giovedì 2 ottobre 2014

October A.D. 34: the Appearance of the TACITUS' PHOENIX (Annals 6.28), i.e. one of the most important astroNomical events ever happened

La congiunzione planetaria tra Giove e Saturno che avvenne a cavallo
degli anni 34-35 nella costellazione del Leone
(congiunzione G-S eliocentrica il 28.12.34, ang.resid.=0°26'13")
At beginning of September, A.D. 34, the angular distance between Saturn and Jupiter had become less than 3° and during the whole month it continued to decrease. In these October days of 1980 years ago, the two planets seen from here, from the Earth, appeared in close conjunction in the constellation of Leo: the minimal angular distance was reached on October 5th and amounted to only 0°26'41" (less than a lunar diameter!)
Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56-117)
Writing about eighty years after this event, the greatest of Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56-117) registered in his Annals, book 6, ch. 28):

28. With Paulus Fabius and Lucius Vitellius as consuls [A.D.34], after a long cycle of centuries the phoenix came to Egypt and afforded material to the most learned of the natives and Greeks for holding forth at length on that marvel. I am pleased to set out the points on which they agree and the many details which are in doubt but not inappropriate to know. Those who have portrayed its appearance agree that that animal is sacred to the Sun and that in its face and the uniqueness of its feathers it is different from the other birds. As regards the number of its years various accounts are recorded. .. ... ... These matters are uncertain and exaggerated by fabulous details; but that that bird is seen from time to time in Egypt is not in dispute. [Tacitus, tr. R. Martin, Aris ltd, 2001]

About a phoenix appeared in the last years of Tiberius' reign wrote also Pliny the Elder and Dione Cassius, giving both as year of the appearance A.D. 36. This error was due in my opinion to the fact that the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of those years was indeed a multiple conjunction, i.e. a conjunction which lasted many months in both years A.D. 34 and 35 (what everyone can verify personally, see graphics above).
The enormous relevance of this astroNomical event is because its second close alignment Jupiter-Saturn (J-S) took place (see graphics) on 2-3 April, A.D.35, just some days before the Jewish spring-feast of Pesach. Moreover on April 6th the Moon occulted one of the two 'conjuncted' planets, Jupiter, and perhaps both.

I think everyone of you, my dear readers, can easily understand how important is this "appearance of the phoenix in A.D. 34 -35" for a scientific study (datation, essence, ...) of the religious belief based - among other things - on it: the Christianity.

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