Pliny’s Confusing Account of Eclipses

Pliny, Natural History 2.47

“To be sure, it is clear that the sun is hidden by the intervention of the moon, and the moon by the opposition of the Earth, and the same moon takes off the same rays of the sun by its intervention as the Earth takes off from the moon with its intervention. When it comes between, shadows are suddenly brought forth and the sun is made dull by its shade. Nor is night anything but the shadow of the Earth, but the figure of the shadow is similar to a cone or an inverted spinning-top, when it only approaches it at its point, and does not exceed the altitude of the moon, since no other star is obscured in the same way, and such a form always draws off into a point.”

quippe manifestum est solem interventu lunae occultari lunamque terrae obiectu ac vices reddi, eosdem solis radios luna interpositu suo auferente terrae terraque lunae. hac subeunte repentinas obduci tenebras rursumque illius umbra sidus hebetari. neque aliud esse noctem quam terrae umbram, figuram autem umbrae similem metae ac turbini inverso, quando mucrone tantum ingruat neque lunae excedat altitudinem, quoniam nullum aliud sidus eodem modo obscuretur et talis figura semper mucrone deficiat.

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