Navigating the Skies with Thales of Miletus
In the early migrations around 11th century BCE, many Greeks settled along the Turkish coast, engaging in cultural exchanges with neighboring civilizations like the Lydians and Persians. This mingling, detailed by Herodotus (Hdt.1.142) and Strabo (14.1.7), laid the groundwork for the Ionian Revolution. Ionian scholars, connected with both western relatives and maritime cultures such as Egypt, initiated a transformative shift in their understanding of the cosmos. By the sixth century BCE Celestial Views in Ancient Greece, they explored the idea that the universe operated on physical, mechanical principles rather than relying solely on divine whims.
Thales of Miletus (c. 585 BCE): Pioneer in Astronomy
Thales, often hailed as the first philosopher, contributed significantly to early Greek astronomy. While sources about him are limited, he gained fame for predicting the eclipse of 585 BCE (Hdt. 1.74). Scholars believe he achieved this feat by studying Babylonian eclipse and lunar observations, recognizing a recurrence pattern every 18 years Istanbul Tours Guide. Thales’ pursuits extended to star observations and trigonometry, laying the groundwork for these fields. Unfortunately, details of his theories are obscured by later legends, and no written records exist. Thales conceptualized the Earth as flat and water-borne, proposing an initial substance, possibly water, from which the world emerged (Aristot. Met. 983b 6).