On This Day In History: A Solar Eclipse Occurs, As Predicted By Thales Of Miletus – On May 28, 585 BC

AncientPages.comOn 28 May 585 BC, a solar eclipse occurs, as predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales of Miletus (625 BC - 545 BC).

Thales foretold a solar eclipse, which did occur within the period he specified.

Thales is acclaimed for having predicted an eclipse of the sun which occurred on 28 May 585 B.C. The earliest extant account of the eclipse comes from Herodotus, who writes about this astronomical event, as follows:

On This Day In History: A Solar Eclipse Occurs, As Predicted By Thales Of Miletus - On May 28, 585 BC

'….This change from daylight to darkness had been foretold to the Ionians by Thales of Miletus, who fixed the date for it within the limits of the year in which it did, in fact, take place' (Hdt. I.74).

How Thales foretold the eclipse is not known but there is strong opinion that he was able to perform this remarkable feat through knowledge of a cycle known as the Saros, with some attributing his success to use of the Exeligmos cycle.

It is not known how Thales was able to predict the Eclipse,but it is known that Thales of Miletus was one of the famous "Seven Sages of Greece."

He was interested in almost all areas of knowledge, philosophy, history, science, mathematics, engineering, geography, and politics. He proposed theories to explain many of the events of nature, the primary substance, the support of the earth, and the cause of change.

On This Day In History: A Solar Eclipse Occurs, As Predicted By Thales Of Miletus - On May 28, 585 BC

Thales was much involved in the problems of astronomy.

In addition to Herodotus, the successful prediction of the eclipse was accepted by Eudemus in his ‘History of Astronomy’ and acknowledged by a number of other writers of ancient times (Cicero, Pliny, Dercyllides, Clement, Eusebius).

Modern astronomy also confirms that the eclipse did occur, and was total.

See also:

Thales of Miletus: One Of The Famous “Seven Sages Of Greece” Who Predicted A Solar Eclipse

Herodotus writes that the umbra of the eclipse of Thales must have passed over the battlefield between between the Medes and the Lydians, who were in a long-standing war, but they understood the appearance of the eclipse as an omen and interrupted a battle.

The "un-naturalness" of a solar eclipse is eerie and chilling. The warriors saw the eclipse as disapproval of their warfare, and as a warning.

They ceased fighting and a peace agreement was reached between the two kings.

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