circle. But the arc in the bowl is found to be one-fiftieth of its proper circle. Therefore the distance from Syene to Alexandria must necessarily be one-fiftieth part of the great circle of the earth. And the said distance is 5000 stades; therefore the complete great circle measures 250,000 stades. Such is Eratosthenes' method.
Let us begin from Zeus, whom we mortals never leave unnamed. Full of Zeus are all streets, all meeting- places of men, full are sea and harbours; every way we stand in need of Zeus. We are even his offspring; he, in his kindness to man, points out things of good omen, rouses the people to labour, calling to their minds the needs of daily life, tells them when the soil is best for the labour of the ox and for the pick, and when the seasons are propitious for planting trees and all manner of seeds. For he it was who fixed the signs in the heaven, and set apart the constellations, and he who, looking to the year, determined which of the stars were best fitted to mark the seasons for men, so that all things might grow unfailingly. For this cause men ever worship him, first and last. Hail, O Father, Great Wonder, great blessing to mankind, hail to thyself and to thy elder line. Hail, ye Muses, most gracious all; and for me who presume to tell of the stars, so far as I rightly may, guide ye all my song.
The stars, many as they are, and scattered hither and thither, are every day ceaselessly borne along in the heaven; but the axis ne'er moves one whit, but remains for ever firmly fixed in the same place, and in the midst it holds