ANCIENT ECLIPSES FROM 2353 BC:
The void between astronomy,
history and archaeology
Zoltan Andrew Simon, C.E.T.
First edition (preliminary)
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Robinson Crusoe Enterprises
Red Deer – Alberta – Canada
Copyright © 2011 by Zoltan Andrew Simon and Zuanhao Zhong
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No material in this book may be copied, reproduced, or used in any way without the written permission of the author
except short recensions.
Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data [NOT YET PUBLISHED]
Simon, Zoltan Andrew, 1949-
Ancient eclipses from 2353 BC: The void between astronomy,
history and archaeology
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front cover’s picture is a work of Alexander Donskoy (Greater Vancouver), one of the best artists of British Columbia. We are thankful to him for his kind permission to use the small reproduction of his beautiful painting. The reader may see
or purchase his other works through the http://www.royalhermitage.com/Alexander.Donskoy web site.
atlas concerns the foundations of chronology for the era B.C. although the second part continues down to 1733 AD. Its core is the author’s unpublished study for the chronology of the ancient Near East within its ancient context: Egypt, Western Asia,
and the Aegean. Its main subject is the absolute chronology of the Near East, based on astronomy.
Particular emphasis is devoted to the problem of such exact chronology based on original records and traditions of the whole region. This way a preliminary
absolute chronology was created for the ancient Near East, based on numerous recorded astronomical observations, mainly eclipses. It is complimentary to the High Chronology that was finalized in 1982 by a small group of scholars. At the same time,
the instant work is the debut of Z.A. Simon’s “Modified High Chronology” that may be a recommended new term. Its general time frame is between 2353 and 323 BC (BCE) for the Near East. In addition, it seemed useful to incorporate
a few important absolute dates for early Chinese and Mexican history and chronology through unique solar eclipse records.
Absolute or astronomical chronology is an interdisciplinary science, without paid professional authorities. Professors
of chronology do not seem to exist in any country, and universities are devoid of faculties of chronology since more than a century ago. Therefore, because the field does not belong to anyone’s job description, the subject is open to amateur scholars
as well, including my humble person. One of the few outstanding experts on ancient eclipses is Professor F. Richard Stephenson.
These circumstances are fortunate for the publication of the present book because there is an increasing number – now
five to eight – of proposed chronologies. (So many competing systems create a total chaos for the readers.) Scholars in general do not dismiss any of those systems automatically with prejudice. Adding a new chronological system is hardly noticeable for
the book publishing market and would not hurt anyone’s feelings. It would not mean that readers would stop buying the good old books on stock, containing a bit outdated chronologies.
This new system would not change the relative
chronologies of the Near East that archaeologists have built laboriously through the centuries. Rather, it offers a somewhat revised and more reliable absolute chronology without any fault line. In other words, since the backbone of history is chronology,
this modest paper intends to present a new and healthier backbone in the form of an astronomical absolute chronology.
Before the final editing of this paper there was a need to examine hundreds of eclipse records of the world, in order
to establish an optimal and harmonious curve – apparently a parabola – for the clock time error or Delta-T. The suggested new values for the Delta-T have derived from the values given in the WinEclipse program created and copyrighted by
Mr. Heinz Scsibrany.
The WinEclipse seems to use the calculated and recommended ∆-T values of Mr. Ed Jones. (Here we uniformly multiplied those by a factor of 0.98115 for the purpose of our text.)
We wish to express our thanks to them for the opportunity to utilize the software in this book for every eclipse map.
Our revised time frame has been based on the explosion of the island of Thera (Santorini) 330 years before the Fall of
Troy. That cataclysmic event – causing a darkness of three days with heavy air (described by Josephus and the Old Testament) – apparently took place 26 years before Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s death.
This book suggests that most
of the Egyptian Sed-festivals were connected with solar eclipses. Also, there are several stelae from the Near East depicting annular eclipses of the sun that went unnoticed so far. We introduced a new interpretation for the canon of Ptolemy and the
eponym canon of the Assyrians. Some of the reigns may have been much longer originally, so only an abbreviated digest of them is available for our scholars. The uneventful years may have been deleted from the summarized lists. By the means of several eclipse
records, one may argue that there was an Esarhaddon I ruling from 695 BC, and an Esarhaddon II from 681/0 BC. Thus, the key role of a single Assyrian eclipse record arbitrarily placed in 763 BC could be reviewed.
The author is a Canadian
Hungarian (64). His original professions are geologist and land surveyor with diplomas. He has several published books but his only academic works are the “Origin and Remnants of the Dialects in England” (New York, 2003), and the “Absolute
Dates for Ancient China by Astronomy” (Berlin, 2007). However, he rather considers himself a Mexicanist.
The present work intends to reach the largest national libraries of countries where a wide interest for archaeology exists.
It is quite preliminary and unique in a sense. Also, the author can hardly see the ‘end of the tunnel’ right now. The first edition does not claim to be a finalized product. Rather, it is published as a security: should something happen to him,
his work of three decades would not be lost for the educated readers. Gradual improvements and additions are on the way. A second, revised, edition would respond to the upcoming scholarly criticism – if any – and may allow a hardcover format. Also,
each eclipse map in such second edition would probably contain the point of observation marked by a circle. That feature would facilitate the evaluation and calculation of the optimum locations for the zones of totality on the globe and the best values for
the Delta-T. At this stage a good geographical, cartographical, or astronomical knowledge of each reader would be a definite advantage for a better understanding of the eclipse maps below.
This book may not exist without the helpful assistance
of Profs. Peter Huber, Hermann Hunger, Aurél Ponori Thewrewk, and Sheridan Williams. Julian Reade (Keeper of the British Museum), Prof. Jerrold Cooper, Manfred Kudlek, Ed Jones and Léo Dubal provided useful information. Many thanks are due to
them for their helpful suggestions and criticism during the past decade.
Z. A. S.