The Library of History

Page 80

Page 80 Those Creatures call'd Cameleopards partake of both kinds, as is denoted by their Name. They are indeed less then Camels, and lower crested; but in their Heads and Eyes like unto Leopards: In the Bulch upon their Backs they resemble Camels; but in Colour, Hair, and in the Length of their Tails they are in Nature Leopards.

There are likewise bred Tragclaphi and Buffels, and many other Creatures of a double Shape, partaking of several Natures; which would require a long Discourse to describe every one of them particularly. For its very reasonable to conceive that by the vivifying Heat of the Sun in the Southern Parts of the World many sorts of wonderful Creatures are there bred. And upon this Account it is that there are Crocodiles and River-horses in Egypt; and great Numbers and divers sorts of Elephants, Serpeuts and other Beasts, and (amongst the rest) Dragons of an unusual Bigness and Fierceness in Ethiopia and the Deserts of Africa; and for the same Reason it is that there are Elephants in India more than elsewhere for their Number, and excelling all others in Strength and the Bulk of their Bodies. In these Parts also are produc'd by the Influence of the Sun, not only several kinds of living Creatures, but divers sorts of precious Stones commendable both for the Variety of their Colours, and their sparkling Lustre and Beauty.

Crystal (they say) is produc'd of the purest Water congeal'd and hardned, not by Cold, but by the Power of the Sun; so that it continues for ever, and receives many Shapes and Colours according as the Spirits are exhal'd.

The Smaragdos and Beryl (as they are call'd) which are found in the Copper-Mines are said to have their Colour from their Mixture with Sulphur: And that the Chrysolite produc'd by the Heat of the Sun, receives its Tincture from an hot and fiery Exhalation. And therefore its said that those Stones call'd Pseudocrists are made of Crystal calcin'd by the Goldsmiths Fire. By the Heat of the Sun likewise are produc'd Rubies, which differ one from another as there is more or less Light inclos'd in them in the Concretion. And for the same Reason Birds Feathers differ in Colour, so that some are all over of a Purple Dye, others only spotted here and there. For some things seem red, others yellow, some green, and many of a golden Colour, according to their Position to the Light. To conclude, innumerable sorts of Colours (very difficult to be reckon'd up) are occasion'd by this Means; which we see is done by the Reflection of the Sun's Beams upon the Rainbow. Whence the Naturalists do agree, that even the various Colours of Things above proceed from their Diversity of Heat, the lively Operation of the Sun causing their several Forms and Shapes; and that the various Colours of Flowers, and even of the Earth it self proceed from the Efficacy of the Sun, whose natural Operations the Arts of Men (as Nature's Scholars) do imitate, framing Variety of Colours in Painting and Embroidery: And that as Colours are form'd by Light, so Smells of Fruits, Variety of Tastes, Greatness of living Creatures, and the natural Constitution of every Thing, and the several Properties of the Earth are caus'd by the Heat of the Sun, which makes both the Earth and Water fruitful with its cherishing Heat, and is the Parent of every Creature; and therefore neither the Marble of Paros, nor any other Stone (tho' never so admirable) are comparable to the Stones in Arabia, which exceed all others for Lustre, Weight and Delicacy. This singular Property (as I have said) every thing is cloath'd with by the Power of the Sun in this Region: For by its Heat it concretes, by Exhalation hardens, and by its Light beautifies.

Hence it is that Birds are of a hot Nature, swift of Flight, and deck'd most with Variety of Colours in those Regions that are directly under the Scorching Heat of the Sun.

For in the Province of Babylon are bred many Peacocks, beautify'd with various Colours; and in the furthest Parts of Syria, Parrots, Porphyrios, Meleagrides, and many strange Birds of various Natures and Colours. The like may be said of other Parts of the World, where the Climate is the same; as of India, the Parts about the Red Sea, of Ethiopia, and

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books