Battle of the eclipse

The Date of the "Battle of the Eclipse".

The date of the "Battle of the Eclipse" has long been calculated as the afternoon of May 25, 585 BC. Modern computer programmes confirm this date for a view point from central Turkey. There has been much scepticism expressed about Thales ability to have predicted the eclipse "in the year in which it did in fact take place", (e.g. Neugebauer). Whether or not Thales was able to do better than make a lucky guess is not of immediate concern to the arguments used here. For our purpose, dating the foundation of Pteria, it is sufficient that:

  1. Herodotus knew that the eclipse brought an end to the battle,
  2. Herodotus believed that Thales had predicted an eclipse in that year (but no more precisely and not in any way related to the battle in Herodotus' account)
  3. the date of the eclipse can be fixed.

That Thales, in all probability, would not have been able to make accurate calculations that would have enabled him to predict an eclipse does not by itself necessitate rejection of the account of the battle.

For more information:
Medes, Lydians, the "Battle of the Eclipse" and the Historicity of Herodotus