How did ancient people explain inverted seasons on the other side of the equator?

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In the southern hemisphere, seasons are inverted compared to the northern hemisphere. Before the current knowledge that this is caused by Earth’s tilt compared to its rotation around the sun, how did people explain this?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

There is some evidence of an Egyptian expedition that went well south of the equator and in fact, may have circumnavigated Africa in about 600 BCE.

Herodotus tells a story about Egyptian king Necho who ordered an expedition of Phoenician sailers to sail west through the Mediterranean and circumnavigate Africa. Their trip took three years, but produced a startling result.

During the return half the voyage, when they were sailing east, the sailers observed the sun was on the wrong side of the ship. They were used to the sun being on their right when sailing east, but it was reported to be on their left.

Herodotus, the writer who related the story, did not believe their story because he thought the sun would not so such a thing. Although if you are south of the equator, that’s exactly what they would see.

No one is certain the story is true, but the very fact which caused its reporter to doubt it may be evidence it was true.

Had they spent any time in the southern part of Africa, they might well have noticed the seasons were backwards from their northern experience.

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