Taking a look at the long history of eclipses

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- We take a look at the interesting role of solar eclipses throughout history.


Those in the path of totality will have complete darkness in the middle of the day of the August 21st eclipse.

In the past, many people had no idea what was happening when they sky went dark. Some were terrified and others treated it as just another day.

Dr. Wendy Turner, a history professor at Augusta University, says some ancient astronomers wanted to better understand these rare events.

Using technology, they were able to predict when the next solar and lunar eclipses were to happen.

She says some were able to predict within minutes when the eclipse. All of this without modern technology.

Turner says there is a specific instance of when a solar eclipse played peacemaker. The Lydians and Medes were in the middle of a battle when they were surprised with a solar eclipse in 585 BCE.

"Suddenly these two are facing each other on the battlefield and the eclipse happens. It could have gone one of two ways. We need a peace treaty -- the Gods are really angry," she said.

This was known as the Eclipse of Thales.

You can read more about the history of eclipses here.