Did you know that in 585 BC, a solar eclipse stopped a war between the Medes and Lydians at the Battle of Halys? Some scientists and astronomers call this event the “birth of science”. Many thought the eclipses were an omen or act of a mythological god. However, the Greek philosopher and astronomer, Thales of Miletus, used math and science to predict the occurrence of the solar eclipse. Since astronomers can calculate the date for historical eclipses, this event is considered a ‘cardinal date’. Since historians know the date of the Battle of Halys, they can use it to calculate the date of other historical events.
We hope that you have an astronomically great day! Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.
The kingdom of Medes was located in what is now western and northern Iran. The Lydian kingdom was located in what is now eastern or the part of Turkey located on the Asian continent.
There were several causes of the war between the Medes and Lydians. Both kingdoms wanted land in Anatolia (Turkey). There was also a more personal issue, hunters employed by the Medes were insulted by the Medes King Cyaxares. In retaliation, the hunters murdered one of King Cyaxares’ sons and tricked the Medes into cannibalizing the body. The hunters fled to a city belonging to the Lydians. When requested, the Lydians refused to hand over the hunters to the Medes. The Medes declared war and invaded. When the eclipse started, all fighting immediate stopped and both sides agreed to a truce.
The Battle of Halys is the earliest historical event for which we know the exact day when it occurred. While we know the date for the event, the location is still unknown.
The Battle of Halys is also known as the Battle of the Eclipse.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote about the Battle of Halys as well as Thales’ prediction.