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Did you know that Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus accurately predicted this solar eclipse

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Historical Map of Lydia and Medea

It was a long drawn battle between the Lydians and Medes which was going on for more than 5 years. Herodotus writes that the Lydians under King Alyattes and the Medes under Cyaxares were fighting hard. The King of the Lydians Alyattes refused to give up his suppliants to the men sent by King Cyaxares from Medes as per a prior negotiation agreement between them, a war broke out and continued for five years, with various success. In the course of it the Medes gained many victories over the Lydians, and the Lydians also gained many victories over the Medes. Among their other battles there was one night engagement. In the sixth year another combat took place as the balance had not inclined in favour of either nation. One day during the battle, the sky suddenly started to go dark. This became a concern to both the camps as it was still much before sunset. Both the camps called off the fight and later agreed to sign a Peace Treaty of the Battle of the Eclipseor Battle of Halys.

It is said that Thales the son successor of the King Cyaxares of Medes and predicted the eclipse accurately in the 585 B.C. Can you believe how much intelligent one has to be to predict such a astronomical phenomena almost more than 2500 years ago. Cicero mentions that Thales was the first man to successfully predict a solar eclipse during the reign of Astyages He was the son and successor of Cyaxares and his reign began at the end of the war after Cyaxares’ death.


According to Herodotus, the appearance of the eclipse was interpreted as an omen, and interrupted a battle in a long-standing war between the Medes and the Lydians. The fighting immediately stopped, and they agreed to a truce. Because astronomers can calculate the dates of historical eclipses, Isaac Asimov described this battle as the earliest historical event whose date is known with precision to the day and described the prediction as “the birth of science”.

Herodotus(c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey). He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his “inquiry” (ἱστορία historía) on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into a historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as The Father of History“, a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.

According to The Histories of Herodotus, The Histories 1.73–74 states that a war started in the period between the Medes and the Lydians. [So this proves that the war was real.] There were two reasons for the war: the two sides had clashing interests in Anatolia, but also there was a motive of vengeance: some Scythian hunters employed by the Medes who once returned empty-handed were insulted by King Cyaxares. In revenge the hunters slaughtered one of his sons and served him to the Medes. The hunters then fled to Sardis, the capital of the Lydians. When Cyaxares asked for the Scythians to be returned to him, Alyattes refused to hand them over; in response, the Medes invaded. Are you wondering what is Halys? You must. Below I have mentioned the details about Halys.

Historical Map of Halys River

About Halys

The Kızılırmak (Turkish pronunciation: [kɯzɯɫɯɾmak], Turkish for “Red River”), also known as the Halys River (Ancient Greek), is the longest river entirely within Turkey. It is a source of hydroelectric power and is not used for navigation. At one place the river has formed a wide arch, known as the “Halys bend”.

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