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Author Topic: THE RENAISSANCE  (Read 4147 times)
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« Reply #90 on: October 17, 2008, 08:44:22 pm »

In contrast, this is the English humanist Polydore Vergil's version of the story, given in his
On Discovery:

In all the world the most famous river is the Nile. Each year from the summer solstice to the
autumnal equinox, as Herodotus shows in book 2 and Diodorus in book I, it floods all of Egypt
with an immense quantity of water.

In its rise the Egyptians foresee either abundance or scarcity for the crops to come. For when
the Nile rises 12 cubits, Egypt knows famine; with thirteen cubits she goes hungry; fourteen
cubits bring cheer, fifteen security and sixteen exultation.

This is said to be the regular level of the rise, but the [End Page 49] highest was eighteen cubits
in the time of the Emperor Claudius, and the lowest came with the battle of Pharsalus as if by
some prodigy to show horror at the killing of Pompey the Great, according to Pliny in book 5 and
Strabo in book 17.

Thus, since these Nile floods muddled the borders of the fields . . . it was necessary to measure
the land over and over again. For this reason, some have claimed that the Egyptians first disco-
vered geometry, just as the Phoenicians invented arithmetic, the science of numbers, for
commercial purposes, according to Strabo in book 17 of the Geography and Herodotus in book 2.30 
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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