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ignes antqui
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 1994
From: Mark Williams
Subject: ignes antiqui

I was wondering whether someone out there could set me on to some ancient sources purporting to explain scientifically the origin of fire. I've been reading Fronto who seems to assume some stuff that I can't quite figure out. I suppose Pliny the Elder discusses it somewhere, but I have no idea where to begin looking. I'm not after myth--rather some ancient ideas on actual combustion: what goes on, how a fire starts, that sort of thing.

From: Andrew Wilson
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 1994
Subject: Re: ignes antiqui

The origin of fire is discussed by Lucretius in *De Rerum Natura* Book V; I can't recall the line numbers offhand. He imagines that branches of trees rubbing together in storms might catch fire and this inspired early man to imitate the natural phenomenon by rubbing twigs together. I think this may derive from Epicurus. I believe Vitruvius says something similar, but again I don't have the reference to hand.

Date: Wed, 17 Aug 94
From: Michael Chase
Subject: Re: ignes antiqui

The Vitruvius reference is De Architectura, II, 1. On the whole subject, cf. the splendid paper by Panofsky in his __Studies in Iconology_. I only have a French translation to hand, and there the article in question = ch. 2 & is entitled *Les origines de l'histoire humaine: deux cycles de tableaux par Piero di Cosimo*. Panofsky in turn got most of his references from a wonderful old chestnut by Franz Boas and the great A.O. Lovejoy: _Primitivism and Related Ideas in Antiquity. A Documentary history of Primi- tivism andRelated Ideas_, Baltimore 1935.
Culled from classics.log9408.
Copyright © 2001 David Meadows
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