Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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  Page 329  

CHAPTER XXXIII.                          329

Thus the subject is explained by the author of Vishnu-
Dharma both at large and in detail, but afterwards he
treats it a second time with very little understanding,
and identifies the cmy of the forefathers with the black
half of the month from opposition to conjunction, and
their night with its white half, whilst the correct state¬
ment is that which we have just mentioned. This view
is also confirmed by their custom of offering gifts of
food to the forefathers on the day of conjunction, for
they explain noon to be the time of taking food. For
this reason they offer food to the forefathers at the
same time when they themselves take it.

Next follows the Diviiahordtra, i.e. the nychthemeron Day of the

^                                        '' ,                          Devas.

of the angels. It is known that the horizon of the
greatest latitude, i.e. that of 90 degrees, where the pole
stands in the zenith, is the equator, not exactly, but
approximately, because it is a little below the visible
horizon for that place on earth which is occupied by
Mount Meru ; for its top and slopes the horizon in
question and the equator may be absolutely identical,
although the visible horizon lies a little below it (i.e.
farther south). Further, it is evident that the zodiac
is divided into two halves by being intersected by the
equator, the one half lying above the equator (i.e. north
of it), the second half below it. As long as the sun
marches in the signs of northern declination it revolves
like a mill, since the diurnal arcs which he describes
are parallel to the horizon, as in the case of the sun¬
dials. For those who live under the north pole the
sun appears above the horizon, therefore they have day,
whilst for those living under the south pole the sun is
concealed below the horizon, and therefore they have
night. When, then, the sun migrates to the southern Page 168.
signs, he revolves like a mill below the horizon (i.e.
south of the equator); hence it is night to the people
living under the north pole and day to those living
under the south pole.
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