List of solar eclipses in antiquity

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This is a list of selected solar eclipses from antiquity, in particular those with historical significance. Eclipses on this list were not only recorded, but sometimes would have large effects such as ending a war.

Historically significant solar eclipses[edit]

Date of
eclipse
Type Saros Magnitude Gamma Time (UTC) Central Duration Eclipse Path Notes
Start Mid End
22 Oct 2137 BC Annular 9 0.9736 0.3842 - 03:25:29 02m52s It is said that Ho and Hi, the Drunk Astronomers failed to predict this eclipse. (story may be fictious) [2] [3]
3 May 1375 BC Total 16 1.0295 0.7755 - 04:51:04 02m07s Early Mesopotamian records. [4]
June 24, 1312 BC total 35 - 10:44 - 04m33s Anatolia Known as Mursili's eclipse, could provide an absolute chronology of the ancient Near East.[1][2][3]
5 June 1302 BC Total 26 1.0805 0.2982 02:10:48 00:06:25 Early Chinese eclipse. [5]
16 Apr 1178 BC Total 39 1.0599 0.5187 10:00:58 00:04:33 Odyssey Eclipse. [6] [7]
21 Apr 899 BC Annular 53 0.9591 0.8964 22:21:56 00:03:04 China's 'Double-Dawn' Eclipse. [8] [9]
June 15, 763 BC total 44 - 08:23 - 04m59s Attested in Assyrian sources and providing an absolute chronology of the ancient Near East.[4]
6 Apr 648 BC Total 38 1.0689 0.6898 08:31:03 00:05:02 Archilochus' Eclipse. [10] [11]
May 28, 585 BC total 57 - 14:28 - 06m05s Allegedly predicted by Thales; occurred during the Battle of the Eclipse.[5][6]
19 May 557 BC Total 48 1.0258 0.3145 12:52:26 00:02:22 The Siege of Larisa, firstly recorded by Xenophon. [12]
February 17, 478 BC or October 2, 480 BC annular 42/65 - 9:58:51/11:51:0 - 06m00s/07m57s Greece Eclipse occurring prior to Xerxes' first march against Greece. The exact dating has been debated, as the writings of Herodotus (who chronicled the eclipse) gives a date for which there was no eclipse visible in that area of the world.[7]
August 3, 431 BC annular 48 - 14:54:51:8 - 01m04.5s Greece, Mediterranean Sea Recorded by Thucydides;[8] Pericles shows his Greek Army that the eclipse was not much more than a covering of the sun by something bigger than his cloak.[9]
21 Mar 424 BC Annular 42 0.9430 0.9433 07:54:29 00:04:39 8th year of the Peloponnesian War. [13]
May 6, 319 total 72 - 14:24:49 - 03m56s Georgia, Europe, Mexico, United States Thought by astronomers to be the eclipse preceding the Christianization of Iberia by Mirian III of Iberia.[10]

Statistics[edit]

Longest total eclipses[edit]

Below is a list of the 10 longest total eclipses between the 30th century BC and the 4th century.

Date of eclipse Central Duration Reference
30 May 2585 BC 07m17s [11]
10 June 2567 BC 07m21s [11]
6 May 2249 BC 07m20s [11]
17 May 2231 BC 07m21s [11]
5 June 762 BC 07m25s [12]
15 June 744 BC 07m28s [12]
26 June 726 BC 07m18s [12]
16 June 345 07m17s [13]
27 June 363 07m24s [13]
8 July 381 07m22s [13]

Solar eclipses by century[edit]

Century No. Eclipse type Longest eclipse[a] Two-eclipse months[b] Ref.
Partial (P) Annular (A) Total (T) Hybrid (H) Length Date
20th BC 239 84 71 62 22 11m38s 28 December 1983 BC March 1958 BC [14]
19th BC 253 93 80 63 17 08m57s 28 October 1896 BC January 1806 BC [15]
18th BC 254 95 74 64 21 11m10s 10 November 1710 BC [16]
17th BC 230 75 71 60 24 12m07s 12 December 1656 BC July 1611 BC [17]
16th BC 225 78 67 59 21 10m07s 25 January 1583 BC June 1535 BC, May 1524 BC [18]
15th BC 226 77 69 62 18 10m00s 25 September 1410 BC April 1448 BC [19]
14th BC 234 76 84 68 6 11m29s 18 November 1320 BC [20]
13th BC 250 93 86 64 7 11m11s 9 December 1284 BC December 1210 BC [21]
12th BC 252 93 89 63 7 10m27s 14 December 1108 BC October 1123 BC, September 1112 BC [22]
11th BC 238 79 91 68 0 10m34s 25 December 1090 BC August 1036 BC, July 1025 BC, June 1014 BC [23]
10th BC 226 84 75 61 6 09m01s 24 October 984 BC [24]
9th BC 225 80 75 66 4 10m21s 7 November 817 BC [25]
8th BC 234 79 88 64 3 11m29s 10 December 763 BC [12]
7th BC 253 96 87 63 7 10m06s 22 November 604 BC December 689 BC, November 678 BC, October 602 BC [26]
6th BC 255 96 86 65 8 10m50s 4 January 531 BC September 591 BC, August 515 BC, July 504 BC [27]
5th BC 241 84 78 62 17 10m24s 26 January 495 BC May 417 BC [28]
4th BC 225 83 63 56 23 10m16s 7 December 391 BC [29]
3rd BC 226 83 62 57 24 11m47s 30 November 214 BC [30]
2nd BC 237 80 73 63 21 12m08s 22 December 178 BC [31]
1st BC 251 92 77 65 17 08m51s 14 February 87 BC [32]
1st AD 248 90 75 58 25 11m18s 4 November 96 August 7, July 18, April 97 [33]
2nd AD 237 80 77 64 16 12m23s[c] 7 December 150 [35]
3rd AD 227 79 74 69 5 11m09s 8 January 205 [36]
4th AD 222 73 76 66 7 10m44s 2 January 363 [13]
  1. ^ All eclipses listed are annular. See § Longest total eclipses above for longest total eclipses
  2. ^ Months listed in this column had two eclipses occur during that time period
  3. ^ This is the longest annular eclipse in the five-millennium period between the 20th century BC and 30th century.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ KUB XIV 4.24: [ma-a-an I-NA KUR A]zi-ma i-ia-ah-at nu dUTU-us sa-ki-ya-ah-ta "[When] I marched [to the land of A]zzi, the Sungod gave a sign." Theo P. J. Van Den Hout, The Purity of Kingship: An Edition of CTH 569 and Related Hittite Oracle Inquiries of Tutẖaliya (1998), 42f.
  2. ^ Trevor R. Bryce, The Kingdom of the Hittites, Clarendon Oxford University Press, (1998)
  3. ^ http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEatlas/SEatlas-2/SEatlas-1319.GIF
  4. ^ Rawlinson, Henry Creswicke, "The Assyrian Canon Verified by the Record of a Solar Eclipse, B.C. 763", The Athenaeum: Journal of Literature, Science and the Fine Arts, nr. 2064, 660-661 [18 May 1867].[1]
  5. ^ Stephenson, F. Richard, and Louay J. Fatoohi. "Thale's Prediction of a Solar Eclipse." Journal for the History of Astronomy 28 (1997): 279
  6. ^ http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEatlas/SEatlas-1/SEatlas-0599.GIF
  7. ^ Lynn, W.T. "Eclipses during the war of Xerxes with the Greeks". The Observatory. 7: 138–140. Bibcode:1884Obs.....7..138L. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Eclipse - Assyrian". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  9. ^ "The Eclipse of Pericles • An Exchange in 'The Observatory' (1884)". penelope.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  10. ^ Sauter, J. Simonia, I. Stephenson, F. R. & Orchiston, W. (2015) The Legendary Fourth-Century Total Solar Eclipse in Georgia: Fact or Fantasy? Springer Publishing p. 24, 42
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