Geographical sites:

  • Nimrud (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #894019)
    Pleiades_icon Kalhu/Calah/‘Larisa’? settlement Description: An ancient Assyrian city located 20 miles south of the city of Mosul, Iraq, and now known as Nimrud. The city occupies a strategic position six miles north of the point where the Tigris river meets its tributary the Great Zab.


Text #3971

Xenophon. Anabasis
[Bk. 3 Ch. 4 Verse 12 ]

This city1 was besieged by the king of the Persians2 at the time when the Persians were seeking to wrest from the Medes their empire, but he could in no way capture it. A cloud, however, overspread the sun and hid it from sight until the inhabitants abandoned their city; and thus it was taken

  1. Larissa, a.k.a Nimrud.

  2. Cyrus the Great

Text #3972

"Cyrus the Great", in Wikipedia.

Cyrus the Great became King of Anshan in 559 BC. However, Cyrus was not yet an independent ruler. Like his predecessors, Cyrus had to recognize Median overlordship. He revolted and launched a war against the domination of the Medes. Narrating the conquest of the Median Empire by Cyrus and the emergence of the Achaemenid Empire, Xenophon recorded that Cyrus besieged the city of Larissa (i.e. Nimrud), but could not in any way take it. But a cloud covered the sun and caused it to disappear completely, frightening the inhabitants, and thus the city was taken.

Airy1 was the first to think that it must have been a total solar eclipse which spread such panic amongst the defenders of the city. He was led to identify this eclipse with that of 19 May 557, and showed that the narrow zone of totality passed nearly centrally over Larissa, and that there was no other eclipse within a period of 40 years which could have been total at Larissa. Other scholars reject this identification2.

  1. Airy, George Biddell, “On the Eclipse of Agathocles, the Eclipse at Larissa, and the Eclipse of Thales. With an Appendix on the Eclipse at Stiklastad”, Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society, 26 (1858), p. 131-152 ; Airy, George Biddell, “On the Eclipse of Agathocles, the Eclipse at Larissa, and the Eclipse of Thales”, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 17 (1857), p. 243-244

  2. see Nevill, E. “On the Ancient Eclipses of the Sun”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 14, 1906, pp.616-625; Jennings, S. “Solar Eclipses and Ancient History”, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 2, 1908, p. 167-184

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