Eclipses of conflict

Before science flourished and mankind was enlightened, eclipses were interpreted as omens or portents, especially when associated with battles. During the Zulu War in South Africa, a British battalion was massacred by Zulu warriors on 22 January 1879. At 2:29 pm, there was a solar eclipse. The conflict was named the Battle of Isandlwana, which translates from Zulu as “the day of the dead moon”.

King XerxesBesides the ancient battles of the Medians and the Lydians mentioned in the previous post, eclipses also happened in Xerxes’ expedition against Greece.

An annular one took place on February 17, 478 BC as the Persian king departed for Greece. It was recorded by Herodotus, but also supported by Hind and Chambers over a century ago.

Another eclipse was observed in Sparta (yes, yes, Xerxes attacking Sparta like in the movie 300, only well after that battle) a year later, on August 1, 477 BC where Herodotus recorded that the sky darkened in the middle of the day.

A solar eclipse was recorded on June 29, 512 AD in the Chronicle of Ireland, and another one was reported to have happened during the Battle of Stiklestad in the summer of 1030.


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