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- Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci - 100/159 -
OF WHAT IS WATER.
Among the four elements water is the second both in weight and in instability.
THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK ON WATER.
Sea is the name given to that water which is wide and deep, in which the waters have not much motion.
[Footnote: Only the beginning of this passage is here given, the remainder consists of definitions which have no direct bearing on the subject.]
Of the surface of the water in relation to the globe (933-936).
The centres of the sphere of water are two, one universal and common to all water, the other particular. The universal one is that which is common to all waters not in motion, which exist in great quantities. As canals, ditches, ponds, fountains, wells, dead rivers, lakes, stagnant pools and seas, which, although they are at various levels, have each in itself the limits of their superficies equally distant from the centre of the earth, such as lakes placed at the tops of high mountains; as the lake near Pietra Pana and the lake of the Sybil near Norcia; and all the lakes that give rise to great rivers, as the Ticino from Lago Maggiore, the Adda from the lake of Como, the Mincio from the lake of Garda, the Rhine from the lakes of Constance and of Chur, and from the lake of Lucerne, like the Tigris which passes through Asia Minor carrying with it the waters of three lakes, one above the other at different heights of which the highest is Munace, the middle one Pallas, and the lowest Triton; the Nile again flows from three very high lakes in Ethiopia.
[Footnote 5: _Pietra Pana_, a mountain near Florence. If for Norcia, we may read Norchia, the remains of the Etruscan city near Viterbo, there can be no doubt that by '_Lago della Sibilla_'--a name not known elsewhere, so far as I can learn--Leonardo meant _Lago di Vico_ (Lacus Ciminus, Aen. 7).]
OF THE CENTRE OF THE OCEAN.
The centre of the sphere of waters is the true centre of the globe of our world, which is composed of water and earth, having the shape of a sphere. But, if you want to find the centre of the element of the earth, this is placed at a point equidistant from the surface of the ocean, and not equidistant from the surface of the earth; for it is evident that this globe of earth has nowhere any perfect rotundity, excepting in places where the sea is, or marshes or other still waters. And every part of the earth that rises above the water is farther from the centre.
OF THE SEA WHICH CHANGES THE WEIGHT OF THE EARTH.
The shells, oysters, and other similar animals, which originate in sea-mud, bear witness to the changes of the earth round the centre of our elements. This is proved thus: Great rivers always run turbid, being coloured by the earth, which is stirred by the friction of their waters at the bottom and on their shores; and this wearing disturbs the face of the strata made by the layers of shells, which lie on the surface of the marine mud, and which were produced there when the salt waters covered them; and these strata were covered over again from time to time, with mud of various thickness, or carried down to the sea by the rivers and floods of more or less extent; and thus these layers of mud became raised to such a height, that they came up from the bottom to the air. At the present time these bottoms are so high that they form hills or high mountains, and the rivers, which wear away the sides of these mountains, uncover the strata of these shells, and thus the softened side of the earth continually rises and the antipodes sink closer to the centre of the earth, and the ancient bottoms of the seas have become mountain ridges.
Let the earth make whatever changes it may in its weight, the surface of the sphere of waters can never vary in its equal distance from the centre of the world.
Of the proportion of the mass of water to that of the earth (937. 938).
WHETHER THE EARTH IS LESS THAN THE WATER.
Some assert that it is true that the earth, which is not covered by water is much less than that covered by water. But considering the size of 7000 miles in diameter which is that of this earth, we may conclude the water to be of small depth.
OF THE EARTH.
The great elevations of the peaks of the mountains above the sphere of the water may have resulted from this that: a very large portion of the earth which was filled with water that is to say the vast cavern inside the earth may have fallen in a vast part of its vault towards the centre of the earth, being pierced by means of the course of the springs which continually wear away the place where they pass.
Sinking in of countries like the Dead Sea in Syria, that is Sodom and Gomorrah.
It is of necessity that there should be more water than land, and the visible portion of the sea does not show this; so that there must be a great deal of water inside the earth, besides that which rises into the lower air and which flows through rivers and springs.
[Footnote: The small sketch below on the left, is placed in the original close to the text referring to the Dead Sea.]
The theory of Plato.
THE FIGURES OF THE ELEMENTS.
Of the figures of the elements; and first as against those who deny the opinions of Plato, and who say that if the elements include one another in the forms attributed to them by Plato they would cause a vacuum one within the other. I say it is not true, and I here prove it, but first I desire to propound some conclusions. It is not necessary that the elements which include each other should be of corresponding magnitude in all the parts, of that which includes and of that which is included. We see that the sphere of the waters varies conspicuously in mass from the surface to the bottom, and that, far from investing the earth when that was in the form of a cube that is of 8 angles as Plato will have it, that it invests the earth which has innumerable angles of rock covered by the water and various prominences and concavities, and yet no vacuum is generated between the earth and water; again, the air invests the sphere of waters together with the mountains and valleys, which rise above that sphere, and no vacuum remains between the earth and the air, so that any one who says a vacuum is generated, speaks foolishly.
But to Plato I would reply that the surface of the figures which according to him the elements would have, could not exist.
That the flow of rivers proves the slope of the land.
PROVES HOW THE EARTH IS NOT GLOBULAR AND NOT BEING GLOBULAR CANNOT HAVE A COMMON CENTRE.
We see the Nile come from Southern regions and traverse various provinces, running towards the North for a distance of 3000 miles and flow into the Mediterranean by the shores of Egypt; and if we will give to this a fall of ten braccia a mile, as is usually allowed to the course of rivers in general, we shall find that the Nile must have its mouth ten miles lower than its source. Again, we see the Rhine, the Rhone and the Danube starting from the German parts, almost the centre of Europe, and having a course one to the East, the other to the North, and the last to Southern seas. And if you consider all this you will see that the plains of Europe in their aggregate are much higher than the high peaks of the maritime mountains; think then how much their tops must be above the sea shores.
Theory of the elevation of water within the mountains.
OF THE HEAT THAT IS IN THE WORLD.
Where there is life there is heat, and where vital heat is, there is movement of vapour. This is proved, inasmuch as we see that the element of fire by its heat always draws to itself damp vapours and thick mists as opaque clouds, which it raises from seas as well as lakes and rivers and damp valleys; and these being drawn by degrees as far as the cold region, the first portion stops, because heat and moisture cannot exist with cold and dryness; and where the first portion stops the rest settle, and thus one portion after another being added, thick and dark clouds are formed. They are often wafted about and borne by the winds from one region to another, where by their density they become so heavy that they fall in thick rain; and if the heat of the sun is added to the power of the element of fire, the clouds are drawn up higher still and find a greater degree of cold, in which they form ice and fall in storms of hail. Now the same heat which holds up so great a weight of water as is seen to rain from the clouds, draws them from below upwards, from the foot of the mountains, and leads and holds them within the summits of the mountains, and these, finding some fissure, issue continuously and cause rivers.
The relative height of the surface of the sea to that of the land (942-945).
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