24 June 2008

Trojan horse date pinpointed

"Poor men, what terror is this that overwhelms you so? Night shrouds your heads, your faces, down to your knees - cries of mourning are bursting into fire - cheeks rivering tears - the walls and the handsome crossbeams dripping dank with blood! Ghosts, look, thronging the entrance, thronging the court, go trooping down to the realm of death and darkness! The sun is blotted out of the sky - look there - a lethal mist spreads all across the earth!" - Homer (translation by Robert Fagles).
"The team combed through the Odyssey to find astronomical references that could be precisely identified as occurring on specific days throughout Odysseus's journey. Then, they aligned each of those dates with the date of Odysseus's return, the same day he murders the suitors...

The day of the slaughter [of the suitors by Odysseus] is, as Homer writes more than once, also a new moon (a prerequisite for a total eclipse). Six days before the slaughter, Venus is visible and high in the sky. Twenty-nine days before, two constellations - the Pleiades and Bo├Âtes - are simultaneously visible at sunset...

They looked to see whether there was any date within 100 years of the fall of Troy that would fit the pattern of the astronomical timeline. There was only one: April 16, 1178 BC, the same day that astronomers had calculated the occurrence of a total solar eclipse..."

Credit for image and text to the Telegraph (U.K.)

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