OF THE SEA WHICH ENCIRCLES THE EARTH.
I find that of old, the state of the earth was that its plains were all covered up and hidden by salt water. [Footnote: This passage has already been published by Dr. M. JORDAN: Das Malerbuch des L. da Vinci, Leipzig 1873, p. 86. However, his reading of the text differs from mine.]
The authorities for the study of the structure of the earth.
Since things are much more ancient than letters, it is no marvel if, in our day, no records exist of these seas having covered so many countries; and if, moreover, some records had existed, war and conflagrations, the deluge of waters, the changes of languages and of laws have consumed every thing ancient. But sufficient for us is the testimony of things created in the salt waters, and found again in high mountains far from the seas.
In this work you have first to prove that the shells at a thousand braccia of elevation were not carried there by the deluge, because they are seen to be all at one level, and many mountains are seen to be above that level; and to inquire whether the deluge was caused by rain or by the swelling of the sea; and then you must show how, neither by rain nor by swelling of the rivers, nor by the overflow of this sea, could the shells—being heavy objects—be floated up the mountains by the sea, nor have carried there by the rivers against the course of their waters.
Doubts about the deluge.
A DOUBTFUL POINT.
Here a doubt arises, and that is: whether the deluge, which happened at the time of Noah, was universal or not. And it would seem not, for the reasons now to be given: We have it in the Bible that this deluge lasted 40 days and 40 nights of incessant and universal rain, and that this rain rose to ten cubits above the highest mountains in the world. And if it had been that the rain was universal, it would have covered our globe which is spherical in form. And this spherical surface is equally distant in every part, from the centre of its sphere; hence the sphere of the waters being under the same conditions, it is impossible that the water upon it should move, because water, in itself, does not move unless it falls; therefore how could the waters of such a deluge depart, if it is proved that it has no motion? and if it departed how could it move unless it went upwards? Here, then, natural reasons are wanting; hence to remove this doubt it is necessary to call in a miracle to aid us, or else to say that all this water was evaporated by the heat of the sun.
[Footnote: The passages, here given from the MS. Leic., have hitherto remained unknown. Some preliminary notes on the subject are to be found in MS. F 8oa and 8ob; but as compared with the fuller treatment here given, they are, it seems to me, of secondary interest. They contain nothing that is not repeated here more clearly and fully. LIBRI, Histoire des Sciences mathematiques III, pages 218—221, has printed the text of F 80a and 80b, therefore it seemed desirable to give my reasons for not inserting it in this work.]