“Why Total Solar Eclipses Frightened Ancient Cultures” -Newsweek

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” Ancients texts from China, Mesopotamia, and Greece that bring up solar eclipses, all suggest the phenomena “were just trouble,” says Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. “They became very much excited when the eclipse began, shooting off of guns, and making every sort of noise they could might possibly to frighten away the evil medicine which they thought was destroying the sun,” Scott wrote. Wood on the beliefs of Australian Aborigines, in his 1870 tome The Natural History of Man. In the sky, their movement proceeded with a constancy, and regularity that gave people a sense of order in the universe.

As Scott wrote of the Cheyenne’s noise-making: “Their treatment was highly successful—the sun recovered.” Subscribe In light of the dread eclipses induced, maybe people from many centuries past felt a certain sense of relief when the eclipse ended. Several East Asian cultures believed the eclipse was caused by a giant frog eating the sun and in China, myths tell of a dragon doing the devouring, Ruskin says. David Gray / REUTERS Different cultures have different kinds ways of explaining why eclipses happen but the stories generally share together a theme of the sun being “devoured.” The Chinese word, for eclipse, rishi, is composed to the characters for “sun / day”, and “eat.” (The word eclipse itself derives from the the Ancient Greek root for abandonment, ékleipsis, which makes sense as the Greeks viewed the eclipse as the sun “abandoning” the earth, Krupp explains.) (Some scholars doubt the veracity of that interpretation, however.) In many references from China and Mesopotamia, royal astronomers interpreted the eclipse “as bad news for somebody else…..Read The Full Article Here

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