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Astronomical software accurately dates 2,500-year-old lyric poem

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posted on May, 15 2016 @ 05:33 PM
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Astronomical software accurately dates 2,500-year-old lyric poem
Source: astronomynow.com



Caption: A computer simulation of the sky over the island of Lesbos, Greece, soon after astronomical dusk during the third week of January 570 BC. The 6-day-old waxing crescent Moon lies in the constellation of Taurus forming a triangle with first-magnitude star Aldebaran and the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades open star cluster. Physicists and astronomers from the University of Texas at Arlington believe that this sky scene, or one of a few nights later, to have inspired Sappho’s “Midnight Poem.” AN graphic by Ade Ashford.

Physicists and astronomers from the University of Texas at Arlington have used advanced astronomical software to accurately date lyric poet Sappho’s “Midnight Poem,” which describes the night sky over Greece more than 2,500 years ago.

The scientists described their research in the article “Seasonal Dating of Sappho’s ‘Midnight Poem’ Revisited,” just published in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. Martin George, former president of the International Planetarium Society, now at the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, also participated in the work.

“This is an example of where the scientific community can make a contribution to knowledge described in important ancient texts,” said Manfred #z, physics professor and lead author of the study. “Estimations had been made for the timing of this poem in the past, but we were able to scientifically confirm the season that corresponds to her specific descriptions of the night sky in the year 570 B.C.”

Sappho’s “Midnight Poem” describes the Pleiades star cluster in the constellation of Taurus having set at around midnight, when supposedly observed by her from the Greek island of Lesbos:



Advances in computer science continue to aid historians in recreating accurate timelines based on astronomical/night-sky descriptions.




posted on May, 15 2016 @ 05:47 PM
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a reply to: Blackmarketeer




the island of Lesbos


There's a whole island of them?!?

Sorry couldn't resist that one.



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 09:18 PM
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a reply to: Vector99

Well, it only took one (Sappho, the author of the above poem) to forever brand the Island of Lesbos as the origin as Lesbianism. Sappho wasn't gay but her writing about strong female characteristics became associated with Lesbianism a hundred years ago or so.



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 11:12 PM
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a reply to: Vector99


There's a whole island of them?!?

Lesbos is in the news: it's the principal destination of migrants from the Middle East and Africa heading for Europe.



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 11:34 PM
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originally posted by: Blackmarketeer
a reply to: Vector99

Well, it only took one (Sappho, the author of the above poem) to forever brand the Island of Lesbos as the origin as Lesbianism. Sappho wasn't gay but her writing about strong female characteristics became associated with Lesbianism a hundred years ago or so.


She was the original "blue haired girl" (Alcaeus, a contemporary of Sappho, described her as: "Violet-haired, pure, honey-smiling Sappho").




posted on May, 16 2016 @ 03:35 AM
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a reply to: Blackmarketeer

That is fantastic, to be able to look at the same sky as she did and see exactly what inspired her to write her poem.
A rather unfortunately named physics professor, but a great bit of work!

Thanks for posting this.


B x



posted on May, 16 2016 @ 11:46 PM
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Interesting story. It kind of reminds me of Heinrich Schliemann and how he used descriptions in classical Greek literature to find the city of Troy.



posted on May, 16 2016 @ 11:54 PM
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How did Sappho know it was midnight?
Timex?
edit on 5/16/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2016 @ 12:00 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
How did Sappho know it was midnight?
Timex?


Candle and a sun-dial?



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