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