Menzel (crater) vs. Eugenium

Menzel (crater)

Finally! I get to defend the moon! Well, not the whole moon. Just a tiny little lunar impact crater in the southeast of the Sea of Tranquility. It’s named after Donald H. Menzel, presumably because he discovered it. Menzel was a prominent astronomer and astrophysicist who wrote a bunch of books debunking UFOs.

From a quick look at his bio, Menzel’s eponymous crater is a tiny blip on his impressive career. In addition to being one of the first prominent scientists to debunk UFOs, he was the director of the Harvard Observatory for years, and his work laid the groundwork for studies of planetary nebulae.

But back to his crater. There’s not much I can tell you about it – it’s about three km in diameter, which sounds pretty big to me, but I guess is very wee in the context of the moon. Even wikipedia says that the crater’s surrounding area is “devoid of features of interest”, which is a little mean. I mean, look at the picture? Menzel! So cute and round! And at least we know its exact coordinates (3°24′N 36°54′E / 3.4°N 36.9°E, if you’re interested) – no one even knows where Eugenium is!



The Parthini tribe may have set up shop around here to establish their unique Illyrian culture and fight some epic battles and possibly not even exist. Still, it all makes for fascinating stuff.

Jesus, this is going to be a long week. A one-sentence Wikipedia entry is never a good sign. Eugenium was “was a village or fort of the Illyrian Parthini whose location is still unknown.” If I think about it, this should be enough alone to convince you that this is better than some insignificant crater. But to make sure, let’s start from the top. Illyria itself is quite a mouth full that I think is your best bet for if you want to dissect it fully. But basically, Illyria is “a district of the Balkan Peninsula, which has varied in extent at different periods.” Dating back to Ancient Greece, Illyria “connoted the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and the adjoining mountainous territory stretching into the interior, all of which was the abode of Illyrian tribes.” Some tribes migrated to Italy and were defeated by the Romans. Other areas where they settled, they failed to forge a distinct unity.

So very little is actually known of the tribes and much exists in myth and archaeological evidence. The Parthini tribe are even more mysterious. According to The Roman Revolution by Ronald Syme, the Parthini were a native people dwelling in the hinterland of Dyrrhachium

This was near to one of the oldest cities in Europe, Epidamnos, which was situated up in the mountains. With an advantageous location for battle, that’s probably why they set up Eugenium there. Smart people! Never mind that they still lost, people still don’t really know if they fucking ever existed in the first place. In other words, this is pretty fascinating stuff.

I have a headache.

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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