Although Galileo had announced that nothing new appeared in the other planets, yet he soon communicated to the world another discovery of no slight interest. The enigmatical letters in which it was concealed formed the following sentence: "Cynthiæ figuras æmulatur mater Amorum." Venus rivals the phases of the moon.
"Cynthiæ figuras æmulatur Mater Amorum." that is to say, Venus vies with the phases of the moon. The discovery was an important one from its bearing on popular superstition ascribing to the planets special influences on human affairs, for since they were thus shown to transmit to us only borrowed light, belief in their beneficent or malefic powers over man's destinies received a rude shock.
Quae simulacra.... .... nobis vigilantibus obvia mentes terrificant atque in somnis, cum saepe figuras contuimur miras simulacraque luce carentum quae nos horrifice languentis saepe sopore excierunt. De Rer. Nat. IV. 33-37, ed. Munro. Pliny's Letters, VII. 27. Melmoth's translation.
The words which she sang were in a tongue unknown to Gringoire, and which seemed to him to be unknown to herself, so little relation did the expression which she imparted to her song bear to the sense of the words. Thus, these four lines, in her mouth, were madly gay, Un cofre de gran riqueza Hallaron dentro un pilar, Dentro del, nuevas banderas Con figuras de espantar.*
The religion of our ancient Gauls maintained that souls, being eternal, never ceased to remove and shift their places from one body to another; mixing moreover with this fancy some consideration of divine justice; for according to the deportments of the soul, whilst it had been in Alexander, they said that God assigned it another body to inhabit, more or less painful, and proper for its condition: "Muta ferarum Cogit vincla pati; truculentos ingerit ursis, Praedonesque lupis; fallaces vulpibus addit: Atque ubi per varios annos, per mille figuras
Why speak of all his other discoveries, known to the whole world? Animi vi propè divinâ, planetarum motus, figuras, cometarum semitas, Oceanique aestus, suâ Mathesi lucem praeferente, primus demonstravit. Radiorum lucis dissimilitudines, colorumque inde nascentium proprietates, quas nemo suspicatus est, pervestigavit.
Soon after, in examining Venus, he saw her in the form of a crescent: Cynthioe figuras oemulatur mater amorum, "Venus rivals the phases of the moon."
Wednesday, April 25, 1711. Steele. ... Per multas aditum sibi saepe figuras Repperit ... Ovid My Correspondents take it ill if I do not, from Time to Time let them know I have received their Letters.