Deutsh Russian

Wladyslaw Polakowski

About one spice issue of reliability of eclipses mentioned in ancient sources and an opportunity them retrocalculation.

One of the most reliable confirmations of the conventional traditional chronology are the precisely dated eclipses mentioned in ancient sources. If, for example, the date of an eclipse, which is mentioned at Plinius, precisely coincides with the theoretically copmuted date, thus chronological reliability of Plinius we can consider as confirmed.

In disputes of the supporters of the more ancient or newer concept of chronology of an antiquity the ancient eclipses are, as a rule, argument number 1. In particular, one of very good familiar the article's author, has admitted, that he trusts to the traditional chronology, besides other, because it sees before himself the whole list of clearly and precisely confirmed astronomical ancient eclipses.

Meanwhile there is a superficial not so artful idea: and if Plinius (and others) how the authors have appeared only in the Middle Ages, whether such was possible to assume, that with the purpose of confirmation of an antiquity already then, in the Middle Ages, it is eclipses was specially computed? The authors opinion, yes. It also makes a theme of our short article.

(One small addition, which did not belong into the first edition of article. "... His (by Plinius) books were lost and were restored". It's from Kolrausch, "The history of Germany " [3]).

So: whether in general could be so that literary falsificator, who worked in a later middle ages (or even in early new time), pefectly knew how to handle the technique of forgery, and up to such stage, what could easily thus count those eclipses, which were observed rather for a long time, only in the ancient world? (It is necessary to tell, that itself falsificator could make it of malicious intention: for example, he could be convinced that he is busy with the restoration of works of the great ancient scientist, who has appeared as unsurpassed savant of a idea on more than millenium - WP).

It appears, yes. If, at least to trust Almagest [1], its Russian edition and remarkable notes to it. On page 504 it contains the information that yat Babylonian wisdomers were able to expect certain lunar and solar eclipses. The question: how?

It appears, not so complex. To expect eclipses, it is necessary:

- To have calendar system of the account of time (that it was clear where to enter results of calculations)

- To know (and with this purpose previously to measure, and in conditions of an antiquity - simply to observe) duration of synodical month (i.e. interval of time, through which the moon comes back in the same phases from the viewpoint of illumination, its duration is 29.53 days)

- To know (and also to measure, and in conditions of an antiquity - simply to observe) duration of the draconical month, interval of time, through which the Moon crosses a plane of rotation of the Earth around of the Sun. Its duration is equal 27.21 days

- To observe the Methon cycle, or Saros, i.e. interval of time by duration 223 of synodical month, or 6585.33 days
- To observe one eclipse
- To notice, that through an interval of time equal to one Saros, one more eclipse will take place.

If not to deep in astronomical details, so it's all. Clearly and logically from the stated calculations the technique of calculations follows: one eclipse is observed, and the interval of time equal to 6585.33 days is consecutive or 18 julian of year and 10.83 days is postponed for earlier dates. Such will occur until the necessary epoch will be achieved.

In conclusion of this part of article it would be desirable to note, that, besides the main Saros, was used still trebled, with the duration 19756 days, that was equal 669 synodical or 726 to draconical months. And else to Babylonian wisdomers is attributed erudition with that ratio, that 5458 of synodical months are equal 5923 draconical.

So, what from this clearly follows from the viewpoint source knowledge? That a number of the ancient authors, which are mentioned in the fourth volume Morosow

[2], and in Ginzel [7], was not simply obviously forged in a middle ages. For them all eclipses, mentioned in their sources were specially computed. It is not enough of such authors not so. For an illustration of the given statement the author results two pairs eclipses computed by the Krasilnikow's canon.

982/09/20 We 03:18.4 2079995.655 25.4 -11345.0 -0.143 0.007 A
1000/04/07 Su 08:50.9 2086404.886 24.3 -11128.0 0.186 -0.005 T
1000/09/30 Mo 11:15.0 2086580.986 24.2 -11122.0 -0.109 0.007 A

So, number of sources, record on eclipses in which, beginning from IV centuries CE, were considered authentic (even by Morozow), it is possible easily to consider as doubtful. That is at all authors, where has a place dating of eclipses on julian to a calendar, it is possible to consider as past through the hands mentioned in article able to expect eclipses Babylonian wisdomers. It would be desirable to remind, that the first printed mention of them - at Hieronymus (Jerome), and it's XVI centuries. Not so and early.

Agrees of the borned working version, to such sources belong (author merely them copies from the fourth volume Morozow):

- Almagest (and there whole jacks of eclipses)
- Plinius
- Hydatii
- Consularia Constantinopolitana
- Chronica Gallica
- Church history by Philostorgi
- Chronicon paschale
- Annales Chronographi Veteri
- Historia Francorum Gregori Turonensis
- Marino Neapolitano
- Campanum paschale
- Ammianus Marcellinus
- Beda Venerabilis,
- Anglish-Saxon Chronicle
- London annals (Annales Lundunensis)
- Henry Gentinon history of England (by the way, in this calculation of eclipses, which were mentioned in last four sources, wisdomers-computists slightly were mistaken: very much eclipses which frequently were described were in the south visible well, but in north bad, in more detail about it there is a speech in clause of the author of the book "The Decision of a task of eclipses mentioned in a history of England by Heihrich Gentinon" [4]),
- Maximi Trevirensis
- Exceptum Sangallense
- Cosma Indicopleustes
- Theophilacti Simocattae
- Theophanus
- Anastasii Bibliothecari
- Zonara
- Fredegarii (Fredegar, if Kolrausch to trust, was found by Flaius Illyricus - WP).

Approximately on the sixth century Morozow has stoped his research, as he hasconsidered, that the later eclipses mentioned, accordingly, in later sources, more-less coincide with the authenticity. Alas, the article author's viewpoint is more sad: theoretically it is possible, that of time the shock work Babylon wisdomers was done down to IV centuries, so as to later times they could this work undertake too. On Michal Gododecki homesite [5] the sources on more later time were considered. To consider them, certainly, it would be interesting too.

In the end of article author want to add that if to trust to "Other history of the literature" by Zhabinski and Kaluzhny ([6], page 39) as Ptolemeus very frequently was named the astronomer Al-Kushchi.

Alas, article about astronomy comes to end not by the statement, by eith theexposing. A sad reality of a present situation in an alternative history.

Moscow, October 2002. With additions after creation of Internet version June-August 2003.


1. Ptolemeus. Almagest. M. Published house of the physical and Mathematical literature, 1997

2. Morozow N. Christ. M. Volume IV. In darkness of past at light of stars. Moscow, Lean-Kraft 1998.

3. Kolrausch. A history of Germany from most ancient times up to 1851. Translation Peter Bartenew. P.1-2, M., printing house of L.Stepanowa. 1860.

4. Polakowski W. Eclipses mentioned in Henry Gentinon history of England problem solution.

5. Michale Gorodecki homepage. Internet,

6. Kaluzhny D. Zhabinski A. Other history of the literature. M. Veche. 2001.
7. Giznzel F.K. Spezieller Kanon der Sonnen- und Mondfinsternisse fur das Landregebiet der klassische Altertumswissenschaften und ben Zeitraum von 900 vor Chr. bis 600 nach Chr. von F.K.Ginzel Standigem Mitgliede des Konigl. Astronomische Recheninstitutes, Berlin Mayer & Muller 1899

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