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were invented, and the position of the equinoxes and folftices at that period, let us enquire what constellations announced, by their rifing or setting, first the commencement of the year, and afterwards each of the months successively. If we find that the celestial Hercules marked, by his rising or setting, the departure of the sun in his annual course, and that the passage of the sun, and of the genius (Hercules) that seemed to conduct his chariot, was announced by constellations represented by the same kind of animals with those over which the terrestrial Hercules is said to have triumphed, and placed in an order fimilar to that of his famous labours, it is manifest that the story of the Twelve Labours is one of those fables, which the Egyptian priests tell us were derived from the twelve signs of the zodiac and the stars, cum bis in conspectum venientes. Now, that this is the case, we shall see immediately. We Tall employ (it is our author that speaks) no effort of fancy to create the hero, or the monsters he fubdued, or the succession of his triumphs. The sphere will furnith us with all that we want ; even etymology, that fallacious guide, is useless here. The globe, and an observation of the successive risings and settings of the stars, when the fun enters upon each sign, are fufficient.' , Our author supposes that the commencement of the year, and the setting out of the sun and his genius (Hercules), were fixed at the summer solstice: he proves, with his usual erudition, that there is nothing improbable in this fuppofition; and he continues thus : • Let us then place the sun in the first degrees of the Lion (Leo), or at the solstitial point, and sink this point about 15 degrees below the horizon eastward, that the twilight may be weak enough to render visible stars of the second magnitude ; then let us examine what constellations, at their setting or rising, might fix, in the morning, the folftitial point, and the departure of the sun for his annual course. The result of this enquiry will be, that for several years the setting of the stars of the celestial Hercules answered perfe&ly well this purpose. This constellation was therefore connected with the sun as first genius, or as supposed to direct his course, and preside over his motions. Hence several ancient authors have confounded Hercules with the fun; though there is a great difference between the fun and the solar genius, or star which fixes his departure, and marks the most important period of his motion. This distinction is necessary to the explication of the solar fables. It is true, the honour of the Labours of the Sun was attributed to the genius that announced his course at his setting out. The ancienis, however, have made a distinction ; and some authors cell us, that Hercules is the Intelligence that
conducts the sun, and seems to travel with him in the zodiac *'
In applying all this to the Labours of Hercules, our author Thews a spirit of arrangement, and a knack of exhibiting conformities, that all the preceding hierophants of mythology will behold with respect, if not with envy. It would be a rude task for us to follow our literary Hercules in his explication of the Twelve Labours of the ancient one : 'we shall therefore confine ourselves to the two first. These will afford a sufficient specimen of M. Dupuis's abilities; and the fecond labour, more elpecially, will discover the most ingenious efforts of (what shall we call it?) fancy or investigation, that we have met with of a long time.
First Labour. The first animal which the fun meets with at the entrance on his course (from the folftitial point) is Leo, the famous Nemæan lion of antiquity. The passage of the fun, through this sign, is a kind of triumph over this monster, and he is indebted for it to Hercules, as the conducting genius who directs his motion. This, then, is the first conqueft; and it is, accordingly, this which mythology places at the head of the labours of Hercules, who wore all his life the skin of the animal, and used it as a buckler in all bis combats. Our author employs an abundance of erudition to thew the fallacy of those explications of the ancient traditions, which induced many to believe that the Nemæan lion had a real existence upon earth, and that it was by vanquishing this monster that Hercules obtained a place in the firmament. Among other things he observes, that the sign of Leo was known by the Egyptians, Persians, and Indians many ages before the Grecian Hercules, the pretended son of Alcoiena, is supposed to have lived. This hero, ac, cording to the received chronology, must have lived, at most, but about 1300 years before the Chriftian Æra; but the fables here explained, suppose that the lion was a solstitial sign, and consequently carry us back to the year 2500 before Christ. Again, if the symbol in question had been a monument of the victory of the pretended Grecian hero, the afterisms, which bear the denomination of leo, or che lion, must have been de noted by another emblem, and must have borne another name, before the birth of the son of Alcmena. But we find this aftronomical symbol among the most ancient Egyptian monuments : we find it in the Zodiac of the Indians; and its name is given to one of the twelve signs by the ancient Persians.
* Ægyprii fabulantur Herculem in fole pofitum una cum illo circum. ferri. Plutarch, de Ilid, et Orií.
Second Labour. The explication of this Second Labour, which answers to the fign of Virgo, and is the triumph of Hercules over the Ler. næan Hydra, is ftill more ingenious. This fabulous Hydra had one body and a hundred necks, each terminated by the head of a serpent. When one of these heads was cut off, another Sprouted in its place. It was, according to the fable, by the allistance of fire, that Hercules subdued this monster.--Now for the explication, --nearly in our Author's own words.
"The sun, after having pailed through the stars of the Lion, arrives at the sign of the Virgin. His entrance into this latter fign was marked by the setting (or rather occultation, we think) of the last stars of the celestial Hydra, which disappeared at the approach of the solar beams, or fire. Here then we have the afronomical phenomenon, which was designed to be celebrated and sung in the second triumph of Hercules, who, by the affiftance of fire, killed the Lernæan Hydra. The heliac setting of that constellation was flow and successive. The stars, in the head of the hydra, began to disappear, when the sun had proceeded towards the middle of the constellation of Gemini or the
Twins; and it was necessary that the fun should pass through Cancer, Leo, and arrive at Virgo, before the last stars of the tail set, or the occultation of that long constellation was entirely completed. Add to this another consideration, that when the lun came near to Leo, the stars, in the head of the Hydra, role with a beliac appearance, and disengaged themselves from the solar says with the sign of cancer ; so that the head was restored while the stars of the body were successively disappearing, and those of the tail were ftill visible above the horrizon. This singular circumstance of the apparition of the first stars, before the setting or ocultation of the last, seemed to render the victory of the sun impossible; and so, in fact, was the matter considered. However, in one sense, he had really conquerel, when all the stars had let heliacally, and had all successively disappeared ; and this happened in the second month, in Virgo, the sign to which this lecond Labour corresponds. As the re-production of the head, or the heliac riling of the stars of the first hydra, which seemed to raise it from its ames, always accompanicd the heliac riling of the sign of cancer, under which it is placed; the fable lays, that the Grecian hero was particularly molested in the combat by 2 crab, which pricked him in the foot, and that this crab was placed among the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The fame honour was conferred upon the Hydra of Hercules, or that which is placed among our constellations.'
These two Labours will serve as a specimen of our Author's manner of explaining the ancient fables, and of his ingenious application of altronomical science to this object. The other
ten Labours are explained by the same method, and on the same principles. M. Dupuis acknowledges that the application of astronomy to this purpose is not a new idea ; he observes, however, that it was never demonstrated before he took it up. It is mentioned, by the scholiaft on Heliod, and Eusebius in his Preparatio Evang. Book III. chap. 11. expresies himself in the fol. lowing manner, Solem Heraclea aut Herculem appellarunt, quem etiam duodecim certaminum labore defun£tum effe fabulantur, cæleftis orbis in duodecim signa divisionem fymbolo hoc declarare cupientes. This relation of the labours of Hercules to the signs of the Zodiac, was placed among the other hypothetical conjectures of the ancients concerning the fabulous or allegorical history of that hero; but it was reserved for our Author to prove the point by aftronomical principles; with this difference, however, that the an. cients attributed to the sun, what he attributes to his genius, or to the intelligence that was supposed to accompany and direct his · course.
So then Hercules, the laborious Hercules, is reduced to a constellation, and was sung and celebrated as such above 2000 years before Herodotus, and more than 1200 before the period in which the son of Alcmena is supposed to have lived.
This Memoir of M. Dupuis is followed by the supplements, which the progress of astronomy, daily enriched with new observations and curious researches, has induced M. DE LA LANDE to add to his work published in 1971, in order to render it ftill more complete. He obterves juftly, that a treatise of astronomy, which contained an accurate account of that science, as far as it had advanced in the year 1771, might, at the end of ten years more, betray into mistakes those who should confide in it with security, as comprehending the present state of aftronomical science. And, as the recent improvements that are dispersed in a multitude of journals, academical memoirs, and particular works, are collected here, these supplements will be well received.
1.6. A complete Course of Theoretical, Practicaland Econo-
I expectations of the Public pretty bigh with respect to the mcrit of this work; and, if we may judge by the volume be
fore us, these expectations will not be disappointed. There is a common defect among the writers on gardening and the different parts of agriculture, that they always speak of the distria or province they inhabit, as if the method observed there was practicable and adviseable every where else. Our Author or Compiler has avoided this, as far as was possible, and has taken great pains to render this work of universal utility, by sewing how the Georgical precepts in each article may be modified, and accommodated to different soils and circumstances. Each article in this first volume is a complete treatise upon its subject. The articles Abeille, Agriculture, Air, and Amendement, are the most important, and deserve to be perused with particular attention.
A RT. XI. Verhandeling van het Bataviaach Genootschap des Consten en Weteg
schappen, &c. į e. Memoirs of the Society of Arts and Sciences of Batavia. Vol. I. Printed at Batavia. Large O&avo. 1779. A Society of arts and sciences in the island of Java is certainly
a new phenomenon that must naturally excite an agreeable surprize. The communication of the European nations with the East Indies has not bitherto enriched the annals of history with many relations honourable to humanity. Gain, plunder, despotism, wars, artifice, and injustice, make up more than cwo-thirds of the history of the European settlements in India ; and, if we except some improvements in astronomy, and natural history, it may be affirmed, that navigation, which has been the means of our connection with these diftant regions, has been little better to humanity than a second box of Pandora, with some feeble hopes, perhaps, left at the bottom. However that be, we are glad to see a literary society erected at Batavia ; whether or not it will contribute to enlighten the Indians, we cannot tell, but it will naturally produce good effects in various ways. It will, at least, dignify the paltry aspect of mere com. merce, which, when undignified with morals, taste and knowledge, is a very sorry business, though in a certain degree it may be necessary to give us conveniently, meat, drink, and clothing.
The society under consideration was founded at Batavia under the adminiftration of the late Governor General De KLERK, and has great obligations to its president Mr. RADERMACHER, who has generously furnished it with a valuable library, and a great variety of mathematical inftruments. The end proposed by its founders, is to encourage the arts and the branches of industry that may be of the greatest utility in that part of the globe; and all the subjects and questions, to which the society have annexed prizes, are conformable to this pura