List Of Contents | Contents of The City of the Sun, by Tommaso Campanells
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A Poetical Dialogue between a Grandmaster of the Knights
Hospitallers and a Genoese Sea-Captain, his guest.

G.M.  Prithee, now, tell me what happened to you during
that voyage?

Capt.  I have already told you how I wandered
over the whole earth.  In the course of my journeying I came
to Taprobane, and was compelled to go ashore at a place, where
through fear of the inhabitants I remained in a wood.  When I
stepped out of this I found myself on a large plain immediately
under the equator.

G.M.  And what befell you here?

Capt.  I came upon a large crowd of men and armed women,
many of whom did not understand our language, and they con-
ducted me forthwith to the City of the Sun.

G.M.  Tell me after what plan this city is built and how it
is governed.

Capt.  The greater part of the city is built upon a high hill,
which rises from an extensive plain, but several of its circles
extend for some distance beyond the base of the hill, which is
of such a size that the diameter of the city is upward of two
miles, so that its circumference becomes about seven.  On ac-
count of the humped shape of the mountain, however, the diam-
eter of the city is really more than if it were built on a plain.

   It is divided into seven rings or huge circles named from
the seven planets, and the way from one to the other of these is
by four streets and through four gates, that look toward the
four points of the compass.  Furthermore, it is so built that
if the first circle were stormed, it would of necessity entail a
double amount of energy to storm the second; still more to
storm the third; and in each succeeding case the strength and
energy would have to be doubled; so that he who wishes to
capture that city must, as it were, storm it seven times.  For
my own part, however, I think that not even the first wall could
be occupied, so thick are the earthworks and so well fortified
is it with breastworks, towers, guns, and ditches.

   When I had been taken through the northern gate (which
is shut with an iron door so wrought that it can be raised and
let down, and locked in easily and strongly, its projections run-
ning into the grooves of the thick posts by a marvellous device),
I saw a level space seventy paces[1] wide between the first and
second walls.  From hence can be seen large palaces, all joined
to the wall of the second circuit in such a manner as to appear
all one palace.  Arches run on a level with the middle height
of the palaces, and are continued round the whole ring.  There
are galleries for promenading upon these arches, which are
supported from beneath by thick and well-shaped columns, en-
closing arcades like peristyles, or cloisters of an abbey.

   But the palaces have no entrances from below, except on the
inner or concave partition, from which one enters directly to
the lower parts of the building.  The higher parts, however,
are reached by flights of marble steps, which lead to galleries
for promenading on the inside similar to those on the outside.
From these one enters the higher rooms, which are very beauti-
ful, and have windows on the concave and convex partitions.
These rooms are divided from one another by richly decorated
walls.  The convex or outer wall of the ring is about eight
spans thick; the concave, three; the intermediate walls are one,
or perhaps one and a half.  Leaving this circle one gets to the
second plain, which is nearly three paces narrower than the
first.  Then the first wall of the second ring is seen adorned
above and below with similar galleries for walking, and there
is on the inside of it another interior wall enclosing palaces.
It has also similar peristyles supported by columns in the lower
part, but above are excellent pictures, round the ways into the
upper houses.  And so on afterward through similar spaces
and double walls, enclosing palaces, and adorned with galleries
for walking, extending along their outer side, and supported
by columns, till the last circuit is reached, the way being still
over a level plain.

   But when the two gates, that is to say, those of the outmost
and the inmost walls, have been passed, one mounts by means
of steps so formed that an ascent is scarcely discernible, since
it proceeds in a slanting direction, and the steps succeed one
another at almost imperceptible heights.  On the top of the
hill is a rather spacious plain, and in the midst of this there
rises a temple built with wondrous art.

G.M.  Tell on, I pray you!  Tell on!  I am dying to hear

Capt.  The temple is built in the form of a circle; it is not
girt with walls, but stands upon thick columns, beautifully
grouped.  A very large dome, built with great care in the cen-
tre or pole, contains another small vault as it were rising out of
it, and in this is a spiracle, which is right over the altar.  There
is but one altar in the middle of the temple, and this is hedged
round by columns.  The temple itself is on a space of more
than 350 paces.  Without it, arches measuring about eight
paces extend from the heads of the columns outward, whence
other columns rise about three paces from the thick, strong, and
erect wall.  Between these and the former columns there are
galleries for walking, with beautiful pavements, and in the re-
cess of the wall, which is adorned with numerous large doors,
there are immovable seats, placed as it were between the inside
columns, supporting the temple.  Portable chairs are not want-
ing, many and well adorned.  Nothing is seen over the altar
but a large globe, upon which the heavenly bodies are painted,
and another globe upon which there is a representation of the
earth.  Furthermore, in the vault of the dome there can be dis-
cerned representations of all the stars of heaven from the first
to the sixth magnitude, with their proper names and power to
influence terrestrial things marked in three little verses for each.
There are the poles and greater and lesser circles according to
the right latitude of the place, but these are not perfect because
there is no wall below.  They seem, too, to be made in their re-
lation to the globes on the altar.  The pavement of the temple
is bright with precious stones.  Its seven golden lamps hang
always burning, and these bear the names of the seven planets.

   At the top of the building several small and beautiful cells
surround the small dome, and behind the level space above the
bands or arches of the exterior and interior columns there are
many cells, both small and large, where the priests and relig-
ious officers dwell to the number of forty-nine.

   A revolving flag projects from the smaller dome, and this
shows in what quarter the wind is.  The flag is marked with
figures up to thirty-six, and the priests know what sort of year
the different kinds of winds bring and what will be the changes
of weather on land and sea.  Furthermore, under the flag a
book is always kept written with letters of gold.

G.M.  I pray you, worthy hero, explain to me their whole
system of government; for I am anxious to hear it.

Capt.  The great ruler among them is a priest whom they
call by the name Hoh, though we should call him Metaphysic.
He is head over all, in temporal and spiritual matters, and all
business and lawsuits are settled by him, as the supreme au-
thority.  Three princes of equal power -- viz., Pon, Sin, and
Mor -- assist him, and these in our tongue we should call Power,
Wisdom, and Love.  To Power belongs the care of all matters
relating to war and peace.  He attends to the military arts, and,
next to Hoh, he is ruler in every affair of a warlike nature.
He governs the military magistrates and the soldiers, and has
the management of the munitions, the fortifications, the storm-
ing of places, the implements of war, the armories, the smiths
and workmen connected with matters of this sort.

   But Wisdom is the ruler of the liberal arts, of mechanics,
of all sciences with their magistrates and doctors, and of the
discipline of the schools.  As many doctors as there are, are
under his control.  There is one doctor who is called Astrolo-
gus; a second, Cosmographus; a third, Arithmeticus; a fourth,
Geometra; a fifth, Historiographus; a sixth, Poeta; a seventh,
Logicus; an eighth, Rhetor; a ninth, Grammaticus; a tenth,
Medicus; an eleventh, Physiologus; a twelfth, Politicus; a thir-
teenth, Moralis.  They have but one book, which they call
Wisdom, and in it all the sciences are written with conciseness
and marvellous fluency of expression.  This they read to the
people after the custom of the Pythagoreans.  It is Wisdom
who causes the exterior and interior, the higher and lower walls
of the city to be adorned with the finest pictures, and to have
all the sciences painted upon them in an admirable manner.
On the walls of the temple and on the dome, which is let down
when the priest gives an address, lest the sounds of his voice,
being scattered, should fly away from his audience, there are
pictures of stars in their different magnitudes, with the powers
and motions of each, expressed separately in three little verses.

   On the interior wall of the first circuit all the mathematical
figures are conspicuously painted -- figures more in number
than Archimedes or Euclid discovered, marked symmetrically,
and with the explanation of them neatly written and contained
each in a little verse.  There are definitions and propositions,
etc.  On the exterior convex wall is first an immense drawing
of the whole earth, given at one view.  Following upon this,
there are tablets setting forth for every separate country the
customs both public and private, the laws, the origins and the
power of the inhabitants; and the alphabets the different people
use can be seen above that of the City of the Sun.

   On the inside of the second circuit, that is to say of the second
ring of buildings, paintings of all kinds of precious and com-
mon stones, of minerals and metals, are seen; and a little piece
of the metal itself is also there with an apposite explanation
in two small verses for each metal or stone.  On the outside
are marked all the seas, rivers, lakes, and streams which are
on the face of the earth; as are also the wines and the oils and
the different liquids, with the sources from which the last are
extracted, their qualities and strength.  There are also vessels
built into the wall above the arches, and these are full of liquids
from one to 300 years old, which cure all diseases.  Hail and
snow, storms and thunder, and whatever else takes place in the
air, are represented with suitable figures and little verses.  The
inhabitants even have the art of representing in stone all the
phenomena of the air, such as the wind, rain, thunder, the rain-
bow, etc.

   On the interior of the third circuit all the different families
of trees and herbs are depicted, and there is a live specimen of
each plant in earthenware vessels placed upon the outer parti-
tion of the arches.  With the specimens there are explanations
as to where they were first found, what are their powers and
natures, and resemblances to celestial things and to metals, to
parts of the human body and to things in the sea, and also as
to their uses in medicine, etc.  On the exterior wall are all the
races of fish found in rivers, lakes, and seas, and their habits
and values, and ways of breeding, training, and living, the pur-
poses for which they exist in the world, and their uses to man.
Further, their resemblances to celestial and terrestrial things,
produced both by nature and art, are so given that I was as-
tonished when I saw a fish which was like a bishop, one like a
chain, another like a garment, a fourth like a nail, a fifth like
a star, and others like images of those things existing among
us, the relation in each case being completely manifest.  There
are sea-urchins to be seen, and the purple shell-fish and mus-
sels; and whatever the watery world possesses worthy of being
known is there fully shown in marvellous characters of paint-
ing and drawing.

   On the fourth interior wall all the different kinds of birds are
painted, with their natures, sizes, customs, colors, manner of
living, etc.; and the only real phoenix is possessed by the inhabi-
tants of this city.  On the exterior are shown all the races of
creeping animals, serpents, dragons, and worms; the insects,
the flies, gnats, beetles, etc., in their different states, strength,
venoms, and uses, and a great deal more than you or I can think

   On the fifth interior they have all the larger animals of the
earth, as many in number as would astonish you.  We indeed
know not the thousandth part of them, for on the exterior wall
also a great many of immense size are also portrayed.  To be
sure, of horses alone, how great a number of breeds there is and
how beautiful are the forms there cleverly displayed!

   On the sixth interior are painted all the mechanical arts, with
the several instruments for each and their manner of use among
different nations.  Alongside, the dignity of such is placed, and
their several inventors are named.  But on the exterior all the
inventors in science, in warfare, and in law are represented.
There I saw Moses, Osiris, Jupiter, Mercury, Lycurgus, Pom-
pilius, Pythagoras, Zamolxis, Solon, Charondas, Phoroneus,
with very many others.  They even have Mahomet, whom
nevertheless they hate as a false and sordid legislator.  In the
most dignified position I saw a representation of Jesus Christ
and of the twelve Apostles, whom they consider very worthy
and hold to be great.  Of the representations of men, I per-
ceived Caesar, Alexander, Pyrrhus, and Hannibal in the high-
est place; and other very renowned heroes in peace and war,
especially Roman heroes, were painted in lower positions, under
the galleries.  And when I asked with astonishment whence
they had obtained our history, they told me that among them
there was a knowledge of all languages, and that by persever-
ance they continually send explorers and ambassadors over the
whole earth, who learn thoroughly the customs, forces, rule and
histories of the nations, bad and good alike.  These they apply
all to their own republic, and with this they are well pleased.
I learned that cannon and typography were invented by the
Chinese before we knew of them.  There are magistrates who
announce the meaning of the pictures, and boys are accustomed
to learn all the sciences, without toil and as if for pleasure; but
in the way of history only until they are ten years old.

   Love is foremost in attending to the charge of the race.  He
sees that men and women are so joined together, that they bring
forth the best offspring.  Indeed, they laugh at us who exhibit
a studious care for our breed of horses and dogs, but neglect
the breeding of human beings.  Thus the education of the chil-
dren is under his rule.  So also is the medicine that is sold, the
sowing and collecting of fruits of the earth and of trees, agri-
culture, pasturage, the preparations for the months, the cook-
ing arrangements, and whatever has any reference to food,

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