[current_date format=l,] [current_date]

Solar Eclipses of History (I)

By Norma Reis Introduction Since the very beginning of history, people have been amazed by what they see when they look up at the sky. Indeed, looking at the celestial sphere without the unpleasant interference of city lights is magnificent. It can sometimes mesmerise us with a deep desire of traveling out to these celestial spheres to directly experience what our eyes cannot see. Human imagination has no boundaries, but the universe is infinite! However, most ancient civilizations have viewed changes in the sky with great fear and apprehension. Comets, meteor showers, supernovae, lunar and solar eclipses were viewed as bad omens by most societies. The Sun and the Moon are the main actors in the celestial theatre, the former being vital for life on Earth. The Moon, by

By Norma Reis


Since the very beginning of history, people have been amazed by what they see when they look up at the sky. Indeed, looking at the celestial sphere without the unpleasant interference of city lights is magnificent. It can sometimes mesmerise us with a deep desire of traveling out to these celestial spheres to directly experience what our eyes cannot see. Human imagination has no boundaries, but the universe is infinite! However, most ancient civilizations have viewed changes in the sky with great fear and apprehension. Comets, meteor showers, supernovae, lunar and solar eclipses were viewed as bad omens by most societies.

The Sun and the Moon are the main actors in the celestial theatre, the former being vital for life on Earth. The Moon, by its turn, has served as special inspiration for poets, writers, and lovers. The Sun and Moon have also been associated with religion and mythology, and sometimes regarded as gods with influence on the destiny of both societies and individuals.

Solar and lunar eclipses were usually regarded as a disturbance in the natural order of the sky – as an indication that something was going wrong. Many historical events coincided with solar or lunar eclipses: battles, crowning or dethroning of emperors, peace treaties, and so forth. It is our nature as human beings to attribute meaning to events by whatever history, tradition or thought is available to us. The same is true for eclipses throughout the centuries.

Unlike comets, which for a long time were regarded as unpredictable events, eclipses were accurately predicted at the earliest stages of mankind’s history. Early astronomers were able to predict eclipses by around 2300 BCE. Their predictions were based on empirical relationships, governing the recurrence of events by which the relative positions of the Earth, Sun and Moon reoccur the same way after 6,585 days. The existence of a regular eclipse cycle, such as the Saros cycle, resulted from these coincidences involving complex combinations between the movements of the Moon, Earth, and Sun. This more detailed knowledge of eclipses started to be acquired during the second century BCE, the golden age of Greek astronomy.

But the general population did not understand these relationships. As governors began to realize the influence astronomical phenomena exerted over the population, they used this knowledge as an instrument of power to influence people’s psyche. The population would follow rituals and say prayers in order to prevent the supposed dire effects. Governors wanted to pretend they could influence the obscure powers involved, and likewise, astrologers and astronomers sometimes attempted to use their knowledge to manipulate and influence governors. A negative or positive correlation with an eclipse could affect the outcome of a battle.

Only in the last five hundred years or so, or certainly since the invention of the telescope in 1609, have we come to understand these cosmic concurrences primarily in terms of the natural order of the universe. As previously mentioned, these events are no longer feared, but viewed as singular opportunities to better understand the universe. In this article, we present some important solar and lunar eclipses throughout time and their impact on people, societies, and science.

The Catalog of Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest contains many more examples of important eclipses that have left their mark on history.

Part 1: Solar Eclipses of Ancient Times

Ho and Hi, the Drunk Astronomers (2137 BCE)
Throughout the centuries, Chinese astronomers devoted substantial efforts towards predicting eclipses. However, like all similar efforts prior to the Renaissance, this could only be by empirical research. The earliest record of a solar eclipse comes from ancient Chinese history. Identifications of this event have varied from 2165 – 1948 BCE, though the favoured date is October 22, 2137 BCE. Ancient Chinese astronomy was primarily a governmental activity. It was the astronomer’s role to keep track of solar, lunar and planetary motions and explain what they meant to the ruling emperor.

Eclipse observation in China around 1840.
Astronomers calmly observe an eclipse and the servants, terrified, prostrate themselves on the ground to placate the bad omen.
Credit: History of China and India © Mary Evans / Explorer.
(Photo: Brunier and Luminet, Glorious Eclipses, Cambridge University Press/eclipsewise.com)

According to legend, the royal astronomers Ho and Hi dedicated too much of their time to consuming alcohol and failed to predict a forthcoming eclipse. Traditionally, the solar eclipse recorded in the Shu Ching (an historical classic text) was regarded as having occured the 3rd millennium BCE. On the first day of the month, in the last month of autumn, the Sun and the Moon did not meet (harmoniously) in Fang’ … so runs the text. The emperor became very unhappy because, without knowing that there was an eclipse coming, he was unable to organize teams to beat drums and shoot arrows in the air to frighten away the invisible dragon. The Sun did survive, but the two astronomers lost their heads for such negligence. Since then, a legend arose that no one has ever seen an astronomer drunk during an eclipse.

“Here lie the bodies of Ho and Hi
Whose fate though sad was visible,
Being hanged because they could not spy
Th’eclipse which was invisible.”
– Author unknown

Eclipse of Abraham in Canaan (1533 BCE)
Eclipses are also mentioned in sacred books such as the Bible. One of the best-known references to eclipses appears in the book of Genesis, which involves the journey of Abraham into Canaan: “And when the Sun was going down … great darkness fell upon him.” It is possible to relate this description with a computed solar eclipse occurring on May 9, 1533 BCE.

Abraham journeying into Canaan.
(Photo: This image was produced by the French artist Gustave Dore and illustrates the journey into Canaan.//eclipsewise.com))

Map and eclipse predictions: Total Solar Eclipse of -1532 May 10

Homecoming of Odysseus (1178 BCE)
There is some evidence to suggest that Odysseus, from Homer’s Odyssey, could have returned to his Penelope on the day of an eclipse. Basically, we have three cases of evidence for this hypothesis:
a) Plutharch interpreted a passage in the 20th book of that masterpiece of literature to be a poetic description of a total solar eclipse at Odysseus’ return;
b) A century ago, astronomers estimated that such an eclipse occurred over the Greek islands on April 16, 1178 BCE, the only one in the region close to the estimated date of the fall of Troy;
c) Recently, astronomical references led two scientists to state that the total solar eclipse of 1178 coincided with the homecoming of Odysseus to rejoin Penelope after the Trojan War.

Almost all classic scholars are skeptical of this correlation. If there was an eclipse, Homer must have had it in mind when he wrote of a seer prophesying the death of Penelope’s waiting suitors and their entrance into Hades. The story does not mention an eclipse, but there are omens and a poetic description of a total solar eclipse. Odysseus arrived home, disguised in beggar’s rags and in hiding before revealing himself. It happens that, when Penelope’s persistent suitors sat down at noon for a meal, they started laughing and saw their food spattered with blood. At this moment, the seer Theoclymenus foretells their death, ending with the sentence, “The Sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world.” This description suggests a solar eclipse over Ithaca. As a matter of fact, Odysseus killed Penelope’s suitors who wanted to steal his throne and afterwards he spent a long night of love with his wife.

Map and eclipse predictions: Total Solar Eclipse of -1177 Apr 16

The Old Testament Eclipse (763 BCE)
One passage in the Bible says: “And on that day, says the Lord God, ‘I will make the Sun go down at noon, and darken the Earth in broad daylight'”. The corresponding eclipse should have occurred on June 15, 763 BCE. A cross-reference is provided by an Assyrian historical chronicle known as the Eponym Canon. In Assyria, each year was named after a ruling official and the year’s events were recorded under that name in the Canon. Under the year corresponding to 763 BCE, a scribe at Nineveh wrote this simple line: “Insurrection in the City of Assur. In the month of Sivan, the Sun was eclipsed.” Historians have thus been able to use this eclipse to improve the chronology of early biblical times.

Map and eclipse predictions: Total Solar Eclipse of -0762 Jun 15

Archilochus Eclipse (648 BCE)
It is believed that the Greek lyric poet Archilochus saw a total solar eclipse, which happened on April 6, 648 BCE: “Nothing there is beyond hope, nothing that can be sworn impossible, nothing wonderful, since Zeus father of the Olympians made night from midday, hiding the light of the shining sun, and sore fear came upon men.”

Map and eclipse predictions: Total Solar Eclipse of -0647 Apr 06

Thales Eclipse (585 BCE)
In the West, the first prediction of a solar eclipse is associated with the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus who, according to Herodotus, foretold the eclipse of 585 BCE, in Turkey:

“In the sixth year a battle took place in which it happened, when the fight had begun, that suddenly the day became night. And this change of the day Thales the Milesian had foretold to the Ionians laying down as a limit this very year in which the change took place. The Lydians however and the Medes, when they saw that it had become night instead of day, ceased from their fighting and were much more eager both of them that peace should be made between them.”

Thales Eclipse. The battle between the Lydians and Medes was arrested by the total eclipse of the Sun on May 28, 585 BCE (-584 May 28). (Phpto: eclipsewise.com)

Although some argue that Thales used the Babylonian Saros period of 223 lunations it is now agreed by historians that the Saros period was not discovered before the fifth or fourth century BCE, therefore Thales could not have used that time system. There is a legend referring to the final battle of a fifteen-year war between the Lydians and the Medes, with ups and downs on both sides, but no decisive victory for either.

Also known as the “Battle of the Eclipse”, it occurred at the Halys River on May 28, 585 BCE, and was suddenly terminated due to a total solar eclipse, which was perceived as an omen indicating that the Gods wanted the fighting to stop. The kings were impressed and stopped fighting. Since the exact dates of eclipses can be calculated, this battle is the earliest historical event for which a precise date is known. It is said that Thales was proclaimed a wise man by the oracle of Delphi in 582 BCE, possibly due to the eclipse prediction credited to him. However, it is clear that he did not understand the scientific basis of the phenomenon.

Map and eclipse predictions: Total Solar Eclipse of -0584 May 28

The Crucifixion Eclipse (29-33 CE)
According to the evangelists, Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon, some hours prior to the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. It is recorded that Jesus was crucified during the period when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea (26-36 CE). However, there is no consensus on the date of the crucifixion. Evidence suggests April 3, 33 CE, while others suggest it was April 7, 30 CE. There are various allusions in the Bible to the Moon being dark and turned to blood when it rose in the evening after the crucifixion, which sounds like a lunar eclipse.

The crucifixion eclipse. According to the evangelists, the sun darkened during the crucifixion of Christ.
Later, the event was associated with an eclipse that was visible at Jerusalem.
(Photo: Cornelis de Vos 1584-1651 Calvary/Wikimedia Commons.)

In Acts of the Apostles, Peter also refers to a Moon that is the colour of blood and a darkened sky. There is other evidence that on that day the Moon appeared like blood. The so-called Report of Pilate, a New Testament Apocryphal fragment, states:

“Jesus was delivered to him by Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Annas, Caiphas, and all the people. At his crucifixion the Sun was darkened; the stars appeared and in all the world people lighted lamps from the sixth hour till evening; the Moon appeared like blood.”

This may be the result of a dust storm caused by the khamsin, a hot wind from the south. Under such circumstances – a lunar eclipse while there is much suspended dust – one would expect the Moon to appear the dark crimson of blood. The reason why the Moon is blood red is that, although it is geometrically in the Earth’s shadow, sunlight is refracted through the Earth’s upper atmosphere, where normal scattering will prevent blue light from penetrating. But this refracted light would be much weaker than direct light from even a small portion of the Sun and the blood colour associated with the eclipse would not be visible to the unaided eye. However, the Moon would have an amber colour from atmospheric absorption, similar to any other occasion when the Moon is low in the horizon.

Another hypothesis is that of a solar eclipse visible at Jerusalem on November 24, 29 CE. The Greek historian Phlegon mentions this eclipse in his History of the Olympiads, and says that it was accompanied by an earthquake. The Greek writer Phlegon reported that:

“In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was an eclipse of the Sun which was greater than any known before and in the sixth hour of the day it became night; so that stars appeared in the heaven; and a great Earthquake that broke out in Bithynia destroyed the greatest part of Nicaea.”

In fact, mention is also made in the Bible of the Sun being darkened earlier that day: “The Sun shall be turned into darkness.”

There is controversy among researchers whether this was a solar or a lunar eclipse, and also controversy about the date. In any case, an eclipse occurring in the very same night of the crucifixion would have been seen by believers as a supernatural sign and influenced the change of mind of the Jews and Pilate towards the body of Christ, leading to the placing of a military guard on the tomb.

Map and eclipse predictions: Total Solar Eclipse of 0029 Nov 24

Original article:eclipsewise.com


More on this topic

More Stories

Refreshing and Insights
at No Cost to You!

Cancel anytime

Latest Articles

Leave a Reply


Top Products

Contact us

Wherever & whenever you are,
we are here always.

The Middle Land

100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700 Santa Monica, CA 90401
Footer Contact

To Editor

Terms and Conditions

October, 2023

Using our website

You may use the The Middle Land website subject to the Terms and Conditions set out on this page. Visit this page regularly to check the latest Terms and Conditions. Access and use of this site constitutes your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions in-force at the time of use.

Intellectual property

Names, images and logos displayed on this site that identify The Middle Land are the intellectual property of New San Cai Inc. Copying any of this material is not permitted without prior written approval from the owner of the relevant intellectual property rights.

Requests for such approval should be directed to the competition committee.

Please provide details of your intended use of the relevant material and include your contact details including name, address, telephone number, fax number and email.

Linking policy

You do not have to ask permission to link directly to pages hosted on this website. However, we do not permit our pages to be loaded directly into frames on your website. Our pages must load into the user’s entire window.

The Middle Land is not responsible for the contents or reliability of any site to which it is hyperlinked and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Linking to or from this site should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all the time and have no control over the availability of the linked pages.


All information, data, text, graphics or any other materials whatsoever uploaded or transmitted by you is your sole responsibility. This means that you are entirely responsible for all content you upload, post, email or otherwise transmit to the The Middle Land website.

Virus protection

We make every effort to check and test material at all stages of production. It is always recommended to run an anti-virus program on all material downloaded from the Internet. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or computer system, which may occur while using material derived from this website.


The website is provided ‘as is’, without any representation or endorsement made, and without warranty of any kind whether express or implied.

Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It is your responsibility to ensure any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.

We do not warrant the operation of this site will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected, or that this site or the server that makes it available are free of viruses or represent the full functionality, accuracy and reliability of the materials. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, loss of profits, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from the use, or loss of data, arising out of – or in connection with – the use of this website.

Privacy & Cookie Policy

October, 2023

Last Updated: October 1, 2023

New San Cai Inc. (hereinafter “The Middle Land,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) owns and operates www.themiddleland.com, its affiliated websites and applications (our “Sites”), and provides related products, services, newsletters, and other offerings (together with the Sites, our “Services”) to art lovers and visitors around the world.

This Privacy Policy (the “Policy”) is intended to provide you with information on how we collect, use, and share your personal data. We process personal data from visitors of our Sites, users of our Services, readers or bloggers (collectively, “you” or “your”). Personal data is any information about you. This Policy also describes your choices regarding use, access, and correction of your personal information.

If after reading this Policy you have additional questions or would like further information, please contact us.


We collect and process personal data only for lawful reasons, such as our legitimate business interests, your consent, or to fulfill our legal or contractual obligations.

Information You Provide to Us

Most of the information Join Talents collects is provided by you voluntarily while using our Services. We do not request highly sensitive data, such as health or medical information, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, etc. and we ask that you refrain from sending us any such information.

Here are the types of personal data that you voluntarily provide to us:

  • Name, email address, and any other contact information that you provide by filling out your profile forms
  • Billing information, such as credit card number and billing address
  • Work or professional information, such as your company or job title
  • Unique identifiers, such as username or password
  • Demographic information, such as age, education, interests, and ZIP code
  • Details of transactions and preferences from your use of the Services
  • Correspondence with other users or business that you send through our Services, as well as correspondence sent to JoinTalents.com

As a registered users or customers, you may ask us to review or retrieve emails sent to your business. We will access these emails to provide these services for you.

We use the personal data you provide to us for the following business purposes:

  • Set up and administer your account
  • Provide and improve the Services, including displaying content based on your previous transactions and preferences
  • Answer your inquiries and provide customer service
  • Send you marketing communications about our Services, including our newsletters (please see the Your Rights/Opt Out section below for how to opt out of marketing communications)
  • Communicate with users who registered their accounts on our site
  • Prevent, discover, and investigate fraud, criminal activity, or violations of our Terms and Conditions
  • Administer contests and events you entered

Information Obtained from Third-Party Sources

We collect and publish biographical and other information about users, which we use to promote the articles and our bloggers  who use our sites. If you provide personal information about others, or if others give us your information, we will only use that information for the specific reason for which it was provided.

Information We Collect by Automated Means

Log Files

The site uses your IP address to help diagnose server problems, and to administer our website. We use your IP addresses to analyze trends and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

Every time you access our Site, some data is temporarily stored and processed in a log file, such as your IP addresses, the browser types, the operating systems, the recalled page, or the date and time of the recall. This data is only evaluated for statistical purposes, such as to help us diagnose problems with our servers, to administer our sites, or to improve our Services.

Do Not Track

Your browser or device may include “Do Not Track” functionality. Our information collection and disclosure practices, and the choices that we provide to customers, will continue to operate as described in this Privacy Policy, whether or not a “Do Not Track” signal is received.


We may share your personal data with third parties only in the ways that are described in this Privacy Policy. We do not sell, rent, or lease your personal data to third parties, and We does not transfer your personal data to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

We may share your personal data with third parties as follows:

  • With service providers under contract to help provide the Services and assist us with our business operations (such as our direct marketing, payment processing, fraud investigations, bill collection, affiliate and rewards programs)
  • As required by law, such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal process, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements
  • When we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect rights or safety, investigate fraud, or respond to a government request
  • With other users of the Services that you interact with to help you complete a transaction

There may be other instances where we share your personal data with third parties based on your consent.


We retain your information for as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you Services. If you wish to cancel your account or request that we no longer use your personal data, contact us. We will retain and use your personal data as necessary to comply with legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

All you and our data are stored in the server in the United States, we do not sales or transfer your personal data to the third party. All information you provide is stored on a secure server, and we generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal data we process both during transmission and once received.


You may correct, update, amend, delete/remove, or deactivate your account and personal data by making the change on your Blog on www.themiddleland.com or by emailing our customer service. We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe.

You may choose to stop receiving Join Talents newsletters or marketing emails at any time by following the unsubscribe instructions included in those communications, or you can contact us.


The Middle Land include links to other websites whose privacy practices may differ from that of ours. If you submit personal data to any of those sites, your information is governed by their privacy statements. We encourage you to carefully read the Privacy Policy of any website you visit.


Our Services are not intended for use by children, and we do not knowingly or intentionally solicit data from or market to children under the age of 18. We reserve the right to delete the child’s information and the child’s registration on the Sites.


We may update this Privacy Policy to reflect changes to our personal data processing practices. If any material changes are made, we will notify you on the Sites prior to the change becoming effective. You are encouraged to periodically review this Policy.


If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy, please contact customer service or send us mail at:

The Middle Land/New San Cai
100 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Article Submission


Are you sure? Do you want to logout of the account?

New Programs Added to Your Plan

March 2, 2023

The Michelin brothers created the guide, which included information like maps, car mechanics listings, hotels and petrol stations across France to spur demand.

The guide began to award stars to fine dining restaurants in 1926.

At first, they offered just one star, the concept was expanded in 1931 to include one, two and three stars. One star establishments represent a “very good restaurant in its category”. Two honour “excellent cooking, worth a detour” and three reward “exceptional cuisine, worth a


February 28, 2023        Hiring Journalists all hands apply

January 18, 2023          Hiring Journalists all hands apply


Leave a Reply

Forgot Password ?

Please enter your email id or user name to
recover your password

Thank you for your participation!
Back to Home
Thank you for your subscription!
Please check your email to activate your account.
Back to Home
Thank you for your participation!
Please check your email for the results.
Back to Home

Login to Vote!

Thank you for your participation,
please Log in or Sign up to Vote

Thank you for your Comment

Back to Home

Reply To:

New Programs Added to Your Plan

Login Now

123Sign in to your account