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Solar Eclipse History Cartoons
Author: Bill Kramer
Last update: Saturday, 18-Apr-2015 09:53:16 EDT

Solar Eclipse/Science History Cartoons

- by Bill Kramer

Since my first total solar eclipse I have always been interested in how these events may have impacted our ancestors. New religions, changes in leadership, fear, panic, start a war, end a war, and who knows what else. My own reaction to total solar eclipses is still excitement and awe, and I know what is going on. Just imagine if you didn't know what was up. Early astronomy is deeply intertwined with astrology (the primary funding source in the early days) and it is fun to think about these things from a slightly irreverent vantage point.

Click the image for a higher resolution display. You can use these images in your own presentations with the following acknowledgement: Image (c)Bill Kramer, www.eclipse-chasers.com. For commercial requests (publications) please contact me.

 

Imagine an eclipse taking place where the Sun is considered a god. What happened when the royals found out? Did they blame the astrologers (astronomers)? Or did the blame get spread out a bit further? Totality does not last long so the reaction would have to be swift and that of course could be interpreted as the correct response as the Sun returns. Standing dumbfounded might be a more natural reaction though.

When you see a total solar eclipse it kind of looks like an eye in the sky. I suppose that means someone has to take the heat! In this cartoon a royal guard slept in on the wrong day.

 

Isaac Asimov once suggested that the early astronomers were actually socially challenged and that is why they spent so much time thinking about stuff like astronomy. But I have to wonder if they were actually a party oriented group discussing strange concepts and coming up with even stranger theories as to how the universe operated. How else might you explain things like a chariot with wheels on fire going across the sky to explain the Sun. One might say that has not changed in modern times based on some of the theories put forth using multiple dimensions.

 

Early physics and astronomy classes must have been easy to pass. Very little math was involved and the basic theories were pretty simple. I would expect that there were children around asking that question children ask frequently: "why?". That explains how we got theories such as the Sun being a flaming chariot wheel and that gods lived in the sky. It was just another way to stop those persistent "Why?" questions to things that you have no idea about.

 

Along the theme of ancient royal court yards and eclipses, this has to be why these things were recorded. Someone remembers something like this in the past and that inspired someone to start recording the current events so as to watch for patterns. Seeking such patterns is a natural instinct for humans, some use it for farming or hunting while others use it for easier work such as being a court astrologer (astronomer).

 

Based on a story about the native American war chief Tecumseh. It is told that he predicted an eclipse of the Sun with great accuracy to show that he and his brother had a divine link. What is known is that Tecumseh was good at languages and had learned English. He had also learned how to read it and the Farmer's Almanac along with other publications did contain predictions about the TSE of 1806. Advanced knowledge of a total solar eclipse in a society not familiar with such things could be a powerful leadership or entertainment tool. Depends on how you use it.

 

Ever wonder why solar eclipses got a bad reputation in astrology? It had to be a bad omen as it was difficult to predict and would just sort of happen. If it happened at a bad time, it was obviously the cause of the problems. The story goes that in early written history a couple of Kings were replaced just after total solar eclipses. From that time onward solar eclipses have been considered an omen that a regime change is about to take place and thus feared by the royalty of the time.

 

If you could predict an eclipse of the Sun or Moon, you could use that to your advantage politically. Figuring things like that out was an incentive for early astronomers (astrologers). Telling the king about an upcoming eclipse could earn you lots of silver and gold. Or maybe telling the king about an upcoming eclipse and how you can make it go away might work better.

All eclipse cartoons were created by Bill Kramer using an iPad and the ArtRage drawing program.



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