May 28, 585 BC

What is the oldest and most accurately known date in human history?
Surprisingly, we can go back more than two millennia.
Among other things, the countries of Lydia and Medes were fighting in a war that had already lasted 15 years. On May 28, 585 BC, the final battle took place at the River Halys in central Turkey. (or Asia Minor as it was called).

What brought this war to a sudden, dramatic conclusion? The darkening of the skies was so intimidating that soldiers on both sides laid down their weapons and stopped fighting. In one brief moment, this eclipse brought this 15 year old war to an abrupt end!

And there was yet another important consequence of this eclipse: The Greek scientist / astronomer/ mathematician Thales, predicted there would be a total eclipse of the Sun on May 28, 585 BC
It is astounding to think that Thales could have predicted this. The prediction of a total solar eclipse requires a great deal of knowledge about the Moon's orbit and requires the utmost familiarity with the intricate mathematical calculations involved.

The legendary science writer, Isaac Asimov has described the date of this battle as the oldest, most accurately known date (to an actual day) in human history and he called the eclipse prediction "the birth of science".

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