[Milton-L] Milton's Prelapsarian Cosmos

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Tue Jan 5 10:52:54 EST 2010


Jeffery, a civil day is a calendar day according to a convention. Nowadays,
time zones, daylight/standard time, and midnight are elements of the
convention. In PL's prelapsarian time, the equivalent of a civil day begins
at sundown according to Hebrew usage (or would it be natural law? :)

Michael

On Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 1:56 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

> In Alastair Fowler's Introduction to *Paradise Lost* (1998), he remarks of
> Milton that:
>
>
>
> "His premise, that the ecliptic and equatorial planes coincide, has not
> been true since the fall. So he has to work out its implications with
> ingenuity reminiscent of science fiction (e.g. iii 555-61; iv 209-16, 354f;
> v 18-25; x 328f) . . . . The geometry of Milton's invented unfallen world is
> elegantly simple -- and exhileratingly easy to visualize. Its day and night
> are always equal, its sun remains constantly in the same sign, and the
> positions of its constellations are easily determined without astrolabe or
> planisphere. There are no variations in solar declination, no equinoctial
> points, no precession, no difference between sidereal, natural, and civil
> days." (page 35)
>
>
>
> Some of this is obvious, and other of it is easy to derive. But some of it
> is not clear to me. How does Fowler know that the "sun remains constantly in
> the same sign"? Is this an inference, or does Milton state this somewhere?
> *PL* 10.329 notes that "the sun in Aries rose," but would it have always
> remained there in an unfallen world? If so, why?
>
>
>
> In a geocentric cosmos, I can see why, based on simplicity, this would
> likely be the case (everything moving around the earth at the same angular
> momentum), but in a heliocentric cosmos, an extra motion would need to be
> imparted to the starry sphere to keep the sun in the same sign as the earth
> revolves around the sun. Or is the earth not revolving at all?
>
>
>
> By the way, what are "natural" and "civil" days? I know sidereal, and I'm
> inferring that a "natural" day means a solar day (is that right?) . . . but
> what's a "civil" day?
>
>
>
> So many questions . . .
>
>
>
> Jeffery Hodges
>
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