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He practised flying, gently at first, and then more boldly, until he flew up to the Moon, and looked down on the Earth (see Frontispiece), which he declared was much smaller than the Moon. One of the striking points in Lucian's tale is the suggestion that the eagle's wing endowed Icaromenippus with the eagle's sight.

An eagle has the keenest sight of any living thing, and the eagle alone looks straight at the Sun.

And so he was able to see things happening on the distant Earth.

Nowadays, of course, we should bring a telescope into the story; but the telescope was not invented until more than a thousand years after Lucian's time, and the best he could think of was this vague notion of the eagle's "strong sight," which in some mysterious way helped Icaromenippus to see very distant things. But since he had not the magnifying power of a telescope the distant things looked very small. He tells how our earthly cities, "including the inhabitants, were not at all unlike ant-hills." It is good for us sometimes to remember how small we are compared with the universe, or even with the solar system of which our Earth is a rather unimportant member: and it is noteworthy that in this early example of a pretended "Voyage in Space" Lucian does not forget to make this use of it.

Since his day many others have had the same notion of pretending to get away from the Earth, and to visit one or other of the planets.

In my boyhood we read a book by Jules Verne,