The Epoch of the Nabonassarian Era and the Chronology of Ancient Persia

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The Epoch of the Nabonassarian Era and the Chronology of Ancient Persia Vedveer Arya

It is well known that the chronological history of Persia, Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, Israel, Syria and Rome is closely interlinked with the chronology of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. Therefore, the historians have agreed upon the timeline of the Achaemenid Empire given by Ptolemy to be the sheet anchor of the chronological history of all western ancient kingdoms. According to Ptolemy, Cyrus, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, ascended the throne in the year 210 of the Nabonassarian era. Though the historians have rightly assumed the Ptolemaic chronology as authentic but they have fixed the epoch of the Nabonassarian era in 747 BCE based on the fictitious epoch of the Christian era (1 CE). Let us critically examine the evidence independently and arrive at the epoch of the Nabonassarian era without any prejudice to the epoch of 1 CE. Interestingly, Theon of Alexandria records in his commentary on Ptolemy’s Almagest that he has observed a solar eclipse in Alexandria on the 22nd of Payni (the 10th month of Egyptian Calendar) of old Alexandrian calendar. The passage in Theon’s commentary reads: “And moreover we observed most securely the time of the beginning of the immersion, with respect to seasonal and apparent time, 2 ½ 1/3 hours after noon, and the (time) of the middle eclipse 3 ½ ¼ 1/20 hours after (noon), and the (time) of the end of the clearing approximately 4 ½ hours after noon of the aforesaid 22nd of Payni.”1 Apparently, Theon stated that the eclipse began at 2 ½ 1/3 (2:50 PM) equinoctial hours after midday and ended at 4 ½ (4:30 PM) equinoctial hours after midday.1 Historians argued that the solar eclipse occurred on 16th June 364 CE regularly corresponds to the details recorded by Theon. But the date of 16th June 364 CE miserably fails to explain the time of eclipse which has been brushed aside by the historians. The solar eclipse on 16th June 364 CE began at 15:13 PM (23 minutes later than time (2:50 PM) recorded by Theon) and ended by 4:57 PM at Alexandria. Since historians fixed the epochal date of the Nabonassarian era on 26 Feb 747 BCE, they have interpreted that Theon’s solar eclipse took place on 22 nd Payni of Egyptian calendar. In fact, there is a chronological error in the epoch of the Nabonassarian era (26th Feb 747 BCE) as fixed by historians. Considering the error of ~660 years in the chronological history, it can be established that the epoch of the Nabonassarian era commenced in 1408 BCE. Accordingly,

the solar eclipse observed by Theon was occurred on 13th May 295 BCE. This eclipse began at 2.40 PM and ended by 4:54 PM at Alexandria.

Based on the dates of seven lunar eclipses given by Ptolemy in the epoch of the Nabonassarian era, we can accurately fix the epochal date on 20/21 Mar 1408 BCE, Sunday as the first day of Thoth in Egyptian calendar of Sothic cycle, which was also a new moon day. Abul Fazal refers to the epochs of the Bukht Nassar (Nabonassar) era and the era of Alexandria (Iskander) in his work Ain-i-Akbari.2 I have already explained the 98 verifiable dates recorded in “Akbarnama” of Abul Fazal which unambiguously establish the epoch of Solar Hijrah in 69 BCE and the epoch of Ilahi era in 894 CE. According to Abul Fazal, total 2341 years have been elapsed in the era of Bukht Nassar up to March 933 CE. Thus, Abul Fazal indicates that the epoch of the Nabonassarian era commenced in 1408 BCE. Babylonian Astronomy and Early Observations of Saturn Though the antiquity of Babylonian astronomy is not exactly known, K8538 tablet, a copy of an ancient astronomical observation of terrestrial impact of a large comet or asteroid on earth has been dated on 29 June 3122 BCE by Bond and Hempsell in 2008 based on planetary positions and celestial constellations which gives the glimpses of the level of astronomy practiced in Babylon during the 32nd century BCE.3 The EAE 20 & 21 tablets that record the eclipses observed during the reign of the third dynasty of Ur (3056-2931 BCE) and the Venus tablet of King Ammisaduqa (2473-2453 BCE) are the direct evidences of advanced Babylonian astronomy. Seemingly, the Babylonian astronomers evolved the 19-year cycle and King Nabonassar introduced this 19-year calendar that reckoned from the epoch of his era, i.e., 20/21 Mar 1408 BCE. The Babylonian astronomical compendium ‘Mul.Apin’, which was the basic structure of the Babylonian star map, was seemingly compiled around 1408 BCE. According to Bradley Schaefer, the observations reported in this compendium were made in the region of Assur in the year 1370 BCE. Some other scholars dated ‘Mul.Apin’ around 1000 BCE.4 In all probability, ‘Mul.Apin’ was compiled between 1408 BCE and 1370 BCE. On the basis of the study of ‘Mul.Apin’, Prof Lynn E Rose argues that the Babylonians tried to keep the vernal equinox within the first Babylonian month, Nisanu. The epoch of Nabonassarian era, i.e., 20/21 Mar

1408 BCE, as explained above, clearly establishes that Prof Rose’s argument is absolutely correct. The Saturn tablet indicates that the Babylonians indeed kept the vernal equinox within the first month of every year in the 19-year cycle. Interestingly, an absolute chronology of Neo-Babylonian era can be accurately established based on the ancient astronomical observations that found recorded in numerous cuneiform tablets. BM 41222 & BM 32312: Observations of Saturn, Mars, Mercury The cuneiform tablet BM 41222 contains observations of Saturn, Mars, Mercury, approaches of Mars and Mercury, and phenomena of Mars, covering the period from the 8th year of Humbahaldasu, King of Elam (1341 BCE) to the 12th year of Nabopolassar (1274 BCE).5 Another fragmentary tablet BM 32312 gives details of the positions of Mercury, Saturn and Mars (Mercury’s last visibility in the east behind Pisces, Saturn’s last visibility behind Pisces, both around the 14th of month I; Mars’ stationary point in Scorpio on the 17th of month I; Mercury’s first visibility in Pisces on the 6th of month XII).6 Unfortunately, the name of the king, his regnal year and month names are broken away. Since this tablet refers to “the 27th” of the month and a battle which took place between the Assyrians and Babylonians at Hiritu and another tablet BM 86379 (Akitu Chronicle) gives the same details of a battle in the 16th year of Shamashshumukin, many historians have assumed that BM 32312 assigns the 16th regnal year of Shamashshumukin. In fact, historians could not establish any link between planetary observations recorded in BM 32312 and the battle that took place in the 16th year of Shamashshumukin. According to my opinion, BM 32312 is a chronicle of Shamashshumukin like BM 96273 and it records the positions of Mercury, Saturn and Mars as observed during the accession year of Shamashshumukin, i.e., 1328 BCE. Mercury’s last visibility in the east behind Pisces and Saturn’s last visibility behind Pisces was observed on 19th Mar 1328 BCE i.e., the 14th of Month I, Nisanu. Mars’ stationary point was in Scorpio on 22 Mar 1328 BCE i.e., 17th of Month I, Nisanu and Mercury’s first visibility in Pisces was observed on 1 Mar 1328 BCE, i.e., 6th of Month XII, Adaru (Ululu II was intercalary month because 1328-1327 BCE was the 5th year of 19-year cycle, i.e., 1332-1313 BCE). The Saturn Tablet: BM 76738 + 76813 C.B.F. Walker translated BM 76738 + 76813 in 1999.7 This tablet contains 28 records of first and last appearances of Saturn observed in Babylon. According to Walker, these observations of Saturn were made during the first 14 years of the reign of Kandalanu. He also stated that out of 28 records, 7 records are incomplete because of textual damage, 6 records are unreliable and the remaining 15 records are reliable. In fact, the chronological error of 660 years in dating of the reign of Kandalanu led to the conclusion that 6 records of BM 76738 + 76813 are not reliable. Actually, Kandalanu reigned

around 1307-1286 BCE, not around 647-627 BCE. Moreover, these observations of Saturn were made during the first 14 years of the 19-year cycle of 1294-1275 BCE. The first year of these observations was the 14th year of Kandalanu. As already explained, Nabonassar introduced the 19-year cycle that commenced in 1408 BCE. This Saturn tablet clearly indicates that the Babylonian 19-year cycle kept the vernal equinox within the first Babylonian month, Nisanu, by intercalating the 12th Babylonian month, Adaru in 2nd, 7th, 10th, 16th & 18th (or 19th) years and the 6th month, Ululu in 5th and 13th years. The Babylonian calendar of 19-year cycle (1294-1275 BCE) has been reconstructed and enclosed at Annexure I. Observed risings and settings of Saturn on tablet BM 76738 + 76813 during the period 12941281 BCE

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Details [Year 1, Kand]alanu? month […day… last appearance.] [Year 1, mont]h 4, day 24, in fr[ont of the Crab, first appearance] [Ye]ar 2, month 4, day 10+[x… last appearance.] [Year 2, mon]th 5, … in the head of Lion, first appearance; not [observed?] [Ye]ar 3, month 4, day 7, [last appearance.] [Year 3], month 5, day 16, in the Lion behind the King (a Leonis), [first appearance]; high. [Year] 4, at the end of month 4, last appearance; (because of) cloud not observed. [Year 4, month 6] day [x], in the middle of the Lion, first appearance; high. [Year 5], month 5, day 23, last appearance. [Year 5], at the end of month 6, first appearance; intercalary Ululu. Year 6, month 5, day 20, last appearance.

Last appearance Day [15]/Month [3] 2 June 1294 BCE Ashadha Purnima

First appearance Day 24 / Month 4 10 Jul 1294 BCE Shravana Krishna Navami

Day 10 / Month 4 16 Jun 1293 BCE Ashadha Shukla Dasami

Day 22/Month 5 27 July 1293 BCE Shravana Krishna Saptami

Day 7 / Month 4 30 Jun 1292 BCE Shravana Sukla Saptami

Day 16 / Month 5 8 Aug 1292 BCE Bhadrapada Krishna Pratipada

Day 30/Month 4 13 July 1291 BCE Shravana Amavasya

Day 9?/Month 6 20 Aug 1291 BCE Bhadrapada sukla navami

Day 23/Month 5 25 Jul 1290 BCE Shravana Krishna Ashtami

Day 30/Month 6 30 Aug 1290 BCE Bhadrapada Amavasya

Day 20/Month 5 9 Aug 1289 BCE

Day 22/ Month 6 10 Sep 1289 BCE

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[Year 6], month 6, day 22, behind the rear foot of the Lion, first appearance. Year 7, month 6, day 10+[x], last appearance. [Year 7], month 7, day 15, in front of the Furrow (a+ Virginis) first appearance. Year 8, month 6, day 5, behind the Furrow (a+ Virginis), last appearance. [Year 8], month 7, day 5, between the Furrow (a+ Virginis) and the Balance (Libra), first appearance. [Year] 9, month 6, [day] 27/28, last appearance. [Year 9, month 8, day x]+1, within the Balance (Libra), [first appearance.] [Year 10, month] 7, day 20, behind the Balance, [last appearance.] [Year 10, month 8, day] 23, in front of the Forehead of the first appearance, it was bright; intercalary Addaru. [Year 11, month] 7, day 13, last appearance. [Year 11, month 8, day] 15, above Lisi (= a Scorpii) 61/2 degrees, first appearance; with reference to Lisi a little in front. [Year 12], month 8, day 5, last appearance; because of cloud computed. [Year 12, month] 9, day 5, at the beginning of Pabilsag (= Sagittarius) [first appearance];… 1 degree.

Bhadrapada Krishna Panchami

Ashvina Krishna Saptami

Day 10/Month 6 18/19 Aug 1288 BCE Bhadrapada Sukla Dasami/Ekadasi

Day 15/ Month 7 20 Sep 1288 BCE Ashvina Purnima

Day 5/Month 6 1 Sep 1287 BCE Ashvina Shukla Panchami

Day 5/Month 7 30 Sep 1287 BCE Kartika Sukla Panchami

Day 27/28 – Month 6 13 Sep 1286 BCE Ashvina Krishna Trayodashi

Day 1/Month 8 15 Oct 1286 BCE Margashirsha Shukla Pratipat

Day 20/Month 7 24 Sep 1285 BCE Ashvayuja Krishna Panchami

Day 23/Month 8 26 Oct 1285 BCE Karttika Krishna Ashtami

Day 13/Month 7 5 Oct 1284 BCE Karttika Sukla Trayodashi

Day 15/Month 8 5 Nov 1284 BCE Margasirsha Purnima

Day 5/ Month 8 16 Oct 1283 BCE Karttika Shukla Panchami

Day 5/Month 9 15 Nov 1283 BCE Margashirsha Shukla Panchami

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[Year] 13, month 8, day 26, last appearance; [cloud?] not [observed?]. [Year 13, month] 10, day 1, in the middle of Pabilsag, [first appearance.] [Year] 14, month 8, day 20, [last appearance.] [Year 14, month 9, day] 20, [+?..]… [..first appearance;….]

Day 26 / Month 8 26 Oct 1282 BCE Karittika Krishna Ekadasi

Day 1/ Month 10 29 Nov 1282 BCE Pushya Shukla Pratipada

Day 20/ Month 8 8 Nov 1281 BCE Margashirha Krishna Panchami

Day 20/ Month 9 8 Dec 1281 BCE Pushya Krishna Panchami

According to C.B.F. Walker, “the name of the planet Saturn is not given in the tablet, and the name of Kandalanu is to be restored from only a few traces in the first line. It is, however, certain that we are dealing with Saturn and Kandalanu.” In my opinion, the first line probably refers to the name of Kajjamanu (Saturn) not the name of Kandalanu. Since this Saturn tablet belonged to the period of Kandalanu, it has been simply assumed that the first line has the reference of Kandalanu. In fact, this tablet refers to the years 1 to 14 of the 19-year cycle (1294-1275 BCE) and not the regnal years of Kandalanu. BM 45426 and SBTU IV 171: Observations of Saturn BM 45426 was recently translated by John Steele in 2019.8 It contains the observations of the first and last appearances and stations of Saturn made in years of 19-22 during the 13th century BCE. John Steele assumed the years 19-22 as the regnal years of Nebuchednezzar II but this tablet has no reference to any king. In fact, BM 45426 refers to the epoch of Chaldean era, not the regnal years of Nebuchednezzar II. The epoch of Chaldean calendar commenced in 1282 BCE on 9th Mar 1282 BCE. The obverse of BM 45426 is badly damaged but it refers the first appearance of Saturn in front of Pabilsag and its stationary point which clearly establish that these observations of Saturn were made in 1282-1281 BCE. Probably, the obverse of BM 45426 records the observations made in years of 1-8? (1282-1275 BCE). The reverse of the tablet records the observations made in years of 19-22 and 36-38 (1264-1245 BCE). Details Year 19, month 4, day 1 Year 19, month 5, day 4 Year 19, month 8, day [x] Year 20, month 1, day 5 Year 20, month 6, day 1 Year 20, month 9, day[x]

Phenomena Last appearance First appearance First Station It became stationary and moved back to the east First appearance First station

Date 16 Jun 1264 BCE 17 Jul 1264 BCE .. Oct 1264 BCE 12 Mar 1263 BCE 3 Aug 1263 BCE .. Nov 1263 BCE

Year 21, month 2, day 2 Year 21, [month 4, day 22?] Year 21, month 6, day [x] Year 21, month 9, day 24 Year 22, month 1, day 24

Second station Last appearance First appearance First station Second station

27 April 1262 BCE 15 Jul 1262 BCE .. Aug 1262 BCE 12 Nov 1262 BCE 8 Apr 1261 BCE

Year 36, month 8, day 1 Year 36, month 11, day 5 Year 37, month 2, [day 1] Year 37, month 7, day 25 Year 37, month 11, day 24 Year 37, month 12,[day 1]

Second station Last appearance First station Second station Last appearance First appearance

3 Oct 1247 BCE 5 Jan 1246 BCE 29 Apr 1246 BCE 17 Oct 1246 BCE 12 Jan 1245 BCE 18 Feb 1245 BCE

Apart from BM 45426, SBTU IV 171 also contains 11 observations of the dates of first and last appearances and of reaching the stationary points of Saturn during the years 28-31 of the Chaldean calendar, i.e., (1255-1252 BCE). Details Setting Year 28, month 7, day 28, last 29 Sep 1255 BCE appearance Ashvina Krishna Trayodashi Year 28, month 9, day 4, first appearance Year 29, month 7, day 21, last 12 Oct 1254 BCE appearance Ashadha Shukla Dasami Year 29, month 8, day 27, first appearance Year 30, month 8, day 14, last 23 Oct 1253 BCE appearance Karttika Sukla Chaturdashi Year 30, month 9, day 20, first appearance Other details: [Year 30], VII 20, 5/6 KÙŠ under the little star of Pabilsag, 3 KÙŠ above kalakku, stationary, and went back to the East.

Rising 4 Nov 1255 BCE Margashirsha Shukla Chaturthi 16 Nov 1254 BCE Margashirsha Krishna Dvadashi 29 Nov 1253 BCE Margashirsha Krishna Panchmi

30 Sep 1253 BCE

Ptolemy’s Almagest: Observation of Saturn Ptolemy says: “In the 82nd year in the Chaldean calendar, Xandikos 5 (in Macedonian calendar), in the evening, the planet Saturn was two digits below the star (γ Vir) on the southern shoulder of Virgo.”9 Considering the epoch of Chaldean calendar in 1282 BCE, the year 82 was 1201-1200 BCE. The date regularly corresponds to 6th March 1200 BCE. Exactly, Saturn was two digits below the star γ Vir on the southern shoulder of Virgo.

HSM 1899.2.112 and SBTU V 266 (W 23009): Observations of Mars HSM 1899.2.112 contains the observations of the synodic phenomena of Mars from the accession year of Shamashshumukin (1328 BCE) to the 39th year of the Chaldean calendar (1244-1243 BCE). John Steele states that the early part of the text gives only very brief statements of the dates of first and last visibilities; the last part of the text contains detailed observations of first and last visibilities, stations, and acronychal risings including the position of Mars relative to a star measured in cubits.10 The reverse of the fragmentary tablet SBTU V 266 records the following dated observations in the epoch of Chaldean calendar (1282 BCE): Details Year 12, month 1, day 24 Year 12, month 9, day 24 Year 12, month 12, day 14 Year 13, month 11, day 11 Year 14, month 3, day 18

Phenomena First visibility First station, 10 degrees in front of y Virginis. Second station near 0 Leonis. Last visibility First visibility

Date 29 Mar 1271 BCE 20 Dec 1271 BCE 10 Mar 1270 BCE 24 Jan 1269 BCE 30 May 1269 BCE

Interestingly, SBTU V 266 records that Mars was 10 degrees in front of y Virginis on the 24 th of Month 9 of year 12. According to John Steele, the computed longitude difference between Mars and y Virginis on 5 Jan 591 BCE is 7.63 degrees, slightly less than the 10 degrees stated in SBTU V 266. In fact, Mars was exactly 10:40 degrees in front of y Virginis on 20 Dec 1271 BCE, the 12 year in the epoch of 1282 BCE. Mars’s celestial longitude was 106:26 degrees and y Virginis’s celestial longitude was 117:06 degrees on 20 Dec 1271 BCE. This fact also establishes the error of ~660 years in the Chronology of Babylon. The Astronomical Diary ‘VAT 4956’ All historians have agreed that the famous astronomical diary ‘VAT 4956’ is dated from Nisanu 1 of Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th regnal year to Nisanu 1 of his 38th year. They have simply presumed that the observations recorded in VAT 4956 must have been made in the year 567 BCE. According to the chronology of the Watch Tower Society’s Bible dictionary “Insight on the Scriptures”, the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar was 587 BCE. It would be relevant to quote Bertrand Russell that “Even if all the experts agree, they may well be mistaken”. Though all historians agree that VAT 4956 is dated in the 37th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar, I would say that all of them have committed blunder in deciphering the date of VAT 4956. In reality, VAT 4956 refers to the 37 th year of the Chaldean calendar and Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, not the 37th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar II. As already explained above, the Chaldean calendar reckons from 1282 BCE. Considering the chronological error of 660 years, Nabopolassar reigned for 21 years from 1285 to 1264 BCE and his son, Nebuchadnezzar II ascended the throne in 1264 BCE. Thus, the observations

recorded in the astronomical diary ‘VAT 4956’ must have been made in the 37 th year of the Chaldean calendar and the 19th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar II, i.e., 1246-1245 BCE. The Hebrew Bible informs us that Jerusalem’s first temple was destroyed in the 19 th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar II. Therefore, VAT 4956 is indeed the astronomical diary of the year 12461245 BCE in which Jerusalem was destroyed. Hebrew Bible (2 Kings Chapter 25): 1. And it came to pass in the ninth year of King Zedekiah, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about it. 2. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3. By the ninth day of the [fourth] month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. 4. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king's garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah, 5. but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 6. and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. 7. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 8. On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9. He set fire to the temple of the LORD, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. The chronological events narrated in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament are absolutely correct. The 9th regnal year of King Zedekiah of Judah was 1248-1247 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem on 22 Dec 1248 BCE (10th day of the 10th month) and kept the city under siege until the 11th regnal year of King Zedekiah, i.e., 1246-1245 BCE. Nebuzaradan, the commander of Babylonian army came to Jerusalem in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, i.e., 1246-1245 BCE and set fire to the temple on 1st Aug 1246 BCE (the seventh day of the fifth month), Sunday. The temple of Jerusalem was burnt again by Titus in 593 BCE on the same seventh day of the fifth month, i.e., 11th Aug 593 BCE, Sunday. Interestingly, VAT 4956 is indeed an astronomical diary of the year 1246-1245 BCE which was the 37th year of the Chaldean calendar and the 19th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. The astronomical observations recorded in VAT 4956:11

Details Obverse 1 Year 37, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Nisannu 1st, the moon became visible behind the Bull of Heaven; [sunset to moonset:] 2 Kajjamānu was in front of the Swallow. The 2nd, in the morning a rainbow stretched in the west. Night of the 3rd, Sin was 2 cubits in front of [...] 3 It rained. Night of the 9th, beginning of the night, Sin stood 1 cubit in front of the Rear Foot of the Lion. The 9th, while setting Šamaš [was surrounded by] a ‘fol[d’ ... The 11th] 4 or the 12th Sagmegar (Jupiter) ‘rose to daylight’. The 14th, one god was seen with the (other) god, NA was 4. The 15th, overcast. The 16th, Dilbat [...] 5 The 20th, in the morning Šamaš was surrounded by a ‘fold’. Noon, UGU.ME, rain, PISAN, a rainbow stretched in the east ... [...] 6 From the 8th of second Addaru until the 28th, the river level rose by 3 cubits 8 fingers; 2/3 of a cubit [were lacking] to the ˹peak˺ river level [...] 7 were killed on the order of the king. That month, a fox entered the city. A little su'ālu disease and rišutu disease [...] 8 Ajjaru, the 1st, while Šamaš was present Sin appeared below the Rear Bright Star of the Large Twins. It was thick, covered with a ‘crown’ [...] 9 Kajjamānu (Saturn) was in front of the Swallow. Šiḫṭu (Mercury), which had set, was not visible. Night of the 1st, a ŠAR2 storm from east and south. The 1st, all day [...] 10 stood [in front of] Dilbat (Venus) to the west. The 2nd, a ŠAR2 north wind blew. The 3rd, Ṣalbaṭānu (Mars) entered the Crab, the 5th it emerged. The 10th, Šiḫṭu [rose] in the west behind the [Little] Twins [...] 11 The 15th, ZI IR. The 18th, Dilbat LUGAL (Jupiter) was ‘balanced’ 1 cubit 4 fingers above the King. The 26th (KUR) was 23, I did not observe Sin. The 27th, [KUR] was 20[+x...] 12

Simānu, the 30th, Sin appeared behind the Crab, it was thick, NA was 20, the north wind blew. At that time, BABBAR (Jupiter) was 4 cubits in front of the K[ing ...]

Date 31 Mar 1246 BCE

31 Mar / 1 Apr 1246 BCE 8 Apr 1246 BCE

11, 13, 14 & 15 Apr 1246 BCE 18 Apr 1246 BCE

8 Mar to 26 Apr 1246 BCE -29 Apr 1246 BCE

29 Apr 1246 BCE

30 Apr (2nd), 1 May (3rd), 3 May (5th), 8 May (10th ) 13 May (15th), 16 May (18th), 24 May (26th) & 25 May 1246 BCE (27th) 28 May 1246 BCE

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Mercury remained low. Mars / was above the bright δ Cancri; facing ϑ Leonis in the west[...] by 1 cubit. Night of the 5th, beginning of the night, Sin passed towards the east 1 cubit ‹above/below› the Bright Star at the Tip of the Lion’s Foot. Night of the 6th, beginning of the night [...] was low. Night of the 8th, evening watch, Sin stood 2 1/2 cubits below the Northern Part of the Scales. Night of the 9th, evening watch, Sin was 1 cubit in front of [...] passed towards the east. The 9th, Šamaš ‘stood still’. Night of the 10th, evening watch, Sin was ‘balanced’ 3 ½ cubits above Lisi. The 12th, Ṣalbaṭānu was 2/3 of a cubit ˹above˺[…..]

The 15th, (one) god was seen with the (other) god, NA was 7;30. ˹An eclipse of Sin which passed by˺ [...](could not be seen) 18 [... bel]ow the Bright Star (Altair) at the Tip of the […...] Reverse 1 [...] ... evening [watch, ... Sin was above/below] 2 the Middle Star [of the El]˹bow of Pabilsag by 1 cubit˺ ... [...] 3 Daylight having risen by 5 UŠ, Šamaš was surrounded by a ‘fold’. The 19th, Dilbat (Venus) was below the Middle Star of the Horn of the Goat [...] 4 That month the exchange value of barley was 1 kur 2 sūt, of dates 1 kur 1 pān 2 sūt, of kasu mustard 1 kur ... [... for 1 shekel of silver.] 5 Šabātu, the 30th, Sin appeared in the Swallow, NA was 14;30. The north wind blew. At that time, Sagmegar (Mars) was behind the Elbow of Pabi[lsag by ... cubits ...] 6 The 4th, the river level rose. The 4th, Dilbat was ‘balanced’ 1/2 cubit below the Goat-Fish. Night of the 6th, evening watch, Sin was surrounded by a ‘fold’, the Bristle, the Bull of Heaven, the Chariot [stood within the ‘fold’ ...] 7 Sin was surrounded by a ‘fold’; the Lion and the Crab were inside {inside} the ‘fold’. The King was ‘balanced’ 1 cubit below Sin. Morning watch, 3 UŠ of night remaining, [...] 8 NA was 7, I did not observe it. Šamaš was surrounded by a ‘fold’. From the 4th until the 15th the river level rose by 1 1/2

28 May 1246 BCE

1 Jun (5th) & 2 Jun 1246 BCE (6th)

4 Jun 1246 BCE (8th) 5 Jun 1246 BCE (9th), 6 Jun (10th) & 8 Jun 1246 BCE (12th) 11 Jun 1246 BCE (15th) ----8 Jan 1245 BCE

19 Jan 1245 BCE

23 Jan (4th), 25 Jan 1245 BCE (6th)

2 Feb 1245 BCE

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19

20

cubit; the 16th it receded. Night of the 18th, the 18th: rain, PISAN DI[B ...]. of Bēl from its place when they were cut off. Two boats of old? reeds were unloaded. The 22nd, overcast. Night of the 23rd [...] was ‘balanced’ above the Small Star which stands 3 1/2 cubits behind the Goat-Fish. Night of the 29th, akūkūtuglow flared in the west, 2 bē[ru ... That month, the exchange value] of barley was {1} 1 kur {kur}, of dates 1 kur 1 pān 4 sūt, of kasu mustard 1 kur 1 pān, of sesame 4 sūt, of saḫl[u cress ... for 1 shekel of silver ...] Addaru, the 1st, Sin appeared behind the Hired Man while Šamaš was present, NA was 25, MUŠ, he was covered with a ‘crown’. The north wind blew. At that time Sagmegar [... Šiḫṭu and Kajjamānu, which had set,] were not visible. The 1st, the river level rose. Night of the 2nd, the evening watch, Sin was ‘balanced’ 4 cubits below the Stars. Night of the 3rd, beginning of the night, 2 1/2 cubits [...] From the 1st until the 5th the river level rose by 8 fingers, the 6th it receded. Night of the 7th, Sin was surrounded by a ‘fold’, the Crab and the King were within [the ‘fold’, ...] The ‘fold’ surrounded the Crab, the Lion, it was split to the north. Within the ‘fold’, Sin stood 1 cubit in front of - broken Sin being high by 1 cubit. Night of the 10th, evening wa[tch ...] Night of the 11th, overcast. The 11th, rain DUL. Night of the 12th, a little rain, UGU.ME. The 12th, one god was seen with the (other) god, NA was 1;30. UGU.ME, DUL [...] was in front of the Band of the Swallow, 1/2 cubit below Dilbat (Venus), Šiḫṭu (Mercury) passing 8 fingers to the east, when it appeared it was bright and high. 1 U[Š ... Kajjamānu] was ‘balanced’ 6 fingers above Šiḫṭu and 3 fingers below Dilbat, and Ṣalbaṭānu was ‘balanced’ 2/3 of a cubit below the Bright Star of – broken – to [...] UGU.ME DUL. The 21st: overcast. The river level rose. Around the 20th Dilbat and Šiḫṭu entered the Band of the Swallow. From [... Sagmegar,] which passed to the east, became stationary. At the end of the month it reversed to the west. Around the 26 th Šiḫṭu and Dilbat [came] out of the Band of Anun[ītu ...]

--

16 Feb 1245 BCE (29th)

18/19 Feb 1245 BCE

--

25 Feb 1245 BCE

28 Feb 1245 BCE

--

3 Mar 1245 BCE

3 Mar 1245 BCE

8 Mar 1245 BCE

14 Mar 1245 BCE

21

1

The river level receded by 8 fingers. That month, the 26th a wolf entered Borsippa and killed two dogs. It did not come out, it was kill[ed ...] Lower edge Year 38 of Nebuchadnezzar, Nisannu, the 30th, dense clouds, so that [Sin was not visible ...]

14 Mar 1245 BCE

17 Apr 1245 BCE

Interestingly, the 17th line on the obverse of VAT 4956 refers to the occurrence of a lunar eclipse in the third month, Simanu which was not visible in Babylon. This lunar eclipse occurred on 11 Jun 1246 BCE. According to historians, this lunar eclipse took place on 4 Jul 567 BCE but the month was the fourth (Dumuzu) and not the third (Simanu). Moreover, VAT 4956 indicates that Jupiter was in Leo sign but in 567 BCE, Jupiter was in Scorpio/Sagittarius. Evidently, historians have miserably failed to explain the observations of VAT 4956 in the year 567 BCE. Observations of Eclipses The Babylonian astronomers not only had the knowledge of 19-year cycle that keeps vernal equinox in the first month, Nisanu but also discovered the period of Saros i.e., 223 synodic months (18 years, 11 days, 8 hours) which is an approximation to the time period of the eclipse cycle. Ptolemy rightly assigns the knowledge of Saros to Babylonian astronomy. LBAT 1413 LBAT 1413 records the observations of four lunar eclipses made in the accession, first and second years of Nabonassar. Interestingly, LBAT 1413 is the earliest cuneiform tablet which contains the predictions of two lunar eclipses for the second and third years of Nabonassar. The translation of LBAT 1413 as given by Prof. H. Hunger:12 0. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

At the command of Bel and Beltija may it go well. 1,40. Accession year [of ...] Month XII, (after) 5 month, the 14th, morning watch,... [... J 2,10. Year 1. Month VI, [the 1]5th (? ), onset (? ). It began in the north [... ] [... ] the south wind blew. It set eclipsed. Month VI was in[tercalary. ] [Month XI, the 1]4th, onset (? ). 1,40o remained to clearing. [Year 2. Month] V, the 14th, it made a total (eclipse). [Month XI, ] omitted. [Year 3. Month V, omitt]ed. Month VI was intercalary. [...] total (? ) [... ]

As already established above, Nabonassar ascended the throne in 1408 BCE and introduced the epoch of Nabonassar era that reckoned from 20/21 Mar 1408 BCE, Sunday. The details of the observed and predicted lunar eclipses recorded in LBAT 1413 are as under:

Year Observed eclipses 1 1409-1408 BCE

2

1408-1407 BCE (20/21 Mar 1408 BCE to 8 Apr 1407 BCE)

3

1408-1407 BCE

4

1407-1406 BCE (9 Apr 1407 BCE to 28 Mar 1406 BCE)

Predicted eclipses 5 1407-1406 BCE

Details

Date of Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse occurred in 5/6 Mar 1408 month 12 of the accession BCE year (19 Feb to 20 Mar).

The first year of Nabonassarian era. A lunar eclipse occurred in month 6 (16 Aug to 14 Sep) which set whilst it was still eclipsed. Month 6 (Ululu II) was intercalary. A lunar eclipse occurred in month 11 (9 Feb to 10 Mar).

30 Aug 1408 BCE

23 Feb 1407 BCE

The second year of 19 Aug 1406 Nabonassarian era. A total BCE lunar eclipse occurred in month 5 (4 Aug to 2 Sep 1407 BCE).

The second year of 12 Feb 1406 Nabonassarian era. A BCE lunar eclipse occurred in month 11 (29 Jan to 27 Feb 1406 BCE) which was not visible in Babylon.

6

1406-1405 BCE (29 Mar 1406 BCE to 16 Apr 1405 BCE)

The third year of 8/9 Aug 1406 Nabonassarian era. . A BCE total (Penumbral) lunar eclipse occurred in month 5 (25 Jul to 22 Aug 1407 BCE). Month 6 (Ululu II) was intercalary.

Interestingly, LBAT 1413 indicates an old scheme of intercalation in which the 6th month (Ululu) was intercalary in the first and third years. It appears that a new scheme of intercalation in the 19-year cycle has been introduced in Babylon in the 14th century BCE which was used in the Saturn tablet BM 76738 + 76813. Seemingly, the old intercalation scheme kept sun’s position in η Tauri (Alcyone) in the first Babylonian month whereas the new intercalation kept vernal equinox in the first Babylonian month. Some Eclipse Observations in Ptolemy’s Almagest Ptolemy mentions that a total lunar eclipse occurred in the 1st year of Mardokempados in the year 27 of the Nabonassarian era, i.e., 1382-1381 BCE and Thoth 29/30 in the Egyptian calendar.13 This total lunar eclipse occurred on 17 Apr 1382 BCE.

Ptolemy relates the verifiable details of the following seven lunar eclipses observed at Babylon:

1.

2. 3. 4.

Lunar Eclipse In the 1st year of Mardokempados, in the year 27 of the Nabonassarian era and Thoth 28/19 in the Egyptian calendar. In the second year of Mardokempad, Thoth 18/19 in the Egyptian calendar. In the second year of Mardokempad, Phamenoth 15/16 in the Egyptian calendar. In the fifth year of Nabopolassar, which is the 127th year from Nabonassar, Athyr 27/28 in the Egyptian calendar,

Date 17 Apr 1382 BCE

06 Apr 1381 BCE 01 Oct 1381 BCE 21 May 1282 BCE

5.

6. 7.

In the seventh year of Kambyses, which is the 225th year 13 Aug 1184 BCE from Nabonassar, Phamenoth 17/18 in the Egyptian calendar. In the twentieth year of Darius who succeeded 18 Dec 1163 BCE Kambyses, Epiphi 28/29 in the Egyptian calendar. In the thirty-first year of Darius I, Tybi 3 / 4 in the 23 May 1152 BCE Egyptian Calendar.

Tablet 8502 Brown argues that the existence of strange numbers in the beginning of plates LBAT 1413 (“1, 40’) and LBAT 1414 (“1, 50”) is an evidence of using Saros to predict eclipses. Brown also says that the following text of 8502 has the earliest prediction of a lunar eclipse:14 “All the things which have come to concern the land of Akkad. . . An eclipse of the Moon and Sun in month III will take place. These sings are of bad fortune for Akkad. . . and now, in this month IX, an eclipse will take place. . . and Jupiter will stand in its eclipse.” Interestingly, this text of 8502 predicts the occurrence of a lunar eclipse followed by solar eclipse in the 3rd month. The Akkadian/Babylonian astronomers used Saros series 19 to predict the total lunar eclipse that occurred on 27 Apr 1364 BCE. Obviously, this prediction was based on the observation of a total lunar eclipse on 17 Apr 1382 BCE (Saros series 19) in the 1st year of Mardokempados (Marduk-apla-iddina II). The Akkadian/Babylonian astronomers also used Saros series 45 to predict the solar eclipse that occurred on 12 May 1364 BCE. They also observed a lunar eclipse on 2 Nov 1365 BCE in the 9th month of previous year. This lunar eclipse began around 1:40 AM on 2 Nov 1365 BCE and the rising of Jupiter occurred just before the beginning of eclipse. According to Brown, this lunar eclipse in the 9th month occurred on 26 Nov 678 BCE but the rising of Jupiter occurred when the eclipse was over. Evidently, historians have miserably failed to explain the eclipses predicted in the text of 8502. LBAT 1417 LBAT 1417 records four lunar eclipses in the same Saros series 19 at 18-year intervals from 1346 BCE to 1292 BCE.15 The first total lunar eclipse occurred in the 3rd year of King Sennacherib on 9 May 1346 BCE. According to Babylonian chronicles, Assyrian king Sennacherib was the actual ruler of Babylon for two periods, the first time for two years (1364-1363 BCE) and the second time for eight years (1348-1341 BCE). Evidently, LBAT 1417 refers to the 3rd year of the second period. The second total lunar eclipse occurred in the accession year of King Shamashshumukin on 19 May 1328 BCE which was not visible in Babylon. LBAT 1417 records that this lunar eclipse occurred in the second month, Ayyaru at 40o (160 minutes or 2 hours and 40 minutes) after sunrise. Sunrise occurred at 5:00 AM on 19 May 1328 BCE and the lunar eclipse began at 7:40 AM on 19 May 1328 BCE which regularly corresponds to the details recorded in LBAT 1417. The third total lunar eclipse occurred in the

18th year of Shamashshumukin on 30 May 1310 BCE. The fourth total lunar eclipse occurred in the 16th year of King Kandalanu on 9/10 Jun 1292 BCE. LBAT 1417 gives the following verifiable details: (Year) 16 Kandalanu (Month) Simanu, 5 months, day 15. 2 Fingers on the northeast side covered On the north it became bright. The north wind [blew] 20o onset, maximal phase, [and clearing.] Behind Antares (α Scorpio) [it was eclipsed.] This eclipse took place on the 15th day of Simanu month and the total eclipse phase was 20o i.e., 80 minutes. The total lunar eclipse that occurred on 9/10 Jun 1292 BCE regularly corresponds to the verifiable details recorded in LBAT 1417. LBAT 1419 LBAT 1419 records a series of lunar eclipses at 18-year intervals.16 The first two entries are damaged. However, the next two entries are dated in the epoch of Chaldean calendar [named as ‘Kudurri’] (1282 BCE). One lunar eclipse occurred at sunrise in the 6 th month of the 14th year (1269-1268 BCE) which was not visible whereas another lunar eclipse occurred before sunset in the 6th month of the 32nd year (1251-1250 BCE) which was also not visible in Babylon. Year 1 2 3 4

1305-1304 BCE 1287-1286 BCE 1269-1268 BCE 1251-1250 BCE

Saros Series 36 36 36 36

Date of Eclipse 31 Aug 1305 BCE 11 Sep 1287 BCE 22 Sep 1269 BCE 02 Oct 1251 BCE

LBAT 1419 (BM 32234) also records an eclipse in the 12th month of the 13th year (1270-1269 BCE) which took place on 30 Mar 1269 BCE. Seemingly, LBAT 1419 indicates four eclipses under the Saros series 31 (8 Mar 1305 BCE [omitted], 19 Mar 1287 BCE, 30 Mar 1269 BCE and 9 Apr 1251 BCE [omitted]). This tablet also mentions that Saturn entered in Capricorn in the 12th month of the 31st year (1252-1251 BCE). Saturn entered Capricorn (240o) on the last day of the 12th month, i.e. 24 Mar 1251 BCE. This tablet also mentions that a lunar eclipse was passed by in the first month of the 32nd year. A lunar eclipse occurred on 9 Apr 1251 BCE which was not visible in Babylon. On the night of this eclipse, Mars was in the west of δ Sco. Historians have calculated the date as 2 Apr 572 BCE but the lunar eclipse was visible at Babylon and Mars was in the north of a Sco and in the east of δ Sco, not in the west of δ Sco. LBAT 1419 records the next eclipse in the Saros series 36 occurred after 18 years in the 50th year of the Chaldean calendar (1233-1232 BCE). The details of the lunar eclipse as follows:

Month VII, the 13th, in 17° on the east side all (of the moon) was covered. 28° maximal phase. In 20° it cleared from east to west. Its eclipse was red. Behind the rump of Aries it was eclipsed. During onset, the north wind blew, during clearing, the west wind. At 55° before sunrise. This lunar eclipse occurred on 13 Oct 1233 BCE which regularly corresponds to the verifiable details recorded in LBAT 1419.

LBAT 1420 Interestingly, LBAT 1420 records the annual lunar eclipse reports starting from the 1st year to the 29th year of the Chaldean calendar (1282 BCE).17 The first lunar eclipse reported in LBAT 1420 took place in the third month, Simanu of the 1st year (1282-1281 BCE). The details are as under: Year Line Obverse I 1 1 2

Details

Date of Eclipse

In the third month, Simanu [Month 9]… rose eclipsed?

20 May 1282 BCE 14 Nov 1282 BCE

Observed Observed

2

[Month 3] Set eclipsed. Month VI was 10 May 1281 BCE intercalary [Total] 3 Nov 1281 BCE -28 Apr 1280 BCE -22 Oct 1280 BCE 20 March 1279 BCE …after sunset, it began in the west and 18 Apr 1279 BCE north…. It cleared in the north… Month VII, Omitted? 12 Oct 1279 BCE

Observed

3 4

3 4,5,6 7 7 8 9,10 11

Observed Observed Observed Observed Predicted Observed?

5

12 Month VI2 13 Month XII (Total eclipse) The details of year 6 to 9 are irretrievably lost. Obverse II 10 The details are not legible. 11 3 Month II Month III? 4 Month VIII, Month XII was intercalary 12 5 Month I 5 Month VII 6 & 7 Month XII? 13 8 Month I, Omitted. 9 Month VII, It came out eclipsed. 14 10 Month VI 11 Month XII, Month XII was intercalary 15 12 Month V 12 Month X 16 13 Month IV 14 & Month X 15 17 16 Month IV, Omitted 17 & Month X 18 The details of year 18 to 24 are irretrievably lost. Reverse III 25 3 Month VI (V?), 1 ½ beru (three hours) before (after?) sunset. 4 Month XI, Sabatu, evening watch. 26 5 Month V 5 Month X, Month XII was intercalary. 27 6 Month III 6 Month IX 28 7, 8 & Month III 9 10, 11 Month IX & 12 29 13 & Month II 14

01 Sep 1278 BCE 26 Feb 1278 BCE

Observed Observed

30 Apr 1272 BCE 29 May 1272 BCE 24 Oct 1272 BCE 19 Apr 1271 BCE 13 Oct 1271 BCE 9 Apr 1270 BCE 9 Apr 1270 BCE 2 Oct 1270 BCE 22 Sep 1269 BCE 18 Mar 1269 BCE 10 Sep 1268 BCE 5 Feb 1267 BCE 2 Aug 1267 BCE 25 Jan 1266 BCE

Observed Predicted Observed Observed Observed Predicted Predicted Observed Observed Predicted Observed Observed Observed Observed

22 Jul 1266 BCE 15 Jan 1265 BCE

Predicted Predicted

22 Aug 1258 BCE

Predicted

16 Jan 1257 BCE 11 Aug 1257 BCE 6 Jan 1256 BCE 1 Jul 1256 BCE 25 Dec 1256 BCE 20 Jun 1255 BCE

Observed Observed Predicted Predicted Observed Predicted

15 Dec 1255 BCE

Observed.

9 Jun 1254 BCE

Observed

LBAT 1421 LBAT 1421 (BM 41536) records two eclipses observed in Babylon in the 6th and 12th month of the year 42 of the Chaldean calendar.18 The details are as under: “42nd year: 14. Ululu, he (the moon) wandered into the shadows [set eclipsed?] and became bright. (After) 6 U' (6 deg; about 24 minutes) it became brighter. (start) 35 U' (35 deg; about 140 minutes) [after moonset?]. (Month) Addaru, (day) 15, 1,30o before (after?) sunset [...]. 25o duration of maximal phase. In 18o it [became bright.], West (wind) went. 2 cubits below, γ Virginis eclipsed, [omitted?].” The 42nd year of the Chaldean calendar was 1241-1240 BCE. The first lunar eclipse took place on 13 Sep 1241 BCE and it was total. This eclipse began around 3:19 AM and moon set eclipsed around 6:18 AM and the eclipse ended around 8:38 AM 140 minutes after moonset. The second lunar eclipse occurred on 8 Mar 1240 BCE and the eclipse began 6 hours before sunset. This eclipse took place exactly 2 cubits behind γ Virginis but it was not visible in Babylon. Ptolemy’s References of the Chaldean Calendar The Year 67 of the Chaldean Calendar Ptolemy says: “In the 67th year in the Chaldean calendar, Apellaios 5, at dawn, Mercury was a half a cubit above the northern star in the forehead of Scorpius.” 19 Considering the epoch of Chaldean calendar in 1282 BCE, the year 67 was 1216-1215 BCE. Apellaios is the month of November in Macedonian calendar. The date regularly corresponds to 8 Nov 1216 BCE and the 5th day of solar month Sagittarius. Exactly, Mercury was a half a cubit above the northern star (β1 Sco) in the forehead of Scorpius. The Year 75 of the Chaldean Era Ptolemy says: “In the 75th year in the Chaldean calendar, Dios 14, at dawn, Mercury was a half a cubit above the star on the southern scale of Libra.”20 Considering the epoch of Chaldean calendar in 1282 BCE, the year 75 was 1208-1207 BCE. Dios is the month of October in Macedonian calendar. The date regularly corresponds to 18/19 October 1207 BCE and the 14th day of solar month Scorpio. Exactly, Mercury was a half a cubit above the southern scale of Libra (α2 Lib). The Year 82 of the Chaldean Era Ptolemy says: “In the 82nd year in the Chaldean calendar, Xandikos 5, in the evening, the planet Saturn was two digits below the star (γ Vir) on the southern shoulder of Virgo.”21 Considering the epoch of Chaldean era in 1282 BCE, the year 87 was 1201-1200 BCE. Xandikos is the month of March in Macedonian calendar. The date regularly corresponds to 6 Mar 1200

BCE and the 5th day of the solar month, Aries. Exactly, Saturn was two digits below the star γ Vir on the southern shoulder of Virgo. Lunar Eclipse during the Reign of Sargon II In a letter (TCL 3) addressed by Sargon II to Assur, Sargon refers to a sign given by the moon god which indicates an astronomical phenomenon and its astrological interpretation. He says that “the moon (god) remained (eclipsed) for longer than one watch (of the night)” and two planets, identified technically as those of Marduk and of Nergal moved in a “propitious way”. This total lunar eclipse occurred on 27 Apr 1364 BCE in the last regnal year of Sargon II. Moon rose eclipsed on 27 Apr and ended in the first hour of 28 Apr. Jupiter and Mars were in close conjunction (within 5 degrees) and visible in the night from the beginning to the end of eclipse. No other planet was visible during the eclipse. The details of eclipse and two planets given by Sargon II regularly correspond to the total lunar eclipse that occurred on 27 Apr 1364 BCE. The Dating of the Letters Written to King Esarhaddon Numerous letters written by Assyrian priests to King Esarhaddon contain astronomical information. Based on the verifiable astronomical details, these letters can be dated as attempted below: 1

2

3

Letter RMA 272

RMA 235A

RMA 183

Writer Bel-usezib

Bel-sumaiskun

Bel-leï

4

ABL 765

Bel-naser

5

RMA 195A

Nergal-eter

Details Venus in Sagittarius; Mars between Libra and Scorpio; Jupiter in Leo, retrograde. Two lunar eclipses predicted. Mars 7 months in Gemini.

Lunar eclipse in the month, Bul (a lunar month in Nov-Dec) affecting Assyria. Morning visibility of Jupiter begins in the month, Bul. Report on a solar eclipse on 28 Nisan at 2½ double hours of the day. Calculated solar eclipse on 28 Tishri; lunar eclipse in the month, Bul was not visible. Evening visibility of Jupiter ends on 10 Kislev

Date 1 Dec 1342 BCE 15 Feb 1341 BCE 10 Aug 1341 BCE Sep 1339 BCE to Mar 1338 BCE 3 Dec 1338 BCE

25 Nov 1338 BCE 14 May 1337 BCE 7 Nov 1337 BCE 22 Nov 1337 BCE 17 Nov 1337 BCE

6

LAS 105

Not known

7

LAS 325

Balasi

8

RMA 225

Nergal-eter

9

RMA 274

Bel-usezib

10 RMA 272B

Nergal-eter

11 LAS 31

Adad-sumuusur Nergal-eter

12 RMA 86

A lunar eclipse on 14 [Sivan?]. Only the southern quadrant of the moon was eclipsed. The eclipse diameter was 2 fingers (that is 1/6 of the apparent lunar diameter). The eclipse took place in Scorpio. The eclipse ended in the morning watch. Request for intercalation of the year in month Shebat; decision for intercalating delayed until visibility of Jupiter begins. Evening visibility of Mercury begins in Pisces; moon becomes visible on day 1 of the second month Adar. A potential solar eclipse in month Adar and followed by a Lunar eclipse.

Lunar eclipse not affecting Assyria on 14 Adar in the evening watch; Jupiter and Venus were not present during the eclipse. Reference to an alarming lunar eclipse in month Elul. Venus standing in front of Orion in month Ab.

17/18 Apr 1336 BCE

Feb 1335 BCE

24 Jan 1335 BCE & 23 Feb 1335 BCE 13 Mar 1334 BCE (Solar) and 27/28 Mar 1334 BCE (Lunar) 27/28 Mar 1334 BCE

21 Sep 1334 BCE or 10 Sep 1333 BCE July 1334 BCE

13 LAS 120

Adad-sumuusur

Reference to a not observed solar eclipse; Venus about to reach Virgo; visibility of Mercury expected.

6 Sep 1334 BCE

14 RMA 30

Nergal-eter

10 Sep 1333 BCE

15 LAS 290

Mar-Istar

Moon becomes visible on 1 Elul; prediction of a lunar eclipse in month Elul Morning visibility of Jupiter begins under Chariot; last visibility moon on 27 Sivan; moon becomes visible on 1 Tammuz.

May/June 1333 BCE 27 Aug 1333 BCE

16 RMA 246G 17 LAS 65 18 RMA 186 19 RMA 162 20 LAS 289 21 LAS 289

Nabu-ahheeriba Nabu-ahheeriba Nergal-eter Nergal-eter Mar-Istar Mar-Istar

22 LAS 291

Mar-Istar

23 RMA 274E 24 RMA 231

Nabu-ahheeriba Asaredu qatnu

25 RMA 235 26 LAS 324

Akkullanu

27 RMA 187

watch for a solar eclipse on 28, 29 and 30 Ab (Sivan?). Morning visibility of Mercury begins on 16 Sivan. Mercury visible, Venus not yet visible; written on 27 Adar. Morning visibility of Jupiter begins in month Iyar Jupiter goes with Venus on 16 Iyar; moon becomes visible on 30 Iyar Morning visibility of Jupiter begins on 22 Iyar Evening visibility of Jupiter ends on 29 Nisan; Jupiter stayed away 1 month and 5 days; morning visibility of Jupiter begins on 6 Sivan in the region of Orion. Scorpius approached the moon on 10 Tammuz; Venus in Leo on 10 Tammuz. Predicted non-visibility of a lunar eclipse in month Tammuz. Morning visibility of Mars begins in month Tammuz.

13 Jun 1333 BCE 27 Feb 1333 BCE May/Jun 1332 BCE May/Jun 1332 BCE May/Jun 1332 BCE 18 Apr 1332 BCE (29 Nisan) 24 May 1332 BCE (6 Sivan)

27 Jul 1335 BCE or 25 Jul 1332 BCE 20 July 1331 BCE July 1331 BCE

Mars moves to Cancer without stopping there; month Ab. Morning visibility of Jupiter begins on 20 Tammuz.

July/Aug 1331 BCE

Asaredu

Morning visibility of Jupiter begins in front of Cancer.

Jul 1331 BCE

28 RMA 174A

Rasi-ili

Morning visibility of Venus ends in month Nisan

Last week of Mar 1330 BCE

29 RMA 207B

Nergal-eter

Evening visibility of Venus begins in month Sivan; Venus will reach Cancer in 6-7 days

First week of June 1330 BCE

Balasi

Jul 1331 BCE

30 LAS 41

Balasi

31 RMA 274G 32 LAS 62

Nabu-ahheeriba Nabu-ahheeriba

33 LAS 173

MardukSakin-Sumi

34 LAS 45

Balasi

35 ABL 276

Kudurru

36 LAS 104

Not known

37 RMA 181A 38 RMA 44

Nergal-eter

39 LAS 46

Balasi

40 RMA 67 41 RMA 88 42 ABL 1113

Suma-iddin

[....]

Balasi Not known

King worried about a solar eclipse at sunset (after sunrise?) on 29 Bul. Report on the not observed solar eclipse; written in month Kislev. Prediction of a lunar eclipse in month Kislev; the writer refers to the solar eclipse expected in LAS 41. Lunar eclipse on 15 Kislev; the lunar quadrant Amurru (upper quadrant) was eclipsed. Mars having a great luminosity from Adar till Iyar. Reference to a solar eclipse in month Tammuz. Kudurru wrote during the reign of Esarhaddon: “after the king, my lord, went to Egypt and an eclipse occurred in the month Du’uzu” (Tammuz). The unknown writer tells us that Akkullanu wrote to him about a solar eclipse at sunrise with an eclipse diameter of 2 fingers. Left side sun eclipsed at sunrise

20 Dec 1330 BCE

Mercury visible in Aries; written on 30 Adar; reference to military operations in Egypt. Mercury shining brightly; written on 1 Nisan; the month Adar having 30 days. Conjunction of Venus and Saturn on 1 Sivan (11 Sivan?). Conjunction of Mars and Saturn on 16 Adar. Morning visibility of Mars begins in month Ab.

15 Apr 1329 BCE

20 Dec 1330 BCE 4 Dec 1330 BCE

14 Jan 1330 BCE

Mar to May 1330 BCE 14 Jun 1329 BCE

14 Jun 1329 BCE

14 Jun 1329 BCE

16 Apr 1329 BCE

26 May 1329 BCE 4 Mar 1329 BCE 15 Jul 1329 BCE

The Absolute Chronology of Neo-Babylonian Era Based on the analysis of the archaeo-astronomical evidence as presented above, we can establish the absolute chronology of Babylonian Kings from 1408 BCE to 1199 BCE as given below. Interestingly, this chronology supported by archaeo-astronomical evidence proves beyond doubt that the chronology given in the Hebrew bible is also absolutely correct. Babylonian Kings 1.

Nabonassar

Regnal years 14 y

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Nabu-nadin-zeri Tiglath-Pileser III Salmaneser V Marduk-apla-iddina II Sargon II Without kings Bel-ibni Ashur-nadin-shumi Nergal-ushezib Mushhezib-Marduk Without kings Esarhaddon Shamash-shumukin Kandalanu

2y 5y 5y 12 y 6y 2y 3y 6y 1y 4y 8y 13 y 20 y 22 y

1394-1392 BCE 1392-1387 BCE 1387-1382 BCE 1382-1370 BCE 1370-1364 BCE 1364-1362 BCE 1362-1359 BCE 1359-1353 BCE 1353-1352 BCE 1352-1348 BCE 1348-1341 BCE 1341-1329 BCE 1328-1308 BCE 1307-1285 BCE

The Chaldean Kings

Regnal Years 21 y 43 y 2y 4y 17 y

In CE

1. 2. 3. 4. 5 6.

Nabopolassar Nabuchadnezzar II Amel-Marduk Neriglissar Labashi-Marduk Nabonidus

In CE 1408-1394 BCE

1285-1264 BCE 1264-1221 BCE 1221-1220 BCE 1220-1216 BCE 1216 BCE 1215-1199 BCE

The Chronology of Medo-Persian Kings It is mentioned in a Babylonian text that a lunar eclipse which was visible at Babylon, had indeed occurred on the 8th month of the 7th year of Nabonidius. The 7th year of Nabonidus was 1209-1208 BCE and a total lunar eclipse occurred on 17 Dec 1209 BCE. Thus, Nabonidus reigned for 17 years around 1215-1199 BCE and Cyrus ascended the throne in the 210th year of Nabonassarian era, i.e., 1199-1198 BCE.

Saros Canon –LBAT 1428 Interestingly, the Babylonian cuneiform text ‘LBAT 1428’ conclusively proves that the Chaldean astronomers discovered the Saros cycle of 223 synodic months after which the Moon is almost precisely back to the same position.22 Thus, Chaldeans predicted a future lunar eclipse based on the observed lunar eclipse. In fact, Greek and Alexandrian astronomers learnt the methods of scientific observations of lunar eclipses and their prediction from the Chaldean (Babylonian) astronomers. The Saros canon tablet contains a series of regnal years at 18-year intervals based on a Babylonian eclipse cycle which was the Saros series no. 48. Since the new Saros series no. 48 had just begun in 1228 BCE, this Saros canon (LBAT 1428) probably covered the eclipses occurred at 18-year intervals starting from 1228 BCE to 759 BCE. Beginning with the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar II and the 6th year of Nabonidus, this Saros canon includes the year 9 of Xerxes and the years 6 and 24 of Artaxerxes I. The list of lunar eclipses recorded in the Saros canon as follows: Saros Series 48 Obverse 1 -1228 Jul 21 2 -1210 Aug 01 3 -1192 Aug 12 4 -1174 Aug 23 5 -1156 Sep 02 6 -1138 Sep 14 7 -1120 Sep 24 8 -1102 Oct 05 9 -1084 Oct 16 10 -1066 Oct 27 11 -1048 Nov 06 12 -1030 Nov 18 13 -1012 Nov 28 14 -0994 Dec 09 15 -0976 Dec 20 16 -0958 Dec 31 17 -0939 Jan 10 18 0921 Jan 22 19 -0903 Feb 01 20 -0885 Feb 12 Reverse 21 -0867 Feb 23 22 -0849 Mar 06

Regnal Year 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar II 6th year of Nabonidus 7th year of Cyrus 9th year of Darius I 27th year of Darius I 9th year of Xerxes 6th year of Artaxerxes I 24th year of Artaxerxes I 41st year of Artaxerxes I 18th year of Darius II 18th year of Artaxerxes II 36th year of Artaxerxes II 8th year of Ochos 3rd year of Darius III 2nd year of Antigonus 15th year of Seleucid Era (972 BCE) 33rd year of Seleucid Era 51st year of Seleucid Era 69th year of Seleucid Era 87th year of Seleucid Era 105th year of Seleucid Era 123rd year of Seleucid Era

23 24 25 26 27

-0831 Mar 16 -0813 Mar 28 -0795 Apr 07 -0777 Apr 18 -0759 Apr 28

141st year of Seleucid Era 159th year of Seleucid Era 177th year of Seleucid Era 195th year of Seleucid Era 213rd year of Seleucid Era

Cyrus (1199-1190 BCE) Another Babylonian text dated in the 8th year of Cyrus records a deposition made by three individuals before the assembly of the qipani and the marbani of the Eanna temple. The subject matter of the deposition is the ritual playing of the kettledrum at the gate of the Ebabbar temple. According to the deposition, the kettledrum was played in connection with a lunar eclipse and the inhabitants of the city of Larsa witnessed the performance. 23 The details of eclipse given in this Neo-Babylonian text: “On the 13th day of the month Simanu, the 8th year of Cyrus, king of Babylon, king of the lands, after sunset, the kalus of the Ebabbar played the copper kettledrum at the gate of the Ebabbar….”. The 8th calendar year of Cyrus was 1191-1190 BCE because seemingly, Cyrus ascended the throne in the middle of 1199 BCE. The lunar eclipse occurred on 2 Jul 1191 BCE in the 8th year of Cyrus. Cambyses (1190-1182 BCE) Cyrus reigned for nine years (little less than nine years) from 1199 BCE to 1190 BCE. Cambyses reigned for eight years around 1190-1182 BCE. According to Ptolemy, “In the 7th year of Cambyses, in the 225th year from Nabonassar, on 17/18 Phamenoth of the Egyptian calendar, the Moon was eclipsed half its diameter from the north at one hour before midnight in Babylon.”24 This lunar eclipse occurred on 13 Aug 1184 BCE. Darius (1182-1146 BCE) Darius reigned for 36 years around 1182-1146 BCE. According to Book of Daniel, "That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean (Babylonian) king was killed, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom." Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar as described in Nabonidus chronicle. Interestingly, Book of Daniel mentions Darius the Mede as king of Babylon between Cyrus and Belshazzar. There is also a mention of Cambyses, son of Cyrus in Nabonidus chronicle. Though the Edict of Cyrus permitted the exiled Jews to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, it was Darius who issued a decree known as “the Decree of Darius” for rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem in his second year. According to Ezra 4:24, “Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” “The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius [15].” “On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. The priests and Levites had purified

themselves and were all ceremonially clean [19-20].” Thus, the foundation of Temple was laid in the second year of Darius, i.e., 1181-1180 BCE and the construction of Temple was completed in the sixth year, i.e., 1177-1176 BCE on the third day of month Adar, i.e., 18 Feb 1177 BCE. The Passover was celebrated on 31 Mar 1177 BCE because the full moon day of the month of Nisan and Vernal equinox coincided on 31 Mar 1177 BCE. Thus, the Second Temple was ceremonially inaugurated in the first month of the sixth year of Darius. According to Ptolemy, “In the 20th year of Darius I, 246th year from Nabonassar, 28/29 Epiphi of the Egyptian calendar, the Moon was obscured 1/4 of its diameter from the south when 6 1/3 equinoctial hours of the night had passed in Babylon and in the 31st year of Darius I, 257th year from Nabonassar, 3/4 Tybi of the Egyptian calendar, the Moon was obscured 2 digits from the south at the middle of the 6th hour [of the night] in Babylon.”25 The lunar eclipse in the 20th year of Darius, i.e., 1163-1162 BCE occurred on 18 Dec 1163 BCE and the lunar eclipse in the 31st year of Darius, i.e., 1152-1151 BCE took place on 23 May 1152 BCE.

Xerxes (1146-1126 BCE) Xerxes succeeded his father Darius I in 1146 BCE and reigned for 21 years. An astronomical fragment indicates that Mars was in Cancer in the first year of reign of Xerxes. Mars was in Cancer and at 90o of the zodiac on 7th Apr 1146 BCE. Thus we can absolutely fix the 21-year reign of Xerxes between 1146 BCE and 1126 BCE. Interestingly, the tablet BM 32234 dates the death of Xerxes between two lunar eclipses occurred in 1126 BCE. The verifiable details of two lunar eclipses as recorded in this astronomical tablet are as follows:26 1. at 18o 2. 40o on set ma[ximal phase and clearing]. The “garment of the sky [rain-clouds]” was there. 3. In the area of the 4 rear stars of Sagittarius it was eclipsed. Month VI was intercalary. 4. Month V, the 14’, Xerxes – his son killed him. -----------------------------------5. Month VIII, the 14th, 13o after 6. Sunset, [the moon] came out of cloud,

7. 1/4 of the disk on the [.…] 8. And west side was covered. 8o [onset and] 9. Clearing [….] The first lunar eclipse occurred on 4/5 July 1126 BCE in the area of the four rear stars of Sagittarius. This lunar eclipse took place in the third month of Babylonian lunisolar calendar. King Xerxes was killed by his son on 31 Aug 1126 BCE on the 14 th day of the fifth month. The sixth month was from 16 Sep 1126 BCE to 15 Oct 1126 BCE. The intercalary sixth month was from 16 Oct to 14 Nov 1126 BCE. The second lunar eclipse occurred on 28 Dec 1126 BCE on the 14th day of the eighth month.

Dating of Battle of Salamis Battle of Salamis was fought between the Greeks and the Persians under Xerxes around 1137 BCE. Herodotus indicates the occurrence of a solar eclipse preceded by a lunar eclipse in the early spring during this battle. Herodotus (7:37) records that “When the bridges and the work at Athos were ready, and both the dikes at the canal's entrances, built to prevent the surf from silting up the entrances of the dug passage, and the canal itself were reported to be now completely finished, the army then wintered. At the beginning of spring the army made ready and set forth from Sardis to march to Abydos. As it was setting out, the sun left his place in the heaven and was invisible, although the sky was without clouds and very clear, and the day turned into night. When Xerxes saw and took note of that, he was concerned and asked the Magi what the vision might signify. They declared to him that the god was showing the Greeks the abandonment of their cities; for the sun (they said) was the prophet of the Greeks, as the moon was their own. Xerxes rejoiced exceedingly to hear that and continued on his march.” This annular solar eclipse occurred on 23 Feb 1137 BCE at Sardis. Interestingly, a lunar eclipse occurred on 9 Feb 1137 BCE but it was not visible at Sardis. This was the reason why Magi told to Xerxes that “…the god was showing the Greeks the abandonment of their cities; for the sun (they said) was the prophet of the Greeks, as the moon was their own.” Based on this evidence, we can conclusively fix the date of Battle of Salamis in the year 1138-1137 BCE.

Artaxerxes (1126-1084 BCE) According to an Elephantine Papyri (B24), Artaxerxes ascended the throne on 17 Thoth (Egyptian lunar calendar) which is 17 Kislev (Jewish lunar calendar), year 21 (of Xerxes) i.e. 1 Nov 1126 BCE. Thucydides records in his book “History of the Peloponnesian War” [4.50-53] that “They found that Artaxerxes I, son of Xerxes had recently died [4.50]….. During the same winter, 7th year ended. In the early ensuing summer, there was a solar eclipse at the time of new moon and within the first 10 days of the same month, earthquake [4.51].” The solar eclipse mentioned by Thucydides occurred on 27 Mar 1083 BCE, in the 8 th year of Peloponnesian war. Accordingly, we can accurately fix the death of Artaxerxes I in Dec 1084 BCE. Darius II (1084-1065 BCE) and Artaxerxes II (1065-1019 BCE) Darius II reigned for 19 years and Artaxerxes II reigned for 46 years. Interestingly, the cuneiform tablet BM 37088 + 37652 gives the list of six lunar eclipse observations made during the reign of Artaxerxes II (1065-1019 BCE), in the left column and six predicted lunar eclipses in the right column.27 Unfortunately, the tablet is badly damaged. Six lunar eclipses observed in Babylon during the reign of Artaxerxes II and six predicted lunar eclipses can be accurately identified as details given below. The cuneiform tablet BM 37088 + 37652 of Babylon

1.

Babylonian Date Artaxerxes II, Year 40, Month X, Day 14

Saros No. 17

Observed Lunar Eclipse

Predicted Lunar Eclipse

2.

Artaxerxes II, Year 41, Month III, Day 14

32

3.

Artaxerxes II, Year 41, Month IX, Day 14

37

4.

Artaxerxes II, Year 42, Month III, Day 14

42

5.

Artaxerxes II, Year 42, Month IX, Day 15

47

6.

Artaxerxes II, Year 43, Month III, Day 13

52

The Tablet BM 32238 of Babylon The cuneiform tablet BM 32238 records; “Month VIII, the 14th. When it began on the south and east side, in 23 degrees all was covered. 18 degrees maximal phase. After 16 degrees of midnight, one-fourth on the east side cleared; it set eclipsed. The eclipse was Red. 1 ½ cubits

behind (above?) the Star eta Tauri it was eclipsed. During the eclipse Saturn stood there; the remainder of the planets did not stand there. The north wind, which was slanted to the west blew. At 47 degrees before sunrise.”28 These details perfectly correspond to total lunar eclipse occurred on 28th October 1020 BCE. This eclipse was visible from 2:51 hrs to 5:49 hrs and it set eclipsed. During the eclipse Jupiter stood there, not Saturn. The translation needs to be verified. The Moon was located above the Star eta Tauri when the eclipse began and only Jupiter was visible in the sky.

Historians have identified it with the eclipse occurred on 22 nd Nov 352 BCE but this eclipse began from east to north side. The moon had already entered Gemini. Therefore, the position of Moon can never be 1 ½ cubits behind or above the star eta Tauri on 22nd Nov 352 BCE. Artaxerxes III (1019-998 BCE) and Arses (998-996 BCE) Artaxerxes III reigned for 21 years. BM 71537 tablet mentions that there was a lunar eclipse in the month of Ab when Artaxerxes sat on the throne. This lunar eclipse occurred on 18 Oct 1019 BCE. The same tablet also indicates an eclipse possibility which ‘passed by’ on the 29th of the month Du’uzu in the year 21 of Artaxerxes III, followed by the death of Artaxerxes III. A total solar eclipse occurred on 13 Aug 998 BCE which was not visible in Persia. A total lunar eclipse occurred on 27 Aug 998 BCE was also not visible in Persia. Seemingly, Artaxerxes III died around 13 Aug 998 BCE and his son Arses sat on the throne in the month of Ululu. Bagoas was a eunuch who became the minister of Artaxerxes III. He managed to poison Arses in 996 BCE and made Darius III, a cousin of Arses as the king of Persia. Darius III (996-992 BCE) and Alexander III (992-984 BCE) Alexander III of Macedonia decisively subdued Darius III in his 5th year in 992 BCE. Many Greek and Roman writers mentioned that a total lunar eclipse occurred before the battle between Alexander's army and Persian forces at Gaugamela near Arbela (todays Erbil in northern Iraq). A 15th century French manuscript of the History of Alexander the Great depicts a lunar eclipse that occurred during the Battle of Gaugamela in 992 BCE when Alexander the Great’s army met the Persian army of Darius III. Alexander is shown consulting his astrologers about the consequences of the eclipse.29

According to Arrian (Anabasis, II, 7.6), the date of the battle was during the month Pyanopsion when Aristophanes was archon at Athens. This indicates a date in the autumn (October) in Julian calendar.. Two cuneiform fragmentary tablets (BM 36761 + BM 36390) in the British Museum bear the official title "Astronomical Diary concerning month VI and VII of the fifth year of Artašata who is called Darius. The translated text of the tablets:30 1') [....] 2') [....] The 13th, moonset to sunrise: 8° [....] 3') [.... lunar] eclipse, in its totality covered. 10° night [totality? ...] (broken) Jupiter set; Saturn [....] 4') [....] during totality the west wind blew, during clearing the east wind [....] fourth? ....; during the eclipse, deaths and plague? [occurred?] in [....] (Hunger & Sachs, 1988: 177) Another translation of the tablets by Bert van der Spek and Irving Finkel reveals further astronomical details that equinox occurred on 21st day and a solar eclipse which was omitted; occurred on the night of the 29th about the 4th minute of the night after sunset. This famous total lunar eclipse occurred on 19th Oct 992 BCE. This eclipse began at 2:22 hrs and the moon set eclipsed. Jupiter set around 22:00 hrs and Saturn was in conjunction with Mercury. This total lunar eclipse was followed by a solar eclipse occurred on 2 Nov 992 BCE which was not visible in Babylon.

Plutarch mentions that this total lunar eclipse preceded the battle by 11 days. The battle lasted for three weeks. Thus, the battle of Arbela began on 30 th Oct 992 BCE and Alexander defeated Darius III on 20 Nov 992 BCE. In view of the above, we can accurately fix the chronology from Cyrus to Alexander. The Chronology of Medo-Persian kings as given by Ptolemy:31 Medo-Persian Kings Years 1. 2.

Cyrus Cambyses

9 8

Nabonassarian Era 210-219 219-227

In CE 1199-1190 BCE 1190-1182 BCE

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Darius the First Xerxes Artaxerxes the First Darius the Second Artaxerxes the Second Artaxerxes the third Arsu Darius the Third Alexander III of Macedon

36 21 41 19 46 21 2 4 8

227-263 263-284 284-325 325-344 344-390 390-411 411-413 413-416 416-424

1182-1146 BCE 1146-1126 BCE 1125-1084 BCE 1084-1065 BCE 1065-1019 BCE 1019-998 BCE 998-996 BCE 996-992 BCE 992-983 BCE

Alexander was born in July 1016 BCE and died on 18 Jun 983 BCE. Philip III (Arrhidaeus) succeeded Alexander in the year 983 BCE. Ptolemy indicates that the epoch of the Phillippos era commenced in the 425th year of the Nabonassarian era (1408 BCE). A Babylonian astronomical diary (BM 34093) states, “Year 2 of Philip,….. (obv. I) “The 27 th, moonrise to sunrise: 17o. The 28th, around 3o before sunset, solar eclipse…. Gusty west and north wind; it set eclipsed….”.32 This solar eclipse occurred on 13 Oct 982 BCE which unambiguously establishes that the first regnal year of Philip III was 983-982 BCE. According to historians, this eclipse occurred on 26 Sep 321 BCE. Diodorus and Justin mention that Philip ruled six years. Thus, Philip III died in 977 BCE and Antigonus succeeded him. The first regnal year of Antigonus was 977-976 BCE which was the 7th year of Philip III as mentioned in the Solar Saros TAPS 81,6 24. The Saros canon (LBAT 1428) indicates that a lunar eclipse occurred on 19 Dec 976 BCE in the Saros series 48 during the 2nd year of Antigonus. A lunar text AD 5 2 gives the verifiable details of this lunar eclipse. According to AD 5 2, “Month IX, the 15 th. When it began on the south and east side, in 19o all was covered. 5o maximal phase. In 16o it cleared to between north and east. 40o onset, maximal phase, and clearing. During onset (and) maximal phase it was slow, during clearing fast. Its eclipse was red. 1 ½ cubits in front of B Capricorni it was eclipsed. At 44o after sunset. Month IX, on the 27th, Philip….. Year 2 of Antigonus”. AD 5 2 clearly mentions that the eclipse occurred on 19 Dec 976 BCE was red, i.e., penumbral.

The 6th year of Antigonus was 972-971 BCE in which the epoch of the Seleucid era (972 BCE) or Syro-Macedonian Era had commenced.

The Epoch of the Arsacid Era (904 BCE) and the Parthian Empire The Seleucid monarchs controlled Persia from 972 BCE to 904 BCE. Arsaces I founded the Parthian Empire of Persia around 907 BCE. Seemingly, Arsaces I proclaimed his independence from the Seleucid monarch and established the epoch of Arsacid Era in 904 BCE. A later Babylonian astronomical text records an observation of total lunar eclipse in the year 97 of the Arsacid era, i.e., 808-807 BCE. “Year 97, month IX, night of the 1 (14th?), lunar eclipse, on the east side when it began, in 21 degree of night all of it became covered; 16 degree of night of totality: when it began to clear, it cleared in 19 degree of night from east and north to west; 56 degree onset, totality; it began at one-half beru (i.e. 15 degree) after sunset….” Since the sign for the day of the lunar month is damaged, seemingly, the day was the first if the lunar calendar was Purnimanta (from full moon) and it was the 14th day if the lunar calendar was Amanta (from new moon). The 97th year of the Arsacid era was 808-807 BCE. A lunar eclipse occurred on 22 Nov 808 BCE regularly corresponds to the verifiable details mentioned in the later Babylonian text.

Two separate Babylonian texts refer to the lunar eclipse followed by a solar eclipse that occurred in the 175th year of the Arsacid era, i.e., 730-729 BCE.33 Lunar Eclipse: “Year 175, Month XII2, night of the 15th, moonrise to sunset 7o 40’; clouds, I did not watch. When corona culminated, lunar eclipse: when it began on the south and east side, in 18o of night it made 8 fingers. The day 29th, solar eclipse. When it began on the south west side, in 18 degree of day in the morning it became completely total (?). (It began) at 24 degree after sunrise.” “Night of the 15th, moonrise to sunset: 8o 40’ clouds, I did not watch; all night 15o of night maximal phase; when it began to clear, it cleared in 18o of night from east to north and west. [Saturn] stood there, the remainder of the planets did not stand there; 31/2 cubits in front of a Lib it was eclipsed at……” Solar Eclipse (BM 45745): “Year 175, [King] Arsaces [month XII2], day 29, at 24 degree after sunrise, solar eclipse. When it began on the south west side, Venus, Mercury and the Normal Stars were visible. Jupiter and Mars which were in their period of invisibility were visible in its eclipse… 35 degree onset, maximal phase and clearing…”

A lunar eclipse occurred on 28 Feb 729 BCE which was not visible in Parthia. Only Saturn was visible during the eclipse. A total solar eclipse occurred on 14 Mar 729 BCE which regularly corresponds to the verifiable details recorded in the Babylonian texts. Venus and Mercury were visible during the eclipse on 14 Mar 729 BCE. The eclipse began on the south west side. Jupiter and Mars were also visible during the eclipse which were in their period of invisibility.

Historians have identified the solar eclipse that occurred on 15 Apr 135 BCE considering the epoch of the Seleucid era in 312-311 BCE. Firstly, the text clearly refers to the year 175 of King Arsaces. Therefore, it is absurd to calculate the year 175 in the epoch of the Seleucid era. Secondly, there was no intercalary month of 12th month in the year 136-135 BCE. Moreover, the eclipse of 15 Apr 135 BCE occurred in the first month of the year 135-134 BCE. Thirdly, Venus and Mercury were not on the south west side. Based on the astronomical evidence presented above, the epoch of the Arsacid era commenced in 904 BCE. The Epoch of Seleucid era or Syro-Macedonian Era commenced in 972 BCE. Michael the Syrian, an Assyrian patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church refers to the total solar eclipse that he observed at Antioch: "In this year 1510 [1487?] (of the Seleucid era), on New Sunday (?), the 11th (?) of the month of Nisan, at daybreak, at the end of Office, that is, after the reading of the Gospel, the Sun was totally obscured; night fell and the stars appeared; the Moon itself was seen in the vicinity of the Sun. This was a sad and terrifying sight, which caused many people to lament with weeping; the sheep, oxen and horses crowded together in terror. The darkness lasted for two hours; afterwards the light returned. Fifteen days before (after?), in this month of Nisan at the decline of Monday (?), at dusk (?), there was an eclipse of the Moon in the part of the sky where the eclipse of the Sun had taken place." Seemingly, there are some errors in the translation of the observation recorded by Michael the Syrian. The historian Ibn al-Athir, who was 16 years old at that time, described the same solar eclipse in his work “al-Kamil fi al-tawarikh” : “In this year (571) the Sun was eclipsed totally and the Earth was in darkness so that it was like a dark night and the stars appeared. That was the forenoon of Friday the 29th of Ramadan at Jazirat Ibn ‘Umar [now Cizre, in Turkey], when I was young and in the company of my arithmetic teacher. When I saw it I was very much afraid; I held on to him and my heart was strengthened. My teacher was learned about the stars and told me: ‘now, you will see that all of this will go away’, and it went

quickly.” The historian Imad al-Din, who was with Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi at the time, also dates the solar eclipse in the year 570. The year 571/570 indicates the epoch of the Yazdajird era (32 BCE). We will discuss the epoch of the Yazdajird era in upcoming paragraphs. The year 571/570 of Yazdajird era was 537-538 BCE. The solar eclipse occurred on 15th Feb 538 CE in the month of Nisan month and the lunar eclipse also occurred in the month of Nisan on 31st Jan 538 CE. The Chronology of Parthian Kings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Arsaces I Arsaces II Priapatius Phraates I Mithridates I Phraates II Artabanus I Mithridates II Gotarzes I Mithridates III Orodes I Sinatruces I Phraates III Mithridates IV Orodes II Phraates IV Musa Phraates V Orodes III Vonones I Artabanus II Vardanes I Gotarzes II Meherdates Vonones II Vologases I Vardanes II Pacorus II Vologases II Artabanus III

In CE 907-877 BCE 877-851 BCE 851-836 BCE 836-831 BCE 831-792 BCE 792-787 BCE 787-784 BCE 784-751 BCE 751-747/740 BCE 747-740 BCE 740-735 BCE 738-729 BCE 729-717 BCE 717-714 BCE 717-697 BCE 697-662 BCE 662-658 BCE 658 BCE 658-654 BCE 654-648 BCE 650-620 BCE 620-613 BCE 620-609 BCE 611-609 BCE 609 BCE 609-582 BCE 605-602 BCE 582-550 BCE 582-580 BCE 580-579 BCE

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Osroes I Vologases III Parthamaspates Sinatruces II Mithridates V Vologases IV Osroes II Vologases V Vologases VI Artabanus IV

551-531 BCE 550-513 BCE 544-543 BCE 544 BCE 531-520 BCE 520-469 BCE 469 BCE 469-452 BCE 452-432 BCE 447-436 BCE

The Chronology of Persia as Recorded by Persian Historians Firdausi’s Shahnama is the earliest text which relates the chronological history of ancient Persia. According to Shahnama, the Pishdadian dynasty was the first dynasty that ruled over Persia. Keyumara or Gayomart was the first Persian king. Tabaqat-i-Nasiri tells us that Gayomart was the son of Adam in the Zoroastrian tradition whereas Shis was the son of Adam and Unnush also known as Gayomart was the son of Shis in the Islamic tradition. Adam had two more sons, Kabil and Nabati. Nabati and his descendants retired to the mountains of Jarmun. After 432 years, Nabati descendants came down from mountains and joined the descendants of Kabil. The sons of Nabati and Kabil began to act tyrannically when 1000 years passed after Adam. The descendants of Shis emerged as Gil-wanian or Bastanian dynasty and the first King Gil Shah made Bābil (Babylon) as his seat of Government 1024 years passed after Adam. When 1162 years has passed away, the countries of Arab, Ajam, Shām and Maghrab became settled. Tarikh-i-Guzida gives 2450 years for 11 kings of this dynasty. Tarikh-i-Guzida places Gil Shah around 4156 BCE. According to Avesta, Gayomart was the first king or human to worship Ahura Mazda but Zoroastrians follows the cycle of 12000 years. We will discuss the antiquity of ancient Persia in Chapter 13. The Persian historical account given by Tabaqat-i-Nasiri is fragmentary but it contains certain important historical events which can be reconciled with the chronology of Judaism like the date of Abrahm (Ibrahim) and Moses (Musa), etc. According to the Book of Exodus and Rabbinic Judaism, Moses led the exodus of the Jews out of Egypt. Evidently, the date of Exodus is closely linked with the date of Moses. The Jewish chronology tells us that Solomon built the first temple 480 years after Exodus. The Chaldean King Nabonassar II of Babylon destroyed the temple of Jerusalem 410 years after the date of the first temple. This destruction of temple occurred roughly 49 years before the reign of Medo-Persian King Cyrus (1199-1190 BCE). Before the reign of King Cyrus, Zoroaster II revived the ancient Zoroastrianism which came to be known as Maghism. The later descendants of the ancient Kayanian dynasty were ruling in Persia during the time of Zoroaster II. Al Beruni states that “In former times, Khurasan, Persia,

Iraq, Mosul, the country up to the frontier of Syria, was Buddhistic, but then Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) went forth from Azarbaijan and preached Magism in Balkh.…………. In consequence, the Buddhists were banished from those countries, and had to emigrate to the countries east of Balkh.” This statement of Al Beruni explicitly indicates that Buddha lived at least few hundred years before Zoroaster II.34 I have conclusively established in my book titled “The Chronology of India: From Mahabharata era to Medieval era” that Buddha attained nirvana in 1864 BCE. Persian historians indicate the date of Zoroaster II with reference to the epoch of the era of Alexandria. As already discussed, Abul Fazal says that the era of Alexandria commenced in 972 BCE and the Syro-Macedonian era commenced in 973 BCE. According to Abu Rayhan, from the appearance of Zoroaster II to the beginning of the era of Alexandria (972 BCE), Persians count 258 years which indicates that Zoroaster II lived around 1231-1230 BCE. However, if we compute the years from the creation of Gayomarth (the first man) till the era of Alexandria, the sum is 354 years. Thus, we can roughly fix the lifetime of Zoroaster II around 1326-1230 BCE. He lived for 77 years. Therefore, the date of Zoroaster must be either 13261249 BCE (1326 minus 77) or 1307-1230 BCE (1230 plus 77). Undoubtedly, there was another Zarathushtra or Zoroaster I who lived many thousands of years before the lifetime of Zoroaster II. We will discuss the date of Zoroaster I later. Tarikh-i-Guzida mentions that the Kayanian dynasty reigned for 734 years but this period includes the reign of Achaemenid Empire. It appears that the author of Tarikh-i-Guzida considered the Achaemenid Kings as outsiders. Kai-Kubad was the founder of ancient Kayanian dynasty. Modern historians have failed to fix the chronology of the Kayanian kings and unreasonably declared them to be mythical. In reality, the Kayanian kings were indeed historical kings. Tabaqat-i-Nasiri gives the chronology of later Kayanian kings who reigned before the rise of Alexander. Later Kayanian Kings 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Bahman Humāe, the daughter of Bahman Darab-i-Akbar (He made captive the king of Rum.) Dara-i-Asghar Iskandar (Alexander)

Duration of Reign 22 y 30 y 12 y

In CE

14 y 12 y? 8 y

1006-992 BCE 992-984 BCE

1070-1048 BCE 1048-1018 BCE 1018-1006 BCE

According to Ptolemy, Bukht-un-Nassar (Nabonassar II) reigned around 1262-1220 BCE and he destroyed the temple of Jerusalem around 1248 BCE. Solomon built the temple of Jerusalem 410 years before the destruction. Thus, Solomon built the temple around 1658 BCE. Tabaqat-i-Nasiri mentions that the Kayanian King Kai-Luhrasib appointed Bukht-un-Nassar (Nabonassar II) as commander-in-chief, who reigned around 1310-1270 BCE and his son

Gushtasp reigned around 1270-1230 BCE. According to Persian historians, the Kayanian dynasty was ruling over Khurasan and Persia during the time of Zoroaster. Kayanian King Gushtasp was the contemporary of Zoroaster II (1307-1230 BCE). According to Zoroastrians, Gushtasp converted to Zoroastrianism in the 42nd year of Zoroaster around 1265 BCE. According to Zoroastrian texts, the religion of Zoroastrianism was in purity till the completion of 300 years starting from the foundation by Zoroaster II. But Iskandar, the Ruman, invaded Iran who was dwelling in the Egypt. Tarikh-i-Guzida and Tabaqat-i-Nasiri mention that Iskandar was the descendant of Isfandiyar. Tarikh-i-Guzida says that Iskandar conquered the whole world. His wazir was Aristotle. Interestingly, the author of Tarikh-i-Guzida accuses that Aristotle plagiarized Persian philosophy and then burnt the books and destroyed the sciences of Persians. Tabaqat-i-Nasiri and Tarikh-i-Guzida mentions that Iskandar was the son of Darab, a descendant of Isfandiyar. Darab demands in marriage the daughter of Failakus, the king of Greeks but divorces her. She gave birth to Iskandar whom Failakus declares to be his own son. According to Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, Iskandar brought all Rum under his subjection. These Persian texts clearly mention that Iskandar reigned in Persia for 8 years or 12 years and died at Shahrazur in Iran but buried at Alexandria. Thus, the reign of Iskandar can be fixed around 992-984 BCE. The Chronology of Persia after Alexander Tarikh-i-Guzida tells us that Iskandar divided Persia before his death amongst 90 tribal kings. These tribal kings ruled over Persia for 318 years or 415 years until the foundation of Sasanian dynasty by Ardashir. Learning and Science flourished during this period and the book of Sindbad and other notable books were composed. The Chronology of the Tribal Kings: First Branch 1. Abtahan-i-Rumi (He held Khurasan, Iraq and part of Fars and Kirman from Iskandar.) Second Branch (Chronology needs to be corrected) 1. Ashk of Dara 2. Ashk II, the son of Ashk 3. Shapur, the son of Ashk II (He defeated Greeks and recovered the spoils taken from Persia by Iskandar.) 4. Bahram 5. Balash 6. Hurmazd 7. Narsi

Duration

In CE

4y

984-980 BCE

15 y 20 y 6y

980-700 BCE

11 y 16 y 16 y 4y

8. 9. 10. 11.

Firuz, the son of Balash Khusraw Balashan Ardawan

17 y 6y 22 y 13 y

Third Branch: Ashghanians (178 years) 1. Ardawan 2. Khusraw (Jesus Christ was born) 3. Balash 4. Gudarz 5. Biri (Ways and Ramin governed Persia) 6. Gudarz 7. Narsi 8. Narsi II (Romans attacked Persia but he drove them away.)

30 y 25 y 27 y 30 y 20 y 5y 10 y 31 y

700-670 BCE 670-645 BCE 645-618 BCE 618-588 BCE 588-568 BCE 568-563 BCE 563-553 BCE 553-522 BCE

When these tribal kings were ruling over Iraq & southern Persia, Parthians, Indo-Parthians and Indo-Greeks were ruling over the regions closer to Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. According to Tarikh-i-Guzida and Abu Rayhan, the Sasanians ruled for 527 years. They started ruling 415 years after the epoch of the era of Alexandria (972 BCE). Thus, we can fix the reign of Sasanians around 522-13 BCE. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Sasanian dynasty Ardashir Babakan Shapur Hurmazd Bahram Bahram II Bahram III Narsi Hurmazd Shapur II Ardashir Shapur III Bahram IV Yazdajird Yazdajird II Bahram Gur Yazdajird Hurmazd Firoz

Duration 44 y 31 y 2y 13 y 3 m 8y 13 y 4 m 9y 9y 72 y 10 y 5y4m 13 y 1y 21 y 6 m 53 y (63 y) 17 y 1y 10 y

In CE 522-478 BCE 478-447 BCE 447-445 BCE 445-432 BCE 432-424 BCE 424-411 BCE 411-402 BCE 402-393 BCE 393-321 BCE 321-311 BCE 311-306 BCE 306-293 BCE 293-292 BCE 292-271 BCE 271-218 BCE 218-201 BCE 201-200 BCE 200-190 BCE

19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

Balash Qubad Nusherwan Hurmazd Khusru Parwez Shiruya Ardashir Turan Dukht Asarmi Dukht Farrukh Sad Yazdajird

5y 45 y (64 y) 48 y 18 y (12 y) 38 y 6m 1y6m 6m 4m 1m 4 y (10 y? 20 y?)

190-185 BCE 185-140 BCE 140-92 BCE 92-74 BCE 74-36 BCE 35-35 BCE 35-34 BCE 33-33 BCE 33 BCE 33 BCE 32-13 BCE

According to Tarikh-i-Guzida, the 9th Sasanian king Shapur was born 40 days after the death of his father Hurmazd. Since Arabs troubled him in his childhood, he invaded Arab and killed many of them. He got a nick-name of Dhul-Aktaf (the Shoulder man). Once Shapur visits Emperor of Rum (King of Egypt), pretending to be his own ambassador but is recognised and taken prisoner. The Qayser (Emperor) of Rum devastates Persia. Shapur aided by a girl who falls in love with him escapes to Persia, takes the Qayser captive, and compels him to repair the ruin he caused in Persia by the Greek workmen. The 15th Sasanian king Bahram Gur invaded India and married a daughter of an Indian king. Interestingly, Indian game “Chess” was introduced to Persia during the reign of the 21 st Sasanian king Nusherwan. Nusherwan reigned for 48 years. Prophet Mohammad was born in the 40th regnal year of Nusherwan, i.e., 100-99 BCE. Tabaqat-i-Nasiri mentions that Khusru Parwez was the greatest king of Persia and ruled for 38 years. Mohammad began to propagate his religion in the 20th year of his reign, i.e., 54 BCE and Mohammad fled Mecca to Madina in the 30th year, i.e., 44-43 BCE. Mohammad died in 33 BCE during the reign of Turan Dukht, the daughter of the Sasanian king Khusru Parwez. Mohammad started converting many people of Madina to Islam. The people of Mecca, instigated by Iblis, in the form of an old man of Najd, try to kill Mohammad but he fled to Madina in 44-43 BCE. According to Tarikh-i-Guzida, Mohammad sent letters to the rulers of adjacent countries inviting them to embrace Islam. The King of Egypt answered politely and sent presents including a girl Mariya and a mule Duldul. The King of Syria did not answer at all. The King of Yaman declined to accept Islam. The Kings of Oman, Bahrin and Abyssinia accepted Islam. The Sasanian king Khusru Parwaz tore the letter in pieces. In Hijrah 10 (34 BCE), Abu Bakr was appointed as deputy of Mohammad due to his illness. Mohammad died in 34-33 BCE. Tarikh-i-Guzida considers the epoch of Hijrah in 34-33 BCE. The Chronology of the successors of Mohammad as given in Tarikh-i-Guzida:

Five orthodox Caliphs The remaining ten Imams (excluding Ali and al-Hasan) 14 Umayyad Kings (not Caliphs)

In Hijrah Era From 11 AH to 41 AH (30 Lunar years) From 49 AH to 264 AH (215 lunar years and 7 months) From 41 AH to 132 AH (91 lunar years)

In CE 34 BCE - 6 BCE 4 CE - 219 CE

5 CE - 93 CE

37 Abbasid Caliphs

From 132 AH to 656 AH 93 CE - 602 CE (523 lunar years, 2 months and 23 days) nd During the reign of Al Mansur the 2 Caliph, many Indian astronomical texts were translated into Persian and Arabic. He established a house of wisdom in Baghdad. Al-Mamun, the 7th Caliph ordered to translate the texts of Greek and Syriac. He used to attend weekly conferences on literary and scientific matters. Al-Mutadid, the 16th Caliph restored the Persian Navroz festival from the Vernal Equinox to Mid-Summer. He died in 289 AH, i.e., 246 CE. During the reign of Al-Muqtadir, the 18th Caliph, Ismailis defeated Aghlabi princes in North-western Africa. Daylamis revolted in 315 AH. In 319 AH, Carmathians under Abu Said al-Jannabi again attacked Mecca and massacred the inhabitants, so that the well of Zamzam was filled with blood, and carried off the black stone. Carmathians restored the black stone at Mecca after 20 years in 339 AH (294 CE) without any obvious reason. Mongol invasions began during the reign of An-Nasir, the 34th Caliph (575-622 AH). In 656 AH (602 CE), Hulagu Khan the Mongol takes Baghdad and kills Al-Mustasim, the 37th Caliph. In 40 days, Mongols killed 8 Lakh inhabitants of Baghdad. The author of Tarikh-i-Guzida mentions that 13 Mongol Khan kings reigned in Persia for 131 years up to 730 AH (673 CE). Thus, Mongol Kings occupied Persia around 542-673 CE. Mongol Kings were still ruling over Persia in 673 CE when Tarikh-i-Guzida was written by Hamdullah Mustawfi-i-Qazwini. The Epoch of Anno Hegirae (the Hijrah Era) According to Islamic historians, Prophet Mohammad was born in the 40 th regnal year of the Sasanian King Nusherwan. Tabaqat-i-Nasiri mentions that Mohammad began to propagate his religion in the 20th regnal year of the Sasanian King Khusru Parwez, i.e., 54-53 BCE and Mohammad fled from Mecca to Madina in the 30th year, i.e., 44-43 BCE. Mohammad died in the 11th year of Hijrah era during the reign of Turan Dukht, the daughter of the Sasanian king Khusru Parwez. Mohammad and his close associate Abu Bakr had to migrate from Mecca to Madina due to persecution of his followers. Since the migration of Mohammad was a major turning point in the history of Islam, therefore, it became an epoch of the Islamic era known as Hijrah era.

The Early Islamic Lunar Calendar In pre-Islamic era, Babylonians, Jews and Arabs traditionally followed the Amanta (new moon to new moon) lunar calendar whereas the people of Northern Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan followed the Purnimanta (full moon to full moon) lunar calendar. The early Islamic lunar calendar was the Amanta calendar without any intercalation. According to the Islamic historians, Ibrahim, son of Mohammad was born in the last month of 8 AH. Seemingly, the first year of the early Islamic lunar calendar commenced on 29 Apr 44 BCE. Thus, the lunar year 8 of Anno Hegirae was from 13th Feb 37 BCE to 2 Feb 36 BCE. Ibrahim might have born in January 36 BCE. He fell seriously ill sometime after the Battle of Tabuk and died on 29 Rabi al Akhiri in 10 AH. The lunar year 10 of Anno Hegirae was from 22nd Jan 35 BCE to 11th Jan 34 BCE. Interestingly, it is recorded that there was a solar eclipse on the day Ibrahim died. The 29th day of the fourth lunar month, i.e., Rabi al Akhiri was 19 May 35 BCE and a solar eclipse occurred on that day.

According to Islamic history, Mohammad was born in the Year of Elephant (Kabah of Mecca was attacked by a large army which included elephants). The Koran mentions that a solar eclipse preceded the birth of Mohammad. Most probably, the Year of Elephant was 100-99 BCE and a solar eclipse occurred on 17th May 100 BCE. Mohammad died in the last month of 11 AH (11 Jan 34 BCE to 1 Jan 33 BCE), i.e., December 34 BCE.

Thus, we can fix the year of birth of Mohammad in 100-99 BCE. Imam Ali, the fourth Caliph (11-6 BCE) was born in 70-69 BCE 30 years after the year of elephant (100-99 BCE). He was assassinated on 21 Ramadan 39 AH (40 AH?), i.e., December 7 BCE when he was 63 years old.

The Shias of Iraq proclaimed Ali’s eldest son Hasan as their Caliph but Hasan wanted to avoid bloodshed. After Seven months, he signed a treaty with Muwaiah and surrendered his control over the Caliphate to him in Rabi al Akhiri, 40 AH, i.e., July 6 BCE. Most probably, Muwaiah stayed three months in Mecca. He decided to shift his capital from Mecca to Damascus, Syria but as his men were removing it, the sky darkened and stars were visible. Evidently, there was a total solar eclipse on 23rd October 6 BCE.

The Battle of Karbala took place in 61 AH (13 CE) and Imam Husain died in 10 Muharram 61 AH, i.e., 7 Aug 13 CE. The day of the death of Imam Husain also coincided with the day of Ashura. Zoroastrians celebrated the ancient Navroz, i.e., Jamshedi Navroz when Sun entered into Leo. Ashura was probably the 10th day of Jamshedi Navroz celebrations. Thus, we can conclusively establish the timelines of Muhammad, Ibrahim, Imam Ali and the death of Imam Husain. Mohammad and his early successors had followed the amanta calendar that commenced on 29th April 44 BCE. Muharram was the first month of Islamic calendar and it was identical to Nisan, the first month of the Jewish lunisolar calendar. There was an intercalary month of Nisan in 44 BCE in the Jewish calendar. Therefore, the month of Muharram of 1 AH commenced on 29 Apr 44 BCE. Al-Tabari mentions that there was a difference of 585 years between the ascension of Jesus and Hijrah. Jesus was crucified on 1 Apr 629 BCE, resurrected on 3 Apr 629 BCE (Easter Sunday) and ascended to heaven (40th day of Easter, i.e., Thursday) on 12 May 629 BCE. Mohammad fled from Mecca to Madina in 44 BCE exactly after 585 years. The Epoch of the Hijrah Era after the Battle of Karbala Seemingly, the early tradition of Islamic calendar had been reformed under the influence of the converted Zoroastrian Muslims. Though the Persians accepted Islam but they continued to celebrate Navroz festival. The Muslims of Khurasan and Iraq had followed the solar calendar of Yazdajird era (32 BCE) and the Islamic lunar calendar of Hijrah era (42 BCE). A Mohammadan canon called Al-harkan indicates that the epoch of the Hijrah era commenced on 4 Aug 42 BCE.35 During the reign of Al Mansur the 2nd Caliph of Abbasid dynasty, a house of wisdom was established in Baghdad which promoted the research on astronomy. The Zoroastrians used to celebrate traditional Jamshedi Navroz around July-August. The Yazdajird era had commenced from the day of Jamshedi Navroz in 32 BCE, i.e., 6 July 32 BCE, i.e., 1 Farvardin. The Zoroastrian Muslims of Fars celebrated Navroz on the vernal equinox. They

followed another epoch of the Yazdajird era that commenced on 30 Mar 29 BCE, i.e., 1 Farvardin. With an objective to reconcile the calendars in the Yazdajird and Hijrah eras, the Muslims of Fars had reset the Islamic lunar calendar in 39 BCE considering 28 Oct 39 BCE as the first day of Muharram. In 29 BCE, 12th July 29 BCE was the first day of Muharram. During the reign of the Ionian Greeks and the Parthians, Northern Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Bactria had followed the Purnimanta lunisolar calendar. The people of Northern Iran, Turkmenistan and Bactria used to celebrate Navroz on vernal equinox but followed the Purnimanta lunisolar calendar. The year of the lunisolar calendar was from vernal equinox to vernal equinox. Thus, the Purnimanta lunisolar calendar of the Yazdajird era had commenced on 30th Mar 29 BCE. After conversion to Islam, they had also reset the Islamic lunar calendar considering 30 Mar 29 BCE as the first day of Muharram. Tarikh-i-Guzida informs us that Al-Mutadid, the 16th Caliph restored the Persian Navroz festival from the Vernal Equinox to Mid-Summer. Thus, two schools of Islamic calendars came into existence. The Persians followed the Amanta lunar calendar considering 12 July 29 BCE as the first day of Muharram whereas the Muslims of Sogdia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Bactria followed the Purnimanta lunar calendar considering 30 Mar 29 BCE as the first day of Muharram. It appears that these two Islamic lunar calendars had referred to two different epochs of the Hijrah era. The Persian authors of Tarikh-i-Guzida and Tabaqat-i-Nasiri indicate that the epoch of the Hijrah era commenced in 34 BCE. Minhaj-i-Siraj, the author of Tabaqat-i-Nasiri mentions that Sultan Nasir-ud-Dunya ascended the throne in 644 AH. He says; “The Sultan-iMuazzam, Nasir-ud-Dunya wa ud-Din, Mahmud Shah, under a happy conjunction of the Planets, with auspicious fortune, at a propitious time, and, with daily-increasing prosperity, ascended the throne of sovereignty within the Kasr-i-Sabz in the capital city of Dihli, on Sunday, the 23rd of the month of Muharram, in the year 644 Hijrah.”36 Evidently, Mihaj indicates the conjunction of Planets before the coronation of Sultan Nasir-ud-Dunya. This conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Sun and Moon took place on 8 th June 590 CE, the year 644 Hijrah commenced on 1 Muharram, i.e., 8 July 590 CE and Sultan Nasir-ud-Dunya ascended the throne on 30 July 590 CE, i.e., 23 Muharram 644 AH. Historians assumed the epoch of Hijrah era in 16 July 622 BCE. Thus, 23 Muharram 644 AH corresponds to 10 June 1246 CE but there was no conjunction of planets in the year 1246 CE.

Minhaj relates that “The capital city Dihli was reached on the 2nd of Muharram, 645 AH, and the Sultan remained at Dihli on account of the abundance of rain and severity of the rainy

season.”37 The 2nd Muharram 645 AH corresponds to 29 June 591 CE. Apparently, the monsoon had arrived in Delhi in the last week of June 591 CE. If the epoch of Hijrah era was 622 CE, 2 Muharram 645 AH corresponds to 9th May 1247 CE. It was the summer season in Delhi in May 1247 CE. Minhaj indicates that the vernal equinox occurred on the 13 th of the Safar in the Hijrah year 658. He says; “When the new year of 658 AH came in, the sun of sovereignty rose from the horizon of prosperity (vernal equinox), and the moon of dominion shone forth from the zodiac of happiness (Libra). On the 13th of the month of Safar, the Khan-i-Muazzam, Ulugh Khan-iAzam marched towards Kohpayah of Dihli”.38 The Sun entered into Aries on 21/22 Mar 604 CE, i.e., 13 Safar 658 AH. If the epoch of Hijrah era was 622 CE, 13 Safar 658 AH corresponds to 29 Jan 1260 CE. It was impossible to establish the occurrence of vernal equinox in January 1260 CE. Evidently, the epoch of 622 CE miserably fails to explain the verifiable dates of Hijrah calendar given in Tabaqat-i-Nasiri. It is evident from the above that Tabaqat-i-Nasiri considers the commencement of the epoch of Hijrah era in 34 BCE. The Amanta Islamic lunar calendar of Persia and Arabia followed the epoch of 34 BCE (1 Muharram 34 BCE corresponds to 4 Sep 34 BCE) and for counting of lunar years and 1st Muharram of this calendar corresponds to 12 July 29 BCE in the 1st year of Yazdajird era. Abul Fazal, the author of Akbarnama clearly indicates the epoch of the Hijrah era (Purnimanta Calendar) in 39 BCE as already explained in the Chapter 2. Thus, the Purnimanta Islamic lunar calendar of Mughals followed the epoch of 39 BCE (1 Muharram 39 BCE corresponds to 16 July 39 BCE) for counting of lunar years and the 1st Muharram of this calendar corresponds to 30 March 29 BCE in the 1st year of Yazdajird era (29 BCE). The Navroz festival on vernal equinox day was the most sacred festival for the Mughals. Therefore, they followed the traditional solar calendar as well as the Purnimanta Islamic lunar calendar. This may be the reason why the author of Tabaqat-i-Nasiri refers to the Mughals as “Infidels”. Al Tabari and the Epoch of Hijrah Era Al Tabari, a Persian historian wrote the history of Prophets and Kings in the third century CE. He referred to the occurrence of two eclipses (lunar and solar) in the month of Muharram in the lunar year 269. Al Tabari records; “In the month of Muharram this year, the Moon was eclipsed on the night of the 14th and the moon rose eclipsed (set eclipsed?). The Sun was eclipsed at the time of sunset on Friday, when two nights remained to the completion of Muharram, and set eclipsed. So in this month there were both lunar and solar eclipses.” Ibn al Jawazi of Baghdad and Ibn al Athir of Mosul also referred to the same eclipses. These two lunar and solar eclipses might have been observed at Basra, Iraq. Certainly, these two eclipses occurred during the lifetime of Al Tabari. Most probably, Al Tabari counted the lunar years from the epoch of 29 BCE though he referred to Hijrah years prior to 29 BCE. As already explained, the Islamic lunar calendar had been reformed starting from the epoch of the Yazdajird era (12 July 29 BCE). The 269th lunar year commenced on 28 July 230 CE (1 Muharram) in the amanta Islamic lunar calendar. A lunar

eclipse occurred on 11 Aug 230 CE and the Moon rose eclipsed. A solar eclipse occurred on 25 Aug 230 CE and the sun set eclipsed.

Al Tabari also mentioned to the occurrence of solar eclipse in the lunar year 203. He stated; “In this year (203rd Lunar year), there was an eclipse of the sun on Sunday, the 28th of Dhu alHijjah, to the extent that the sun’s light faded away and over two-thirds of its orb disappeared. The eclipse began when the sun was getting high and continued till it was nearly noon, then it cleared away.” Al Tabari might have borrowed the details of this eclipse from oral tradition. This solar eclipse occurred on 4 Sep 164 CE but the month was Muharram as per the lunar calendar followed by Al Tabari. The maximum eclipse was at ~11:00 to 11:30 hrs and the partial eclipse ended at ~12:30 to 13:00 hrs.

Al Tabari also mentioned the following four lunar eclipses: 1

A great earthquake took place in the Yemen along with a lunar eclipse in the month of Shaban in the lunar year 242. This total lunar eclipse occurred 13 Dec 205 CE in the month of Shaban.

2

There was a total lunar eclipse on 14th of Dhu-al-Qada in the lunar year 253. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurred on 24 Nov 215 CE and a Total lunar eclipse occurred on 11/12 Nov 216 CE. Both eclipses took place in the month of Dhu al-Qada.

3

There was a lunar eclipse on Tuesday evening, on the 14th of Shawwal in the lunar year 257. This lunar eclipse occurred on 11 Sep 219 CE.

4

It was reported that a letter arrived from Dabil in the month of Dhu-al-Hijjah informing that the moon was eclipsed there on the 14th of Shawwal. Then it reappeared at the end of the night…. In the afternoon, there was an earthquake.” This lunar eclipse was remembered as bad omen because the Armenian capital city of Dabil was destroyed in a strong earthquake. This lunar eclipse occurred on 25 Dec 242 CE and the eclipse ended at 5:02 AM. Thus, at the end of the night the moon had reappeared.

Early Records of Solar and Lunar Eclipses in Arabic Chronicles Said S. Said, FR Stephenson and Wafiq Rada published their research article titled “Record of Solar Eclipses in Arabic Chronicles” in 1989. FR Stephenson and Said S. Said also published an article titled “Record of Lunar Eclipses in Medieval Arabic Chronicles” in 1997. 39 Let us examine some of the solar eclipses discussed in these two articles to establish the epoch of the Hijrah era. 1. Ibn Idhari wrote a history of Morocco and al-Andalus (Spain). He records; “In this year (218th lunar year), there was the great solar eclipse in which the Sun was obscured and darkness appeared. That was before the Sun reached the meridian (midday) at the end of Ramadan”. Ibn Idhari clearly indicates that a total solar eclipse occurred before noon. This total solar eclipse occurred on 5 Oct 172 CE at the end of Ramadan month. Seemingly, Ibn Idhari followed the epoch of 39 BCE (16 July 39 BCE) and the amanta calendar.

2. Ibn Hayyan records; “In this year (290?), the Sun was eclipsed in Cordoba and its vicinity on Wednesday, when one night remained to the completion of Dhu al Hijjah.” This solar eclipse occurred on 14th Jun 234 CE.

3. Ibn Hayyan records; “In this year (299?), the Sun was eclipsed and it disappeared totally on Wednesday when one night remained to the completion of Shawwal. The stars appeared and darkness covered the horizon. Thinking it was sunset, most of the people went for the Sunset (Maghrib) Prayer. Afterwards, the darkness cleared and the Sun reappeared for half an hour and then set.” This solar eclipse occurred on 29 Jan 241 CE. The solar eclipse ended around 17:51 hrs and the Sun set around 18:30 hrs.

4. Ibn Hayyan quotes from the history of al-Andalus written by Al-Razi: “The Caliph alNasir (i.e. Abd al-Rahman al-Nasir) advanced (northwards from Cordoba) heading for his Jihad until he reached Toledo on Thursday, when seven nights remained to the completion of Ramadan. He stayed there for six days and left on Thursday, when two

nights remained to the completion of Ramadan, for Welmish fortress and on Friday to Khalifa Castle. During the forenoon (Dhuhr) of that day, the Sun was eclipsed totally and its disc became dark except for a slight portion of it as seen by the eye.” Ibn Hayyan also quotes from the works of al-Masudi; “In this year, the Caliph al-Nasir…. At the end of month Ramadan, the Sun was eclipsed on Friday in the late forenoon (great Dhuhr), when two nights remained to the completion of the month Ramadan.” Seemingly, there is a mistake in English translation. “Dhuhr” has been deliberately distorted as “Duha” but Duha is not a compulsory prayer. Dhuhr is the prayer after midday. Thus, Ibn Hayyan clearly indicates that the solar eclipse took place late in the afternoon. This solar eclipsed occurred on 3 Apr 265 CE.

5. Al-Maqrizi who lived in Cairo states; “In this year (383?), the Sun was eclipsed totally at the end of Jumada al Ukhra. It was so dark that stars appeared and people could not see the palms of their hands. The eclipse cleared at the end of the day.” This eclipse occurred in Cairo on 17 July 334 CE.

6. Interestingly, Ibn al-Jawazi (510-579 Hijrah) gives the graphic narrative of the total solar eclipse that occurred in Cairo during his lifetime. He wrote; “On Wednesday, when two nights remained to the completion of (the month of) Jumada al-Ula, two hours after daybreak, the Sun was eclipsed totally. There was darkness and the birds fell whilst flying. The astrologers claimed that one-sixth of the Sun should have remained [uneclipsed] but nothing of it did so. The Sun reappeared after four hours

and a fraction. The eclipse was not in the whole of the Sun in places other than Baghdad and its provinces.” This solar eclipse occurred on 11 Nov 402 CE.

7. Ibn al-Athir also writes; “In this year (571?), the Sun was eclipsed totally and the Earth was in darkness so that it was like a dark night and the stars appeared. That was the forenoon of Friday the 29th of Ramadan at Jazirat Ibn Umar [now Cizre, in Turkey], when I was young and in the company of my arithmetic teacher. When I saw it I was very much afraid; I held on to him and my heart was strengthened. My teacher was learned about the stars and told me: now, you will see that all of this will go away, and it went quickly." Imad Al-Din al-Asfahani al-Katib also records in his chronicle that a total solar eclipse was witnessed by Salah al-Din and his army while crossing the Orontes River near Hamah. The total solar eclipse witnessed by Ibn al Athir amd Salah al-din took place on 29 Jun 512 CE.

Abu Rayhan and the Hijrah Calendar Abu Rayhan tells us that Arabs learnt the intercalation system from Jews about 200 years before Hijrah. He says; “This went on till the time when the Prophet fled from Mecca to Madina, when the turn of intercalation, as we have mentioned, had come to Shaban. Now this month was called Muharram and Ramadan was called Safar. He also says that the people Thamud commenced their year with the month Daimur, i.e., Ramadan. Evidently, Abu Rayhan indicates that the early Islamic lunar calendar had undergone reforms roughly 100-150 years after the epoch of Hijrah. He also informs us that Caliph Almutawakkil planned to postpone Navroz till the 17th of Haziran but he was killed. The poet Albuhturi composed a Kasida in

praise of Almutawakkil where he says: “The Day of Navroz has returned to that time, on which it was fixed by Ardashir”. Later, Caliph Almutadid had reformed the calendar in in Muharram 243 AH. He added 60 days and put Navroz at the end of them which fell on a Wednesday, the 1st Khurdadh Mah of that year coinciding with the 11th of Haziran. Al Beruni and the Hijrah Calendar As already explained in the Chapter 2, Al Beruni and Abu Rayhan were not the same person. Abu Rayhan lived in the 4th century CE whereas Al Beruni flourished in the beginning of the 11th century CE. Abu Rayhan had no knowledge of Indian astronomy and he had just heard about the Indian method of intercalation whereas Al Beruni had extensively studied the Persian translations of Indian astronomical texts before his arrival in India. Abu Rayhan was certainly not a Khwarizmian whereas Al Beruni was born in Khwarizm. Abu Rayhan wrote in the Arabic language whereas Al Beruni wrote in the Persian language. Abu Rayhan praises his master Shams-ul-maali as “The commander, the prince, the glorious and victorious, the benefactor, Shams-ul-maali” whereas Al Beruni praises Prince Mahmud of Ghazna. The Kufic inscription on the tower of Qabus in Northern Iran refers to Prince Shams-ul-maali. During the lifetime of Abu Rayhan, the Buddhist monuments, the Viharas of their idols, their farkharas are still to be seen on the frontier countries of Khurasan and India but all traces of Buddhism in central Asia, Khurasan, Afghanistan and north western India seem to have disappeared during the lifetime of Al Beruni. Al Beruni knew scarcely anything at all about Buddhism. Al Beruni refers to the year 400 of the reformed Yazdajird era, i.e., 1030 CE. Seemingly, the Yazdajird calendar had been finally reformed in 631 CE and a new reckoning of the Yazdajird era commenced from 631 CE. Thus, Al Beruni clearly mentions that the Hindu New-Year day or Chaitra Shukla Pratipada of the year 953 of the Saka era (78 CE) corresponds to 19th Ispandarmaz Mah of the year 399 of Yazdajird era Chaitra Pratipada of the Saka year 953 was 7 March 1030 CE which was 19th Ispandarmaz in the Yazdajirdi calendar and 1st day of the year 400, i.e., Navroz fell on 23rd March 1030. Considering the epoch of Islamic amanta lunar calendar from 12 July 29 BCE, 28th Safar of the lunar year 422 fell on 7 March 1030 CE. Evidently, Al Beruni had referred to the new reckoning of the Yazdajird era (21/22 March 631 CE), i.e., the epoch of the Fasli calendar. Accordingly, the counting of lunar years in the Islamic amanta lunar calendar had also been reset from 26 July 621 CE. In view of the above, it is evident that the epoch of the Hijrah era and the counting of lunar years in the Islamic lunar calendar cannot be established in one particular epoch because it slightly differed from time to time and place to place. Seemingly, the earliest epoch of Hijrah era was 44 BCE. Thereafter, the epoch of 29 BCE became popular for counting of lunar years with reference to the solar calendar of the Yazdajird era. Later, 34 BCE became the epoch of Hijrah era in Persia and 39 BCE became the epoch of Hijrah in Sogdia. Probably, Andalus, Morocco and Cairo followed the epoch of 39 BCE.

Though the lunar Hijrah era was in use but the interruption of continuity in intercalation, the commencements of the years fell into a great confusion. At the instance of Sultan Jalaluddin Malik Shah Saljuki, Omar Khayyam and several other learned men reformed the solar and lunar calendars and founded an epoch in 417 CE which came to be known as Jalali or Maliki era. Thereafter, during the reign of Ghazan Khan, the pain of the agriculturists has been understood as the revenue was taken on the lunar years and the harvest depended on the solar. Abolishing this practice Ghazan Khan promoted the cause of justice by the introduction of the Khani era in 640 CE. It appears that the Khwarizmi Islamic scholars reset the Yazdajird era in 631 CE and reformed the solar calendar considering the epoch of 631 CE and the lunar calendar considering the epoch of 621 CE. Seemingly, Al Beruni had referred to these epochs. The historians have assumed only one epoch of Hijrah era (16 July 622 CE) and miserably failed to explain numerous verifiable eclipses and astronomical observations. Recently, a manuscript of Quran, which is held by University of Burmingham was radiocarbon dated to between 568 and 645 CE. According to Islamic tradition, the third Caliph Uthman (644-656 CE) compiled and canonized the earliest version of Quran. Evidently, the radiocarbon dating of the Burmingham Quran manuscript indicates the chronological error in dating of the lifetime of Muhammad. A silver coin of Ali Raja found in Cannanore, Kerala records the Hijrah year 1631. If the epoch of Hijrah era had commenced in 622 CE, the year must be 2204 CE which would be impossible. Another coin found in India is dated in the Hijrah year 1314 and the regnal year 24 of Mughal King Shah Alam. The legends on observe are: Sikkazad bar haft Kishwar saya fazal e Ilah, hami din Muhammad Shah Alam Badshah, (Struck coin in seven climes the shadow of the divine favour; the defender of the faith, Emperor Muhammad Shah Alam) and the legends on reverse are: Manus maimanatsanahjulus 24, zarb Onrachha. The Hijrah year 1314 was 18961897 CE. It is impossible to establish the reign of Mughal king Shah Alam around 1872-1896 CE. Evidently, the epoch of the Hijrah era cannot be fixed in 622 CE.

A coin of Ali Raja dated 1631 AH

A coin of Shah Alam dated 1314 AH

The Epoch of the Yazdajird Era: Sasanian King Yazdajird III was the son of Shahryar Aparwez bin Hurmuz bin Noshirwan and reigned around 32-13 BCE. The earliest Yazdajird era began with the accession of ancient Zoroastrian king Jamshed in ancient times. After him every succeeding monarch renewed its designation by his own accession and Yazdajird III had also

re-instituted it from his ascension on 5/6 July 32 BCE, Sunday. Abul Fazal says that total 963 years have been elapsed in 933-934 CE. Thus, Abul Fazal clearly indicates that the Yazdajirdi calendar commenced from the vernal equinox that occurred on 30 Mar 29 BCE. Evidently, there were two calendars of the Yazdajird era. The Zoroastrian Yazdajirdi calendar of Khurasan and Iraq commenced from the date of the ascension of Sasanian King Yazdajird III, i.e., 5/6 July 32 BCE. These Zoroastrians of Iraq and Khurasan traditionally celebrated Jamshedi Navroz during the month of July-Aug when Sun entered into Leo. The Zoroastrian Yazdajirdi calendar of Fars and Sogdia commenced when sun entered into Aries. Seemingly, the Yazdajirdi calendar of Fars and Sogdia commenced on 30 Mar 29 BCE. Thus, there were two epochs of the Yazdajird calendar. Ancient Persia followed a solar calendar of 365 days since ancient times. This calendar of 365 days followed an intercalation of one solar month after a cycle of 120 years. This is the reason why the epoch of this era had been reset many times. Seemingly, Zoroaster II might have reset the ancient Zoroastrian calendar in 1230 BCE. Thereafter, the calendar was probably reset in 1093 BCE during the reign of Achmaenid King Artaxerxes I. The Chaldean Zoroastrians followed a planetary cycle of 1440 years. This cycle might have commenced on 7 th Apr 1093 BCE when the Sun and Saturn were in conjunction in Aries during the vernal equinox and the same conjunction took place on 26th Mar 349 CE. Though this astronomical conjunction cycle took 1443 years but the traditional calendar of 1440 years ended in 346 CE. This may be the reason why the tower of Qabus was built an ancient city of Northern Iran in the 375 th year of Yazdajird era, i.e., 345 CE (in the epoch of 29 BCE). A Kufic inscription on the tower reads: “This tall palace for the prince Shams ul-Ma'ali, Amir Qabus ibn Wushmgir ordered to build during his life, in the year 397 the lunar Hijrah, and the year 375 the solar Hijrah”. Simon Cristoforetti writes: “The plan of the tower is derived from the combination of two simple geometrical shapes: the circle and the decagon. The regular decagon is a polygon having all sides of equal length and each angle equal to 144o; therefore, the sum of ten angles is equal to 1440o. This is the utmost importance for our understanding of the tower structure, because it implies that the decagon revolution number is 4 (1440/360). It does not seem to far-fetched at all to say that the tower of Qabus bears a reference to the intercalary cycle of the Iranian calendar lasting 1440 years.” Evidently, the Zoroastrian calendar was reformed in 345 CE. According to “Jami zij” written by the Iranian astronomer Kushyar ibn Labban al-Jili, the calendar of Yazdajird era was intercalated in the 375th year when the Sun entered Aries on the 1st day of the month of Farwardin. Thus, the Yazdajird calendar was reset on 20/21 Mar 345 CE. This reformed calendar of 345 CE came to be known as the Kadmi calendar. In the year 500 of Yazdajird era, i.e. 468 CE (in the epoch of 32 BCE), one month has been again intercalated in the Zoroastrian calendar. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Thabi alKharaqi, a Persian astronomer mentions in his work “Muntha al-idrak fi taqasim al-aflak” in the section on Persian chronology:

“On the year 375 of the era of Yazdajird, when the Sun went to touch the spring equinox point at the first day of Farwardin-Mah we added the five days [of andargah] to the last days of Isfandarmudh-Mah [the 12th month]. The intercalation took place in the regions of Fars, while in the regions of ‘Iraq and Khurasan [the five days] remained to the end of Aban-mah [the 8th month]… On Saturday, the 12th of the month of Rabi al-thani in the year [52]5, year 500 in the Yazdajird, in the month of Urdibihisht it was time to apply the kabisa again, and therefore we applied it by adding five days to the last days of the month of Farwardin; and therefore its days numbered thirty-five.” Evidently, Abu Bakr Muhammad clearly indicates the existence of two Zoroastrian calendars of the Yazdajird era. The intercalation in the calendar of Khurasan and Iraq took place at the end of the 8th month, i.e., Aban whereas the same in the calendar of Fars took place at the end of the 12th month, i.e., Isfandarmudh in 345 CE. He also mentions that another intercalation took place in 470 CE, i.e., the year 500 of the Yazdajird era. Later, the Fasli calendar of the Yazdajird era was introduced on 22 Mar 631 CE following the Jalali calendar. Thus, the Yazdajird era had three calendars: 1. The Shahanshashi Calendar (32 BCE or 29 BCE): In ancient times, the Shahanshahi calendar year consisted of 12 months and each month had 30 days. During the reign of Achaemenid and Sasaninan kings, the calendar of 360 days has been changed to 365 days. An additional month of 30 days was intercalated once in a cycle of 120 years. This calendar had two epochs of the Yazdajira era. Khurasan and Iraq followed the epoch of 32 BCE and celebrated Navroz or New Year in July as Pateti (the day of introspection), i.e., the 1st day of Farvardin month. Fars and Sogdia followed the epoch of 29 BCE and celebrated Navroz on the vernal equinox. 2. The Kadmi I & Kadmi II Calendar: The Zoroastrians of Fars had intercalated an extra month to the Shahanshahi calendar around 345 CE and 470 CE. This calendar came to be known as the Kadimi calendar. 3. The Fasli Calendar: This calendar year also consisted of 12 months of 30 days each plus five Gatha days but also had a leap day called Avardad-sal-Gah in every four years. This calendar was introduced on 22 Mar 631 CE. Al Beruni had referred to the epoch of the Fasli calendar of the Yazdajird era. The Epoch of the Sakanta Era of India (78 CE) was preceded by the Epochs of Yazdajird Era and Hijrah Era While discussing the Indian methods of Ahargana, Al Beruni says; “In a Muhammadan canon called the canon Al-harkan we find the same method of calculation, but applied to and starting from another era, the epoch of which must fall 40,081 (days) after that of the era of Yazdajird. According to this book, the beginning of the Indian falls on Sunday the 21 st of Daimah of the year 110 of Yazdajird. The method may be tested in the following manners: Take 72 years, change them into months by multiplying them by 12, which gives the product 864. Add thereto the months which have elapsed between the 1 st of Shaban of the year 197,

and the 1st of the month in which you happen to be. Write down the sum in two different places. Multiply the lower number by 7 and divide the product by 228. Add the quotient to the upper number and multiply the sum by 30. Add to the product the number of days which have elapsed of the month in which you are. Write down this number in two different places. Add 38 to the lower number and multiply the sum by 11. Divide the product by 703, and subtract the quotient from the upper number. The remainder in the upper place is the number of the civil days, and the remainder in the lower place is the number of the avamas. Add 1 to the number of days and divide the sum by 7. The remainder shows the day of the week on which the date in question falls.”40 Dr. Edward C. Sachau could not understand the above method and commented that “The word “Al-harkan” seems to be an Arabic rendering of Ahargana. Al Beruni quotes from this book the computation of an era the epoch of which falls 40,081 days later than that of the Persian era….. If the epoch should fall 40081 days after that of the era Yazdajird, it would fall on the first Chaitra of the year 664 Sakakala; but this is not the case. The first of Shaban of the year 197 coincides with the beginning of Vaishakha 735. As there are 72 years to be subtracted, we should come to Vaishakha 663, and to begin with the beginning of a year, the epoch must be postponed to Chaitra 664. But this is of no importance, as we shall see that Al Beruni altogether misunderstood the method here given. These two dates do not agree to a day. The first Farwerdin-mah of Yazdajird coincides with 16th June 632; 40,081 days later was Monday, 12th March 742, whilst the 21st Daimah of the year 110 of Yazdajird corresponds to Sunday, 11th March 742. But as the date itself is erroneous, this is of no importance.” In fact, Dr. Sachau attempted to examine the method of Al-harkan in the erroneous epoch of the Yazdajird era (16 June 632 CE) and miserably failed to understand the importance of the epoch which falls 40,081 days later than that of the Yazdajird era. The Arabic canon called “Alharkan” unambiguously informs us that there was a difference of 40,081 days between the epoch of the Yazdajird era and the epoch of the Indian era. The method of Ahargana applied by the author of Al-Harkan was borrowed from Varahamihira’s Panchasiddhantika. Varahamihira explained this method with reference to the epoch of the year 427 of the Saka era (583 BCE). Indian astronomers had reset the epoch of the Saka era on 1 st Apr 78 CE and called it “Sakanta” era. Undoubtedly, the Muhammadan canon Al-harkan had referred to the epoch of the Sakanta era (1st Apr 78 CE) and calculated that the epoch of the Sakanta era falls 40,081 days after the epoch of the Yazdajird era. It is well known that the epoch of the Sakanta era commenced on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, i.e., 1st Apr 78 CE, Sunday which was the 21st day of Daimah of the year 110 of Yazdajird era. It was Wednesday in the Julian calendar because there is an error in counting of weekdays. We will discuss about this error in the Chapter 13. The epoch of the Yazdajird era of Khurasan and Iraq commenced on 5/6 July 32 BCE, Sunday (from sunset to sunset) which was the 1st day of Farvardin month of the Shahanshahi calendar. This calendar consisted of 12 months and each month had 30 days. Five Gatha days were added at the end of the 8th month Aban. Thus, the 1st day of Farvardin month of the 110th Yazdajird year was

10 June 77 CE. Five days were added from 6 Feb to 10 Feb 78 CE and Daimah, i.e., the 10th month commenced on 11th March 78 CE. Thus, the epoch of the Sakanta era, i.e., 1 Apr 78 CE was the 21st day of Daimah in the Zoroastrian calendar and the 40,081 days have been elapsed on 31st Mar 78 CE starting from 6 July 32 BCE. Apparently, the author of Al-harkan applied Varahamihira’s method of Ahargana (counting of Days) in Islamic lunar calendar based on the epoch of the Sakanta era (78 CE). Considering the epoch of the Sakanta era (78 CE), Al-harkan fixed an epoch of the first Shaban of the year 197 in the Hijrah lunar calendar. Al Beruni says that the 25,958 days are counted from the epoch of falling 40,081 days after that of Yazdajird (i.e. 1 Apr 78 CE) to the first Shaban of the year 197. Starting from 1st Apr 78 CE, the 25958th day was 25 Apr 149 CE, i.e., the first Shaban of the year 197 and the first Muharram of the year 197 was 1 Oct 148 CE. Evidently, Al-harkan indicates that the epoch of the Hijrah era commenced on 4 Aug 42 BCE, i.e., 1 Muharram 1 AH and the epoch of the Yazdajird era commenced on 5/6 July 32 BCE, i.e., 1 Farvardin. Interestingly, Al-harkan unambiguously indicates that the epochs of the Yazdajird era and the Hijrah era had commenced before the epoch of the Sakanta era (78 CE).

References 1. “Theon of Alexandria's Observation of the Solar Eclipse of A.D. 364 June 16” by Alexander Jones, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 43 (2012), No. 1, pp. 117118. 2. “Ain-i-Akbari”, translated by H. Blochmann and Colonel H.S. Jarrett, published by Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1907, Vol. II, pp. 19-30. 3. “The Sumerian K8538 Tablet: The Great Meteor Impact Devastating Mesopotamia” by Joachim Seifert and Frank Lemke, April 2014. 4. “Astronomical dating of the rising star list in MUL.APIN” by Teije de Jong, Published in “Festschrift für Hermann Hunger”, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 97, 107-120 (2007). 5. “An Early Compilation of Saturn Observations from Babylon” by John Steele, Journal for the History of Astronomy 2019, Vol. 50(1) 31–45. 6. “The Gentile Times Reconsidered: Chronology and Christ’s Return” by Carl O. Johnson, 2004, Chapter 4, “The Absolute Chronology of the Neo-Babylonian Era”, pp. 153-190. 7. “Babylonian Observations of Saturn During the Reign of Kandalanu” by C.B.F. Walker, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1999. 8. “An Early Compilation of Saturn Observations from Babylon” by John Steele, Journal for the History of Astronomy 2019, Vol. 50(1) 31–45. 9. “Ptolemy’s Almagest”, translated and annotated by G. J. Toomer, 1984, Book IX.7. 10. “A Text Containing Observations of Mars from the time of Nebuchadnezzar II” by John M. Steele.

11. VAT 4956 : Transcription and Translation by P.V. Neugebauer, 1915. (Sachs and Hunger 1988:47-53) (caeno.org) and The Astronomical Diary, VAT 4956 (xjwfriends.com). 12. “Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Astronomers in the Pre-Telescopic Period” a PhD Thesis by John Michael Steele, Department of Physics, University of Durham, 1998, pp. 34. 13. “Ptolemy’s Almagest”, translated and annotated by G. J. Toomer, 1984, Book IV.6, pp. 191. 14. “On the Discovery of the Saros” by Michael G. Nickiforov, Bulgarian Astronomical Journal, 16, 2011, pp. 72-90. 15. “The Gentile Times Reconsidered: Chronology and Christ’s Return” by Carl O. Johnson, 2004, Chapter 4, “The Absolute Chronology of the Neo-Babylonian Era”, pp. 153-190. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. “Ptolemy’s Almagest”, translated and annotated by G. J. Toomer, 1984, Book IX.7. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. “Eclipse Predictions in Mesopotamia” by John M Steele, Arch. Hist. Exact Sci. 54 (2000) 421–454. 23. “Rituals for An Eclipse Possibility in the 8th Year of Cyrus” by Paul-Alain Beaulieu and John P. Britton, Yale University, Journal of Cuneiform Studies Vol. 46 (1994), pp. 73-86. 24. “Ptolemy’s Almagest”, translated and annotated by G. J. Toomer, 1984, Book V.14. 25. Ibid, Book IV.9. 26. “Can two eclipses on BM 32234 be dated to 475 BCE instead of the conventional year 465 BCE?” by Ann O’ Maly, June 2016. 27. “Ptolemy, Babylon and the rotation of the Earth” by John Steele, A&G, October 2005, Vol 46, pp. 5.11-5.16. https://www.academia.edu/2360680/Ptolemy_Babylon_and_the_Rotation_of_the_ Earth 28. Ibid. 29. British Library Burney MS 169, f. 69r. https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/08/total-eclipse-of-the-sun.html 30. “The Gaugemela Battle Eclipse: An Archaeoastronomical Analysis” by V. F. Polcaro, G.B. Valsecchi, L. Verderame, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 55-64. 31. “Ptolemy’s Almagest”, translated and annotated by G. J. Toomer, 1984, Introduction, pp. 11. 32. “The Chronology of the Third Diadoch War” by Edward M. Anson, Phoenix Vol. 60, No. 3/4 (Fall - Winter, 2006), pp. 226-235

33. “Astronomical Dating of Babylonian Texts Describing the Total Solar Eclipse of S.E. 175” by F.R. Stephenson and J. M. Steele, University of Durham, Journal for the History of Astronomy 37 (2006), pp. 55-69. https://www.academia.edu/2360673/Astronomical_Dating_of_Babylonian_Texts_D escribing_the_Total_Solar_Eclipse_of_S.E._175 34. “Alberuni’s India”, translated and edited by Dr. C Edward Sachau, Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 2002, pp. 4-5. 35. “Alberuni’s India”, translated and edited by Dr. C Edward Sachau, Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 2002, pp. 457. 36. “Tabaqat-i-Nasiri of Minhaj-i-Siraj”, translated by H. G. Raverty, London, 1873, pp. 675. 37. Ibid, pp. 679. 38. Ibid, pp. 714. 39. “Records of Solar Eclipses in Arabic Chronicles” by Said S. Said, F. Richard Stephenson and Wafiq Rada, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 52, No. 1 (1989), pp. 38-64 and “Records of Lunar Eclipses in Medieval Arabic Chronicles” by F. Richard Stephenson and Said S. Said, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 60, No. 1 (1997), pp. 1-34. 40. “Alberuni’s India”, translated and edited by Dr. C Edward Sachau, Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 2002, pp. 457.