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Meteorology By Aristotle

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Author Topic: Meteorology By Aristotle  (Read 1430 times)
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« Reply #105 on: August 31, 2009, 12:13:02 am »

Of solid bodies those that have been solidified by cold are of water,
e.g. ice, snow, hail, hoar-frost. Those solidified by heat are of
earth, e.g. pottery, cheese, natron, salt. Some bodies are solidified
by both heat and cold. Of this kind are those solidified by refrigeration,
that is by the privation both of heat and of the moisture which departs
with the heat. For salt and the bodies that are purely of earth solidify
by the privation of moisture only, ice by that of heat only, these
bodies by that of both. So both the active qualities and both kinds
of matter were involved in the process. Of these bodies those from
which all the moisture has gone are all of them of earth, like pottery
or amber. (For amber, also, and the bodies called 'tears' are formed
by refrigeration, like myrrh, frankincense, gum. Amber, too, appears
to belong to this class of things: the animals enclosed in it show
that it is formed by solidification. The heat is driven out of it
by the cold of the river and causes the moisture to evaporate with
it, as in the case of honey when it has been heated and is immersed
in water.) Some of these bodies cannot be melted or softened; for
instance, amber and certain stones, e.g. the stalactites in caves.
(For these stalactites, too, are formed in the same way: the agent
is not fire, but cold which drives out the heat, which, as it leaves
the body, draws out the moisture with it: in the other class of bodies
the agent is external fire.) In those from which the moisture has
not wholly gone earth still preponderates, but they admit of softening
by heat, e.g. iron and horn.

Now since we must include among 'meltables' those bodies which are
melted by fire, these contain some water: indeed some of them, like
wax, are common to earth and water alike. But those that are melted
by water are of earth. Those that are not melted either by fire or
water are of earth, or of earth and water.

Since, then, all bodies are either liquid or solid, and since the
things that display the affections we have enumerated belong to these
two classes and there is nothing intermediate, it follows that we
have given a complete account of the criteria for distinguishing whether
a body consists of earth or of water or of more elements than one,
and whether fire was the agent in its formation, or cold, or both.
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