its appearance; but that had no very remarkable progressive motion. For himself has at the end of the said Ephemerides given a figure of it, which he has marked Fig. D. whereby it appears that it darted downwards obliquely to the right hand, and where it ended, left two globules or nodes, not visible but by an optick tube.
The same Mr. Gottfried Kirch in the beginning of a German treatise of his, concerning the great comet which appeared in the year 1680, intituled2 printed at Nurenburg anno 1681, (of which perhaps we shall have further occasion to make mention) gives ua relation of such another luminous meteor seen likewise at Leipsick on the 22nd of May 1680. st. vet. about three in the morning; which though himself saw not, was yet there observ'd by divers persons who made various reports of it, but the more intelligent agreed that it was seen descending in the North and left behind it a long white streak where it has past. At the same time at Haarburgh the like appearance was seen in N.E. or rather N.N.E.; as also at Hamburg, Lubeck and Stralsund, all which are about 40 German miles from Leipsick; but in all these places, by person acquainted with the manner of properly describing things of this kind. So that we all can conclude from it is, that this meteor was exceeding high above the earth, as well as the former.
All the circumstances of these phanomena agree with what was seen in England in 1708, but it commonly so happens that these contingent appearances escape the eyes of those that are best qualified to give a good account of them. 'Tis plain however that this sort of luminous vapour is not exceedingly seldom thus collected; and when the like shall again happen, the curious are entreated to take more notice of them than has been hitherto done, that we may be enabled thereby better to account for the surprizing appearances of this sort of meteor.


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Philosophical Transactions. For the months of July, August and September, 1716. - Part III.

March 3rd, 2019

Ⅲ. Miscellaneous observations made about Rome, Naples and some other countries, in the year 1683 and 1684; and communicated to the publisher by Tancred Robinson M.D.R.S.S.


You having been pleas'd to think some of my observations might be agreeable to the publick, I shall here freely give you them (such as they are) omitting those that were formerly extracted out of the MSS. Diaries of my Travels, some of which are printed in several Philosophical Transactions, and others in some of Mr. Ray's English Tracts.
In my journey from Rome to Naples I observ'd on the rubbish of the Tre Taberne an unusual vegetable for that place, remote from town or house, which was the Ficus Indica Spinosa commonly call'd the Opuntia or Iuna, and by our writers of America the prickly-pear, whose juice gives the urine a red colour; when I came to Naples, I found it there near the rocks, and in some wild solitary places like a native. If the Spaniards planted it, they chose desert situations. On this plant the cochineel vermiculus is said to feed in great numbers, before it changes into the chrysalis or aurelia of a lady cow; but the colour lies in the nymph worm before it turns into a beetle. This gives me occasion to reflect upon the many species of our European Vermiculi, some of which might be found to yield colours (if try'd); we are certain the maggot of our ilex gives the kermes, and a noble scarlet dye before it turns into a fly. Many shell-fish (which are a sort of insect) contain purple juices.
This brings on another remark I made in passing the Apennies and Alps, where I noted in some beds or strata, and even in the midst of the hardest rocks, great varieties of perfect shells, that never occurr'd to me on the Italian Shores, nor in any of the numerous museums of that country; so I guess they might be exotick.
Going further on the Via Appia, I observ'd abundance of the Siliqua Arbor or Carob Tree, commonly call'd Panis S. Joannis Baptista; on the pulp whereof many poor people were feeding. The husks tasted like Manna to me. Near them grew plenty of the Arbor Juda.
The arbutus, or strawberry tree, was common in the woody places; if this grows wild in the South West parts of Ireland, as some affirm, I shall think them much warmer than any countries of England.
Before I enter'd the beautiful Campania of Naples large woods of cork trees grew on each side of the road, where the inhabitants were decorticating them. I ask'd if the trees did not perish; they answer'd, some did, but the acorns return'd annual supplies. The women and children wore shoes made of the bark.
Coming near Capua I observ'd a species of ash, or Ornus, on the trunk whereof many Saccharin concretions were visible. This prov'd the true Manna, that issues out thro' the incisions made in this tree by the inhabitants of Calabria. Swarms of cicada's were sucking the body and boughs, and perhaps by wounding then made way for fresh Manna. Here I may note, that many insects have not only a proboseis to bore and draw out the juices of plants for aliment, but other proper instruments to convey their eggs into vegetables and animals, where they may find covert and food when they come to hatch, in the gall-tumours, and other excrescences occasion'd by the wounds of the parent insects, that make such variety of cunicali in all parts of plants, and even in the cutaneous parts of living creatures and in dead flesh.
This confirms me, that many gums and exudations find their way out of vegetables thro' the wounds of insects and other apertures. Most voyagers thro' the East Indies affirm, that gum lack is work'd and made by large ants that cover trees. I rather think the insects fuck and terebrate the tree, and so give vent to that peculiar sap that hardens in the sun. This may extend to most basfamiferous, gummiferous, and saccharine plants, especially in hot climates where insects abound, and are more active. In cold climates the saps of many vegetables will boyl into sugars, as that of maple, birch, reeds, &c. Not but that the fluids of plants (like those of animals) will spontaneously break thro' their vessels in a plethory, and make on the superficial parts various eruptions and congestions.
Discoursing of manna I may here take notice there are many adulterations of this drug; all passes for the Calabrian, whereas that of Brianson is from the larix, that of Persia from the Myrica, and these frequently mixt with the juices of sponges, and other purgative ingredients. I must not here deny that dew will sometimes cool mornings shoot, and congeal into a solid, sweet, white substance, which I once observ'd in very hot weather before sun-rise.
Upon viewing the vulcano's about Naples, Vesuvius on the East side, the Solfatara and Monte di Cincre on the West near Puzzuolo and Baja; I observ'd the same face of nature, which I believe runs thro' all the other vulcano's of our globe, viz. heaps of pumice stones and cinders of Marchasites on the sides, with beds of flower of brimstone on the tops. The holes and cavities in those calcin'd minerals seem to be the nidus of the sulphur, which hath been sublim'd by the heat and fire of that vast mass of pyrites, that compose the bowels of those vulcano's and lye scatter'd thro' many parts of the earth, even under the sea, where they sometimes germinate, ferment, and take fire, throwing up the little islands. Earthquakes and other choc's of the globe may spring from the mines of these combustible and explosive minerals, loaden with brimstone and elastic salts. Hence some account may be given of therma or hot baths, whose waters gliding thro' these hot beds take their gas. Of such medicinal boiling waters and stoves, there are more about Naples than in any place I ever saw or heard of, the whole country being continually pervaded by hot streams.
Walking round this city I found palm trees, some with unripe dates hanging down, others without any fruit; and there was another species of palm that sweats out the gum dragon; I suppose the Monks had transplanted them out of Africa. I saw growing here may sugarcanes, rice, maiz, abundance of the purging senna, and cummin seed. Thro' the whole campania of Naples I observ'd the same vegetables to be larger and more proud than in other parts of Italy, as the platanus, the lentiscus, the terabinthus, the pistaches, the oleanders, agnus castus, barba jovis, the tragacanth, the stryax, the capers, &c. The melons, jujubes, the azaroles, and other fruits were of a better taste. The gossypium, with the cotton breaking out of the husks, adorn'd some of the fields the hedges full of pomegranats, almonds, tamarisk, sumach, cedrus lycia (a sort of juniper or savin) abundance of phillyrea, alaternus, cisti, cytisi, myrtles, Spanish broom, bays, laurustines, &c. all wilds, indigenous of that warm soil and kind climate. The watermelons, the olives, the oranges, lemons and citrons were better than about Genoa or in Provence.
The lotus arbor or nettle tree, the paliurus or christ thron, the ricinus or palma christi, common in the hedges, with several thymelea's.
I saw them fishing for coral, and hippocampi; the first did not come soft out of the sea; the hard incrustation covers the vegetable part that bears seed, as the alga's and fuci do. They take the sword-fish by darting a spear into him, as they do the whales in the Greenland fishery.
When dark night came on, I could see multitudes of luminous flies thro' the Campania of Naples; perhaps our male gloworm, or flying cicindela, may abound there; not but that many other insects may carry such lanthorns about them. The scorpions creep out about that time; and I have found them often in bed, with the punaises.
The hedges are full of lizards of various colours; and the cicada's chirp and sing towards evening. I observ'd several species of stinging spiders in the corn fields, some of which, in hot harvests, may prove taratula's; the poysons of animals and plants increasing abundance of silk worms were spinning on the trees and shrubs; the birds prey'd upon them, before they could change into papilo's, as they do upon swarms of locusts.
I eat often young frogs, tortoises and snails, served up with oyl and pepper, which agreed well within me; so did their sea urchins, and the urtica marina, (called sea gelly or blubber, tho' it be an animal, having a true heart, and vessels for the circulation of fluids) some of their thistles are no ungrateful sallet.
I saw some vitriol works about Siena, Rome and Puzzuolo; those of alum only about civita vecchia. Amongst the sands of the Adriatic Sea I observ'd many white, clear, shining flints ;which they told me were carried to Venice, to make the fine chrystal glass at Muran.
Upon reading our ingenious Dr. Musgrave, de Geta Britan. & Synop. Chronolog. Dom. Sever. I consulted my diary taken at Rome. The magnificent Septizonium figur'd by him stood near the foot of the Palatine Hill, on the E.S.E. side, overlooking the Via Appia and the Circus Maximus, the Amphitheatre of Titus being near on the other side. By the number of Portico's (which were seven) it might contain multitudes of people, as spectators of the trumphal entries and the publick games. But I would not be thought to differ from our Learned Countryman, who with good authority, thinks in the sepulchretum of that imperial family; tho's most of the ancient mausoleum's, (at least those I saw) were Rotonda's, or Columbaria's, for the more convenient placing the urns of the kindred; as that of Augustus near the Campus Martius; that of Adrian on the other bank of the Tyber' those said to be of Scipio, of Cicero, and Munatius Plancus, near Galeta and the Via Appia; that of Virgil on the side of Mount Pausilippus; that of C. Metella and some others on the Via Flaminia. Some were pyramidal as that of Cestius in the wall of Rome, and a few others on the public roads. This Septizonium Severi seems to differ from the rest of those ancient Sepulchretum's which might be varied according to the fancy and humor of great families.
This urn burial was only in fashion amongst the gentes majores; as for the dead bodies of the plebeians and slaves, they were generally laid in places where they had dug stone; and those quarries became catacombes. The laws prohibited them to bury within a city, unless the bodies were first reduc'd to ashes.
I observ'd in many of the ruins about Rome and Naples, great stones laid close, and wedged very fast with little or no cement; the bricks towards the middle of a building were generally of a Rhomboiaal figure, very smooth, shining and hard, laid in plaister as firm as marble. Their mortar was much more durable then ours, as appears at this day by their aquaducts and piscina's, the cento camare, and caligula's bridge under water at baja. Pliny says, they made use of the Terra Puteolana, but the present inhabitants have lost the way of tempering it.
During my abode at Genoa, Leghorn, Ostia, and Civita Vecchia, I observ'd many torpedo's or cramp fishes, most accurately anatomized by S. Lorenzini; plenty of sphyrana's, (a species of sea pike, a-kin to the needle-fishes) the uranoscopous, call'd bocca in capa and prete. The mola or sun fish. The dentex or pentalis, altavela's a sort of pastinaca. The pesce balestra or capriscus. The pesce pettine or novacula. The zygana or ballance fish, as large as the saw-fish or most sharks. The scolopax or trombetta, call'd by our seamen the bellows or trumpet-fish. The raco marinus. The tunny-fish. The centrina or pesce porco. The squila. The scorpius major, with varieties of turdi in the markets. But what pleas'd me most, was some odd sea animals, as the lepus marinus, (a species of naked snail) the hystrix marnius, or eruca, call'd by the seamen pincio, with a brush hanging out of the tail, like the byssus or silk of the pinpa. Many tamburo's or drum-fishes; plenty of murana's. I observ'd a strange sea animal, call'd the microcosmo marino, with many shells, tubuli and vegetables growing or sticking to the back of it, this appear'd to me a kin to the enchin's marini, or rather to the stella marina, being triangular, and sometimes pentadaetylous.
I embark't once with the fishermen, who shew'd me several loligo's, polypi, and sepia's, or cuttle-fishes, (all crustaceous) some of them were casting out their ink in the water; I supposed some sharks, dog-fishes, or other enemies, were near them; this black liquor may be the gall of those animals. In the nets, I often found sea insects, and vegetables; and indeed a new world, undescrib'd by natural writers, at least unknown to me; but for want of the art of designing or drawing abundance of things escap'd me, and were utterly lost; therefore I would advise all travellers to be conversant in that most useful science.
I observ'd the Italians near the Alps and Appennines, call'd several birds francolino's, as our red, grey and black game; and even their red and white patridges; the different colours of the hens from the cocks, the many variegations in feathers, the different ages and places, have all given occasion to multiply names and species; the same may happen in fishes, quadrupeds, insects, and all the divisions of zoology; and even in botany and minerology.
The Italians call many of their little fat birds beccastigo's, that feed upon figs, grapes, and other sweet fruits. So the French multiply their ortulans, taken in the vineyards and gardens. Some of the antient writers take notice that the Romans used to feed their geese and other birds with figs, when they intended to swell their livers to a monstrous bigness.
The merops or apiaster is common on their brooks; it flies like our kings-fisher, and preys not only upon insects but fish. There is a very beautiful bird in Italy, that suspends its nest down from the boughs of trees. When I saw it fly by me, I took it for an Indian, from the brightness of its colours; it is as large as our missel bird and thrush an ieterus vlinii?
The great cock of the wood (said to be found in Ireland) is common on the sides of the Italian hills, and brought frequently to the markets. I saw twice or thrice the himantopus, and the phanicopterus or flamingo, (whose tongue was a dainty amongst the Romans, when they grew luxurious). I observ'd some spoon-bills; these three last birds were wading in the rivers and marshes, near the sea. Once I spy'd some pelecans on the Adriatic, near the mouth of the Po. The Avis Diomedea was hung up dry'd in one of the museums at Florence, but they told me it had been taken on some of the isles of the Archipelago.
On the Laguna of Venice, I saw several species of mergi, lari, colymbi, and other water fowls, most of which div'd. I was surpriz'd with the variety of them, having not seen so many on other coasts; perhaps the hard winter had forc'd some unusual birds thither. The monks and fryers told me, they eat some of those sea birds in lent and on fast days, because they liv'd upon fish, and had a piscose taste, as the French pretend their macreuse to have, which is a sort of sea duck, common on the coast of Normandy, and brought to the markets, even at Paris on Maigre days; of which I gave a long history in the Philos. Transact. An 1685. N°. 172.
Buffalo's are common in the kingdom of Naples, and in some parts of Lombardy, where they plough and draw with them. A peculiar cheese is made of their milk (call'd casio di cavallo) rowl'd up like stiff pieces of ribbon. Out of their black shinning horns they make snuff-boxes and combs. The creature is unruly, and therefore they lead them with iron or brass rings down thro' their noses. They make a buff leather of their skins. I once saw some hairy sheep feeding on a common; perhaps they had been brought from Africa.
In passing the high alps, I had a view of the Ibex or Steinbock, whose large horns are recurvated almost as far back as the tail; they are very ponderous for the bulk of the animal, having many knotty rings, that may help them in climbing. They are rarely taken.
The rupicapra or chamois is very common on the sides of the cliffs, whose skins afford the soft leather. The mas alpinus or marmota, is as large as a rabbet, will soon grow tame in houses, tho' brought down from the summits of the highest mountains, where it will grow fat.
I have seen in several towns of Italy fresh strong porcupines, which the inhabitants told me were taken in the hedges and ditches thereabouts, tho' much more rare than our land urchins. In the Grisons Country, and in some cantons of Switzerland, I have often observ'd the rannacuus viridis or small tree-frog, perching on the boughs and leaves.
In the Northern parts of Germany I saw several elk skins, and those of the rhin-deer stuffed, and set up in Museum's, but never alive; tho' the animals are said to be common in Muscovy and Lapland, and sometimes seen in the forests of Prussia.
The skins of Hippopotami (said to be the Behemoth) are in some collections of curiosities in Italy and Holland; so are those of the musk-deer, one of which is in the museum of our Royal Society.
Give me leave here to reflect a little upon the late Aurora Borealis, whose phenomena you have so well describ'd and explain'd in your late Philosophical Transaction, No. 347. I am of your opinion, that those phosphorous or luminous appearances in the firmament, proceed from the various Effluvia perspir'd out of our globe, or passing thro' it; for I have seen those lights over Vesuvius, the Strombulo Islands, and towards Ietna in dark nights, when those vulcano's were not flaming nor burning, their sides and tops being passable to travellers at that time, and all their outward parts quiet. We are certain that Iceland and Greenland abound with vulcano's; so may North East Lapland, North Russia, and Tartar, where vast chains of mountains are said to run. The Jesuits, and other travellers, relate many prodigious eruptions of fires, and earthquakes towards the North of China; but nearer the pole the earth must be clos'd and pent up many months, by the long severe freezings and continual snow and ice, which relaxing towards Spring, may give vent to that vast mass or magazine of perspirable matter, that had been lept so long in hot subterraneous prisons. This may be one reason changes at that season in our climate, when perspiration is upon such an increase; but I will not take up your time any longer, especially upon a subject that you understand so well.

Your most humble Servant,
Tancred Robinson.

A pdf version of the entire text of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London can be found here (this article begins on page 473).