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February 20, 2008

Eclipse of the moon

Tonight sees the eclipse of the moon, a fascinating sight if it is visible. The moon darkens and takes on a red appearance as the shadow of our planet passes across its surface.

Traditionally, eclipses are portents of disaster, so I wonder who is predicting what for whom on this one. Darius III lost the battle at Gaugamela to Alexander the Great after soothsayers foretold disaster when a total eclipse of the moon occured a few days before the two armies clashed in 331BC. I must confess that I have seen a reference to Alexander being told the same thing - but having the courage to say "b*llsh*t!" and went into battle having given his troops a right old talking too. Darius III probably wished he had.

I wonder how often in history the torch of history has been passed on from one hand who believed the soothsaying to a victor who didn't. I would suspect that we will never know for the simple reason that the winner is unlikely to repeat the soothsayers doomsaying while laughing at the fact that his enemy fell for it.

Wonder if some clown will now try telling us that this ecplipse portends the ending of our civilisation. Won't surprise me at all if someone does!

Whatever, as it is happening at 03.21 - I won't be sitting up to watch it!

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 20, 2008 10:25 PM

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