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As I learned from my previous question, the Toltecs had a myth where the Sun did not move for a day.

In the year 8 Tochtli, which was 1,347 years after the second calamity and 4,779 years since the creation of the world, it is recorded in their history that the sun stood still one natural day without moving,

~ The Historical Works of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl. Edited and annotated by Alfredo Chavero, 1892.

This struck me as interesting because this myth also appears in the Bible.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
    and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still,
    and the moon stopped,
    till the nation avenged itself on[b] its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

~ Joshua 10:12-14

This made me wonder if these are the same event. Do the chronologies of these myths match up?

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Alas, no, they do not happen around the same time. The time difference is about 1350 years.

The corresponding footnote in the source for the Toltec version states that

  1. Anytime a number is in front of a name such as 8 Tochtli, the number refers to the day and the month and is correlated with a year. The date in which the sun stood stilt [sic] corresponds with 52 BC in the dates given by Ixtlilxochitl.

(Emphasis mine.)

For the Judeo-Christian version in Joshua, this BibleHub website page has a chronology for Joshua and gives 1406 B.C. for the events of Joshua 10.

Thus, these two myths are separated by 1354 years. Hence, these two events did not happen around the same time.


If you're really desperate to make the dates coincide, you can try to subtract 1664 years (the length of an age for the Toltecs) for no real good reason from 52 B.C. and get a date of 1716 B.C., which is only 310 years away from the Joshua version! A small enough time span to invoke fuzzy memories and the Toltec desire to have significant events fit into a numerically significant chronolgy.

  • Of course physics as we know it cannot allow for stopping the earth in its tracks in any way except in falling into the sun:losing radial velocity drastically. If this happened, from asteroid impact for example, there would be a lot more dire upheavals than the sun standing still , to remain as a mythic description.. – anna v May 7 '15 at 4:04
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    @annav: Of course this event is not possible according to the laws of physics as we know it. This is Mythology.SE after all... – El'endia Starman May 7 '15 at 4:13
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    well, the flood for example has historical basis, is true according to science/physics because there has been geological evidence for large floods and the physics mechanisms that can be involved are not totally destructive . So myths can have a historical point where they started, and in this case common to all cultures. This cannot be true for a stopping the angular velocity of the earth . – anna v May 7 '15 at 4:29
  • sorry for that, it is angular velocity that has to be stopped ( age tells :) ) the radial would increase because the earth would be falling into the sun – anna v May 7 '15 at 4:32
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    @annav: Considering the Joshua version, we're talking about an omnipotent God who created the universe. Stopping the rotation of the earth for one full day with no ill effects is peanuts compared to that. Sure, there are physical considerations, but when it comes to mythology, we're usually talking about forces more powerful and/or beyond mundane physical laws. I don't really see much of a point in discussing the physical aspects of the events in the myths. – El'endia Starman May 7 '15 at 12:34

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