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    Re: Dating Caesar's first incursion to Britain
    From: Bill Morris
    Date: 2008 Jul 8, 21:28 -0700

    I'm a little confused by the extract. Caesar's Commentaries, Book IV
    Ch XXIII et seq give an account of his landing. His reference "It
    happened that night to be full moon, which usually occasions very high
    tides in that ocean" was four days after the initial landing.(Ch
    XXVIII and XXIX). I don't see any reference to "an ocean current that
    changed direction in mid afternoon."
    
    But the extract is a report of a report...
    
    Caesar's commentaries are available though the Gutenburg project for
    those who want to read more.
    
    Bill Morris
    
    On Jul 9, 3:58�am, "George Huxtable" 
    wrote:
    > The following message, taken from the Hastro-L (history of astronomy)
    > mailing list, through a roundabout route, may appeal to those Navlist
    > members who have recently had enough of celestial navigation.
    >
    > This one �relates mainly to tidal matters in navigation (so is indirectly,
    > celestial also). It appeareed a week or so ago
    >
    > You need to look at the press release and blog, referred to near the end, to
    > make much sense of it, but that may be worth doing, if you are interested in
    > such things.
    >
    > From the information available to me to date, I am not very impressed by the
    > researchers' �methodology, but that may be unfair, because I haven't read
    > the actual article in the August Sky & Telescope, which is probably
    > available in the US by now. All I have to go on as yet are those web pages.
    >
    > Which leads me to a request. If some Navlist member reads Sky & Telescope,
    > and has access to that August issue, I wonder if he would kindly take a look
    > at it, and let me know the actual dates and times of those August 2007
    > observations that were made at Deal and at Dover. I'm not asking for a scan
    > of the pages (though wouldn't mind getting one....).
    >
    > Here follows the forwarded message. Sorry it's going to be a bit chopped-up.
    >
    > George.
    >
    > contact George Huxtable at geo...@huxtable.u-net.com
    > or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    > or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    >
    > ===========================================
    >
    > THE FOLLOWING RELEASE WAS RECEIVED FROM SKY & TELESCOPE MAGAZINE, IN
    > CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, AND IS FORWARDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION.
    > (FORWARDING DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT BY THE AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL
    > SOCIETY.) �Steve Maran, American Astronomical Society
    > steve.ma...@aas.org �1-202-328-2010 x116
    >
    > Astronomers Re-Date Caesar's Invasion of Britain
    >
    > June 30, 2008
    >
    > Contacts:
    > Donald W. Olson, Department of Physics, Texas State University
    > � � �1-512-245-2131 , dol...@txstate.edu
    > Roger W. Sinnott, Senior Editor, Sky & Telescope
    > � � 1-617-864-7360 x2146, rsinn...@skyandtelescope.com
    >
    > Researchers from Texas State University have revised the date when
    > Julius Caesar
    > invaded Britain in 55 BC, a transformational event in world history. Despite
    > what most history books state, Caesar could not have landed on August 26-27.
    > "The English Channel was flowing the wrong way," says team leader Donald W.
    > Olson, a tide expert. He and fellow professor Russell Doescher, aided by
    > astronomy honors students Kellie Beicker and Amanda Gregory, reached this
    > conclusion during an expedition to England's southern coast last summer.
    > Earlier, Olson had identified August 2007 as rare opportunity to settle the
    > longstanding dispute among history scholars and scientists concerning
    > Caesar's
    > landing. During that month, complex tidal factors involving the Moon and Sun
    > would unfold in a near-perfect replay of those in August of 55 BC.
    > "We realized we could go out in a boat and observe the current for
    > ourselves,"
    > Olson explains. "The year 1901 would have been just as good for this
    > experiment, but no one noticed."
    >
    > According to Olson's team, Caesar's invasion fleet must have arrived four
    > days
    > earlier - August 22-23 in 55 BC - to have acquired a suitable northeastward
    > current. The revised date reconciles an ancient record of a "falling
    > tide" with
    > Caesar's own description of the coastline topography as he moved his
    > fleet along
    > the white cliffs of Dover. The Texas researchers present their findings in
    > the August 2008 Sky & Telescope magazine.
    >
    > Invasion Fleet Crosses the Channel
    > When his 100 warships carrying two Roman legions (perhaps 10,000 men)
    > approached
    > the white cliffs, Caesar noticed a multitude of javelin-wielding
    > Celtic warriors
    > lined up along the ridge and decided to look for a better landing spot. He
    > ordered his fleet to move along the coast, and after about seven
    > miles they came to "an open and flat shore."
    >
    > But which way did Caesar turn - left or right - and when did he actually set
    > foot on British soil? For centuries, these two questions have vexed not only
    > historians, but the residents of coastal towns vying for the claim of
    > "Caesar was here."
    >
    > Caesar mentioned unexpectedly strong tides, a full Moon, and an ocean
    > current
    > that changed direction in mid-afternoon. These clues even led famous
    > astronomers
    > Edmond Halley and George Airy to weigh in - but they disagreed with
    > each other's
    > conclusions. The debate about the date and place of Caesar's landing has
    > raged ever since.
    >
    > The Texas team's revised date, August 22-23, gives Caesar the ocean current
    > he
    > needed to maneuver right, proceed seven miles, and land with a
    > falling tide near
    > present-day Deal. That's the beach preferred by most historians but
    > rejected by
    > tide experts in the past. What's more, a modified reading of Caesar's
    > reference
    > to the "night of a full Moon" also leads to the August 22-23 date.
    >
    > "The scientists were right about the tidal streams," Olson says, "and so
    > were
    > the historians about the landing site. With our new result and our new date,
    > everything is reconciled."
    >
    > "I had a blast watching these guys in action," says Sky & Telescope Senior
    > Editor Roger Sinnott, who joined the Texas State expedition last summer.
    > "One
    > day they were using GPS to measure their small boat's drift off Dover
    > harbor,
    > and on another they were tossing apples from the end of the long Deal pier
    > to
    > see which way the current went." Sinnott has been Olson's editor on two
    > dozen
    > past projects for Sky & Telescope since 1987.
    >
    > The Texas researchers have also studied paintings of night scenes by Van
    > Gogh
    > and Munch, dated photographs of the Moon by Ansel Adams, and
    > interpreted cryptic
    > lines in a Shakespearean play. Closely related to their work on
    > Caesar is their
    > earlier research on how the Moon and tides affected the World War II
    > amphibious
    > landings on the Pacific atoll of Tarawa and in Normandy on D-day.
    >
    > Caesar's historic landing in 55 BC was the Roman Empire's first
    > excursion north
    > of France, literally to the fringe of the then-known world. When he
    > crossed the
    > English Channel again the following summer with a 10-times-larger
    > fleet, it was
    > very much like a D-day in reverse.
    >
    > In their Sky & Telescope article, the Texas State researchers think they've
    > resolved an age-old debate: When and where did Caesar first land in Britain?
    >
    > Note to Editors/Producers: Images and a parallel release from Texas State
    > University are athttp://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2008/06/Caesar...
    > � or you may contact press officer Jayme Blaschke at j...@txstate.edu
    >
    > Roger Sinnott's blog relating to this story appears 
    athttp://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/home/21410774.html
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