Early Depictions of Solar Eclipses

There is evidence that the the ancient Babylonians, Chinese, and Mayans recorded and predicted solar eclipses, and in the classical period, historians such as Herodotus gave reports of astronomers such as Thales predicting eclipses. While the phenomena of a solar eclipse was often understood to be ominous and threatening in nature, there is also a parallel narrative of people who have strove to understand them from a scientific perspective. The images below are illustrations of solar eclipses from several of the Irvin Departments early printed works: The Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), Georg von Peurbach’s Theoricae novae planetarum (1537), Alessandro Piccolomini’s De la sfera del mondo e Delle stelle fisse (1540), and a 17th-century edition of the works of the Venerable Bede.