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into the examination of the authors pointed out to them, and into a long and elaborate critique on each of them, so as to occupy in the whole nearly 60 pages. We were previously acquainted with most of the publications that are here the subject of comment; and we think that the remarks of the commissioners are in general correct, although too much in the style of eulogy. Each of the treatises is reviewed by a separate commissioner ; Cuvier's Comparative Anatomy by Halle; Bichat's Physiological Works by the same; Portal's Course of Medical Anatomy by Pelletan; Corvisart's Treatise on the Heart by Hallé, as also Pinel's Nosography, Alibert's Description of Cutaneous Diseases, and Broussais's History of the Phlegmasiæ. All these works are regarded by the commissioners as so meritorious, and their respective value as so nearly balanced, that they are unwilling to assign the preference to any one of them, and they finish their report by the following observations:

« We have thus given the elements of comparison between productions which are all remarkable for their utility. To judge between them is a task which the imperial decree has not imposed on us. Whom shall we place in the first rank among those who are so much on an equality with respect to talents and the utility of their works ; even omitting the important but unfinished production of M. Alibert, and that of M. Broussais, which the jury have deemed it proper to distinguish, but whom they have not placed in the same rank with the other competitors ? Let us, then, be contented with having made known the vast conception, and the mind which connects and multiplies facts, of M. Cuvier ; the genius of invention, united to the spirit of observation and to the talent for experiment, which distin guishes M. Bichat ; laborious and intelligent erudition, proposing to itself an useful end, and gaining this end, in M. Portal ; great sagacity, an understanding clear, simple, exact, applied to the search of an important object, and which was in a great measure wanting to the art, in M. Corvisart; strong reason, a correct mind, a severe method, employed, in a science so difficult as medicine, to convey to the understanding solid instruction, without vague ideas and illusory hypotheses, in M. Pinel;- and let us leave it to the legislator, who has appointed the brilliant competition of the decennial prizes, to balance claims which are so equal, and to applaud himself on the difficulty of the choice.'

We are farther told that the class of mathematical and physical sciences in the Institute, after having deliberated on the above report, confirmed the decision of the jury, and awarded the first prize to M. Cuvier; and we are persuaded that this decision was correct : we only doubt how the commissioners could hesitate on the subject. The Nosography of M. Pinel, however, we consider as of very inferior merit to the “ Lectures on Comparative Anatomy."


The fifth great prize was destined for the inventor of the machine which should be the most important to the arts and manufactures. The commissioners were MM. Charles, Prony, and Malus ; and they decreed the prize to M. Montgolfier, for his hydraulic ram. - The 6th prize was for the founder of the establishment most serviceable to agriculture ; and the 7th and last among the prizes of the first class was for the most useful industrious establishment. That which has been selected as deserving the prize is the manufacture of M. Oberkamf, for printing different kinds of stuffs by rollers.

Having given so particular an account of the first part of this volume, we must pass over the remainder in a very cursory manner. The second class of prizes was proposed for works on literary subjects ; to be awarded to the author of the best epic poem, the best tragedy, the best comedy, and other productions of a more general nature. The reports of the jury and of the commissioners are given, as before ; and in many in stances we have very long critiques and discussions on the publications which pass in review before them. This latter part of the volume is considerably interesting, since it brings. us acquainted with the names of many French writers who are very little known in this country, and few of whose works ever occur among us. The accounts given of them enable us to form a tolerably accurate idea of their nature and merits and, on the whole, they rather serve to raise our opinion of the state of French literature. At the same time, it is to be observed that the commendatory style, in which the reports are drawn


tends in some degree to obscure the truth of the statements; and that the particular circumstances, under which they are written, would dispose the judges to exercise the utmost lenity towards the candidates who appeared before their tribunal.

ART. XVII. Le Zodiaque Expliqué, &c.; i.e. The Zodiac ex.

plained, or Inquiries concerning the Origin and Signification of the Constellations of the Greek Sphere, &c. &c., translated from the Swedish of C.G.S., with a Chart and Plates. 2d Edit,

Crown 8vo. Pp: 151. Paris. ART. XVIII. Mémoire Explicatif, &c. ; i.e. An Explanatory

Memoir on the Caucasian Sphere, and particularly on the Zodiac,

&c. By C.G.S. 4to. Pp. 53. Paris. 1813. ART. XIX. Encore quelques Argumens, &c. ; i.e. Some farther,

Arguments against the Zodiac. Crown 8vo. Pp. 16. Paris. THE 'HE history and origin of the zodiac and celestial sphere.

are subjects which have excited considerable interest. among astronomers of all ages and nations, and have given rise



to many learned discussions relative to the probable date of their invention, as well as to the signification of the various remarkable and fanciful" figures with which they abound. Some have supposed the sphere to be derived from the zodiac; while others, and among them the present author, consider the latter to be of a much more recent date than the former, from which it had its origin. The invention of both has been commonly attributed to shepherds; and the several figures are supposed to have had some allusion to the seasons of the year, or other subjects interesting to or connected with a pastoral life. As all these speculations, however, have been founded on mere conjecture and hypothesis, the explanations have been nearly as numerous as the authors who have given them; and it must be acknowleged that, after all, we know as little as our forefathers about this interesting monument of antient science : the date and place of its origin, and the signification of its characters, having alike perished in the abyss of time. That the constellations have been known from the highest antiquity is obvious from the manner in which they are introduced in many passages of the Bible ; and in the prophecy of Amos, who is supposed to have lived 790 years B.C., we have the following exhortation : “ Ye who turn judgment into wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, seek him that maketh the Seven Stars and Orion," &e. In this passage, the two constellations are mentioned as being well known by Amos, who was a herdsman of Tekoa, and by the common people to whom this exhortation was addressed ; and we may hence infer that the constellations had been invented a long time before that period. Some doubt may be entertained whether the original Hebrew words Chesil and Chima referred precisely to the constellations which we now call the Pleiades and Orion, but that circumstance is not necessary for establishing the great antiquity of the celestial sphere. Other constellations are also occasionally mentioned by Hesiod and Homer, the former of whom is generally said to have flourished about goo years before Christ; and we seem to have reason for believing that, among the natives of India, their sphere, which is obviously, derived from the same source as that of the Greeks, was known to these people at an earlier period than either of those above mentioned.

Such being the high antiquity of this monument of antient astronomy, and its nature being such as to render continual deviations from the original in succeeding ages extremely probable, it certainly seems a hopeless undertaking to' endeavour to ascertain the date and place of its origin, and the signification of the mysterious figures of which it is composed. This, however, is the task which the author of the tracts before us


has imposed on himself; and, if he has given us little satis. factory information on these interesting subjects, he has at least exposed the fallacy of the deductions of all preceding writers on the same topic.

As the antient sphere comprehended only those stars which were visible in the place where it was invented, (at least, as this is extremely likely,) it is not very difficult to assign its latitude nearly ; which the writer therefore assumes to be somewhere in the parallel of about 40 ° ; and afterward, from other considerations, he infers that Baku, on the west borders of the Caspian sea, in latitude 40° 25', was the probable resi. dence of the inventor, and that the date of the invention was about 1400 years before the Christian era.

These two suppositions seem to be supported by a certain degree of authority, drawn from numerous sources of historical record ; while his hypothesis that the constellations were rather the invention of mariners than of shepherds is also maintained with ingenuity, and possesses a great degree of probability : but all the rest appears to be mere fiction, and to have no other foundation than the fertility of the writer's imagination.

He supposes that Baku, at the period above mentioned, was the capital of an extensive kingdom; which, for want of historical documents, he limits by what may be considered as its natural boundaries, the principal of which are the Caucasian mountains; and that the celestial sphere is an allegorical representation or chart of the country of the author. With what degree of plausibility this part of his hypothesis is supported, we shall now endeavour to illustrate by a few quotations. With reference to the two constellations Aries and Taurus, the author says:

• We may comprehend now why the Ram and the Bull are in attitudes which denote dangerous situations ; the one is saved by running ; the other has fallen, and appears to be swimming. It is there. fore an error in our planispheres to represent the Ram in a reposing attitude ; and the more so as the Bull, placed near him, indicates clearly a perilous situation : that of the Ram ought doubtless to be in harmony with this sign, and with the figures about it, which all imply confusion, danger, and embarrassment emblematical of the tore rents rushing from the Caucasus into the Kour.

Head of Medusa. This singular emblem of a head apparently cut off by the blow of a sabre, and covered with serpents instead of hair, was probably intended to express the action of breaking and detach ing the great pieces of ice which from time to time are accumulated in the narrow passages of the torrents. A first mass of ice being stopped is sufficient to accumulate many others in the same place : but, this first being once detached, the others which it stopped will be dragged by it into beds of greater depth and extent. The ice




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