Monday, August 21, 2017


In the Western tradition the presocratic thinker Thales ranks as the first to predict an eclipse. He may have been influenced by the Babylonians, who were much concerned with accurate time keeping. Its is curious that Thales reputedly though that water was the prime element, the source of all things.  This view would not have been helpful.  But as Whitman says, we contain multitudes.

We hear that eclipses exemplify the principle that "science is always true." Sometimes it isn't though: think of the Ptolemaic system, alchemy, and phlogiston. 
The Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus accurately predicted a solar eclipse, according to The Histories of Herodotus. If Herodotus's account is accurate, this eclipse is the earliest recorded as being known in advance of its occurrence.…