Oldest Recorded Solar Eclipse Helps Date the Egyptian Pharaohs

Oldest Recorded Solar Eclipse Helps Date the Egyptian Pharaohs


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Researchers have pinpointed the date of what could be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded. The event, which occurred on 30 October 1207 BC, is mentioned in the Bible, and could have consequences for the chronology of the ancient world.

Using a combination of the biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text, the researchers were then able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs, in particular the dates of the reign of Ramesses the Great. The results are published in the Royal Astronomical Society journal Astronomy & Geophysics .

Abu Simbel Temple of King Ramses II, a masterpiece of pharaonic arts and buildings in Old Egypt. Source: BigStockPhoto

The biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries. It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan -- a region of the ancient Near East that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine -- he prayed: "Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies."

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"If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place -- the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means," said paper co-author Professor Sir Colin Humphreys from the University of Cambridge's Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, who is also interested in relating scientific knowledge to the Bible.

‘Joshua commanding the sun to stand still’ (1816) by John Martin.

"Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and moon stopped moving," said Humphreys, who is also a Fellow of Selwyn College. "But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and the sun appears to stop shining. This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated 'stand still' has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses."

Humphreys and his co-author, Graeme Waddington, are not the first to suggest that the biblical text may refer to an eclipse, however, earlier historians claimed that it was not possible to investigate this possibility further due to the laborious calculations that would have been required.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great. The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah's reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.

The Merneptah Stele, known as the Israel stela, from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Earlier historians have used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the sun appears to be completely covered by the moon as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun. What the earlier historians failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the moon passes directly in front of the sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, leading to the characteristic 'ring of fire' appearance. In the ancient world the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses.

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The researchers developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth's rotation over time. From their calculations, they determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon. If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.

A 'ring of fire' solar eclipse. (Masaru Kamikura/ CC BY 2.0 )

"Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world," said Humphreys. Using these new calculations, the reign of Merneptah began in 1210 or 1209 BC. As it is known from Egyptian texts how long he and his father reigned for, it would mean that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year, the most accurate dates available. The precise dates of the pharaohs have been subject to some uncertainty among Egyptologists, but this new calculation, if accepted, could lead to an adjustment in the dates of several of their reigns and enable us to date them precisely.


Annular Solar Eclipse of 1207 BC Helps Date Egyptian Pharaohs

In a paper published on October 1 in the journal Astronomy & Geophysics, independent scholar and astrophysicist Graeme Waddington and University of Cambridge Professor Colin Humphreys report on the oldest recorded solar eclipse. The event — which occurred on October 30, 1207 BC — is mentioned in the Bible, and could have consequences for the chronology of Egyptian pharaohs.

Using a combination of the Biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text, Professor Humphreys and Dr. Graeme Waddington were able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs. Image credit: Pete Linforth.

The Biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled scholars for centuries.

It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, he prayed:

Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.

And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies (Joshua 10:12-14).

“If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place – the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means,” Professor Humphreys said.

“Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the Sun and Moon stopped moving.”

“But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the Sun and Moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, and the Sun appears to stop shining.”

“This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses.”

The authors are not the first to suggest that the Biblical text may refer to an eclipse, however, earlier historians claimed that it was not possible to investigate this possibility further due to the laborious calculations that would have been required.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great.

The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah’s reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.

Earlier researchers have used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the Sun appears to be completely covered by the Moon as the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun.

What the earlier researchers failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, leading to the characteristic ‘ring of fire’ appearance.

In the ancient world, the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses.

Dr. Waddington and Professor Colin Humphreys developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth’s rotation over time.

From their calculations, the scientists determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon.

If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.

“Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world,” Professor Humphreys said.

“Using these new calculations, the reign of Merneptah began in 1210 or 1209 BC.”

“As it is known from Egyptian texts how long he and his father reigned for, it would mean that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year, the most accurate dates available.”

Colin Humphreys & Graeme Waddington. 2017. Solar eclipse of 1207 BC helps to date pharaohs. Astronomy & Geophysics 58 (5): 5.39-5.42 doi: 10.1093/astrogeo/atx178


Oldest recorded solar eclipse may rewrite history of Egyptian Pharaohs

Washington D.C [USA], October 30 (ANI): A new study have found the date of what could be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, helping to date the Egyptian pharaohs.

The event, which occurred on 30 October 1207 BC, is mentioned in the Bible, and could have consequences for the chronology of the ancient world, the University of Cambridge study said.

The researchers were then able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs, in particular the dates of the reign of Ramesses the Great, by using a combination of the biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text.

The biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries.

It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan - a region of the ancient Near East that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine - he prayed: "Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies."

Study co-author Professor Sir Colin Humphreys from Cambridge University, who is also interested in relating scientific knowledge to the Bible said, "If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place - the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means."

"Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and moon stopped moving," added Humphreys.

"But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and the sun appears to stop shining. This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated 'stand still' has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses," he continued.

This was not the first to suggest that the biblical text may refer to an eclipse by Humphreys and his co-author, Graeme Waddington.

Earlier historians claimed that it was not possible to investigate this possibility further due to the laborious calculations that would have been required.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great.

The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, claimed that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah's reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.

Historians have also used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the sun appears to be completely covered by the moon as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun.

However, what the earlier historians failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the moon passes directly in front of the sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, leading to the characteristic 'ring of fire' appearance.

In the ancient world the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses.

The researchers developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth's rotation over time.

From their calculations, they determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon. If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.

"Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world," said Humphreys.

Erom using these new calculations, the reign of Merneptah began in 1210 or 1209 BC. As it is known from Egyptian texts how long he and his father reigned for, it would mean that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year, the most accurate dates available.

The research is published in the Royal Astronomical Society journal Astronomy & Geophysics. (ANI)


Oldest recorded solar eclipse helps date the Egyptian pharaohs

Solar eclipses are a beautiful landscape that shows how two stars can produce such a big and great scene in which us, human beings, cannot do anything except of appreciating the power of two stars that bright in the day with a big splendor, observing how small we are in this Universe and how big are other planets or luminaries, appreciating the real essence of the Universe. This essence is a mysterious one, but when we have the opportunity to observe it, it is a magic scene that impregnates us of questions that we cannot answer by ourselves. This week, I am going to talk about an article performed by the University of Cambridge in which, scientists have identified the date of what it could be the oldest solar eclipse that has been yet recorded. This event occurred on October 30th of 1207 B.C. that is mentioned in the Bible and that could have consequences for the chronology of the ancient world.

Researchers has concreted that this ancient solar eclipse occurred during the reign of Ramesses the Great. According to the Old Testament book of Joshua in which he said: “Sun, stand still at Gibson, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the un stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies”. In other words, this means that, at that period of time, there was an astronomical event that was taking place. In this same context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, and the Sun appears to stop shinning.

Historians tried to date the possible eclipse, but they do not have success as they only observe total eclipses in which the sun disc seem to be completely covered by the moon because it passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, however they did not take in consideration that this was an annular eclipse, with an appearance of a “ring of fire”. However, scientists developed a new eclipse code, taking into account the Earth’s rotation over time, by which they extracted the exact date when the solar eclipse occurred. Consequently, with this information, scientists can be able to date the oldest solar eclipse and it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and the reign of his son Merneptah, with a year of error between each reign, with has lead to establish the most accurate dates available of the reign of Egyptian pharaohs.

From my point of view, I consider that the reign of Egyptian pharaohs has been introduced into study in numerous times, however until the date when this research was performed, we have never concreted the exact date of the reign of different Egyptian pharaohs. I think that, until today and in the future, we will continue to question ourselves about the mysteries that the pyramids hide in their interiors, how they were constructed and what are the different secret passages that hide the treasures best hidden so far. But, science can be our ally and can help us to understand how the world works, including how the ancient Egyptian world worked by dating the different reigns of its pharaohs by the use of dated solar eclipses. Probably, the answers that we are trying find in the Earth can be founded in the Universe, as solar eclipses are still a mystery that us, on Earth could not control but that can offer us the clues for change and knowledge.


Author: Mitch Battros

Mitch Battros is a scientific journalist who is highly respected in both the scientific and spiritual communities due to his unique ability to bridge the gap between modern science and ancient text. Founded in 1995 – Earth Changes TV was born with Battros as its creator and chief editor for his syndicated television show. In 2003, he switched to a weekly radio show as Earth Changes Media. ECM quickly found its way in becoming a top source for news and discoveries in the scientific fields of astrophysics, space weather, earth science, and ancient text. Seeing the need to venture beyond the Sun-Earth connection, in 2016 Battros advanced his studies which incorporates our galaxy Milky Way - and its seemingly rhythmic cycles directly connected to our Solar System, Sun, and Earth driven by the source of charged particles such as galactic cosmic rays, gamma rays, and solar rays. Now, "Science Of Cycles" is the vehicle which brings the latest cutting-edge discoveries confirming his published Equation. View all posts by Mitch Battros


Oldest Recorded Solar Eclipse Helps Date the Egyptian Pharaohs

Researchers have pinpointed the date of what could be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded. The event, which occurred on 30 October 1207 BC, is mentioned in the Bible and could have consequences for the chronology of the ancient world.

Using a combination of the biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text, the researchers were then able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs, in particular the dates of the reign of Ramesses the Great. The results are published in the Royal Astronomical Society journal Astronomy & Geophysics.

The biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries. It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan – a region of the ancient Near East that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine – he prayed: “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.”

“If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place – the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means,” said paper co-author Professor Sir Colin Humphreys from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, who is also interested in relating scientific knowledge to the Bible.

“Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and moon stopped moving,” said Humphreys, who is also a Fellow of Selwyn College. “But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and the sun appears to stop shining. This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses.”

Humphreys and his co-author, Graeme Waddington, are not the first to suggest that the biblical text may refer to an eclipse, however, earlier historians claimed that it was not possible to investigate this possibility further due to the laborious calculations that would have been required.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great. The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah’s reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.[xyz-ihs snippet=”adsense-body-ad”]Earlier historians have used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the sun appears to be completely covered by the moon as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun. What the earlier historians failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the moon passes directly in front of the sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, leading to the characteristic ‘ring of fire’ appearance. In the ancient world, the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses.

The researchers developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth’s rotation over time. From their calculations, they determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon. If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.

“Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world,” said Humphreys. Using these new calculations, the reign of Merneptah began in 1210 or 1209 BC. As it is known from Egyptian texts how long he and his father reigned for, it would mean that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year, the most accurate dates available. The precise dates of the pharaohs have been subject to some uncertainty among Egyptologists, but this new calculation, if accepted, could lead to an adjustment in the dates of several of their reigns and enable us to date them precisely.

Reference
Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington. ‘Solar eclipse of 1207 BC helps to date pharaohs.’ Astronomy & Geophysics (2017). DOI: 10.1093/astrogeo/atx178.


Oldest recorded solar eclipse occurred 3,200 years ago

London, Oct 30 (IANS) Cambridge University researchers have pinpointed the date of what could be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded. The event, which occurred on October 30, 1207 BC, is mentioned in the Bible, and could help historians to date Egyptian pharaohs.

"Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world," said Professor Colin Humphreys from University of Cambridge's Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy.

Using a combination of the biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text, the researchers were able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs, in particular the dates of the reign of Ramesses the Great, according to the study published in the journal Astronomy & Geophysics.

The biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries.

It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, a region of the ancient Near East that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine - he prayed: "Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies."

"If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place - the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means," Humphreys said.

"Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the Sun and Moon stopped moving," Humphreys said.

"But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the Sun and Moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the Moon passes between the earth and the Sun, and the Sun appears to stop shining," Humphreys said.

This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated 'stand still' has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses, he added.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great, the study said.

The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah's reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.

Earlier historians had used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the Sun appears to be completely covered by the moon as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun.

What the earlier historians failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, the researchers said.

In the ancient world the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses.

The researchers developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth's rotation over time.

From their calculations, they determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon.

If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.

Using these new calculations, the reseachers determined that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year.

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First recorded eclipse was 3,000 years ago


Eclipses can help to pinpoint the dates of specific events in history. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Takeshi Kuboki

Prof Sir Colin Humphreys and his team at the University of Cambridge looked at text from the Old Testament detailing the time when Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan - a region that now covers modern day Israel and Palestine.

"Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon," Joshua prayed. "And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies."

The researchers now believe that this was actually a reference to a genuine astronomical event.

"Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and moon stopped moving," said Prof Humphreys.

"But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining."

By analyzing variations in the Earth's rotation over time, the researchers were able to determine that the eclipse in question would have occurred over Canaan on 30 October 1207 BC.

By cross-referencing this information with ancient Egyptian texts, it has also been possible to accurately determine the precise date on which the reign of Pharaoh Merneptah began.

"Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world," said Prof Humphreys. "Using these new calculations, the reign of Merneptah began in 1210 or 1209 BC."

"As it is known from Egyptian texts how long he and his father reigned for, it would mean that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year."

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