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Question from Josephus

To: alt.astrology,sci.astro,alt.tarot,alt.divination,alt.mythology
From: Expert Astronomer 
Subject: Re: Question from Josephus
Date: 20 Apr 2003 00:24:13 +0200

On Sat, 19 Apr 2003, "Terry" wrote:
>I have recently bought a copy of 'The Works of Josephus'.
>It's an old copy from the early nineteen hundreds. It is quite handy
>for getting a first century jewish perspective.
>    In the process of reading chapter three, I came across
>the following paragraph in which Josephus is discussing the
>long lives that people lived before and shortly after the flood.
>"God afforded them a longer time of life on
>account of their virtue, and the good use they
>made of it in astronomical and geometrical
>discoveries, which would not have afforded
>the time of foretelling [the periods of the stars],
>unless they had lived 600 years; for the Great Year
>is completed in that interval"
>Does anybody know what Josephus  meant by "the Great Year" ?
>Apparently it is a 600 year period.
>    After this Josephus goes on to name several non jewish
>historians who had recorded that the ancients lived a thousand

Something might've gotten lost in the translation, but
I do know a little about this subject.  Rather than go
into much detail about this, I'll address this briefly.

By today's nomenclature the great year is one sidereal
gyration of terrestrial precession, i.e. approximately
9,360,000 mean solar days/25626.83 mean tropical years.
The Mayan "haab" count noted that 1508 haabs is commen-
surate to 1507 tropical years @ 365.2422 solar days/yr.
One haab equals 365 solar days, thus 1508 haabs equals
1508 x 365 = 550420 solar days per 1507 tropical years,

Okay those are some really long-term synodic multiples.
Consider the shorter ones, most of which are less than
six centuries. These periods are summarized as follows:

              S# Pla Synod  Sider./TropY
              10 Plu 366.7  90800. 247.9
               9 Nep 367.5  60190. 164.8
               8 Ura 369.7  30685. 84.02
               7 Sat 378.1  10760. 29.45
               6 Jup 399.9  4332.2 11.86
               5 Mar 780.0  686.98 1.881
               4 Sun -----  365.26 1.000
               3 Ven 583.9  224.70 0.615
               2 Mer 115.9  87.969 0.241
               1 Moo 29.53  27.322 0.075

The chart below is an excellent and impressive example
of ancient Babylonian astronomy that dates cir 1800 BC:

    85 mean-synodic periods =~ 27 tropical years;
    191 sidereal ~ 145 mean-synodic ~ 46 tropical

    157 mean-synodic periods =~ 251 tropical years;
    1871 sidereal ~ 720 mean-synodic ~ 1151 tropical

    22 mean-synodic periods =~ 47 tropical years 
    151 sidereal ~ 133 mean-synodic ~ 284 tropical

    76 mean-synodic periods =~ 83 tropical years
    36 sidereal ~ 391 mean-synodic ~ 427 tropical

    57 mean-synodic periods =~ 59 tropical years 
    9 sidereal ~ 256 mean-synodic ~ 265 tropical

So you see, Venus has the longest predictable periodic
multiple at 1151 tropical years--that's the 1000 years.
There's one more predictable multiple worth noting and
that's the grand century of the Moon. I suspect that's
what Josephus is referring to, but I'll let you decide.

The "bearded star" is Regulus, the "heart star" of Leo,
the "royal" constellation. The Moon's great century is
comprised of a repeating eight-hundred year period, as
itself subdivides into 233 years followed by 567 years.
In ancient times this is the longest known multiple of
the Moon and was of great significance to the ancients.

This eight-century long interval begins with the first
and smallest partial eclipses of the Moon, at the time
when the Moon is occulting Regulus. Each lunar eclipse
occulting Regulus series lasts for about 233 years and
with a 19-year plus 65-year separation between eclipse
occultation intervals. The last Moon-eclipse-occulting-
Regulus series ended in 1943 AD. The next series won't
begin until 2510 AD, which is 567 years plus 233 years
since the beginning of the last series circa 1710. I'd
reasonably conclude that the 567 year interlude before
the 233 year lunar-eclipse-occulting-regulus series is
what Josephus was referring to. Josephus was no slouch.

Daniel Joseph Min

*Min's Official PGP Public Key on the MIT server:

*Min's Home Page On The World Wide Web:


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