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Europe PubMed Central
Other literature type . 2008
Data sources: PubMed Central
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Article . 2008 . Peer-reviewed
Data sources: Crossref
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Is an eclipse described in the Odyssey?

Authors: Baikouzis, Constantino; Magnasco, Marcelo Osvaldo;

Is an eclipse described in the Odyssey?

Abstract

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 analyze 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.

Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas

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Argentina
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Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: History Solar eclipse media_common.quotation_subject Venus Planet Skepticism media_common biology Astronomy BOOTES biology.organism_classification Astronomical Phenomena New moon Pleiades

Keywords

Ciencias Astronómicas, History, Astronomy, Multidisciplinary, Homer, Physical Sciences

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download
citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
views
OpenAIRE UsageCountsViews provided by UsageCounts
downloads
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14
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27
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