Tuesday, April 30, 2013

1304.7297 (Roberto Casazza et al.)

The explanation of eclipses in Greco-Roman antiquity    [PDF]

Roberto Casazza, Alejandro Gangui
The search of a rational explanation of eclipses pervades the beginnings of philosophical and scientific thought. Within this intellectual frame, the knowledge of the "saros cycle" (a cycle of 18 years, 10 or 11 days and 1/3 of a day that separates two successive sun or moon eclipses of similar features), inherited by the Greeks from the Babylonians, favored important theoretical developments in the West. The purpose of this paper is to present, briefly and schematically, a) the ancient theorizations on the causes of eclipses, b) the range of predictability of eclipses in Antiquity, c) the warnings -transmitted by some classical writers- to those who want to observe in naked eyes a solar eclipse, and d) the popular beliefs and social practices upon the occurrence of unexpected eclipses in ancient times.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.7297

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