Geographical sites:

  • Samos (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #599925)
    Pleiades_icon Samos settlement Geocontext: on Samos GRE
    Description: An ancient place, cited: BAtlas 61 D2 Samos


Text #1628

Pliny. Natural History. Series: Natural History. Vol. 1
[Plin. Nat. 2.6.36. Translated by H. Rackham. Harvard University Press. 1967. (10 Vols.) pp. 191--192]

Below the sun revolves a very large star named Venus, which varies its course alternately, and whose alternative names in themselves indicate its rivalry with the sun and moon - when in advance and rising before dawn it receives the name of Lucifer, as being another sun and bringing the dawn, whereas when it shines after sunset it is named Vesper, as prolonging the daylight, or as being a deputy for the moon. This property of Venus was first discovered by Pythagoras of Samos about the 42nd Olympiad1, 142 years after the foundation of Rome2. Further it surpasses all the other stars in magnitude, and is so brilliant that alone among stars it casts a shadow by its rays.

  1. 612-609 BC [OF]

  2. 753 BC [OF]

Text #8860

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

One is naturally intrigued by this claim about the planet Venus casting shadows due to its extraordinary brightness. However, modern astronomers have noted that Venus may cast a faint shadow under the right conditions.1 Due to the efforts required to see such a shadow, one suspects that Venus may have been brighter in the time of Pythagoras or perhaps there was a conjunction?2

  1. See: “Shadows of Venus”, NASA Science News,

  2. See also: Dawson, B. H., “The frequency of striking conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter”, Popular Astronomy, Vol. 24, 1916, p.390

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