May 28 - Battle of the Eclipse

   Posted on May 28, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on May 28, 2011:

The year was 585 B.C.

The Medes and the Lydians were at war. 

The king of the Medes was fighting the king of the Lydians, and the king of the Lydians was fighting the king of the Medes - and that meant that they were both sending soldiers to fight one another.

They were fighting over land and revenge for an act that had been carried out in revenge for another act that had been carried out in revenge for... Well, you get the idea. Everybody was acting badly, and soldiers had been battling it out on behalf of their kings for MORE THAN FIVE YEARS!

Then, on May 28, 585, the gods stepped in.

The gods made day into night to show their displeasure, and the battle stopped.

The Lydians (above) looked with astonishment at...
a black hole in the sky (below)
where the Sun should have been...

Somehow the two sides managed to arrange a truce. A boundary line was agreed on. One king's daughter married the other king's son to make sure the truce lasted.


Of course, what stopped the battle on this day almost 2,500 years ago wasn't a miracle created by the many Lydian gods or the one Median god. It was a total solar eclipse. Total solar eclipses are very rare but also completely normal and (nowadays) well understood.

Basically, the battle site just happened to be in the moon's shadow.

I hope you get to see a total solar eclipse someday.
I have! And it looks really, really WRONG, somehow,
even if you completely know how normal it is, and
the cause, and that everything will be back to normal
in just a few minutes.

Because we can very accurately calculate the dates of solar eclipses, this battle is one of the earliest events that modern historians can pinpoint with a precise date.

 Julia Pierpont Day

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