ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar eclipse. Roman times. This is the frontispiece of Scientia Eclipsium by Simonelli et al (1747) and shows the Roman god Dionysus (Bacchus, front, centre) remarking at an eclipse (top centre). Behind Dionysus are Roman legions (left), and followers of Dionysus (right). In the foreground (left) is an astronomer demonstrating the scientific principles of the eclipse and a priest (right) pointing towards an obelisk with various hieroglyph-style symbols (far right). The Latin caption roughly translated means: 'Gazing at the unprecedented eclipse, Dionysus says that either God or the sun is in mourning for the suffering of man.'.
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