In this work is no claim to originality--it has been a mattermainly of compilation, and some stories, notably those of theWright Brothers and of Santos Dumont, are better told in thewords of the men themselves than any third party could tellthem. The author claims, however, that this is the firstattempt at recording the facts of development and stating, asfully as is possible in the compass of a single volume, howflight and aerostation have evolved.
er, Simon threatened to ascend and made the attempt with apparatus as unsuitable as Bladud's wings, paying the inevitable penalty. Another version of the story gives St Peter instead of St Paul as the one whose prayers foiled Simon --apart from the identity of the apostle, the two accounts are similar, and both define the attitude of the age toward investigation and experiment in things untried.
Another and later circumstantial story, with similar evidence of some fact behind it, is that of the Saracen of Constantinople, who, in the reign of the Emperor Comnenus--some little time before Norman William made Saxon Harold swear away his crown on the bones of the saints at Rouen--attempted to fly round the hippodrome at Constantinople, having Comnenus among the great throng who gathered to witness the feat. The Saracen chose for his starting-point a tower in the midst of the hippodrome, and on the top of the tower he stood, clad in a long white robe which was stiffened with rods so as to spread and catch t