Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols
Thursday March 11, 2004: The question we left off with yesterday was: Do these three wars, Armageddon, Gog Magog, and Troy have anything in common?
The story of the Trojan War is, in Western Civilization, the greatest NON-religious story ever told. It has haunted the western imagination for over three thousand years. "In Troy there lies the scene," Shakespeare said.
The story of Troy is at the bedrock of Western Culture from Homer to Virgil, From Chaucer to Shakespeare to Berlioz to Yeats. We talk about "Trojan Horses" and "Achilles Heels" and go on Odysseys and "work like Trojans" and on and on.
The tales of Achilles and Hector, Helen and Paris, and so many other great heroes all assembled into one story have lured a constant stream of pilgrims to the assumed region of Troy for all of that three thousand years; from Alexander the Great to Lord Byron to Heinrich Schliemann, the alleged discoverer of "Troy." The British queen is referred to as the seed of Priam, and it was the fantasy of the Nazis to become the new Achaians, comparing Hitler with Achilles.
Troy has come to stand for ALL cities because of one tragic event: the siege and destruction and death of all its heroes - all because of a woman. Herodotus tells us that the Trojan war is the root of the enmity between Europe and Asia.
Homer is the starting point of our search for Troy. The Iliad deals with one episode of the war, a few weeks in the tenth year; a small fragment of the vast cycle of stories that dealt with the Trojan War. In classical times a series of epics now only available in fragments, or lost completely, told the rest of the story, drawing on a long and venerable tradition.
The hold that the legend of Troy had on the Greek imagination was such that, based on the story of a violation of Athena's altar at Troy by Ajax of Lokris, the people of Lokris each year sent selected daughters to expiate this sin of their ancestor. They suffered indignities willingly, and it was said that the Trojans had the right to kill them. They lived out their days as slaves, in confinement and poverty. This custom continued into the 1st century AD as a testimony to the potency of the legend of Troy.
In the ancient world, it was uniformly believed that the Trojan War was a historical event. Anaxagoras was one of the few who doubted it because there was no proof. Herodotus, in the 5th century BC, inquired of the Egyptian priests as to whether or not the Greek version of the story was true, that is, did they have an alternative record of it, since there were no written records before Homer committed it to writing.
Based on the work of Homer, around 400 BC, Thucydides constructed a "history" of prehistoric Greece. No one knows how much of this was based on deductions from Homer, or derived from other sources that we no longer have. Thucydides wrote:
Thucydides tried to deal with the problem of a story of a great clash of forces that seemed to be contradicted by the evidence of the small sites and relative primitive nature of the region where Troy was supposed to be. He tells us that, as far as he knew, Mycenaea had always been a village without great importance, while Homer referred to it as a "town with broad streets."
So it was that , even in the 5th century BC, Thucydides has commented on the fact that the only evidence for the Trojan war is the words of poets and "general tradition." The fact is, many present day scholars doubt the existence of a "Mycenaean empire" because the archaeological evidence simply does not support the claims of the story.
Yet, the detailed nature of the descriptions incorporated into the work of Homer suggest that the original works were composed by eye witnesses of a significant conflict.
The problem that faces the scholars is this: if you were to remove the place names and read the Iliad, you would NOT think that the writer was talking about the Mediterranean. The text talks about tides, salty, dark, misty seas and a climate of rain, fog and snow. The tall, long-haired warriors raveling overseas in "symmetrical" ships "eager to kill their enemies" remind us more of the Vikings than the Greeks of the classical era. Several of the commanders in the story had honorific titles: "Sacker of Cities." It even seems that, since the Greeks themselves could hardly imagine the behavior of these people in the stories, they consigned them to a "heroic age" and some of them to semi-divinity.
The Greek text of the Iliad speaks of "ceaseless rains" in the Trojan plain. The adjective is "athesphatos" which means "what even god cannot measure." Such rains are certainly typical of the climate of Northern Europe, but most definitely not typical of Greece or the Mediterranean.
Iman J. Wilkens was intrigued by this as a schoolboy in Holland. He knew that he was reading a description of an environment much like his own, and not like that of the sunny south. Could the climate of the Mediterranean have changed so much since then? But even that wouldn't explain the tides or the fact that Homer had placed Troy near to Lesbos and the Hellespont, from which Crete and Egypt are just a few days voyage by boat. That, of course, raised a question about the Odyssey: how could Ulysses have possibly gotten so terribly lost in the Mediterranean where nearly everything is just a day or two sail away?
The experts answer that Homer's work was obviously just a fantasized version of a historical seed event.
We certainly know that the written versions of the Iliad and Odyssey originated in Greece, but do we know for sure that the oral version was about Greece as we know it today?
Thucydides noted certain anomalies in Homer's text that may give us a clue. He was surprised that Homer never used the word "barbarian" for foreigners or non-Greeks. He wrote:
More than this, Thucydides remarks that barbarians were living in various parts of Greece and names the Taulentians "of the Illyrian race" living on the shores of the Ionian Gulf. From classical mythology, we know that a certain Galatea had three sons: Galas, Celtus and Illyrius, who founded the three major Celtic peoples: the Gauls, the Celts and the Illyrians. Professor Henry Hubert hypothesized that the ancient Greeks had been in contact with Celtic culture through the intermediary of the Illyrians, which seems to be confirmed by Thucydides remark. What if, during this contact, they received the epics sung by the bards and began to give the place names in the stories to their own settlements. In the manner of mythicization that I have described in The Secret History of The World, the Greeks might then begin to believe that the Trojan War had been fought by their own ancestors against an overseas kingdom. There is still another issue. Wilkens writes:
Near Cambridge in England? The Gogmagog hills?
In other words, Wilkens is proposing that there has been a transfer of western European geographical names to the eastern Mediterranean. He suggests that this occurred very late, about 1,000 BC. My guess is that it began much earlier, after the collapse of the Bronze Age Civilization around 1600 BC.
With the exception of the Bible, no other works of western literature have been more studied and commented upon than the Iliad and the Odyssey. Considering the fact that the prophet Ezekiel knew the name of a place in England that certainly looks as though it might be at least a very early mythical assimilation to the story of Troy, perhaps the Bible and the Iliad have a lot more in common than one would ordinarily suppose? I would like to quote a couple of sections from my book, The Secret History of The World, to give us some additional clues:
Gildas, writing in the sixth century AD, is the first native British writer whose works have come down to us. Nennius, writing about 200 years later, refers to “the traditions of our elders.” And Geoffrey of Monmouth praises the works of Gildas and Bede and wonders at the lack of other works about the early kings of Britain saying:
The Stonehenge story told by Geoffrey of Monmouth begins with a treacherous massacre of the Britons by Hengest and his Saxons, which took place at a peace conference. The Saxons hid their daggers in their shoes and, at a signal from their leader, drew them and killed all the assembled British nobles except the king. Geoffrey tells us that the meeting took place at the “Cloister of Ambrius, not far from Kaercaradduc, which is now called Salisbury.” He later describes this as a monastery of three hundred brethren founded by Ambrius many years before.
As it happens, there is a place called Amesbury about two and a half miles east of Stonehenge, which was originally called Ambresbyrig. This site in no way matches the description of the Cloister of Ambrius. The cloister is described as situated on Mount Ambrius, whereas Amesbury is in the valley of the river Avon. Geoffrey tells us that the victims of the massacre were buried in the cemetery beside the monastery, not two and a half miles away. What is more, since it seems that Geoffrey was acting under the pressure of the mythical norm of assimilating current events to the archetype, we then are left free to consider the possibility that this was the site of an ancient and famous massacre and that Stonehenge and the Cloister of Ambrius are one and the same.
The fact that Geoffrey called it a “cloister” is a curious choice of words since a cloister is “a covered arcade forming part of a religious or collegiate establishment.” That certainly seems to describe Stonehenge very well. Geoffrey was obviously trying to “Christianize” Stonehenge in his references to monastery and monks.
The Saxons gave Stonehenge the name by which we know it today. The Britons called it the Giant’s Dance, and Geoffrey certainly had a tradition to draw on there if he had wanted to since he begins his history with the adventures of Brutus, a descendant of Aeneas, who, after escaping from the flames of Troy, and much traveling and fighting, landed on Britain, which was uninhabited except for a few giants. Geoffrey had a reasonable context here in which to place Stonehenge, but he ignored it and instead attributed the building of Stonehenge to Merlin after the dreadful massacre by the Saxons. This enabled him to connect his Arthur to the great architect of the monument and all its glories. This suggests to us that there was a solid tradition behind this idea: that Stonehenge was the focal point of a people who had suffered a terrible, terminal disaster. In short, this tradition may reach back into the mists of antiquity.
As W. A. Cummins, geologist and archaeologist remarks, all of this sounds like a pre-medieval tradition about Stonehenge, possibly even prehistoric. However, instead of coming from Africa, or even Ireland, the bluestones used in the construction of Stonehenge come from the Prescelly Mountains, or Mynydd Preselau. The so-called “altar stone,” however, most likely came from somewhere in the Milford Haven area in Pembrokeshire. [...] Cummins remarks astutely that Geoffrey was eight and a half centuries closer to the event than we are, so maybe his account is correspondingly closer?[...] [...]
Diodorus Siculus, writing in the first century BC, gives us a description of Britain based, in part, on the voyage of Pytheas of Massilia, who sailed around Britain in 300 BC.
Diodorus then tells a fascinating story about the Hyperboreans that was obviously of legendary character already when he was writing:
Now, it seems that there is little doubt that Diodorus is talking about the same location - but we notice that the climate is so vastly different in the two descriptions that we can hardly make the connection. However, let us just suppose that his description of Britain was based on the climate that prevailed at the time he was writing, and the legendary description of the Hyperboreans was based on a previous climatic condition that was preserved in the story. Diodorus stresses that he is recounting something very ancient as he goes on to say:
Diodorus' remark about the relations between the Hyperboreans and the Athenians leads us to recall the statement of Plato that the Atlanteans were at war with the Athenians, and we wonder if the Hyperboreans are the real “early Athenians.” After all, the Greeks were said to be “Sons of the North Wind,” Boreas. Herodotus expounds upon the relationship of the Hyperboreans to the Delians:
The legendary connection between the Hyperboreans and the Delians leads us to another interesting remark of Herodotus who tells us that Leto, the mother of Apollo, was born on the island of the Hyperboreans. That there was regular contact between the Greeks and the Hyperboreans over many centuries does not seem to be in doubt. The Hyperboreans were said to have introduced the Greeks to the worship of Apollo, but it is just as likely that the relationship goes much further back. Herodotus has another interesting thing to say about the Hyperboreans and their sending of sacred offerings to Delos:
Herodotus mentions at another point, when discussing the lands of the “barbarians,” “All these except the Hyperboreans, were continually encroaching upon one another’s territory.” Without putting words in Herodotus’ mouth, it seems to suggest that the Hyperboreans were not warlike at all.
A further clue about the religion of the Hyperboreans comes from the myths of Orpheus. It is said that when Dionysus invaded Thrace, Orpheus did not see fit to honor him but instead preached the evils of sacrificial murder to the men of Thrace. He taught “other sacred mysteries” having to do with Apollo, whom he believed to be the greatest of all gods. Dionysus became so enraged; he set the Maenads on Orpheus at Apollo’s temple where Orpheus was a priest. They burst in, murdered their husbands who were assembled to hear Orpheus speak, tore Orpheus limb from limb, and threw his head into the river Hebrus where it floated downstream still singing. It was carried on the sea to the island of Lesbos. Another version of the story is that Zeus killed Orpheus with a thunderbolt for divulging divine secrets. He was responsible for instituting the Mysteries of Apollo in Thrace, Hecate in Aegina, and Subterrene Demeter at Sparta.
I would like to note immediately how similar the above story of the Maenads murdering their husbands is to the story of the daughters of Danaus murdering their husbands - sons of Aegyptus - on the wedding night, and how similar both of these stories are to the story of the massacre at the Cloisters of Ambrius attributed still later to Hengist and Horsa. The story of the Maenads adds the spin that it was a religious dispute between sacrificers and those preaching against the evils of sacrifice. Additionally, it is interesting that in the stories of the daughters of Danaeus and the Maenads, women have become as deadly as treacherous Helen was to Troy.
Was an original legend later adapted to a different usage, assimilated to a different group or tribe? More than once?
In fact, when you think about it, the stories in the Bible are remarkably similar to the Greek myths with most of the fantastic elements removed, names changed, and genealogies inserted to give the impression of a long history. One could say that the "history" of the Old Testament is merely "historicized myth." And of course, the myths that it was historicized from may have belonged to an entirely different people.
Let's talk about Helen of Troy now.
 Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, translated by Lewis Thorpe, 1966, p. 1.
 Ibid., p. 139.
 Cummins, W. A., King Arthur’s Place in Pre-history, (Surrey: Bramley Books 1992) p. 64.
 Diodorus of Sicily, English translation by C. H. Oldfather, Loeb Classical Library, Volumes II and III. London, William Heinemann, and Cambridge, Mass., USA, Harvard University Press, 1935 and 1939.
 Herodotus, The Histories, Book IV, trans. Aubrey De Selincourt, revised John Marincola (London: Penguin 1972) p. 226
 Herodotus, The Histories, pp. 226-227.
 See: Graves, Robert, The Greek Myths (London: Penguin, London) 1992
You are visitor number
You are visitor number .