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Post Info TOPIC: Total solar eclipse, April 16, 1178 B.C.


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 Total solar eclipse, April 16, 1178 B.C.

Delving into a 3,000-year-old mystery using astronomical clues in Homer's "The Odyssey," researchers said Monday they have dated one of the most heralded events of Western literature: Odysseus' slaughter of his wife's suitors upon his return from the Trojan War.
According to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the wily hero who devised the Trojan Horse hefted his mighty bow on April 16, 1178 BC, and executed the unruly crowd who had taken over his home and was trying to force his wife into marriage.

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Title: Is an eclipse described in the Odyssey?
Authors: Constantino Baikouzis and Marcelo O. Magnasco

Plutarch and Heraclitus believed a certain passage in the 20th book of the Odyssey ("Theoclymenus's prophecy") to be a poetic description of a total solar eclipse. In the late 1920s, Schoch and Neugebauer computed that the solar eclipse of 16 April 1178 B.C.E. was total over the Ionian Islands and was the only suitable eclipse in more than a century to agree with classical estimates of the decade-earlier sack of Troy around 1192-1184 B.C.E. However, much skepticism remains about whether the verses refer to this, or any, eclipse. To contribute to the issue independently of the disputed eclipse reference, we analyse other astronomical references in the Epic, without assuming the existence of an eclipse, and search for dates matching the astronomical phenomena we believe they describe. We use three overt astronomical references in the epic: to Boötes and the Pleiades, Venus, and the New Moon; we supplement them with a conjectural identification of Hermes's trip to Ogygia as relating to the motion of planet Mercury. Performing an exhaustive search of all possible dates in the span 1250-1115 B.C., we looked to match these phenomena in the order and manner that the text describes. In that period, a single date closely matches our references: 16 April 1178 B.C.E. We speculate that these references, plus the disputed eclipse reference, may refer to that specific eclipse.

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Athena now made the suitors fall to laughing immoderately, and set their wits wandering; but they were laughing with a forced laughter. Their meat became smeared with blood; their eyes filled with tears, and their hearts were heavy with forebodings. Theoklymenos saw this and said, "Unhappy men, what is it that ails you? There is a shroud of darkness drawn over you from head to foot, your cheeks are wet with tears; the air is alive with wailing voices; the walls and roof-beams drip blood; the gate of the cloisters and the court beyond them are full of ghosts trooping down into the night of Hades; the sun is blotted out of heaven, and a blighting gloom is over all the land."
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Title: The eclipse of Odysseus
Authors: Schoch, C.

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Homer's Odyssey
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"The sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world." With these words from Homer's Odyssey, the seer Theoclymenus foresaw the violent deaths of the suitors who, during the hero's spell away from home, had gathered to court his wife, Penelope.

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HOMERS ODYSSEY: translated by Samuel Butler. revised by Timothy Power and Gregory Nagy.

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(345) - the sun is blotted out of heaven, and a blighting gloom is over all the land.

-- Edited by Blobrana at 23:31, 2008-06-23

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Homer's Odyssey Said to Document 3,200-Year-Old Eclipse
Researchers say that references to planets and constellations in the Odyssey describe a solar eclipse that occurred in 1178 B.C., nearly three centuries before Homer is believed to have written the story. If correct, the finding would suggest that the ancient poet had a surprisingly detailed knowledge of astronomy.
The Odyssey, commonly dated to near 800 B.C., describes the 10-year voyage of the Greek general Odysseus to his home on the island of Ithaca after the fall of Troy in approximately 1200 B.C. Toward the end of the story, a seer named Theoclymenus prophecies the death of a group of suitors competing for the affection of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, who is believed to be dead. Theoclymenus delivers his prophecy as the suitors are sitting down for their noontime meal. He foresees them entering Hades and ends his speech with the statement, "The Sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world." Odysseus dispatches the suitors not long thereafter.

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