From the 'Pass it on' newsfeed of the day
|News brief: Maia's month, Hiyar, day 3, 1374 BCE
Villagers in the port city of Ugarit in Syria were scared and shaken when the sun lost a battle with an unseen foe and went dark in the middle of the day. No one in the small city had ever experienced such an event, not even Akram Kahaled who is reported to have lived over a hundred years.
"The sun is supreme with us, for us. The sun cannot die. But look, look, the sun has gone dark. It is the prophesied end!" cried Kahaled, rocking back and forth on his heels.
People were scrambling to hide in their houses or places of worship.
Fishing fleets returned speaking of the winds going dead calm, and the fishermen having to row back to home ports as their sales hung limp. One boat captain was ecstatic, however, as he returned with his nets filled to overflowing. "The fish, they just came to the surface," he cried. "So many fish. Even those who normally swim far deeper than our nets sink," continued Farid Gulahm, the eldest son of a multigenerational fishing family.
The lead Mesopotamian astronomer noted, "On the day of the new moon, in the month of Hiyar, the Sun was put to shame, and went down in the daytime, with Mars in attendance." The astronomers were intrigued by the celestial phenomenon but not scared as the villagers were.
"My chickens, look! They have all gone to bed," pointed out Awijil Ibrahim, a tiny woman with several children huddled near her, clinging onto her skirts. "Perhaps the elders have made the gods unhappy, they need to make them happy again. I do not like this."
At one point, during the eclipse, when the fiery corona of the sun was visible, the people were on their knees, their heads to the ground, praying to their gods.
In the aftermath, as the sun began to return, there was much celebration in the streets and the village elder called for a great feast to celebrate the sun's return. On a side note, as a result of the eclipse, numerous people are complaining of dark spots in their vision. The village healer is presently administering to at least five people who have lost their vision. Whether this is a temporary situation or not, remains to be seen.
By late afternoon, life was basically back to normal within this tiny port city. The fishing boats were returning from their second sojourn on the waters of the sea. The chickens were squabbling around, pecking for their food, with the notable exception of one sacrificed to the feast. And
Akram Kahaled was seated outside his hovel regaling the children with his version of this momentous occasion.