‘Zeus made night from mid-day:’ Terror and wonder in ancient accounts of solar eclipses

Estimated read time 14 min read

For millennia, solar eclipses have inspired awe, wonder and fear. After all, it’s not often that twilight descends in the middle of the day. And just as we plan for and anticipate their occurrence — like the total solar eclipse that will be visible to millions of North Americans on April 8 — ancient cultures across the world, from the Mayans to the ancient Greeks, developed their own mythologies and traditions around eclipses.

So what did these people think when they saw the sun darkening during the day?

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