The Theft of the Millenium.
Review on a Review
Michael L. Gorodetsky



I am a physicist but my serious hobby is world history, especially physical dating methods, history of science and historical astronomy. This activity resulted in several papers and reports on historical conferences, the translation and editing of a Russian edition of the book on physical dating methods by G.Wagner [1] and a new commented edition of the classical book by D.Svyatsky Astronomical events in Russian chronicles (1910) [2] with my catalogue of astronomical records and supplementary tables. I also have been supporting for seven years a web page and discussion board on these topics which evolved from my investigation of outrageous theory on world history of Russian mathematician Anatoly Fomenko In 2007 I have read with great interest a Russian edition of the book by Florin Diacu and Philip Holmes Celestial Encounters: The Origin of Chaos and Stability a nice introduction to the theory of dynamic chaos. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Florin Diacu issued another book The Lost Millenium. History Timetables Under Siege presenting a review of this theory for western readers. I ordered this book and examined it with scrutiny. I was glad that the author partially used materials from my webpage, namely my collection of records of ancient eclipses and a translation of Dionisius into English by Michael Deckers, which I used as a support for my Russian translation. However I was rather disappointed that Diacu could not read Russian and that is why the contents of my Fomencology page (collecting the most part of what has been written and published during the last 25 years by Fomenko critics) evaded his attention. This sad circumstance lead to inevitable reinventing the bicycle and to multiple factual errors in the book imposed by uncritical following to the accretions of A.Fomenko and his coauthor G.Nosovsky. Happily a very small portion of these papers have been translated in English papers by eminent mathematician S.Novikov and eminent linguist A.A.Zaliznyak and reached the authors attention.

Unfortunately I can not say that I liked the book about chaotic chronology as much as the book about real chaos. The main reason of the failure of the book despite of enthusiastic responses beautifying the cover I see in the authors

new approach. I must not look at Fomenkos work with a mathematicians eye, but had to regard it from the point of view of a historian who understands mathematics [p. 41].
This approach resulted in doubled gap for errors: from the one hand refusal to consider special arguments by Fomenko with mathematical and astronomical thoroughness opened a way for unnoticed blunders of new chronologists, from the other hand, being nonspecialist in discussed historical problems, Florin Diacu could not evade mistakes himself.

That is why being a physicist I can not accept the statement in the book:

The critical attitude towards Fomenko has nothing to do with the correctness of his theorems [in history]. It is about their significance: Are they deep and comprehensive? Do they have crucial consequences? Should we care about them? These aspects of inquiry leave the realm of mathematics. They approach the world of art and fashion, in which trends, personalities, taste, and biases play an important role. [p. 98].
My attitude to Fomenko grew from judging the correctness of his statistical and astronomical methods, where there is no way for taste and bias. I prefer to start the estimation of the weight of Fomenko arguments playing by his rules and only then trying to solve the riddles if they stay. Contrary to Florin Diacu several years ago I invested time and afforded myself to become intimately acquainted with Fomenkos mathematical work [on empirico-statistical and astronomical chronological methods] and tested many of them. In fact I have read nearly all of his papers on the subject, most of them in a rare conference proceedings, and early books when they still had a flavor of science. Starting from mid 90th Fomenko and his coauthor bake books faster then Stephen King (approaching 100 now! with a total circulation about 1 million) evidently transforming the New Chronology in a publishing commercial enterprise. The following starts my informal referee  report on the book. This is in essence not a review of the book, but a review of the theory of Fomenko and his critics stimulated and guided by the reviewing book of Florin Diacu. This is an unfinished review as I am looking here only at Chapters with the arguments most credited by the author.

    Chapter 1 ("Catastrophes and Chaos")

After personal introduction Diacu begins his book reminding the reader the case of Velikovsky (Chapter I. Catastrophes and Chaos). This is a natural choice for the American audience especially because of the same Velikovsky's Russian origin. But this analogy will hardly be pleasant for the main heroes of the book.. Their 2005 rather paranoic manifest New chronology and struggle with it, in which A.Fomenko and G.Nosovsky try to move away from other critics of chronology, claims that Velikovsky plagiarized Morozov while his catastrophism is a "weapon added [by the West] to the arsenal to fight with ideas of N.A.Morozov":

    I.Velikovsky made an attempt to explain the contradictions found by Morozov (without references on him we repeat) with the help of theory of catastrophism. On the West Velikovsky is considered as a founder of critical school of chronology. However in fact he tries to defend the chronology of Scaliger from too large transformations substituting radical ideas of N.A.Morozov by its weakly surrogate. The fact that in Western Europe works of I.Velikovsky on history were known better than much earlier and more substantial ones of  N.A.Morozov served as a significant hindrance to the development of new chronology in Western Europe [my translation].
In the same way New chronology of David Rohl also mentioned by in his review is a new weapon of the West to struggle against our heroes:
It ought to be said that David Rohl in fact acts in the same sense as his predecessors, who were (and are) trying to stifle and distort the works of Morozov and now to stifle also our research on this subject. [my translation].
I do not want to comment on this chapter in details as I completely agree with the final arguments of Florin Diacu that modern computer models either based on numerical integration (JPL long ephemeredes DE406) or on computer algebraic series (VSOP) do not leave a place for jumping planets. However I think that it is quite possible to show that very eccentric planetary orbit cant evolve into nearly circular during several centuries. I also want to defend Robert Newton whose astronomical arguments against Velikovsky are not circular as it is stated by Florin Diacu. In case of faulty chronology the chance of coincidence of many retrocalculated astronomical events with recorded dates, for example 29 solar eclipses in the Annals of Lu (a source that Velikovsky himself relies upon) would be statistically negligible.

    Chapter 2 ("A New Science")

In Chapter 2 "A New Science" Florin Diacu presents the main scarecrows of  "New chronology by Fomenko-Nosovsky" (brand name chosen in the above mentioned manifest of 2005)  - Joseph Scaliger and Dionysius Petavius,  the main prophet N.A.Morozov and basic arguments of his followers which are discussed in detail in the following part of the book.

The first part of the chapter gives rather distorted view on the work of Scaliger and Petavius and is evidently severely influenced by the uncritically taken interpretations of Fomenko and Nosovsky only partially corrected by remarkable treatise of Scaliger researcher and biographer Anthony Grafton. It is a pity that Fomenko and Nosovsky for several decades of their chronological activity could not find an opportunity to get direct acquaintance with the works of these renaissance  scholars and to understand what they actually did.

Scaliger and Petavius have not invented dates for the whole history as these dates are written in historical sources and these dates were never lost. They just systematically (this is a key word) investigated calendrical systems of different nations and epochs and their synchronisms to have an opportunity to transform this dates into one chosen system. This can be clearly seen from the contents of the "De emendatione temporum" which I translated for myself into Russian. In fact Scaliger and Petavius were not the first scholars seriously dealing with chronology. For example the level of a treatise of Al-Biruni (XI-th century) "Chronology of Ancient Nations" is hardly lower.

There are no Scaligerian dates in his book but there are several milestones - basic starting points (see "Scaliger's list of eras" in Grafton A. Joseph Scaliger, A study in the History of Classical Scholarship, II Historical Chronology. - Oxford: Clarendon press, 1993, p.277-298) only part of which are essential for chronology and were used in different sources. There is no mystery in this work and it can be verified basing on different sources and usually by many ways. The critics of adapted chronology should analyze these synchronisms and the whole calendrical system of the source and to propose their own instead of challenging separate dates.  Astronomical events can help in finding such synchronisms but only for verification and better precision and.only in very rare cases astronomy gives unique solution per hundreds of years.

Modern chronologers have much more independent precise instruments for historical dating: deciphered dead languages, eponym lists of different states and epochs (consuls, archons, ephores, priests, olympionics etc.) collected from sources and archaeological excavations, traces of volcano eruptions in ice cores, numismatic, paleography etc. Educated people in every century before Scaliger knew the sequence of written history quite well,  if not up to the day - the final goal of modern calendrical research - but up to the year, decade or at least the century.

For example, Censorinus, the author of the III century in his short treatise "De die natali", touching the problems of calendars and chronology, dates the year of  writing in (V. C. Pii et Pontiani consulatus - consuls C. Fulvius Pius and Pontius Proculus Pontianus of 238 AD) according to following eras [3]:

Olympiad 1014 (254. 2) [summer 238-summer 239]
A.U.C. 991  [21 Apr. 238 - 20 Apr. 239]
Nabonassar 986  [25 June 238 - 24 June 239]
Philip (Alexander) 562 [25 June 238 -24 June239]
Caesar 283  [1 Jan. 238-31 Dec. 238]
Augustils (Alexandrian) 267  [29 Aug. 237  - 28 Aug. 238]
Augustus (Julian) 265 [1 Jan. 238 - 31 Dec. 238]
In the same way Copernicus in his famous "De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium" Published when Scaliger was just three years old , for deducing astronomical parameters uses precise dates of observations of Timocharis (ca. 320 BC - 260 BC), Hipparchus (ca. 190 BC - ca. 120 BC), Ptolemy (after 83 - 161 AD) , Al-Battani (c. 853, Harran - 929), Al-Zarkali (1028-1087), Prophatius Judaeus (ca.1236- ca. 1306) and others; as Censorinus, whom Copernicus khows, freely uses and recalculates many ancient named eras and emperors (Nabonassar, Olympiads, Caesar, Augustus, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius. etc)  [4].

Those chronographers and annalists who according to Fomenko and Diacu were just repeating legends from the Bible (Julius Africanus, Eusebius, Jerome, Syncellus and hundreds of their followers and continuators) have built a monolithical bases of chronology. European chronology starting from the middle of first millennia BC is very solid as real chronology starts with the written history. Fomenko, however, mostly challenges chronology of our era.

Let us look now how the chronology can be built without Scaliger and Petavius using annals - annual chronicles, marked by sequential years.  For simplicity we limit ourselves only with our era when the calendar was already Julian across the whole Roman empire. We start from Eusebius "Chronicon" which was preserved as a whole only in Armenian translation and consisted from excerpts from earlier writers and chronological tables based on comparison of these texts. Scaliger knew only Latin amended translation of the chronological tables by Jerome and large Greek fragments of the basic text preserved in citations by Byzantine chroniclers. In these chronicle and tables Eusebius of Caesarea records and dates in several parallel chronological systems events from the most ancient times to his own VI th century. Let we even suppose that he mixed up everything, skipped, invented and added a lot, did not understand ancient calendars and so on. However we are rather secure to suppose that he describes events of a couple of centuries before his time more or less reliably and knows relative chronology of 250 years before his birth - this is our bases say from 1 to 325 year of as yet arbitrary starting epoch from the first year of the 195th Olympiad, 2017 year of Abraham and 44th year of Augustus (to be more precise, after the death of Julius Caesar). Eusebius puts Evangelical birth of Christ in the previous year. We may even assume that there are errors in 5-10 years in Eusebius dating for this time but not hundreds and thousands. Our aim is to connect  this relative chronology with our time through uninterruptible tradition of annals and dated chronicles.  In the same way Eusebius did not invent his chronicle from scratch, he relied on Julius Africanus whose "Chronographiai" in five books, covered the time from the Creation (B.C. 5499 in his calculation) to the third year of Eliogabalus (A.D. 221).

The chronicle of Eusebius influenced his followers and they used it as a model. This chronicle was translated into Syriac language. And there is an Antochene chronicle adding to Eusebius events from 325-350 years. Than Jerome translates it into latin and amends it upto 378 year and the chronicle became known in Western parts of the Roman empire. From now on we have a lot of continuators: Sulpicius Severus up to 400th year, Prosperus of Aquitane up to 455th, Hydatius Lemicus - 379-468, Panodorus of Alexandria - 395-408, Annianus - up to 412, Malalas - up to 537, Marcellinus - 379-566, Syrian John of Ephesus up to 585, Edessian chronicle 490-540, Joshua the Stylite - 494-505, Evagrius Scholasticus 431-594, Victor Tunnunensis 444-566, Iohannes Biclarensis 567-590 (continuator of the former). In 590 Cassiodorus issued his short chronicle which is based not only on Eusebian tradition and his continuators but also on Western sources as Ravenna annals (110-580). Here we reached the point of closure with chosen initial point (Anno Domini) as Cassiodorus was a friend of this Dionysius Exiguus who suggested to count years from Nativity for his new Easter tables. Before Dionisius chroniclers used different eras and dating methods in parallel to consuls and years of emperors. After Dionysius in parallel to usual chronology his Easter cycles start to appear in chronicles and starting from 7-8 centuries AD dating starts to appear, for example famous Paschal chronicle (till 627 AD).  In this way  we managed to extend the chronology till the 7th century and have a backbone of annually dated events, coupled with names of consuls, emperors, patriarchs, popes, bishops etc. for more than 600 years. These repeatedly crosscorrelating chronicles may be easily supplemented by other historical sources of this time, for example by multiple "ecclesiastical histories",  paying more attention to church events and histories of nations (as many books of Procopius), which do not have annual division but can be equally crossdated. Don't forget the famous "History of the Francs" of Gregory of Tours (555-592), whose narration is  close to the form of annals. All these chronicles are not  some parts of a mosaic as they are dated in the text and grossly overlapping. Building of the chronology is not an act of one scholar, but a process in humanity which started from the first written histories. Chroniclers of any time period were not ill of amnesia. There is no need to use "special scientific methods" to built general chronology in this way, but special disciplines including astronomical dating can help a lot to verify, to fix and to get more precise dates. We may easily move further when historical geography of Europe was rapidly changing through annals and chronicles of different medieval states.

In  Byzantium George Syncellus again endeavored an attempt to present the whole history of the mankind but managed to reach only 316 AD before his death. His friend Theophanus, however, continued it till 813, then was patriarch Nicephorus (till 829) and round 874 AD these chronicles became known on the west when Athanasius compiled  Syncellus, Theophan and Nicephorus in Latin. Anonymous Theophanes continuator (till 961) informs about Russian campaign of 941 AD in Constantinople that gives us bridge to Russian annals (letopises) in which this and other Byzantine events are also mirrored. The tradition of Russian letopises continues to the 17th century.

In England we can start from Bede's "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" (from Caesar to 731) to Anglo-Saxon chronicle subsequently maintained by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th Century. In central Europe we can start from Carolingian annals. In this time practically all monasteries of medieval Europe were writing their own annals and we have hundreds if not thousands of them, see for example dozens of huge volumes of Monumenta  Germaniae Historica, many of which are available online. Don't forget Syriac and Arabian historiography which also flourished in medieval time. These annals are packed with the described astronomical events. For example Ginzel found 42 records about solar eclipse of May, 5 840AD and 78(!) records about the eclipse of 1133 August, 02 (We'll meet this eclipse later) [5]. Owerhelming part of these events are in perfect agreement with astronomical retrocalculations without any hint from Scaliger or Petavius. For example I found 25 records about eclipses and comets in Annales Blandinienses (regular record since 570 till 1292, but the annals start as "1. Dominus noster Iesus Christus natus est. 13. Tiberius regnavit annis 23").

    Chapter 3 ("Swan Song")

I liked the third chapter "Swan Song" where the involvement of Isaak Newton in chronological studies is described. However, while Fomenko and Nosovsky prefer to see Newton as their mighty predecessor, Newton's Chronology is rather irrelevant to their New Chronology. Newton's discordance with modern view on the early history finishes approximately where legendary in his time history was replaced by written history. Knowing historical legacy quite well, he had no basis for doubts in later period. On the contrary, modern Russian revisionists call in question the corpus of historical sources, substituting direct reading by indirect calculations and interpretations.

Tracing Newton's Short chronicle back from 331 BC (by this year Newton quite traditionally dates the fall of Darius), I found that small differences from accepted dates appeared only in the middle  of the VI-th century BC. More serous one is his date for the foundation of Rome (625 BC) while contemporary agreement accepts 753 BC Varronian (not Scaligerian!) date.

Namely, Newton shifted (made more ancient!) roughly by a century the biblical chronology of Ezra and  Nehemiah making them contemporary to another Artaxerxes, which is strange as Josephus clearly states that these events are simultaneous to the campaigns of Alexander who is dated traditionally in the Short chronicle. The approach of Newton and Scaliger to the earlier history was quite different. While Scaliger relied on historical books of Manetho and Berosus excerpted  by Byzantine chronicles, Newton tried to find truth in the Greek myths and the Bible. It is possible that Newton had ingenious conjectures, and it is true that chronology of Berosus and Manetho can not be considered absolutely reliable especially for the most distant time, but Scaliger's approach looks more systematic and scholarly for me. Modern historians nowadays, do not date seriously Argo expedition and the flight of Icarus but do their conclusions from deciphered Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphic texts as well as analysis of archeological excavations supported by modern physical dating methods. The chronology of Bronze age is still far from completion but we may be sure that we know it much better than in 17th century.

To conclude the review of this chapter, I should say that it's a pity that the author have not read a very instructive paper by S.Y.Lur'e "Newton - the historian of ancient times" lightly judging it from others words.

     Chapter 4 ("Historical eclipses"). "The Peloponnesian war"

So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand. On the whole, however, the conclusions I have drawn from the proofs quoted may, I believe, safely be relied on. Assuredly they will not be disturbed either by the lays of a poet displaying the exaggeration of his craft, or by the compositions of the chroniclers that are attractive at truth's expense; the subjects they treat of being out of the reach of evidence, and time having robbed most of them of historical value by enthroning them in the region of legend. Turning from these, we can rest satisfied with having proceeded upon the clearest data, and having arrived at conclusions as exact as can be expected in matters of such antiquity. [Thucydides, I, 20-21]

Florin Diacu starts a summary of Fomenko's theory in Chapter 4 "Historical Eclipses" from his interpretation of eclipses in Thucydides. These eclipses in connection with the New Chronology were discussed in details by Russian critics from the points of view of history and philology [6,7] as well as astronomy [8,9]. This chapter shows clearly that Anatoly Fomenko was successful in inculcating another mathematician that three eclipses described in the "History of the Peloponnesian War" are so incredibly important for the world and especially Greek history that without "Scaligerian" astronomical dating of them all ancient chronology hangs in vacuum. Starting from the introduction Florin Diacu returns to this delusion in half of the chapters of the book describing how he tried to verify unsuccessfully this novel astrohistorical discovery. Thucydides is the third most frequent name in the book after Fomenko and Scaliger and Peloponnesian War is the most frequently mentioned historical event. In chapter 10 we are told how the author applied to a historian who gave him a very intelligent hint how to prove that the Peloponnesian war was before and not after the First council of Nicaea:

What you'd like, I think is a text in which someone known to have been present at the Council refers unambiguously to the Peloponnesian War as a prior event. There may be such a text: we have voluminous writings of numerous bishops who were present. [p.235]

It is a mystery, however, that this historian could not immediately name such a bishop and such a text - it is the most famous figure on the Council after Constantine, the overmentioned bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, the author of the famous Chronicle. We immediately find in the Chronicle of Eusebius not only direct reference to this war but unambiguous dating of it in historical context. Describing Greek system of dating using Olympiads and Olympic victors Eusebius writes in the first part of the chronicle (preserved in Armenian translation):

87th - Sophron of Ambracia, stadion race
During this [Olympiad], the Peloponnesian war began.
In the tabular form better known from Jerome we read:
87th Olympiad = 1585 of year Abraham
[through system of dating used by Eusebius as we use AD - Anno Domini]
Beginning of the Peloponnesian war.
Bacchylides the song writer is well known.
[+2] The Athenians suffer in the plague.
Thucydides is well known.
[+3] Pericles dies.
This one can read in the 9th century Eusebius/Jerome Chronicon fol. 99 (verso) of Oxford MS 315  presented online. Using different parallel systems of dating used by Eusebius (consuls, A.U.C., archons, emperors etc.) coupled by many simple direct equations and uninterruptible tradition of chronicles with modern calendar we can obtain in many ways that this date corresponds to 432 BC. This date could deduce every reader of Eusebius and Jerome hundreds of years before Scaliger.

What surprises me most is that Florin Diacu himself tells us about the Eusebius of Caesarea (mixing him in Index with pope Saint Eusebius)  and his chronicle on pages 45, 49, 171, his participation in the council of Nicaea, Olympiads, years of Abraham, connections with Roman emperors and Christian era. Doesn't it mean thoughtless copy and paste from the secondary reference without an idea about the contents of the Chronicle?

In the same way Georgius Syncellus [10, p.374], referencing Africanus writes:

The 87th Olympiad: The twenty-seven-year-long war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, which Thucydides wrote about, broke out because of two of Aspasia's prostitutes and columns erected against the Megarians, neighbors to the Athenians.
More interested reader of ancient historians could even find from another important source about Peloponnesian war - Diodorus Sicilus that possibly more accurate date is the beginning of the second year of this 87th Olympiad (summer 431 BC-summer 430 BC):
[12.37.1] When Pythodorus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Titus Quinctius and Nittus Menenius, and the Eleians celebrated the Eighty-seventh Olympiad, that in which Sophron of Ambracia won the "stadion". In Rome in this year Spurius Maelius was put to death while striving for despotic power. And the Athenians, who had won a striking victory around Potidaea, dispatched a second general, Phormion, in the place of their general Callias who had fallen on the field. After taking over the command of the army Phormion settled down to the siege of the city of the Potidaeans, making continuous assaults upon it; but the defenders resisted with vigour and the siege became a long affair.
[2] Thucydides, the Athenian, commenced his history with this year, giving an account of the war between the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians, the war which has been called the Peloponnesian. This war lasted twenty-seven years, but Thucydides described twenty-two years in eight Books or, as others divide it, in nine.

[12.38.1] When Euthydemus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected in place of consuls three military tribunes, Manius Aemilianus Mamercus, Gaius Julius, and Lucius Quinctius. In this year there began the Peloponnesian War, as it has been called, between the Athenians and the Peloponnesians, the longest of all the wars which history records; and it is necessary and appropriate to the plan of our history to set forth at the outset the causes of the war.

How these ancient and medieval historians managed to find "Scaligerian" date? Did they calculate eclipses from the "Peloponnesian war" themselves? Definitely not. Thucydides gives enough accurate chronological information in his book. describing the war year by year ("The history follows the chronological order of events by summers and winters.").
[2.4] The thirty years' truce which was entered into after the conquest of Euboea lasted fourteen years. In the fifteenth, in the forty-eighth year of the priestess-ship of Chrysis at Argos, in the ephorate of Aenesias at Sparta, in the last month but two of the archonship of Pythodorus at Athens, and six months after the battle of Potidaea, just at the beginning of spring, a Theban force a little over three hundred strong, under the command of their Boeotarchs, Pythangelus, son of Phyleides, and Diemporus, son of Onetorides, about the first watch of the night, made an armed entry into Plataea, a town of Boeotia in alliance with Athens.
The reference to Athenian archon (archon eponymous) gives a simple and convenient dating. Pyhodorus corresponds to 432 BC-431 BC (see for example the list in Bickerman's book [11] or in Wikipedia). Such lists binded with Olympiad dating were compiled in antiquity (Diodor of Sicily, Dionysius of Halicarnassus) and are found not only in literal histories but excavated cut in marble. The use of Spartan ephors for dating was not so common however Xenophon in Hellenica gives a list of them from 431/430 BC to 404/403 BC. The name of Argos priestess Thucydides probably took from Hellanicus of Lesbos "The Priestesses of Hera at Argon".

In the time of Thucydides Olympiad dating has not been yet adopted, however as Thucydides mentions several Olympiads and names the victors. In particular Thucydides (Thu.3.8) writes that on the third year of the war Dorieus, the Rhodian, the son of the famous boxer Diagoras, won pankration for the second time (Olymp.88) and  8 years  later  the winner in pancratium was Arcadian Androsthenes.  In this way there was no problem for later Greek and Roman historians to translate years of Thucydides into Olympic years - see Diodorus as an example. The list of Olympic victors in stadion racing is also given by Eusebius. Here is such a list from Antike Sammlung in Munich (by the courtesy of Marina Pirogova) where you can also find already familiar Sophron of Ambracia, the fastest on 87th Olympyad. See the new book of P.Christiansen [12] as a reference on these lists and their history.

From this historical introduction we deduce that the following statement is wrong [p.99]:

But when did the war happen? The answer accepted today, and on which much of Greece's ancient chronology is based, came in 1578 from Paulus Crusius, who calculated that the conflict started in 431BC. As is described in chapter 2, he bases on two solar eclipses and a lunar one, all of them described in Thucydides' book.
Crusius was indeed possibly the first to calculate precise dates of eclipses but he was searching them at a years already commonly accepted and undoubtful. He was not dating the war, but verifying. And I suppose he was very glad to find the eclipses at the years given by ancient chronographers. In the same way Scaliger is not to blame for solidifying precise dating of the eclipses [p.100]:
In De emendatione temporum, Scaliger provided dates for the three eclipses - the days of August 3, 431; March 21, 424 and August 27, 413 - indicating that the conflict began in 431 and ended in 404 BC.
Just simply reading the book of Scaliger [13, p.223] we find that he writes something different:

He not only ignores precise dates of eclipses (which he knew from the book of Crusius) but even errs in their number - talking about three solar eclipses. For him these eclipses are also just a confirmation of the date calculated from Olympiads and archonship of Pyhodoros in the same way as for Isaac Newton.

Let us finally look at these arguable eclipses. The critical paragraph relates to the first eclipse:

The same summer, at the beginning of a new lunar month, the only time by the way at which it appears possible, the sun was eclipsed after noon. After it had assumed the form of a crescent and some of the stars had come out, it returned to its natural shape. [Translation of Richard Crawley].
Florin Diacu cites another translation of H.G.Bohn.
the Sun was eclipsed after midday: it took the form of a crescent, then some stars became visible, and it turned full again.
I am not an expert in Greek but philological analysis [6,7] shows that the grammatical construction does not mean sequence of events (crescent then stars) but an accompanying circumstance (the sun assumed the form of crescent and the stars appreared). That is why the first translation is more accurate, thus stating partial eclipse. From my own point of view as an eye witness of the total eclipse in 1999 this also looks like a description of partial eclipse as crescent is not the most striking feature of a total eclipse and the sun. If Thucydides describes here total eclipse, then I am forced to doubt that his talent as a writer gave a glitch in this phrase. I am joining here Robert Newton (whom Fomenko esteems high), who wrote [14, p.108]:
The record can be dated by historical evidence and there is apparently no question about the identification. Since he [Thucydides] explicitely denies totality while mentioning the visibility of stars, I shall take the standard deviation of magnitude to be 0.02 rather than the customary value of 0.01 when stars are mentioned.
Mentioning the stars in this context indeed requires explanation. However first of all I should note that even during total solar eclipse stars are not always visible. For example during the eclipse of 11 August 1999 only which I observed in Bulgaria only Venus was in the sky near the eclipsed sun and this planet was noticed before the totality. The visibility of stars greatly depends on the state of atmosphere height of the sun and solar activity (brightness of solar corona).

From the other hand other descriptions are known where totality is even more explicitely denied but the stars are seen. Especially interesting is the following Chinese record from Sung-shu annals about the eclipse of AD 429 Dec 12 very similar to that of Thucydides [15]:

Yuan-chia reign period, 6th year, 11th month, day chi-ch'ou, the first day of the month. The Sun was eclipsed; it was not complete and like a hook. During the eclipse, stars were seen. At the hour of fu (=15-17 h), then it disappeared (i.e. ended). In Ho-pei (province) the Earth was in darkness.
If we still do not believe in the possibility to observe stars or planet during partial eclipse, other explanations can be given:
1. Thucydides used a hyperbola or a trope in description of a strong solar eclipse.

2. Thucydides could see Venus (as I have seen it in 1999) not in Athen but in Thrace on the coast opposite to island Thasos where his family owned golden mines and where the eclipse had nearly maximal phase. Florin Diacu writes that singular Venus can not explain plural stars, but for me it is a rather reasonable explanation. Moreover, attentive reading of the text reveals that Thucydides could observe the eclipse even farther to the East in the Odrysian capital somewhere in the neighborhood of Adrianople, where the phase was ~ 0.95. Just directly after the eclipse in (II, 28) he describes the success of Athenian diplomacy in Thrace with possible participation of the author [16]:

In this particular passage alone in its context can one detect the personal accent of Thucydides through the mask of the annalist, not only in his alacrity to put his fellow countrymen right, out of his own special information, on the confusion between Teres and Tereus, which was probably used to recommend to them the alliance with Teres' son, but also in his triumphant satisfaction at the success of the mission, which enlisted in the forces of Athens, in spite of their estrangement and mutual rivalry, the two most powerful kings of the north, Sitalces and Perdiccas.
3. My suggestion - Thucydides describing the eclipse at the start of Peloponnesian war could use fresh experience from the total in Greece and particularly in Athens eclipse of 18 Jan 400 BC which happened when he was working on the book.
If all these possible explanations seems still unconvincing and the word "stars" hypnotizes more than everything that we know about history we may look closer at the arguments that New Chronology suggests.

The only information that we are supposed to trust Thucydides following Fomenko and Morozov is formulated in several statements [16, p.99]:

1) All three eclipses were observed from the square fitting into the following geographical coordinates: longitude between 15 and 30 degrees, latitude be?tween 30 and 42 degrees; [rather arbitrary values  -- M.G.]
2) The first eclipse is solar;
3) The second eclipse is solar;
4) The third eclipse is lunar;
5) The time interval between the first two eclipses equals 7 years;
6) The interval between the second eclipse and the third equals 11 years;
7) The first eclipse occurs in the summer;
8) The first solar eclipse is a full one, since one can see the stars - that is, its phase value equals 12. Remember one cannot see the stars during a partial eclipse; [But remember R.Newton saying about explicit denial of totality by Thucydides - M.G.]
9) The first solar eclipse occurs after midday, local time;
10) The second solar eclipse occurs in the begin?ning of summer;
11) The lunar eclipse takes place around the end of summer;
12) The second solar eclipse occurred within the temporal vicinity of March.
A quick test immediately shows that accepted dates of August 3, 431 BC; March 21, 424 BC and August 27, 413 BC pass all tests except #8. Anatoly Fomenko managed to assure some of his readers that the use of the "independent dating method" in the entire interval between 900 BC and 1700 AD shows that a precise astronomical solution does exist; furthermore, there are only two solutions that fit exactly [17, p.103]. This statement is incorrect in several ways: these "solutions" are not precise, they are not the result of independent astronomical calculations and there are much more than two triads fitting the conditions. We start from the second "solution" found by Fomenko himself [Diacu, p. 104; Fomenko p. 103]:
The second solution (A.T.Fomenko):
1039 A.D., 22 August (total solar);
1046 A.D. 9 April (partial solar)
1057 A.D. 15 September (lunar)
The irony of the fate is that the first eclipse is not total anywhere on Earth! It is annular in the same way as the eclipse of August 3, 431 BC and hence all the mockery cast by Fomenko on historians, chronologists and astronomers fights back. His eclipse was even smaller in Athens than traditional one: 0.770 versus 0.882. The second historical eclipse was also a bit stronger than that of Fomenko. Florin Diacu would immediately noticed that if only in addition to plots of phases of ancient eclipses (p.102, 105 - in fact the orientation of the crescent is not correct) he in pretension to be balanced plotted Fomenko's propositions. In the same way he would notice immediately that the triad found by Morozov (August 2, 1133; March 20, 1140; and August 28, 1151) in which the first eclipse is indeed total (though not in Athen), is hardly acceptable due to the small phase of the second eclipse (0.501) and very small phase 0.347 of partial lunar eclipse would hardly aroused "great fright of Nicias and others" [Plutarch, Nicias, 22; 23; 28]. Not much better was also the lunar eclipse of Fomenko (0.436). The classical lunar eclipse of 27 August 413 B.C. not searched but found at its place pointed by ancient historians was naturally total.

How this funny blunder of Fomenko with annular eclipse could happen? The reason is rather trivial [9]. Knowing very little about eclipses, he was searching his astronomical solutions just looking through the tables of eclipses compiled by Morozov [18] in which all eclipses from the outdated canon of eclipses of Oppoltzer (1887) are ordered according to months. In these tables the totality is omitted (while it is definitely present in the canon of Oppoltzer). This guess-work is confirmed by the fact that all the rounded figures that Fomenko gives for his eclipses coincide with that given in the tables of Morozov. I was curious about "only two" solutions and tried to satisfy twelve conditions of Fomenko with exception of #8, ignored in practice by Fomenko himself, but I extended his time frame above the year 1700 just for fun. These are the results (in brackets are phases for Athens as given by EmapWin by Shinobu Takesako) from which I took only those where the phases in Athens of the first eclipse were greater than 0.75:

507 BC/09/01 16:39 (0.913, annular)
500 BC/04/19 07:30 (0.274)
489 BC/09/27 06:18 (0.954)

431 BC/08/03 15:44 (0.882)
424 BC/03/21 06:48 (0.702)
413 BC/08/27 20:37 (1.076)
(classical eclipses of Thucydides)

812/05/14 13:17 (1.007), Total in Athens
819/06/26 06:41 (0.513)
830/11/04 07:15 (0.045)

1039/08/22 12:23 (0.770, annular)
1046/04/09 04:48 (0.637)
1057/09/15 18:10 (0.425)
This is the "solution" of Fomenko

1133/08/02 12:25 (0.993)
1140/03/20 15:21 (0.501)
1151/08/28 23:26 (0.333)
This is the "solution" of Morozov

1263/08/05 14:55 (0.908, annular)
1270/03/23 05:29 (0.856)
1281/08/31 02:22 (0.859)
This is my "solution" better than the one of Fomenko

1914/08/21 13:03 (0.763)
1921/04/08 08:52 (0.449) or 1922/03/28 14:48 (0.654)
1932/09/14 21:00 (0.977) or 1931/09/26 19:47 (1.317)
A New Chronologist of the XXX-th century can decide that the Peloponnesian  war was the First World War which began in Balcans! Even the month is given precisely.)

1999/08/11 11:11 (0.822)
2006/03/29 10:48 (0.863)
2017/08/07 18:19 (0.248)
Another gift for future New Chronologists. We should wait several years for the book of Thucydides to appear. I prefer this one as I have seen the first eclipse in total phase in Balkans myself and Venus was effectively presenting stars!

From this exercise we clearly see that astronomical calculations isolated from historical support can prove anything.

Is it possible to date independently the second solar eclipse which is described by Thucydides in Chapter IV?

The Athenians afterwards sent back Artaphernes in a galley to Ephesus, and ambassadors with him, who heard there of the death of King Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes, which took place about that time, and so returned home.

The same winter the Chians pulled down their new wall at the command of the Athenians, who suspected them of meditating an insurrection, after first however obtaining pledges from the Athenians, and security as far as this was possible for their continuing to treat them as before. Thus the winter ended, and with it ended the seventh year of this war of which Thucydides is the historian.

In first days of the next summer there was an eclipse of the sun at the time of new moon, and in the early part of the same month an earthquake.

Here we have a direct link to the history of other nation. The eclipse happened soon after the death of the famous Persian king Artaxerxes (465BC-424BC). If we prefer astronomical dating we still can confirm this date as the dates of roolership of Persian kings are found in the "Canon of Kings" from the astronomical "Handy Tables" of Ptolemy and is confirmed by astronomical observations dated according to this Canon not only in Greek sources but in Babylonian Astronomical diaries on clay tablets.

I want to touch now the results of independent investigations made by Florin Diacu. First of all his interpretation of the aims of research of ancient and medieval eclipses by F.R.Stephenson and his colleagues as well as his understanding of the variations of the Earth's spin is far from clarity. However, it looks more appropriate to discuss them in the frames of chapter 3 alongside with the mythical "D'' problem". We now want to investigate the phrase by Thucydides which attracted the author's attention: "eclipses of the Sun occurred with a frequency unrecorded in previous history."  Florin Diacu believes that this phrase can be a key to the "correct" solution and that indeed it favors Fomenko's erroneous "solution" with annular eclipse.  I do not want to be pedantic comparing lists of eclipses, though the lists that are given for the 11th and 12th centuries [p.273] are incorrect (the list for the classical time taken from the paper of Stephenson Fatoohi is valid). But I want to pay attention to a very strange "Thucydides" of the 11th century, who missed two stronger annular eclipses 1044/11/22(0.927 in Athens), 1058/2/25(0.962) as well as 1061/6/20(0.691), but described smaller one 1046/4/9(0.637 and instead of several total lunar eclipses a smaller one frightened the army of Niceas. "Thucydides" of the next century is not better - he noticed insignificant darkening of the eclipse with magnitude 0.5, failed to notice 1138/11/4(0.932), 1147/10/26(0.945) and 1153/1/26(0.599) and again a small lunar eclipse frightened Greeks. Classical Thucydides is much smarter - his solar eclipses are the strongest in 27 years and his lunar eclipse is total.

Are there more direct astronomical evidences that classical dating of Thucydides' eclipses are correct? Can we add one more condition to the twelve conditions formulated by Fomenko to get unique solution? It looks that the answer is positive. To do so we apply to Cicero who also knows about the first eclipse of Thucydides but adds some Roman eclipses [18, I, 25]:

They relate in a similar way, that in the great war, in which the Athenians and Lacedemonians contended with such violent resentment, the famous Pericles, the first man of his country, in credit, eloquence, and political genius, observing the Athenians overwhelmed with an excessive alarm, during an eclipse of the sun, which cast a universal shadow, told them what he had learned in the school of Anaxagoras, that these phenomena necessarily happened at precise and regular periods when the body of the moon was interposed between the sun and the earth, and that if they happened not before every new moon, it was because they could only happen when the new moons fell at certain specific periods. Having evinced this truth by his reasonings, he freed the people from their alarms. At that period, indeed, the doctrine was new and unfamiliar, respecting the eclipse of the sun by the interposition of the moon. They say that Thales of Miletus, was the first to discover it. Afterwards our Ennius appears to have been acquainted with the same theory, for he wrote in the 350th year of Rome's foundation, that in the nones of June, Soli luna obstitit et nox -"the sun was covered by the moon and night.

The eclipse of Ennius should interest us. Is it possible to bind it with Thucydidean eclipse? Cicero himself gives us the required link:

In fact, if, as we consider proved by the Grecian annals, Rome was founded in the seventh Olympiad. [18, II,17].

Attentive reader may notice from this statement that Cicero uses 750 BC as the date of foundation of Rome, the same basis was used by Polybius and later Livy. Better known date of Varro 753 BC was agreed upon and used by chronologists later. However we need only relative date now - 350 years after 7th Olympyad. This gives us possibly total eclipse in Rome approximately 31 years after the first eclipse of Thucydides (beginning of the second year of 87th Olympiad). That is all! The eclipse of June 21, 400 BC was indeed total in Rome, and could turn day into night, while the two "ideal" triads of Fomenko fail as there was no such a strong eclipse in Rome around 1070 AD (24 November 1071 - 0.607) and 1164 AD (3 July 1163 - 0.702). The republican calendar in Rome in 400 BC was quite different from the Julian calendar and we should not expect total coincidence with the date of Ennius (the nones of June = 5th day of June) but we see that Roman historians were correct saying that in this time the months were in agreement with seasons.

Summing up, using just Thucydides eclipses and one Roman eclipse chronologically  linked with them we have managed to confirm astronomically that there are no visible problems in Greek and Roman chronology and have found that Fomenko's "solutions" are just a play of mind.

     "Livys eclipse" and "The Lunar Eclipse of Livy and Plutarch"

We follow Fomenko and Diacu in testing Roman eclipses. In previous section we saw that at least one Roman eclipse suits the accepted chronology remarkably well. The most important source of information about republican Rome is Livys Ab Urbe Condita ("From the Founding of the City").  Livy presents his history in the form of annals, i.e. every event in the text is internally dated by consular years for a republican period. We may doubt the accuracy of Livys sources and his dates but we definitely cannot reject everything he writes except for a couple of eclipses.

Livy describes several possible solar eclipses (Liv.XXII.1; XXX.38; XXXVII.4; XXXVIII.36) and one lunar eclipse  (XLIV.37).  Astronomers had no problems finding eclipses in appropriate years by looking up the consular lists (fasti consulares). The marble version of this list from the triumphal arch of Augustus called Fasti Capitolini, can be seen in the Capitoline Museums in Rome (photo from Livius.Org, with permission). The modern  version of the consular list can be found for example in the book of Bickerman  [11] or on the Internet. To avoid suspitions in modern fine tuning of the consular lists to the eclipses, I am using below an early medieval version of consular list attached to the chronicle of Hydatius, the so-called Consularia Constantinopolitana [19].

The third solar eclipse happened during the consulship of  L. Cornelius Scipio and C. Laelius who ruled  according to the Consularia in 564 AUC = 190/189 B.C: 564 Scipione et Laelio. In the same way the lunar eclipse before the battle of Pydna happened during  the consulship of  L. Aemilius Paulus for the second time, fourteen years after his first consulship, and C. Licinius Crassus.  According to the Consularia this is 586 Paulo et Crasso   586 AUC = 168/167 BC.  The eclipses of March 14, 190 BC and June 21, 168 BC match the years in the same way as other not so clearly described eclipses (217 BC  Feb. 11,  203 BC May 6 (?),188 BC  July 17).

If we want, however, to verify Livy using independent astronomical dating claimed by Fomenko, we should search in historical time other solar eclipses, forming the same chronological pattern as described in the source. This method Fomenko applied to Thucydides but now he changes the rules of the game ignoring all the eclipses but two one solar and one lunar and tries to date them separately from other eclipses and from each other. Where is the logic? To date these two eclipses Fomenko as Morozov before him tried to use calendrical dates of the eclipses given by Livy.  It would be natural if we could only recalculate the dates of irregular Roman republican calendar with intercalations guided by pontiffs into Julian dates. Morozov, Fomenko and Diacu naively assume that the fifth day before ides of Quintilis means  July 10 of the Julian calendar, though even the name of the month witnesses that this assumption is wrong. Moreover, as written in every textbook on chronology, for the Romans using inclusive counting the fifth day before ides was July 11th and not 10th and there were no eclipses on this date visible in Rome since the fifth century B.C.  Livy himself opposes the idea of the Julian calendar by mentioning in the same 37th book that  Scipio celebrated his triumph one and a half years after the eclipse "on the last day of the intercalary month, the day before March 1st." (Liv. XXXVII, 59).

In the same way the revisionists think that the date of the lunar eclipse before the nones of September is September 4 of Julian Calendar.  According to Livy the lunar eclipse happened 22 years after the solar one. If we calculate the number of days between the eclipses assuming the Julian calendar we can easily disprove this assumption as such combination of events is impossible   the number of days between the eclipses should contain a semiwhole number of lunar months. The New Chronology of Fomenko completely ignores the intervals as well as consuls directly pointing to the year and suggests AD July 10, 967 (the date inherited by Fomenko from Morozov who also proposed 530 AD) for the solar eclipse and  AD 955 or 1020 for the lunar one crudely violating the intervals or even reversing  the sequence.

In the spirit of tradition, Fomenko interpreted the text as saying that the contour of the Moon was visible, which happens only when the Moon passes below the centre of the Sun. This optical effect is known to astronomers, who noticed at the end of the nineteenth century that the eclipse of March 14, 190 BC  didnt satisfy this condition in the given geographic zone. [p.108]
I am at a loss as to what optical effect is meant. Livy states that the daylight was obscured, though the sky was clear, by the moon passing under the orb of the sun (caelo sereno interiu obscurata lux est, cum luna sub orbem solis subisset) which just could mean that he understands the cause of solar eclipses. Diacu himself points that this simplest interpretation is possible. The eclipse of 190 BC had a phase of 0.919 in Rome that guarantees significant darkening thus perfectly fitting the description.  If, however, one insists on literal understanding of the phrase that the disk of the Moon passed a bit lower than the disk of the Sun, thus leaving easily observable thin uncovered shining crescent at the top, the eclipse of 190 BC also fits this description remarkably well. Under astronomers at the end of the nineteenth century Ginzel is evidently meant who reviewed the results of previous historians and astronomers agreeing in dating this eclipse (Scaliger, Petavius, Ideler, Hofmann, Lynn, Riccioli, Struyck, Stockwell and Seyffarth the last two also proposed the possibility of the total eclipse July 17  188 BC, which however suits the solar eclipse of Livy in XXXVIII.36). I could not find Ginzels complaints about any conditions [20, p. 190].

The reason of difference in months of Roman republican calendar and Julian calendar is well known. The length of the casual Roman year with 12 months was just 355 days (close to the length of 12 lunar months). To achieve an agreement with solar year Roman pontiffs from time to time inserted into calendar additional month Marcedonius. However during the Punic wars these insertions (intercalations) were not made and the calendar came out of synchronization with the seasons.  The practice of intercalations recommenced in the second century BC (Liv.XXXVII.59; XLIII.11; XLV.44) and the difference gradually diminished to one or two months at the beginning of the first century BC, when the Civil wars again ruined the order. Still different sources including Livy give an opportunity to reconstruct with some probability the Roman republican calendar. The synchronization returned only after the reform of the calendar of Julius Caesar in 46 BC, by making this year of confusion 445 days long.

It is natural that after the reform of the calendar the dates of eclipses described by Roman authors fit the Julian calendar. For example Pliny [21] precisely gives the date, the time and the visibility conditions in Rome and Armenia for the eclipse of 59, Apr. 30:

An eclipse of the sun that occured on April 30 [pridie kalendas Maias] in the consulship of Vipstanus and Fonteius a few years ago was visible in Campania between 1 and 2 p.m. but was reported by Corbulo commanding in Armenia as observed between 4 and 5: this was because the curve of the globe discloses and hides different phenomena for different localities.
    The Crucifixion and Jesus
"In the third book of his Histories, Thallos dismisses this darkness as a solar eclips. In my opinion, this is noncence. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on Luna 14, and what happened to the Saviour occured one day before the Passover. But an eclipse of the sun takes place when the moon passes under the sun. The only time when this can happen is in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last day of the old moon, when they are in conjunction. How then could one believe an eclipse took place when the moon was almost in opposition to the sun? So be it. Let what had happened beguile the masses, and let this wonderful sign to the world be considered a solar eclipse through optical ."
              Julius Africanus, 3rd century. [10, p.466]

I was very much surprised by a very modest volume and contents of these two sections in the book of F.Diacu, unproportionally small as compared to the role of Christ in the theory of Fomenko. I can only suspect that Florin Diacu just did not want to spurn unprepared readers. He presents  only Fomenkos astronomical datings of the birth of Jesus  in 1054 and crucifixion either in 1075 or in 1086 or in 1095 (throw a coin to choose) leaving the reader unaware that Jesus Christ according to an early theory of Fomenko was Roman pope Saint Gregory VII Hildebrand (1020/1025-May 1085).

(The tomb of Pope Gregorius VII in the Cathedral of Salerno (Italy) from Wikipedia commons).

I wrote early theory, because now the overmentioned different ideal and precise astronomical dates are abandoned as a new figures are suggested as the real Jesus Byzantine emperor Andronikos I Komnenos who lived one century later (c.1118 September 12, 1185) and at the same time Russian prince Andrei Bogolyubsky (c. 1111- June 28, 1174). This promotion looks as a well calculated commercial move. The Russian audience could not accept Christ in the form of a Catholic pope. The orthodox emperor who visited Russia and bifurcated here is a much more appealing candidate. The new Christ was presented in 2004 in a book The Tsar of Slavs with three editions up today:

Needless to say that a new set of astronomical datings of Christ is not less ideal and precise according to Fomenko (plus or minus several decades) but not less selfcontradictory. In the light of this Newest chronology   previous astronomical arguments of Fomenko and Nosovsky do not deserve attention but still

Every year on the eve of Easter and Christmas newspapers and popular magazines all over the world like to publish something about scientific theories concerning Jesus. The scripture does give enough chronological landmarks to determine approximate period of ministry of Christ but does not give precise dates. For example not only there are documents that connect Jesus to Tiberius, the Roman emperor from AD 14 to 37 [p.112] but this is directly written in [Luke 3:1-2]:

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
In the same way the birth of Christ is connected with previous emperor Augustus (27 BC 14 AD) [Luke 2:1]:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
The accepted beginning of our era associated with the birth of Christ (Anno Domini) was chosen quite arbitrary and is based on a date of Dionysius Exigiuus whose reasoning is unknown. In his book Florin Diacu could not decipher a very simple message from Dionysius [p.111]:
If you want to find out which year it is since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, compute fifteen times 34, yielding 510; to these always add the correction 12, yielding 522; also add the indiction of the year you want, say, in the consulship of Probus Junior, the third, yielding 525 years altogether. These are the years since the incarnation of the Lord.
However this paragraph just states that the incarnation happened 34 full indiction cycles ago (15-years cycles of taxation customary used to date documents in medieval times, plus 12 years from the incarnation to the beginning of the next cycle, plus three years to the consulship of Probus which was the third year in indiction reckoning).

Fomenko stands among hundreds of other researches and many professional astronomers among them which tried to use heavenly events described by evangelists to define more precisely the dates of nativity and crucifixion. The most extended bibliography on this subject may be found on the site of Robert Harry van Gent.

Critical sections for the attempts to apply astronomy to scripture describe miracles during crucifixion:

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. [Mathew 27:45]

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. [Mark 15:33]

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. [Luke 23:44-45]

Early fathers of the Church unanimously support Luke thinking that it was solar eclipse. However already Julius Africanus in the 3rd century as Syncellus (8th century) witnesses (see the epigraph),  noticed that solar eclipse is astronomically impossible near Easter and that is why the darkness should be considered miraculous.
"In the third book of his Histories, Thallos dismisses this darkness as a solar eclips. In my opinion, this is noncence. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on Luna 14, and what happened to the Saviour occured one day before the Passover. But an eclipse of the sun takes place when the moon passes under the sun. The only time when this can happen is in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last day of the old moon, when they are in conjunction."
I suppose that it was the Italian Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riciolli (1598-1671) who was the first (at least Ginzel names him first) to propose instead of a solar eclipse to look for a lunar one and found  it in April 3, 33 AD. This ingenious substitution though contradicting scripture in some details has an important advantage it fits remarkably well chronological details of the gospels. In 2003 mass media distributed the news about the rediscovery of this date by Romanian compatriots of Florin Diacu. Fomenko joins the Jesuit in search of the lunar eclipse in Good Friday and finds another one on April 3, 1075. In fact as I found myself this approach can confirm nearly any chronology as evening Good Friday lunar eclipses are quite frequent (3 Apr 33 (Riciolli), 4 Apr 60, 7 Apr 209, 31 Mar 405, 3 Apr 554, 25 Mar 628, 7 Apr 730, 28 Apr 777, 21 Mar 973, 3 Apr 1075 (Fomenko), 24 Mar 1122).

If we want to stay however on historical ground we should look for historical eclipses associated with Jesus, and turning again to Eusebius/Jerome  we read the following:

Jesus Christ, according to the prophecies, which had been spoken about him beforehand, came to the Passion in the 18th year of Tiberius, at which time also we find these things written verbatim in other commentaries of the gentiles: an eclipse of the sun happened, Bithynia shaken by earthquake, and in the city of Nicaea many buildings collapsed: all of which agree with what occurred in the Passion of the Saviour. Indeed Phlegon, who is an excellent calculator of olympiads, also writes about this, in his 13th book writing thus: 'However in the fourth year of the 202nd olympiad, an eclipse of the sun happened, greater and more excellent than any that had happened before it; at the sixth hour, day turned into dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of the city of Nicaea.
The eclipse described by Phlegon  is also referred to as a proof of scripture by Africanus, Origen, and Malalas. Unfortunately the books of Phlegon are known only from the citations of other authors.  The contradiction here is that Africanus (according to Syncellus) thought that Jesus was crucified on the next year after baptizing, in 29/30 AD, while Eusebius supposed that the mission of Jesus was three years longer. Independently on ones attitude to Jesus and Christiany, the total solar eclipse could be seen in the neighborhood to Nicaea (modern Iznik in Turkey) on 24 Nov 29 thus favoring Africanus which was not the forth but the first year of the 202nd Olympiad. The explanation of the date in Eusebius may be due to the standard error with Greek numbers where figures 1 (A) and delta (D) may look alike.

To date the birth of Jesus Fomenko binds the star of Bethlehem with the famous supernova which formed the Crab Nebula in the constellation of Taurus, the only supernova as it seems Fomenko heard about. Moreover in his newest chronology of Jesus instead of searching for a new astronomical event he shifts the explosion of the same supernova to the middle of the twelfth century. Bearing in mind that even for the short traditional period constrained by Augustus and Herod several different astronomical candidates for the star of Mages were suggested (planet conjunctions, other supernova, Halley comet) with many possible dates Fomenkos candidate has no value at all (see the bibliography of Robert Harry van Gent).


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