Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Thyestes.

translated by Caryl Churchill

Thyestes is the background to the play Oresteia 458 BC

Phoebus, god of the sun, who suffers so much, even though you've fled back and plunged the broken day out of the sky, still you've set too late...Even though the sun god turned his chariot back, and sent night from the east at a strange time to bury the foul horror in a new darkness, still it must be seen. All evils get laid open.

Sun, where have you gone? how could you get lost half way through the sky? The evening star's not there yet, the chariot hasn't turned in the west and freed the horses, the ploughman whose oxen still aren't tired can't believe it is supper time.

The way things take turns in the world has stopped. There'll be no setting anymore and no rising. Dawn usually gives the god the reins, she doesn't know how to sponge down the tired sweating horses and plunge them into the sea.

Whatever this is I hope it is night. I'm struck with terror in case it's all collapsing, shapeless chaos crushing gods and men. No winter, no spring, (if the sun moved 180° the stars marking spring and fall would reverse. Also if the sun moved other than on the equinox the vertical, ecliptic, axis must twist to keep earth in the same season.) no moon racing her brother, planets piled together in a pit. (The planets must move 180° also with the sun. If the sun stood still on earth the planets must also move to stand still in the sky.)

The zodiac's falling. (The earth now orbiting the sun in the reverse direction. How could they write about a reverse orbit if they did not actually experience it?) The ram's in the sea, the bull's bright horns drag twins and crab, burning lion brings back the virgin, the scales pull down the sharp scorpion (perhaps the axis tilt shifted and the signs of the zodiac shifted up or down the path of the zodiac - the twist needed to leave no biological trace on earth, no change in seasons.) the archer's bow is broken, the cold goat breaks the urn, there go the fish.

Have we been chosen out of everyone somehow deserving to have the world smash up and fall on us? or have the last days come in our lifetime? It's a hard fate, whether we've lost the sun or driven it away...the earth is unmoved. (Moving the earth at terrific speeds could produce the same effect. However, this history shows the sun and other planets moving, not the earth. Also, an email from Sean Scully at NASA stated we would have seen something very different if it was earth that moved around the sun in a day.)

(See Psalm 93:1 "The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved."
Psalm 104:5 "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.")

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Thyestes.

translated by Moses Hadas

Ah, patient Phoebus, though you fled backward and submerged shattered daylight in mid heaven, your setting was too late...Though Titan himself should reverse his chariot and steer it on a backward course, though thick night be ordered out at day's proper rising to swathe the loathsome act in unexampled darkness, it must nevertheless be visible: every iniquity will be punished.

Whither, father of earth and sky at whose rising all dark night's comeliness flees, whither do you turn your course, why do you extinguish daylight at high noon? Why so hasty, Phoebus, in hiding our sight of you? Vesper, evening's harbinger, has not yet summoned night's luminaries, its westward-turning wheel has not yet finished its course and been discharged, the third trumpet has not yet sounded day's decline, the ploughman with oxen still fresh is astonished that the supper hour has come so soon. What has driven you from your heavenly course? What has happened to dislodge your horses from their established track? Can it be that Dis' prison is opened and the vanquished Giants are again attempting war? Can it be that maimed Tityus has renewed the ancient wrath in his fore done heart? Has Typhoeus thrown his mountain off and extricated his frame? Is a road being paved on high by the Giants of Phlegra field and is Thracian Ossa piled on Thessalian Pelion?

The customary alterations of the firmament have ceased; there will be no setting, no rising. The dewy mother of morning light, Dawn, whose use is to hand the god his reins, is astonished at her threshold's change of function; it was not her part to wet the weary chariot down or to plunge the sweaty and steamy horses in the sea. A novice in this unaccustomed haven, Sun finds Dawn at his setting and bids darkness fall through Night is yet unready. The stars do not take their posts and no fires twinkle in heaven; Luna does not push the thick shadows aside. But whatever this means, would it were night! Our hearts are atremble, atremble, they are smitten with a great fear that the universe may totter and crash in fate's ruin, that shapeless Chaos may once more overwhelm gods and men, that Nature may once more cover up lands and circling sea and the wandering stars that spangle the firmament. No more shall their leader who guides time's flow by the rising of his eternal torch provide signs of summer and winter (The stars marking the seasons changed. Perhaps both the reverse orbit and the necessary twist on the vertical axis about the ecliptic pole.) No more shall Luna intercepting Phoebus' flame dispel night's terrors and outstrip her brother's driving on the arc of her shorter track. (The moon continues its counterclockwise orbit while earth now orbits clockwise. Earth must orbit the sun 370 mph faster in a reverse orbit to keep 365 solar days per year. Then the moon must slow down its orbit of the earth because orbit is against orbit to keep the number of days of the lunar month.) The whole troop of gods in a heap shall descend into a single cleft. The Zodiac through which the hallowed stars move, whose path bisects the Zones at an angle, who guides the long years and is their standard-bearer, shall fall, and in its fall see the falling constellations. (The path of the zodiac remains the same. Only the seasons are shifted up and down the zodiac when the earth twists about the ecliptic pole.) The Ram, who gives sails to warm Zephyr before spring has grown benignant, shall fall headlong into the waves over which he had ferried fearful Hellen. The Bull who carries the Hyades before him on his shiny horn will drag the Twins down with him and the Crab's curving claws. Herculean Leo, seething with torrid heat, will again fall from the sky. Virgo will fall to the earth she abandoned, and in her fall Libra's just balances will force fierce Scorpion down. Old Sagittarius, who holds feathered shafts to his Haemonian bowstring, shall lose those shafts when the bowstring breaks. Frigid Capricorn, who brings chill winter back, will fall and break your pitcher (seasons shifted up and down the zodiac), Aquarius, whoever you are. With you shall fall the Fish, heaven's last constellation, and the Wain (Great Bear), which was never washed by the sea, the swathing whirlpool shall engulf. (A twist about the ecliptic pole in the dragon constellation would twist the circum polar region below the horizon.) Slippery Serpent, which separates the Bears like a river, shall fall, as will chill Cynosura the Lesser, which is joined to Draco the Greater by hard frost. The slow wagoner Arctophylax will lose his steadfastness and crash. ("It was their own transgression that brought them to their doom, for in their folly they devoured the oxen (or wagon) of the Sun-god and he saw to it that they would never return." - Homer. Perhaps a depiction of both a reverse orbit and the circum polar region being "plunged beneath the waves")

Are we alone of mankind deemed worthy of being overwhelmed by an unhinged universe? Is it upon us the last day has come? Ah, hard lot to which we were created, whether we have lost the sun to our misery or driven it away! Away with complaint, begone fear! A man unwilling to die when the world dies with him is too greedy of life.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Thyestes.

Translated by E.F. Watling (Penguin, 1980)

Oh Father of all earth and all that lives, whose rising banishes the lesser lights that make the dark night beautiful: Why hast thou turned aside from thy appointed path? Why has thou blotted out the day and fled from heavens center? Why, O Phoebus, hast thou turned thy face from us? Vesper, the herald of the close of day, is not yet here to usher in the stars; thy wheel has not yet passed the western gate. Where with their day's work done, thy steeds should be unyoked. We have not heard the third note of the trumpet telling us that day is over. Ploughmen will stand amazed - suddenly supper-time, and oxen not yet ready to rest!
What can have forced you, Sun, from your heavenly road? What can have made your horses bolt from their fixed course? Are the Giants escaped from their prison and threatening war? Has tortured Tityos found strength in his breast again to renew his old aggression? Or has Typhoeus stretched his muscles to throw off his mountain burden? Is Ossa to be piled on Pelion again to build a bridge for the Phlegrean Giant's assault? Is all the order of the universe plunged into chaos? Will there be no more East and West? The mother of the daylight, dewy Dawn, who never fails to give the chariot-reins into the hands of Phoebus, now with horror sees her kingdom's frontiers in confusion; It is strange work for her to lead the tired horses to the water, to see them sink their steaming necks into the sea. The Sun himself is like a stranger lost in a strange land, meeting the morning as he goes to rest, calling for darkness when no night has come. The stars have not appeared, there is no light in all the sky, no moon to break the darkness.
This is the fear, the fear that knocks at the heart, that the whole world is now to fall in the ruin which fate foretells; that Chaos will come again to bury the world of gods and men; that Nature a second time will wipe out all the lands that cover the earth and the lights across the universe. Never again will the Lord of Stars lift his undying fire to guide the march of time and give his signals to the world, for summer and for autumn. Never again will there be Moon as she runs, outstripping her brother's pace upon her shorter orbit. All mingled into one vast void will fall the multitude of gods.
That belt of the constellations that marks out the passage of the years, the highway of the holy stars that lies oblique across the zones, will fall away, and see the stars fall with it. The Ram, at whose approach, even before the spring's full warmth, ships may spread sails to balmy Zephyrs - he who once carried the affrighted Hellen over the sea, into the sea himself will fall. The Bull, who holds the Hyades between his shining horns, falling will drag the Gemini down, and down will fall the bent-armed Crab. Leo, resplendent with the fires of summer, victim of Hercules, will fall again. Virgo will fall, back to the earth that once she knew; Libra's true-balanced scales will fall, and after them Sharp Scorpio. So too the aged Chiron, with feathered arrows and Thessalian bow, will lose both bow and arrows. Capricornus, slow winter's icy harbinger, will fall and break the urn of the unknown one whom we call Aquarius; and last of the twelve signs, the Fish, will disappear. Into the universal deluge will the Wain descend, which never touched the sea before; the Snake, like a meandering river sliding Between the Bears; and the great Dragon's smaller neighbour, the freezing Cynosura; and the slow-footed watcher beside the wagon, Arctophylax, will be shaken and fall into the deep.
Are we chosen out of all earth's children to perish in the last catastrophe of a disjointed universe? Are we to see the world's end come? A cruel fate brought us to birth, if we have lived to lose the Sun, or if our sins have driven him away. But we must not complain, nor fear; too fond of life is he who would not die when all the world dies with him.

Tragoediae published in Bologna

Quo terrarum superumque parens, cuius ad ortus noctis opacae decus omne fugit, quo vertis iter medioque diem perdis Olympo? cur, Phoebe, tuos rapis aspectus? nondum serae nuntius horae nocturna vocat lumina Vesper; nondum Hesperiae flexura rotae iubet emeritos solvere currus; nondum in noctem vergente die tertia misit bucina signum: stupet ad subitae tempora cenae nondum fessis bubus arator -- quid te aetherio pepulit cursu? quae causa tuos limite certo deiecit equos? numquid aperto carcere Ditis victi temptant bella Gigantes? numquid Tityos pectore fesso renovat veteres saucius iras? num reiecto latus explicuit monte Typhoeus? numquid struitur via Phlegraeos alta per hostes et Thessalicum Thressa premitur Pelion Ossa? solitae mundi periere vices: nihil occasus, nihil ortus erit. stupet Eoos assueta deo tradere frenos genetrix primae roscida lucis perversa sui limina regni; nescit fessos tinguere currus, nec fumantes sudore iubas mergere ponto. ipse insueto novus hospito sol Auroram videt occiduus, tenebrasque iubet surgere nondum nocte parata: non succedunt astra, nec ullo micat igne polus, non Luna graves digerit umbras.
Sed quidquid id est, utinam nox sit! trepidant, trepidant pectora magno percussa metu: ne fatali cuncta ruina quassata labent, iterumque deos hominesque premat deforme chaos, iterum terras et mare et ignis et vaga picti sidera mundi natura tegat. non aeternae facis exortu dux astrorum saecula ducens dabit aestatis brumaeque notas, non Phoebeis obvia flammis demet nocti Luna timores vincetque sui fratris habenas, curvo brevius limite currens; ibit in unum congesta sinum turba deorum. hic qui sacris pervius astris secat obliquo tramite zonas flectens longos signifer annos, lapsa videbit sidera labens; hic qui nondum vere benigno reddit Zephyro vela tepenti, Aries praeceps ibit in undas, per quas pavidam vexerat Hellen; hic qui nitido Taurus cornu praefert Hyadas, secum Geminos trahet et curvi bracchia Cancri; Leo flammiferis aestibus ardens iterum e caelo cadet Herculeus, cadet in terras Virgo relictas, iustaeque cadent pondera Librae, secumque trahent Scorpion acrem; et qui nervo tenet Haemonio pinnata senex spicula nervo; pigram referens hiemem gelidus cadet Aegoceros frangetque tuam, quisquis es, urnam; tecum excedent ultima caeli sidera Pisces, monstraque numquam perfusa mari merget condens omnia gurges; et qui medias dividit Ursas, fluminis instar lubricus Anguis magnoque minor iuncta Draconi frigida duro Cynosura gelu, custosque sui tardus plaustri iam non stabilis ruet Arctophlax.
Nos e tanto visi poplulo digni premeret quos everso cardine mundus? in nos aetas ultima venit? o nos dura sorte creatos, seu perdidimus solem miseri, sive expulimus! abaent questus, discede, timor: vitae est avidus quisquis non vult mondo secum pereunte mori.

Sophocles Fragments volume III, 738: "The current legend was as follows. Atreus and Thyestes were contending for the sovereignty of Mycenae. Hermes gave to Atreus a golden lamb, and this was hailed as a sign that he was to be king. Then Thyestes seduced Aerope, the wife of Aerope, and with her aid stole the lamb. Hereupon Zeus wrought a fresh portent; he changed the course of the Sun, causing it to rise in the east, and not (as it was said to have done previously) rise in the west" - If spring is when the sun is to the east of the zodiac that is a reverse orbit. In our current counterclockwise orbit spring is when the sun is to the west of the zodiac. The sun must still rise in the east each morning only earth must orbit the sun in reverse. Perhaps the sun moved 180° to set in the east as well. See Plato Politicus 268 E. (the course of the stars sometimes go backwards) is believed to mean the apparent retrograde motion of the planets [Mars appears to move backwards against a few nearby stars as earth continues past] - the wandering stars. This year in August/September 2003 Mars will appear to progress east against the stars 10°. About 1° every 6 days. Report 33 says, "Mars which has stood in Scorpio to go forth, turns"
The Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon in the British Museum by R. Campbell Thompson.
Probably though, Plato meant the retrograde motion of the stars in earth's reverse orbit as indicated by Yao's Canon where spring is when the sun is to the east of the zodiac and fall when the sun is to the west of the zodiac. Stars would then rise later each night instead of earlier and the zodiac progress in reverse through the year. The planets must also move 180° and reverse their courses to appear at the same time of night in the night sky. Thus the path of the sun through the stars as earth orbited the sun in reverse would make the stars of the zodiac to progress in reverse.

See Joshua's Long Day.