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How an eclipse saved Columbus.

by grimgraphix / February 10, 2008 2:22 AM PST
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Maybe...
by EdH / February 11, 2008 4:56 AM PST

But wasn't the eclipse in Connecticut Yankee a solar eclipse? Of course, that would be much more dramatic.

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But wasn't the eclipse in Connecticut Yankee a solar eclipse
by JP Bill / February 11, 2008 5:02 AM PST
In reply to: Maybe...

From Grims link

Another side to the story

In an interesting postscript to this story, in 1889, Mark Twain, likely influenced by the eclipse trick, wrote the novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In it, his main character, Hank Morgan, used a gambit similar to Columbus'.



Morgan is about to be burned at the stake, so he "predicts" a solar eclipse he knows will occur, and in the process, claimed power over the sun. He gladly offers to return the sun to the sky in return for his freedom and a position as "perpetual minister and executive" to the king.

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And...
by EdH / February 11, 2008 5:20 AM PST

The only problem with this story is that on the date that Mark Twain quoted ? June 21, 528 A.D. ? no such eclipse took place. In fact, the moon was three days past full, a setup that can't generate an eclipse.

Perhaps he should have consulted an almanac!

Here's the book: http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/TwaYank.html

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A solar eclipse is more dramatic.
by grimgraphix / February 11, 2008 6:33 AM PST
In reply to: Maybe...

I wonder... does anyone know of any other event in actual recorded history where a similar "manipulation" occurred?

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Links
by EdH / February 11, 2008 7:25 AM PST
What is probably the most famous eclipse of ancient times ended a five-year war between the Lydians and the Medes. These two Middle Eastern armies were locked in battle when "the day was turned into night." The sight of this total solar eclipse (the date is fixed as May 28, 585 B.C.) was startling enough to cause both nations to stop fighting at once. They agreed to a peace treaty and cemented the bond with a double marriage. The eclipse was predicted by Thales, the celebrated Greek astronomer and philosopher, but the prediction was probably not known to the warring nations.

The lunar eclipse of August 27, 413 B.C., had a different effect on the outcome of a battle in the Peloponnesian War. The Athenians were ready to move their forces from Syracuse when the Moon was eclipsed. The soldiers and sailors were frightened by this celestial omen and were reluctant to leave. Their commander, Nicias, consulted the soothsayers and postponed the departure for twenty-seven days. This delay gave an advantage to their enemies, the Syracusans, who then defeated the entire Athenian fleet and army, and killed Nicias.



One of the most important historical solar eclipses is that of the annular solar eclipse of 27 January 632. It was visible in Medina during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH), and coincided with the death of his little son Ibrahim. The Prophet stated explicitly and definitely that the eclipses of the Sun and the Moon are not bad omens, but are cosmic spectacles that demonstrate the might and knowledge of Allah the Great.
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Also...
by J. Vega / February 11, 2008 7:47 AM PST
In reply to: Links

Also, in the Zulu War battle at Isandlwana, there was a partial solar eclipse. I have seen an analysis of that battle that suggests that this degraded lighting helped the Zulus to get closer to the British lines before detected. Also, this combined with the smoke factor of the British Martini-Henrys interfered with the aiming of the British, lessening the range advantage of the rifles.

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King Solomons Mines? ;-)
by jonah jones / February 11, 2008 12:23 PM PST

although a lunar eclipse, still impressive

.,

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